On the day of the third anniversary of Hurricane Sandy making landfall in the U.S., a report is out saying that hundreds of millions in Sandy aid was wasted. That’s bad, but it becomes even worse: billions of dollars more remain unspent.
That’s what the BuildStrong Coalition says in its new report, End the Cycle of Destruction.
Only $26 billion of the appropriated $47.9 billion was spent. This means that $20 billion is just lying around.
Furthermore, $226.9 million of what has been spent has been deemed questionable by the Office of the Inspector General. An additional $76.7 million has to be “reprogrammed,” the OIG says, because it’s at risk of being “wasted.”
Back in the day, conservatives criticized the way this money was spent. As usual, they were attacked by liberal critics. They were just cold-hearted egomaniacs who didn’t care about those who were unlucky. It’s now clear that conservatives were actually right. (Can we get a “told you so!”?)
The coalition suggest the money can be crawled back and used for other things, “potentially including disaster preparedness in advance of the next big storm hitting.” Although that’s certainly an option, it seems much wiser to me to learn from this mess and:
1. Change the entire disaster relief system. The current system just doesn’t work. There’s no reason whatsoever to pour yet more money into it.
2. Give the money back to taxpayers by actually lowering taxes for a change.
3. And/or to use this money to pay off the government’s continuously growing debt. It may come as a shock to those in Washington, but debts have to be paid back eventually. How about using money that’s allocated for something but remains unused, to do so?