September 12, 2005

September 12, 2005 | WebMemo on

Hurricane Katrina: Related Research from The Heritage Foundation

Coming This Week

 

Education: "Expanding Charter School Options in the Wake of Katrina", Web Memo by Dan Lips
Ways that state and federal policymakers can work together to ensure that the education systems rebuilt in the Gulf States provide the best opportunities for children.

"Tapping the Resources and Creativity of the Private Sector to Rebuild New Orleans' Public Infrastructure", Web Memo by Ronald Utt

Will encourages the enactment of legislation in affected area to allow for the kind of public-private partnerships that have been so successful in Virginia and Texas.

"The Appropriate Federal Role In New Orleans' Future", Web memo by Ronald Utt

Discourages a Washington-based, command and control rebuilding program. Urges Feds to limit role to creating incentives to the residents and businesses to rebuild a they see fit.

FEMA Decision to Use Trailers Instead of Vouchers is a costly Disservice to the Evacuees, Web Memo by Ronald Utt

Not withstand their insistence on using temporary housing vouchers, as described by President in speech, FEMA has apparently reversed position and will use trailers, many in remote locations

Economic and Budgetary Effects of the Hurricane Katrina Tax Relief Act of 2005, Web Memo by Tracy Foertsch and Ralph Rector

 

Katrina: Fair Framework for Assessing the Response and the Next Steps, Executive Memorandum by James Jay Carafano

 

Katrina's Forgotten Responders: State Defense Forces Play Vital Role, Executive Memorandum by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D. and John R. Brinkerhoff

Katrina Relief: Welfare Expansion for Health Coverage is Bad Policy, Web Memo by Nina Owcharenko

Katrina Relief: How Delaying the Medicare Drug Bill Can Help, Web Memo by Robert E. Moffit, Ph.D.

 

 

Publications

 

Legislative Lowdown -- Week of September 19th
by Michael Franc
September 20, 2005
Sen. Teddy Kennedy (D.-Mass.) is looking to the New Deal for inspiration as he designs the liberal policy response to Hurricane Katrina. He wants to create a federal reconstruction agency modeled on the Tennessee Valley Authority to oversee and finance the reconstruction effort.

 

Repealing Tax Cuts to Pay For Katrina Recovery Would Cost the Gulf Coast, and the Nation, Jobs

by Rea S. Hederman, Jr., Tim Kane, Ph.D., and Scott Moody

September 19, 2005

Some would use Hurricane Katrina, and the great expense of recovery efforts, as justification for letting the President's tax cuts expire. But if federal taxes are unexpectedly increased, the business climate and labor markets will be even more battered than they are now. In contrast, making the President's tax cuts permanent now would create 430,000 additional jobs in 2006 alone and an average of 624,000 jobs per year over the next decade. In local terms, making the tax cuts permanent would annually create 5,300 additional jobs in Mississippi and 9,100 additional jobs in Louisiana-about one-third of those in New Orleans. To pay for Katrina recovery efforts, Congress should prioritize spending programs and make cuts instead of raising taxes, which would only further damage the Gulf Coast and national economy.

 

Hurricane Costs Send Budget Projections Deeper into the Red

by Brian M. Riedl

September 16, 2005

President Bush has pledged to do whatever it takes to rebuild the lives and communities devastated by Hurricane Katrina. This pledge comes with a price tag. To deliver this kind of aid, Congress and the President must set priorities and make sacrifices and trade-offs to pay for it. Federal spending on Katrina relief and reconstruction spending could top $200 billion. This paper incorporates these cost estimates into a 2005-2015 budget baseline, finding that, without a change in course, the budget deficit will top $500 billion in 2008 and reach $873 billion by 2015.

