President Obama has proposed an emergency relief bill that is intended to help with the ongoing Hurricane Sandy relief efforts. The bill, which comes to a tune of $60 billion, has endured increased criticism over the last few days — on account that roughly 20% of the bill's proposed allocations don't have much to do with storm relief..
In spite of much needed fiscal responsibility, it appears that the federal government will continue to spend taxpayer money like the words "fiscal cliff" are inconsequential. Although much of the East Coast is still recovering from Sandy, it seems that the president's bill may be more about increasing government spending than it is about helping Sandy victims — not to mention, that through already available government funds and private donations, it may not be needed at all.
The bill in question, among other things, provides $150 million for Alaskan fisheries and $8 million for the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice to purchase new cars and equipment. Also, an additional $13 billion of the bill would go toward projects that are designed to prepare for future storms.
Although the bill's supposed intent is to provide emergency assistance, the Congressional Budget Office contests that only one-third of the money would be spent over the next 21 months — in turn lessening the emphasis on emergency relief. This raises brows to what exactly President Obama's true intentions are for the bill, especially when considering the timing and possible (although not likely) spending concessions that he'll have to make during the fiscal cliff negotiations.
The president has also forgotten to mention the fact that the Federal Emergency Management Agency seems to have quite a lot of money stocked up for emergency relief, about $7.8 billion as of October to be exact. Of which, $7 billion is available until March of 2013 and can be used to offset much of the proposed spending — if not all of it. That is, of course, if the government focused on needed spending, versus wanted spending.
In addition to federal money, the Sandy relief fund has also received nationwide support and charities have been inundated with donations. NBC alone brought in $23 million during their telethon for Hurricane Sandy victims, which looks like a mere drop in the bucket compared to the $117 million raised by the American Red Cross shortly before, during, and after Sandy made its way through the East Coast.
Between Obama's track record on government spending and outlandish proposals that he included into the Sandy relief bill, I am skeptical of the bill's purpose. And and let's not forget about the generous donations or FEMA's available funds, neither of which have yet to be fully implemented.
Although cloaked by a good cause, it seems that this bacon slab of a bill is intended to do nothing more than increase government spending — ultimately wasting the hard earned money of the taxpayer, to further our president's agenda.