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Fox - Where Is Bush Getting The Hundred's Of Billions To Pay For Katrina?

Reported by Donna - September 20, 2005

Most of Studio B with Shepard Smith spent the hour talking about Hurricane Rita and teased several times that New Orleans might be in the path. (It's on the very fringe of the projected path)

However, they did have one segment to talk about the hundred's of billions of dollars that the president said he would use to rebuild New Orleans and the Gulf Coast area.

Shepard Smith brought in Director of Fiscal Policies at the Cato Institute, Chris Edwards.

The following is my transcript, paraphrased but pretty much verbatim:

Shepard Smith: Chris, how long term (is) this effect and how bad might be the result?

Chris Edwards: Well, it's sad to hear that President Bush is sort of promising that the Federal Government will be in there for the long term and spend hundreds of billions of dollars, which I think is a really imprudent thing to promise at this point, (Comment: Imprudent? Didn't he ever hear his father speak? Sorry, couldn't resist) because we don't even know how many people want to move back to New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. I think we should take a wait and see approach.

SS: Fiscal conservatives are not so happy. A very prominent conservative said to me a day after that speech, quoting here: "It's a depressing time to be a conservative." Sounded like a lot of money going out there and I know the base isn't too happy.

CE: Yeah, and you know I think there is a real disconnect with the administration. I mean, today the administration came out with a plan for 100 billion dollar NASA space missions to the (sp) Mars and to the moon.

And, you know, we simply cannot afford that with the baby boomer generation retiring in a few years pushing up social security and medicare costs. (Comment: The Cato Institute approves of privitizing Social Security)

SS: Course, NASA says that comes from their existing budget. But, I'm almost out of time and I want to get one more question.

CE: Yeah, I don't believe that. (Comment: In reference to the NASA budget)

SS: I don't believe a lot of things I hear lately, but I can only report what they say and later we'll tell you if they were wrong.

I wonder if one of the things they'll be wrong about, and I have no way of knowing yet, is whether we have a grasp of how enormous this disaster is? I mean, you don't ever hear reports about Bayou La Batre, Alabama, where a whole industry has been wiped out. From along the south coast of Mississippi, where casinos brought in 333 million to the state coffers. And in a poor state like Mississippi, man, that's a jackpot. What do you do without it?

CE: That's right Shepard, but polls of the evacuees are showing that only some of them want to move back to Mississippi or New Orleans, and frankly, those are pretty dangerous places to live. (Comment: Where money is concerned, please use the fear factor to keep people out of the area)

So, we ought to wait and see how many people are needed and then we'll figure out how many schools and freeways and the like we need to build. We obviously have to do an inventory first before we promise spending more money.

Comments: Wow, are conservatives turning on Bush? Or is this man from the Cato Institute just going to use this tragedy to cash in on his institute's hopes of privatizing social security, which has already been found to not make social security solvent.

While I'm not surprised that the Bush administration is going in gung ho without a plan, I am surprised that Smith admitted that he, too, doesn't understand a lot of what he has to report.

What didn't surprise me was the fact that the baby boomers with medicare and social security looming were mentioned as expenses coming up, but not one word on the tax cuts for the rich. I fear that the president is going to use this tragedy (and maybe another one on the horizon) to push his social security program through (with the false expectation that it would make social security solvent) and further social program cuts, while giving out no bid contracts.

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