Thursday, December 07, 2006

Shock, horror, probe

What is the biggest crisis facing our nation? War and rumors of war? Leadership meltdown? Assault on our basic freedoms? Wake up, people, it’s Katrina fraud.

NPR’s Pam Fessler, who never met a Bush memo she couldn’t swallow whole, is tireless in sounding the alarm.

Calling the misspending “Mindboggling!” Fessler notes that $17 million may have been overpaid for rent, and as much as $20 million issued in duplicate payments.

“It appears that some of these individuals were paid twice, for the same television, refrigerator, washer and dryer,” says Gregory Kouts of the GAO.

In a disaster that drowned a major American city, killed over 1800 people and ravaged 90,000 square miles, where are our priorities? Sure we never really counted the dead, and it took us weeks to collect and bury the ones we found, but do you mean to tell me we lost track of some major appliances?!

And what about “payments to hundreds of ineligible foreign students and workers” (upgraded from last night’s total of “50 foreign students.”) The horror! The horror!

What’s more, 20 flat-bottomed boats are unaccounted for. Or maybe 21.

Never mind that this all sounds much more like shoddy FEMA management than fraud, the frightening statistic remains: Of the $81.2 billion estimated Katrina damage, $1 billion may have been misspent. That’s (very slightly) over 1 %. Where’s the accountability? No swift boat left behind!


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