Donation funds, why do we pay them

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  • #26
Evo
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In reference to Skyhunter's post #23.

What does all that have to do with the funds that have been made available or the topic of this thread?

Again, although Bush made a mistake in diverting funds from the levees, that did not impact what happened in this storm. It will, however, impact *future* progress. Not enough was done in the past that could have helped in this particular instance.

See, this is why you guys lose credibility. If this had been done by someone you "approved" of, you would be gushing and drooling and peeing in your pants over what a great thing this is (referring to the emergency funds). What specifically with cutting through the red tape do you have a problem with? I'm ashamed to be on your side of the fence because you give people a reason to dismiss your arguments because of your blind hatred. (I'm directing this at all of the Bush bashers, learn to pick your battles) If you can't be reasonable in your arguments, your arguments will be dismissed.
 
  • #27
Art
Skyhunter said:
Oh, sorry, I forgot what Bush said, "No one could have imagined the someone would fly an airplane into err, I mean imagine these levees breaking."
I've always figured there are two kinds of stupid people. Those that realise they are less intelligent than everybody else and those that are too stupid to realise this. Bush falls into the latter category. He is one of those mentally challenged individuals who thinks because his limited intelligence could not envisage something then nobody could.
 
  • #28
Art
Evo said:
In reference to Skyhunter's post #23.

What does all that have to do with the funds that have been made available or the topic of this thread?

Again, although Bush made a mistake in diverting funds from the levees, that did not impact what happened in this storm. It will, however, impact *future* progress. Not enough was done in the past that could have helped in this particular instance.

See, this is why you guys lose credibility. If this had been done by someone you "approved" of, you would be gushing and drooling and peeing in your pants over what a great thing this is (referring to the emergency funds). What specifically with cutting through the red tape do you have a problem with? I'm ashamed to be on your side of the fence because you give people a reason to dismiss your arguments because of your blind hatred. (I'm directing this at all of the Bush bashers, learn to pick your battles) If you can't be reasonable in your arguments, your arguments will be dismissed.
Evo you are creating a strawman and then dismissing it. As has been pointed out ad nauseum on another thread people here are not blaming Bush for the disaster per se, it is the government's totally inadequate preparation / response that is coming in for criticism.
 
  • #29
Evo
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Art said:
Evo you are creating a strawman and then dismissing it. As has been pointed out ad nauseum on another thread people here are not blaming Bush for the disaster per se, it is the government's totally inadequate preparation / response that is coming in for criticism.
No, they are specifically citing Bush, that's the problem. I agree the Government as a whole flubbed this and Bush's recent pull of funds has drastically delayed the timeline to have the levees repaired. As I mentioned in another thread, last year there was going to be a study started to evaluate how to protect NO from a category 4 or 5 hurricane, something which had never been done, and thanks to Bush, the study was canceled, we are now delayed an entire year.
 
  • #30
kat
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edward said:
I can only say that when the real America still existed, the military could have had plane loads of c rations on the way to the disaster area in a matter of hours.

During the cold war every military installation had thousands of cartons of C rations (meals in cans) available. We didn't have to wait for orders to come down from FEMA. One quick call from the Pentagon and help was on the way.

The rations are now MRE's and a lot tastier.
However, the military no longer keeps a surplus. The surplus MRE's are auctioned off to the public. They would have been very helpful this week.

FEMA relies on private contractors who must first submit bids. The bids must then be approved and contracts signed. Only then do the contractors start to procure the goods that are needed.

Emergencies and Bureaucracies do not mix. That fact has become evident this week.
I don't know how far back your looking at to find "real america" but I was living in Biloxi when Camille came raging through in '69 and although we did end up with C-Rations..it ceratinly was NOT within a "matter of hours.
 
  • #31
kat
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Evo said:
No, they are specifically citing Bush, that's the problem. I agree the Government as a whole flubbed this and Bush's recent pull of funds has drastically delayed the timeline to have the levees repaired. As I mentioned in another thread, last year there was going to be a study started to evaluate how to protect NO from a category 4 or 5 hurricane, something which had never been done, and thanks to Bush, the study was canceled, we are now delayed an entire year.
What I don't understand is why "the study" existed when a very thorough study was done after the 93 floods which was ...I believe, sent to committee in 1995...although perhaps it just disapeared...I remember there being issues with the approach they wanted to take.
not sure what happened to that...anybody?
 
