Friday, June 15, 2007

Sensenbrenner: More Right Than Ever

Seems that "Government" and "common sense" are never going to be found in the same sentence.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency overpaid victims of the Gulf Coast hurricanes by at least $485 million and is struggling to reclaim the money from tens of thousands of people it says shouldn't have been given aid, a USA TODAY analysis shows

Well, maybe. A few grafs down we read this:

Audits suggest the overpayments go beyond what FEMA is trying to recover. The Government Accountability Office, Congress' investigative arm, estimated that the improper aid payments may total $1 billion.

Back to the original program:

The back-to-back storms triggered $7 billion in aid for rental housing and property replacement. With so much need, it was a "no-brainer" that FEMA should overpay up front, said Donna Dannels, who runs FEMA's Individual Assistance program. The alternative, she said, would have been to delay badly needed assistance for months while requests for aid were reviewed.

Really? A "no-brainer"? Or just a testament to the validity of the Principle of Subsidiarity--which, if utilized, would have had State and local officials assisting in determining actual needs.

Federal law requires that FEMA recover any improper payments. Once the money was doled out, the agency reviewed more than 120,000 aid registrations in which auditors concluded people were paid too much money or should not have been paid at all. FEMA also is trying to get back $64 million from other disasters since 2004, collecting about 15 cents on the dollar.

Of course, 'subsidiarity' only works if the State and local folks are actually "public servants" which was apparently not the case. In New Orleans, the cops and the Mayor simply left town.

And the Governor-ette of Louisiana ...was....(insert your guess here.)

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