The federal government should foot the bill for all $6 billion worth of cleanup costs in New York, says Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Wow. Shouldn’t New Yorkers pay for at least some of their own mess? Why should taxpayers from rural Arkansas and Ohio pay to help rebuild beach homes of millionaires?
According to New York’s top public finance official, Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, the Feds should pick up the tab for two reasons. First: The state is essentially broke. New York State and City are already tens of billions of dollars behind on their pension funds. State and local governments have no real emergency fund. Tax collections from before the storm even hit were less than hoped for. And the effects of the 2009 recession are still plaguing the state.
“The problem is the state is limited in its resource capacity. We just put out the mid-year report a week or two ago and it really showed tax revenues are down,” DiNapoli said. So the government should bail us out.
But it is the second reason that is most revealing about the perilous state of America. “I think the focus will have to be on Washington, for obvious reasons,” DiNapoli told reporters. “They have greater resources. They can print money; we can’t do that here” (emphasis added throughout).
If you didn’t think America was in a dire financial condition before, this should be your wake-up call. Here is the top financial officer to the wealthiest state in the union telling the world that not only is New York State broke, but that the federal government should cover it by “printing money.”
But why did DiNapoli say the federal government should “print money” to pay for it? Because the federal government is broke and doesn’t have any money either!
Money printing is traditionally the last gasp of failing economies. And here it is being espoused by one of America’s top economic officials. It is like he is completely ignorant of the historical reality of what it means—and what happens to economies when they try to get something from nothing by printing money.
Worse, it is a sad reflection of American mindsets today. Where is the nation that once prided itself on its independence, personal responsibility, and its faith in God?
Almost immediately after Hurricane Sandy dissipated, various news outlets ran stories about how people were suffering in areas without electricity, water and gas. People were complaining about the Red Cross abandoning them, fema taking too long to bring help, and the government not acting fast enough to bring in food, water and generators for everyone.
One audibly emotional man said the conditions of the temporary bathrooms the government had set up were disgusting. Another man complained that the temporary housing provided by the government was too crowded. There were no showers, the bunk beds were too small, and the rooms felt like cattle cars.
Don’t get me wrong. I know there is plenty of legitimate suffering. But how much of it could have been avoided had people taken even a modicum of personal responsibility for their lives—and not simply expected the nanny state to take care of them?
People had more than a week to prepare for Hurricane Sandy. And many of the loudest critics are in areas that had mandatory evacuation orders a full day before the storm hit. What did they think was going to happen? One of the biggest storms in history was headed straight toward them.
In July, a study conducted by the Adelphi University Center for Health Innovation found that 55 percent of Americans believe that if a disaster strikes, the government will come to their rescue. A full 44 percent of adults don’t have a first-aid kit. Almost 50 percent have no emergency supplies set aside in case of a catastrophe. More than half of people surveyed said they did not have even a three-day supply of food and water in their homes.
No wonder New York and New Jersey are such a mess. And Sandy was only a Category 1 storm. New York, especially, should have been prepared. Hurricane Irene struck only two years before. But then the Feds picked up most of the bill too—a full 75 percent of the reconstruction costs. There is just not a lot of incentive to take care of yourself and fix things when someone else is happy to step in and clean up your messes and take care of you.
American culture is increasingly one of not taking personal responsibility for our actions—or even our lives.
It can’t be easily fixed either. America’s whole system of governance is founded on it. Politicians want votes, so they make promises to voters. Voters’ expectations of what the government should do for them grows. People get dependent on government handouts. It doesn’t matter how much the government “gives,” voters always want more—and vote for those who promise to give them the most. And the cycle feeds on itself.
It is a system that is doomed to fail. Take a look at the number of billion-dollar disasters that have been occurring. They are skyrocketing. America is being overwhelmed. New Orleans, New York and New Jersey are only the beginning.
And the public coffers are going dry. Voters can only vote themselves so much from the public treasury before the system collapses. What are people going to do when the welfare checks stop coming; the food stamps disappear; Medicare and Medicaid are no longer available; the fema response teams no longer bring food and shelter; the dollar is worthless; police and firemen no longer get paid—and there are riots in the streets?
America will soon regret where its culture of government dependency is leading it. God says cursed is the man who trusts in man. And because America will not look to God for answers, it is soon to find out how true that is. ▪