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  • #32
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Charities are socialist in nature. this is an interesting relationship you make. They are, in that people give their work in essence up for public good without the expectation of financial return. However, it is a covoluted system. You have the collective working power of the people, represented by monetary donations, being given to a single organization which is not run collectively by the workers'. Furthermore, the donations are then divided into various enterprises which if not capitalist themselves, they most likely serve such a system: the us military, the red cross for example, and who knows where else.

What i would like to see is if rather than taking everyone's money, which i agree is needed, they should allow people to physically migrate to New Orleans and volunteer their services. I liken it to giving money to someone to fix a problem, or fixing the problem with them/ show them how to fix it; they are not the same scanarios.

Bush is incompetent, we know this. But i dont want this thread to decay into random bush bashing as is always the case.

Imagine if New Orleans was attacked by something far more precise than a hurricane, such as a well organized assault. This country would be stretched to its limits. Most of the army is on the other side of the world, the government is on vacation, the government requires citizen donations because they cannot manage money/ have more deadly things to spend theirs on, allies could never help in time; but most importantly is mobilization. Apart from attack craft and highly mobile units, soldiers would take too long of a time to deploy to repel an attack. We are not at domestic war now, but deployment of national gaurdsmen has taken a sufficiently long time. And if there was an attack, martial law would need to be declared to fight the enemy and control the population.

When in Rome history often repeats itself, infrastructure will be the undoing as it is already undone.
 
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  • #33
russ_watters
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Art said:
Actually they do. It is called the Emergency Reserve Fund and it exists specifically to provide timely financial assistance in response to domestic disasters and emergencies. It requires a 2/3 majority vote in the legislature to release money from this fund (also called the rainy day account) :tongue2:
Fair enough - how much is in it?
 
  • #34
vanesch
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oldunion said:
Charities are socialist in nature.
I would claim quite the opposite: it is a purely capitalistic invention, with everything that goes with it. There is the "product" which is "buy a good conscience", there are the resources to make the product (the miserable, who have indeed "good conscience" to sell: you need poor in order to be able to help them and feel good about it), and there is the whole distribution and publicity sector around it, with competition and everything. There is offer (of misery to be relieved) and demand (need to relieve your conscience by giving money). Most of it is based on private initiative. As usual in such a market, you want the best for your buck, so you want to have the highest "good conscience" for the lowest price.

A socialist vision cannot stand charity: after all, the state is supposed to take care of that, taking money by taxes and relieving distress. The state takes then all of the good conscience ; the taxpayer doesn't get the same "good feeling" when he fills in his tax bill than when he decides to send $100,- to tsunami victims. Charity in a socialist vision are seen as a failure of the state.
 
  • #35
alexandra
Art said:
It would be interesting if it was done the other way around. Tax dollars being spent on good causes at home and wars being fought using only voluntary donations for finance. I suspect there would be a lot fewer wars.
:rofl: :rofl: :rofl: Thanks, Art - that *really* made me laugh! Yes, I agree with you - capitalists wouldn't finance their own wars, would they? Ah, but then the state is not a 'neutral arbiter' operating in the interests of the 'general good': the state is actually the representative of capital. So wars are funded by taxpayers, and relief for natural disasters must also be funded (additionally, as oldunion points out) by *more* taxpayer money. Wickedly sly, isn't it?
 
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  • #36
russ_watters
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edward said:
I can only say that when the real America still existed, the military could have had plane loads of c rations on the way to the disaster area in a matter of hours.

During the cold war every military installation had thousands of cartons of C rations (meals in cans) available. We didn't have to wait for orders to come down from FEMA. One quick call from the Pentagon and help was on the way.

The rations are now MRE's and a lot tastier.
However, the military no longer keeps a surplus. The surplus MRE's are auctioned off to the public. They would have been very helpful this week.

FEMA relies on private contractors who must first submit bids. The bids must then be approved and contracts signed. Only then do the contractors start to procure the goods that are needed.