 

Cutting Tariffs Will Speed Post-Katrina Rebuilding

by Daniella Markheim

September 16, 2005

Fearful that building material prices would escalate in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, the Bush Administration stated this week that it would consider reducing tariffs on lumber from Canada and cement from Mexico. Costly tariffs on lumber, cement, and steel are the result of penalties imposed under U.S. anti-dumping laws. Because of these tariffs, the cost of rebuilding in the Gulf Coast will be higher than necessary. Rather than wait for the inevitable price hikes that will come once rebuilding gets underway, the Administration should be proactive and exercise its emergency authority to significantly reduce these and other tariffs.

 

Coast Guard's Finest Hour Ignored by Congress

by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D., and Alane Kochems

September 16, 2005

So far, the men and women of the Coast Guard have saved over 33,000 people endangered by Katrina, demonstrating as they have again and again since 9/11 the importance of the many security and safety missions they perform in the service of the nation. Congress should recognize their contributions by fully funding the Coast Guard's modernization budget.

 

How to Turn the President's Gulf Coast Pledge into Reality

by Stuart M. Butler, Ph.D., James Jay Carafano, Ph.D., Alison Acosta Fraser, Dan Lips, Robert M. Moffit, Ph.D., and Ronald D. Utt, Ph.D.

September 16, 2005

President Bush has offered a bold-many would say breathtaking-promise to rebuild the devastated Gulf Coast region. The huge federal commitment, especially for new infrastructure and programs to reimburse states, could easily be turned by Congress into a vast, bureaucratic, and inefficient vehicle that ends up benefiting many who are not victims of the disaster. That must not be allowed to happen. In this report, Heritage experts consider the President's proposal issue by issue, pointing out problematic areas and putting forward solutions.

 

Congress Faces Pressure to Surrender Pork for Flood Relief

by Ronald D. Utt, Ph.D.

September 15, 2005

Heritage Foundation analysts suggested that some or all of Katrina-related funding should come from offsets in lower-priority federal spending programs that could be eliminated or postponed. In particular, we recommended that the $25 billion of pork-barrel spending recently approved in the highway reauthorization bill be redirected to reconstruct damaged infrastructure in the hard-hit Gulf Coast communities. Rep. Tom DeLay has said that there's not much fat left in the budget to cut, but there's plenty just in programs for his home state, Texas.

 

Improving the National Response to Catastrophic Disaster

by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D.

September 15, 2005

President Bush was absolutely correct when he labeled the national response "inadequate." In this testimony, Carafano discusses the key considerations that should shape the effort to learn from this tragedy, the current efforts of communities across the nation to respond to similar challenges, and the role of the federal government in assisting state and local governments in preparing for catastrophic disasters. Finally, he recommends actions that Congress should undertake.

 

Post-Katrina Frenzy (op-ed)

by Helle Dale

September 15, 2005

Great disasters bring out the best and the worst in us humans. The international response to Hurricane Katrina demonstrates this fact, no less than reactions among those stricken all along the Gulf Coast. People around the world have expressed their sympathy, sent condolences, offered help, started collections to help the victims. Everybody from the Queen of England to Pope Benedict XVI sent their condolences Over 90 nations offered assistance and European countries opened up their strategic oil reserves. Though many of those offers of aid come in forms that cannot be used, let's appreciate the spirit of generosity.

 

Meeting Emergency Education Needs After Katrina: Education Smart Cards for Displaced K-12 Students

by Dan Lips

September 15, 2005

An estimated 372,000 students have been displaced in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Their families now face the challenge of finding schools for them for the 2005-06 school year. Public, private, and charter schools throughout the country are generously opening their doors and welcoming affected students into their classrooms. Many schools, however, cannot afford to shoulder that burden, reducing displaced students' educational opportunities. The Administration's emerging proposal to direct emergency funds to public schools could end up costing $4 billion. For half that price, the federal government could provide every displaced student with an Education Smart Card worth $5,000 that could be spent on public, charter, or private schooling. The Educational Smart Card, as opposed to direct government funding of school districts, would expand parental choice and give displaced families greater flexibility, a crucial factor for those rebuilding their lives after Katrina.

