Thursday, September 01, 2005

Pound Wise, Penny Foolish

Per a Molly Ivins article that was forwarded to me (Steinski to Spouse to me, bumpety bump), "…in June, Bush took his little ax and chopped $71.2 million from the budget of the New Orleans Corps of Engineers, a 44 percent reduction. As was reported in New Orleans CityBusiness at the time, that meant 'major hurricane and flood projects will not be awarded to local engineering firms. Also, a study to determine ways to protect the region from a Category 5 hurricane has been shelved for now.'"

I am not so foolish as to think that if that money had been available all the hurricane preparedness projects would have been completed and there would have been no loss of life or property; such projects are generally massive and take time, as well as money, to complete; there's always the danger that while you're preparing for disaster the disaster will strike. But if Katrina had petered out, and there'd been that time (and more--hurricane season isn't over) to finish the various projects...saving $71.2 million, compared to the billions and billions that are going to go into rebuilding New Orleans and Biloxi, makes no sense at all.

Ivins goes on to observe that this administration appears to be moving further away from policy based on science, expertise and experience and further toward policy based on ideology. I believe in the importance of faith, I believe that (metaphorically) faith can move mountains. But when I have to build a bridge, get my tonsils out, or chart the human genome, I want science, expertise and experience, the more the better. I believe in science and technology and the power of the human mind to come up with solutions to human problems--if God hadn't wanted us to solve problems, would we have the brains we do?


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