Emergencies and Bureaucracies do not mix. That fact has become evident this week.
Score! I've actually been thinking about this since last night, but you beat me to it. I'm going to start a thread about this in the engineering forum (where we can keep the politics out of it). But, briefly:

The military does still keep pre-positioned equipment, supplies, and troops forward deployed throughout the world, most notably, the http://www.msc.navy.mil/mpstwo/ [Broken] at Diego Garcia (random google):
The MPSRON TWO staff's main job is to maintain command and control as well as keep the vessels and their cargo ready at all times until an order to deploy is given. On 24-hours notice, every MPSRON TWO ship can leave port and sail literally anywhere in the world and bring combat support and equipment the Marines, Navy, Army and Air Force need to accomplish their missions.
AFAIK, no such prepositioning of disaster relief equipment/supplies exists in the US.

A rough calculation says that 700,000 gallons of water (2,800 tons) and 700 tons of food could supply 100,000 people for a week. At 20 tons each, that's 175 tractor trailers. If we had, say, 3 depots (1 west coast, 2 east coast), you could get aid to anywhere in the country in about 2 days (figure 1 day of mobilization, one day of driving).

There are, of course, bigger challenges than just food and water, but that's the first need. More in a forthcoming thread...
 
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  • #37
russ_watters
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Skyhunter said:
This was not the worst case scenario, in fact it is far less than what it would have been had the storm not veered east. Also, it was a fast moving storm, so the winds didn't push water into the lake, so in many ways you could say New Orleans was :confused: "lucky". :confused:
I didn't say that it was (just clarifying - you may have known that.
So why were they not prepared?

Why was the National guard and FEMA not standing by, prepared for the worst case scenario?
Good question, and the answer is probably simply that there is no mechanism in place for that to happen.

A hurricane is somewhat unique in that you can predict, with reasonable accuracy, where and with what strength it will hit about 2 days in advance (and in this case, the flooding took an additional day before it spread). That is enough time to mobilize a pre-emptive relief effort. But just like the government building levees to withstand a cat5 hurricane, it (on all levels) does not do pre-emptive disaster relief. 'Why?' is probably not an easy question to answer, but moving forward, a mechanism needs to be put in place to avoid the necessity of making decisions and planning/coordinating relief efforts after-the-fact. Just like with the military, responses need to be pre-programmed and automatic.

Just a note on the political rant in the rest of your post - and the general "Blame Bush!" attitude of this forum: disaster relief should not require Presdential intervention. I mean, what can he really do? Authorize funding? Why wasn't it pre-authorized (and not by him, but by law)? Order the military to respond in a specific way? Why weren't plans already in place that simply required a "go" order? Again, the way the military deals with surprises is via pre-programmed responses that require no input from the commanding officer, whatsoever. Disaster relief should be set up the same way, and that it isn't is a long-term failing of government, not unique to Bush.
 
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  • #38
Art
russ_watters said:
Fair enough - how much is in it?
(3)
DEPOSITS INTO FUND- On October 1 of each fiscal year, the Secretary of the Treasury shall make a cash deposit into the Fund of--

(A) an amount sufficient to bring the Fund balance up to 1.2 percent of the operating expenditures; or

(B) such an amount as may be required to replenish the Fund.
http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c109:S.24.IS: [Broken] ................
 
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  • #39
solutions in a box
russ_watters said:
Score! I've actually been thinking about this since last night, but you beat me to it. I'm going to start a thread about this in the engineering forum (where we can keep the politics out of it). But, briefly:

The military does still keep pre-positioned equipment, supplies, and troops forward deployed throughout the world, most notably, the http://www.msc.navy.mil/mpstwo/ [Broken] at Diego Garcia (random google): AFAIK, no such prepositioning of disaster relief equipment/supplies exists in the US.

A rough calculation says that 700,000 gallons of water (2,800 tons) and 700 tons of food could supply 100,000 people for a week. At 20 tons each, that's 175 tractor trailers. If we had, say, 3 depots (1 west coast, 2 east coast), you could get aid to anywhere in the country in about 2 days (figure 1 day of mobilization, one day of driving).

There are, of course, bigger challenges than just food and water, but that's the first need. More in a forthcoming thread...
Good thinking Russ:
In Vietnam we all had water purification kits. They are available now in surplus stores. There are fairly inexpensive new kits available in sporting goods stores. A charcoal filter and a bit of chlorine work wonders on contaminated water.