 

A "Victory" Over Wasteful Spending? Hardly

by Brian M. Riedl

September 14, 2005

House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX) today declared "victory" in the battle to eliminate wasteful federal spending. There is simply no fat left to cut from the federal budget to offset Katrina-related expenses, he said. But with federal spending now topping $22,000 per household, it is hard to know where to begin cutting. DeLay challenged those who want cuts, "Bring me the offsets, I'll be glad to do it." This paper lists a few easy places to start-really just the tip of the waste iceberg.

 

Lose the Rules (op-ed)

by Stuart M. Butler, Ph.D.

September 14, 2005

Hurricane victims as well as general taxpayers need Congress to reorder priorities and spark creative approaches to rebuild. The last thing anyone needs is politicians bidding to outdo each other with displays of "checkbook compassion." What we especially need is the political will to reorder federal priorities and unlock private funds.

 

The Limits of Relief (op-ed)

by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D.

September 13, 2005

It's all too easy, as the water pumps churn and troops move throughout New Orleans, to ask: "What took so long? Anyone watching cable news could see what needed to be done." If only it were that simple.

 

From Tragedy to Triumph: Principled Solutions for Rebuilding Lives and Communities

by Edwin Meese III, Stuart M. Butler, and Kim R. Holmes

September 12, 2005

What is the role of the federal government in disaster rebuilding, and how can the government ensure that its efforts are efficient? A team of Heritage Foundation experts lays out seven principles for federal disaster response and a set of specific recommendations for how to get the job done as quickly as possible and how to be prepared for the next natural disaster.

 

High Chairman (op-ed)

by Edwin J. Feulner, Ph.D.
September 12, 2005

This fall, Congress has an important opportunity to improve the federal response to disasters, as the House of Representatives fills a key leadership position-the chairman of the Homeland Security Committee.

 

Price-Fixing on Gasoline: Control Yourself (op-ed)

By Ben Lieberman

September 12, 2005

Recent gasoline-price spikes have given new meaning to the phrase "pain at the pump." Which means lawmakers will want to show they're "doing something" and try to rein in prices. But this would be a mistake. The answer is not to set limits on wholesale prices, as Hawaii is attempting to do, and it's certainly not to enact a system of price controls for oil and gas like the federal government did in the 1970s.

 

President's Bold Action on Davis-Bacon Will Aid the Relief Effort

by Ronald D. Utt, Ph.D.

September 9, 2005

On September 8, President George W. Bush exercised the power granted to him in the Davis-Bacon Act and suspended that Act's application to federally funded construction projects in the Gulf Coast areas hit by Hurricane Katrina. With this step, President Bush eliminated the wage premium that Davis-Bacon effectively requires for those hired to work on federal construction projects, reducing the costs of reconstruction. As a result, federal aid to the Gulf States will now yield more benefits to the region's beleaguered residents and hasten the recovery effort.

 

Preventing Future Catastrophes (op-ed)

by Helle Dale

September 9, 2005

It is hard to believe that the scenes from New Orleans, and the other cities of Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi devastated by hurricane Katrina, are actually right here in the United States. It is as though centuries of civilization have been washed from the face of the Gulf Coast - buildings, infrastructure, power generation, gone in a matter of hours. Even the terrorist attacks on September 11, the fourth anniversary of which is coming up this weekend, did not come close to inflicting the physical devastation of this one mighty storm.

 

Thanks, But No Thanks for Aid from Self-Serving Autocrats

by Stephen Johnson

September 7, 2005

At last count more than 70 countries around the world have offered assistance to the United States to aid recovery from Hurricane Katrina. Most is heartfelt and comes from longtime allies and countries that have received U.S. assistance in their moments of need. But that is not true in every case-for example, Cuba and Venezuela.

