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Hurricane Costs of Neglecting General Welfare at $95 Billion Wealth, 300 Lives and Counting

Nov. 18, 2017 (EIRNS)—The White House yesterday asked Congress for another $44 billion in supplemental disaster assistance to help those hurt by recent hurricanes that hit Puerto Rico, Texas, Florida, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, bringing the total appropriated and requested to $95 billion for the August-September hurricanes.

A number of members of Congress including Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.), Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.), and others immediately attacked the request as "wholly inadequate," "a dereliction of duty," etc. Leaving aside that there is some partisan posing and state pleading involved in these attacks, the fact is that there are $182 billion in formal requests outstanding to the White House and Congress from the affected states and territories, and these will not exhaust the needed investments in new storm-protection, power, and transportation infrastructure. The requests include $61 billion by Texas, $27 billion by Florida, and $94 billion by Puerto Rico.

So the cost of decades of neglect by elected officials of the general welfare, in the form of denial and indefinite postponement of needed protective and productive infrastructure, is $95 billion and rising fast from those hurricanes alone, as well as nearly 300 lives unnecessarily lost.

"The White House said it expected to seek additional funds after a fuller analysis," The Hill reported yesterday. "White House budget director Mick Mulvaney said in a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan that the $44 billion ‘does not represent the final request.’"