In this case especially, the kits would have been a blessing.
 
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  • #40
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vanesch said:
I would claim quite the opposite: it is a purely capitalistic invention, with everything that goes with it. There is the "product" which is "buy a good conscience", there are the resources to make the product (the miserable, who have indeed "good conscience" to sell: you need poor in order to be able to help them and feel good about it), and there is the whole distribution and publicity sector around it, with competition and everything. There is offer (of misery to be relieved) and demand (need to relieve your conscience by giving money). Most of it is based on private initiative. As usual in such a market, you want the best for your buck, so you want to have the highest "good conscience" for the lowest price.

A socialist vision cannot stand charity: after all, the state is supposed to take care of that, taking money by taxes and relieving distress. The state takes then all of the good conscience ; the taxpayer doesn't get the same "good feeling" when he fills in his tax bill than when he decides to send $100,- to tsunami victims. Charity in a socialist vision are seen as a failure of the state.
well charity isn't really charity in a socialist system, it is a fundamental part of its operation. Since everyones' benefit is based on collective success, it would be advantageous for anyone who can help, to help.

In capitalism, if some people lose it wont matter and might even benefit other people if they do so: whoever gets the contract to rebuild NO, the red cross, the trucking company, the companies that make the food, etc etc. It is a very impersonal system, and as Vanesch is saying, one has to involve guilt and status of conscience for help of brethren to occur.

I would disagree in your first example of how charity is capitalism though, there are parallels and representations. But no real gain of capital exists for any party. I suppose you could argue that the money being given to charity will be used for rebuilding lost enterprise, which will then continue capitalising, but i dont feel it is capitalist itself; although, it is a good way to part workers from their funds.
 
  • #41
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kat said:
I don't know how far back your looking at to find "real america" but I was living in Biloxi when Camille came raging through in '69 and although we did end up with C-Rations..it ceratinly was NOT within a "matter of hours.
I said that they would be on the way in a matter of hours, not in your hand.
Food can wait several days, water can't. As someone mentioned in reply to a post by Russ. The military during the cold war also had a plentiful supply of water purification kits available.
 
  • #42
russ_watters
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Art said:
(3)
http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c109:S.24.IS: [Broken] ................
I read that, but quite frankly, I don't understand it. 1.2% of what, exactly, and how much cash, exactly, is that?
 
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  • #43
vanesch
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oldunion said:
well charity isn't really charity in a socialist system, it is a fundamental part of its operation.
Yes, that's why I don't call "raising taxes and redistributing it" (the socialist way) charity. Charity is voluntary donation of money by individuals or corporations to privately organized organisms who go out and "do charity" to those needing it.

But no real gain of capital exists for any party. I suppose you could argue that the money being given to charity will be used for rebuilding lost enterprise, which will then continue capitalising, but i dont feel it is capitalist itself; although, it is a good way to part workers from their funds.
There IS of course real gain of capital: it is the same kind of capital you pay to go and see a movie or a football game. It is "satisfaction" of a certain kind. If you go to a movie, you're willing to spend money in return for entertainment, and if you give money to charity, you're doing so to get "good conscience feelings".
It is EXTREMELY SIMILAR to the entertainment industry. But the actors or the football players are now the needy and the miserable. And a whole industry is running on it (t-shirts, managers, publicity...). In both cases, you buy a "kind of good feeling" (= the created value) for good money.
 
  • #44
loseyourname
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alexandra said:
So wars are funded by taxpayers, and relief for natural disasters must also be funded (additionally, as oldunion points out) by *more* taxpayer money. Wickedly sly, isn't it?
Unless you don't allow the citizenry to own any money, what other kind of money is there? Every citizen with money is a taxpayer.
 
  • #45
Vanesch said:
There IS of course real gain of capital: it is the same kind of capital you pay to go and see a movie or a football game. It is "satisfaction" of a certain kind. If you go to a movie, you're willing to spend money in return for entertainment, and if you give money to charity, you're doing so to get "good conscience feelings".
It is EXTREMELY SIMILAR to the entertainment industry. But the actors or the football players are now the needy and the miserable. And a whole industry is running on it (t-shirts, managers, publicity...). In both cases, you buy a "kind of good feeling" (= the created value) for good money.
You seem to be basing your opinion of charity on the arguement I have heard before that every action is a selfish action. At least part of it. Part of this arguement states that altruistic actions are really actually selfish in nature because of the gratification that it gives the person who makes them.
If many people really think this way then what a sad society we live in. You can't even help people with out being thought of as selfish and greedy.
 