 

Throwing Out the Thugs (op-ed)

by Rebecca Hagelin

September 6, 2005

This famous, selfless cry for the safety of others is best associated with the tragedy of the Titanic, when thousands lost their lives in the frozen waters of the sea so many years ago. Not unlike the rising waters in New Orleans, where the ocean began to fill its natural territory after man-made walls that held it back for so long failed, so the mighty waters of the North Atlantic engulfed the damaged vessel that sought to defy nature's icebergs and open waters. But, unlike New Orleans where dry land was nearby, the Titanic was a lone ship, in the middle of the vast waters, filled with helpless souls who had nowhere to go save too few lifeboats.

 

The Post-Katrina Jump at the Pump -- Unavoidable? (op-ed)

by Ben Lieberman

September 6, 2005

Under any set of circumstances, Hurricane Katrina would have had a noticeable impact at the pump. However, by hitting America's single largest oil and refining region at a time of already-tight supplies and the high prices, the effects have been amplified. Of course, weather-induced damage to energy infrastructure is unavoidable, but Katrina's impact on oil and refined products did not have to be so severe, and there are lessons to be learned for the energy debate to come.

 

The Katrina Relief Effort: Congress Should Redirect Highway Earmark Funding to a Higher Purpose

by Ronald D. Utt, Ph.D.

September 2, 2005

Ordinary Americans across the country have sacrificed to aid the Gulf Coast region, donating hundreds of millions of dollars. "Members of Congress should join their constituents and make a sacrifice of their own," writes Ron Utt, and "put the nation's transportation earmarks to better use." The nearly $25 billion in pork in the recent highway bill could go a long way to repairing the Gulf Coast's transportation infrastructure.

 

Responding to Katrina: The Realities of a Catastrophic Disaster

by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D.

September 2, 2005

Americans are justifiably horrified by conditions in New Orleans. Trying to make sense of this unparalleled disaster and the unprecedented response required to meet it is no easy task. In modern memory, the United States has never experienced anything comparable; there is no standard against which the efficacy of the effort to save lives and property can be judged. The challenge has to be placed in perspective. Congress must keep the realties of responding to a catastrophic disaster in mind as it plans its next steps for recovering from Hurricane Katrina and preparing for future national crises.

 

No Easy Answers For Post-Katrina Gas Prices

by Ben Lieberman

September 2, 2005

Hurricane Katrina's human toll has been devastating. As well, the hurricane's impact on already-high gasoline prices is hard to ignore. Politicians are coming up with the usual list of easy answers to ease pain at the pump, but unfortunately, they are the wrong answers. Setting price caps, pumping lots of oil out of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, and going after industry "price-gouging" and collusion will not have much of an impact, and each comes with problems of its own. Waiving some gasoline regulations, however, could help in the short term, and in the long term, increased drilling and refining capacity will help to avert disaster-driven price spikes.

 

Labor Day Review: In Katrina's Wake

by Tim Kane, Ph.D.

September 2, 2005

Hurricane Katrina destroyed one of America's largest cities, and the economic damage to the national economy is bound to be severe. Americans can be thankful that the storm hit when American economic strength is at a peak, as today's new employment figures from the Labor Department attest. The natural disaster is unlikely to become an economic disaster, unless Congress overreacts with efforts to control prices or otherwise manage the economy. With more Americans working than ever before and unemployment declining to its lowest rate in 4 years, 2005 is proving to be a year of tremendous strength. The year 2005 is also full of milestones, which we review here as part of a Labor Day recap.

 

A Bad Response To Post-Katrina Gas Prices

by Ben Lieberman

September 1, 2005

With the effects of Hurricane Katrina sending gas prices to new highs, politicians across the country are looking for easy answers. Some politicians are threatening action over "price-gouging" in Louisiana, and another state, Hawaii, is about to take the most direct action possible-it is implementing a 2004 law setting price limits on gasoline. Instead, policymakers should leave the market to do what it does best: allocate limited resources to their most valuable uses.

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