The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Cashing in on Katrina

Common Cause has compiled a list of some of the more egregious abuses of government power in the wake of the hurricanes that struck the Gulf coast. Just another day in the life of a "pro-small business" conservative party that disapproves of government intervention. If only it were a joke.

  • Sound the alarm on H.R. 3766. We are going to fight to stop H.R. 3766, a bill dubbed the "Disaster Profiteering Act." All this bill will do is encourage federal agencies to allow no-bid contracts for disaster-related work. No-bid contracts shut smaller businesses out of the process, creating a windfall for corporations with strong ties to the Administration, such as Halliburton and Bechtel.3
  • Fight to restore the $2,500 limit on government credit cards. Prior to Katrina there was a limit on government credit cards of $2,500 per purchase. The Administration increased that limit one hundredfold to $250,000. Reports from federal Inspectors General and the Government Accountability Office have found hundreds of millions of dollars that have been improperly charged to government credit cards in recent years, including charges for prostitutes and tickets to professional sporting events. There are more than 300,000 active cards throughout the government.
  • Call for the creation of a Special Independent Inspector General. We need someone to oversee all Katrina-related funding, similar to the Special Independent Inspector General for Iraq. Currently there are a host of government agencies involved in the recovery, repair and rebuilding of the Gulf. For a huge, complex operation that involves multiple agencies and tens of billions of dollars, we believe there is a need for a single, effective office of Inspector General.
Amazing, isn't it? I can guarantee that if I were given a $250,000 government credit card, it's quite conceivable that I wouldn't use it to hire prostitutes. And an even better chance that I wouldn't use it to buy game tickets. That's just not my bag. Of course, I've been to a few pro hockey and baseball games, but I've never solicited a prostitute. So I could be forgiven for wanting to try new things, right? It's not like I'm in the party of 'traditional values' or anything. And it's government sanctioned! I'll just list it as a back-to-work initiative. Everybody wins, right? C'mon, pleeeeeeeze!