  • #46
vanesch
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TheStatutoryApe said:
You seem to be basing your opinion of charity on the arguement I have heard before that every action is a selfish action. At least part of it. Part of this arguement states that altruistic actions are really actually selfish in nature because of the gratification that it gives the person who makes them.
You are entirely correct about the basis of my opinion :smile:

If many people really think this way then what a sad society we live in. You can't even help people with out being thought of as selfish and greedy.
I don't think it is "sad". But I remember (I went to a strict catholic school when I was young) getting the monk who thought the religion course really angry with this statement, probably that's why I adhere to it :rofl:
Let us say that I'm a supporter of hedonism (http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/hedonism/).

EDIT: something that would deny hedonism is when you would do something altruistic that causes you a lot of trouble, goes against all your principles, will get you a bad social image and a horrible future to live but is something that is really good for your worst enemy. If you can find several examples of this then hedonism has been disproved. (as such an example, Bush doesn't count: he didn't foresee it :-)
 
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  • #47
Skyhunter
Evo said:
In reference to Skyhunter's post #23.

What does all that have to do with the funds that have been made available or the topic of this thread?

Again, although Bush made a mistake in diverting funds from the levees, that did not impact what happened in this storm. It will, however, impact *future* progress. Not enough was done in the past that could have helped in this particular instance.

See, this is why you guys lose credibility. If this had been done by someone you "approved" of, you would be gushing and drooling and peeing in your pants over what a great thing this is (referring to the emergency funds). What specifically with cutting through the red tape do you have a problem with? I'm ashamed to be on your side of the fence because you give people a reason to dismiss your arguments because of your blind hatred. (I'm directing this at all of the Bush bashers, learn to pick your battles) If you can't be reasonable in your arguments, your arguments will be dismissed.
I missed this and would like to respond.

You are correct. I was responding off topic.

My explanation is, as I was watching this disaster unfold in a leadership vacuum my anger overcame my good sense. (My good sense is wimpy, my anger wins often.)

Apologies to all.

I would suggest that if you know anyone from New Orleans, even if it is a friend of a friend, donate to them directly before giving to a charity. I don't know if it is tax deductible, but it will probably do more good.
 
  • #48
Skyhunter
russ_watters said:
I didn't say that it was (just clarifying - you may have known that. Good question, and the answer is probably simply that there is no mechanism in place for that to happen.
Yes I knew, and was just elaborating on what you had already stated.

russ_watters said:
A hurricane is somewhat unique in that you can predict, with reasonable accuracy, where and with what strength it will hit about 2 days in advance (and in this case, the flooding took an additional day before it spread). That is enough time to mobilize a pre-emptive relief effort. But just like the government building levees to withstand a cat5 hurricane, it (on all levels) does not do pre-emptive disaster relief. 'Why?' is probably not an easy question to answer, but moving forward, a mechanism needs to be put in place to avoid the necessity of making decisions and planning/coordinating relief efforts after-the-fact. Just like with the military, responses need to be pre-programmed and automatic.

Just a note on the political rant in the rest of your post - and the general "Blame Bush!" attitude of this forum: disaster relief should not require Presdential intervention. I mean, what can he really do? Authorize funding? Why wasn't it pre-authorized (and not by him, but by law)? Order the military to respond in a specific way? Why weren't plans already in place that simply required a "go" order? Again, the way the military deals with surprises is via pre-programmed responses that require no input from the commanding officer, whatsoever. Disaster relief should be set up the same way, and that it isn't is a long-term failing of government, not unique to Bush.
Agreed. Bush Bashing in this thread was not good form.

When the head of FEMA was a cabinet level post response time was much shorter and the effort was more coordinated. When Andrew hit Florida it was one of the events that cost George Herbert Bush the election. You may not like much that Clinton ever did but putting Witt in charge of FEMA was on the money. Not that it was perfect, but it was a much nimbler bureaucracy than the one we see today.
 

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