Friday, April 21, 2006

Department of Homeland Stupidity, Chapter 1,654

Yah, so Chertoff's boyzz finally did the RIGHT thing and will charge a bunch of management-types with knowingly employing around 1200 illegals. About time. And by the way, Mikie, what about that Illinois-based company which has the largest single cache of invalid SSAN numbers on its payroll?

But we digress. Captain's Quarters brings us this great story about How To Screw Up Reconstruction (not quite as bad as post-Civil War...)

After almost eight months, much of the debris left behind by the hurricane and massive flooding has still not been removed -- which must happen before rebuilding can begin. One of [Louisiana State Rep.] Steve [Scalise's] constituents hired a private contractor to get the job done at $15 per cubic foot, but was warned repeatedly by FEMA officials that they would not reimburse him for the work since it had not gone through proper channels. After debating the point with FEMA for a while, the Louisianan gave up and applied for removal through FEMA. Instead of spending $15 per cubic foot, FEMA paid the new contractor $35 per cubic foot. Given that New Orleans has millions of cubic feet of debris to remove, the extra $20/cf will explode the costs of the cleanup.

Oh, and one other point about this anecdote: the contractor FEMA hired subbed the job to the original contractor hired by the constituent -- who got the same $15/cf that the constituent negotiated.

In a related issue, much of the debris could be recycled, such as steel and other materials. However, to the extent that anything has been cleaned up, 100% of it is going into landfills, a diminishing resource in the hurricane areas. The contractors hired by FEMA do not get paid any money for material that cannot be documented as ending up in the landfill, where it can be measured. Also, any money that the contractor receives for the recyclable material has to be given to FEMA in full. Without any incentive to spend time separating recyclable material to salvage the raw materials that could be used in rebuilding, it's all going into the trashheap instead.

Tell me that isn't a government program.

I thought that only Ripley could imagine such complete and utter buffoonery. Turns out Ripley may have simply perused Gummint policy books for his material.

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