Hurricane Katrina Is to Blame for Excessive Government Bailouts

by Hank Coleman

Before Hurricane Katrina, Americans took natural disasters and financial setbacks in stride.  Americans are a resilient bunch and used to be able to take many setbacks on the chin but not anymore.  Today, more and more people have their hands out for help whether they truly need it or not.  People think that they are “owed” something for their lot in life. 

I grew up in Charleston, South Carolina, and my parents and I lived through Hurricane Hugo in 1989.  Thankfully, we did not have too much damage to our home.  Like most hurricane victims, we needed new shingles on our roof, and my parents’ homeowners’ insurance covered the cost of the repairs (minus their deductible, of course). 

No one received a government handout in 1989.  We did not get Visa debit cards from the American Red Cross.  In those days, if you needed help, you went to the Red Cross shelter that was the high school gymnasium.  The bailout trend did not take off until Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans in 2005.  Federal and state governments should not bailout individuals or even businesses for that matter.  That is what insurance is for.  Why are we subsidizing people for needless risk and ill-preparedness?  When people used their government sponsored handouts in Louisiana for frivolous purchases that were not related to hurricane displacement, that should have been the proof needed once and for all that government bailouts do not work.

Now, people think that the government owes them something for the littlest wrong that happens in their lives.  But, they have failed to remember that those events are just life.  Things happen that we cannot explain.  We should always hope for the best but prepare for the worst.  Our government is not the backstop for disasters, natural or manmade.  Insurance is the backstop that should be used in these situations.  When banks fail the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation…insurance backs us up.  When a hurricane blows your house down, insurance helps you rebuild.  The only industry in America that has a reasonable rationale for any type of bailout would be the insurance industry.

But, we have already fallen down the slippery slope. Now, the nasty trend has developed where everyone has their hand out for help regardless of real need.  What will happen years down the road when a new person is in the White House and help will not be readily available?  Most people do not really need help.  They are being rewarded for taking too much risk.  What are we teaching the people that the government is bailing out?  We are teaching them to continue their risky ways because the government will always be there to help them keep their McMansions without paying all of their mortgage balances.  The tax payers would not have benefited if these corporations and individuals gambles had paid off handsomely.  Why should we subsidize their losses now?

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

doctorj March 29, 2009 at 11:24 pm

The catastrophe in New Orleans was a flood, not a hurricane. The hurricane disaster occurred on the MS Gulf Coast. The flood was caused by broken FEDERAL levees later proven to be improperly designed by the US Corps of Engineers. The government needs to clean up the mess it caused. At the very least it needs to protect US citizens.

E. S August 19, 2009 at 2:04 pm

Well Mr. Hank, we are all very excited that you did not have to suffer as much for hurricane Hugo. As for your comments about Katrina victims, you may want to watch the stereotype. I am 27 years old and I have lived in New Orleans most of life. Before hurricane Katrina, I was a fulltime student, employee and a home owner. I had flood and homeowners insurance but none of it did justice for me and my family. The fault is truly the government because the levees were well over the age limit of withstanding a category three hurricane. They were warned in the 60’s for hurricane Betsy and still nothing was done. However, I do understand there are more than a few who have taken advantage of the system but all should not be punished for thier ignorance. “Now, people think that the government owes them something for the littlest wrong that happens in their lives” This comment is unfair because you speak as if it applies to everyone in this situation. I would ask you to place your self in my shoes but than again you really would not understand how it feels to lose mostly everything that you know and love. Close your eyes and think for a second, everything you ever knew gone within a blank of an eye. Not a pretty sight I would imagine. Did I mention that I also worked for the Dept of Homeland Security as well? I guess that this was a benefit for being a Katrina Victim in your opinion. The events are not just life, its broken obligations of the political officers who took an oath. Life is, understanding that death will come one day. Hurricane Katrina was man made failures. Get it Straight!!!!!!!!! Next time you have an opinion about something make sure that you have gone through it your self before you start saying what people should and should not do.

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