Friday, June 16, 2006

Times are Hard in the Big Easy

Markus, Adrastos, Maitri, and Jeffrey all did a great job covering the FEMA fraud "news" that came out earlier this week. If you're looking for a good synopsis of the FEMA fraud debacle, that's where you should look first.

Shortly after the "news" of fraud (I had heard of cases of FEMA fraud for months now) hit the mainstream media, there was an immediate backlash. A number of people--politicians, journalists, "your everyday American"--had been saying for months that victims of Hurricane Katrina did not deserve the assistance they had been given; this information, they believed, vindicated their claims.

As Markus pointed out, there were some inconsistencies in some of the articles. There was selective reporting. And this selective reporting twisted or omitted facts to make it look as though us--the victims--were somehow responsible for "rampant fraud" that was perpetrated by "people [who] did not live in Louisiana, did not live in the devastated areas".

The anger that should have been directed at FEMA for allowing the fraud to happen in the first place was deflected at us, most of whom were not even responsible for the fraud in the first place. And because of this, we're the ones who get to suffer because of the offenses of the few.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The people who have dealt with FEMA can perhaps sympathize with those who have beat the system.

I have two neighbors who are likely to receive grants of $100,000+ because they had no insurance. I qualify for a loan to make up the difference between the insurance I paid for and the loss I suffered. FEMA tells me that since I suffered a loss in excess of the loan SBA can give me I am SOL, although the total of the coverage (insurance+loan) is less than the maximum grant FEMA could make.

On the other hand those of us who have had to deal with FEMA have been confronted with a bizarre thicket of regulations, never specified nor reduced to writing.

I was, for example, denied housing assistance by FEMA specifically because I had Flood Insurance. Not withstanding the fact that FEMA administers the National Flood Insurance Program which specifically excludes temporary housing.

I am equally incensed that Congress and the President has included in the Katrina assistance figures the payout for losses covered by the National Flood Insurance Program. I have paid premiums for that coverage. The fact is that the Federal Government failed to meet it's contractual obligations to the citizens of New Orleans is nowhere factored in. The levees failed well below their maximum design parameters.

Saturday, June 17, 2006 1:19:00 AM  
Blogger T. said...

Anon, I'm really sorry to hear about your plight. Thankfully, our insurance is supposed to be covering the little damage we had to my house and my dad's place, but we still haven't gotten our checks in. It's a good thing my mom's boyfriend and my dad are both handy with tools, otherwise I don't think we could have afforded to hire someone.

I remember filling out my FEMA application; it took forever and asked for all of these details. That was probably long after the "old news" of the credit card fraud hit the press. Many of my friends had to apply time and time again and keep calling. Thankfully, I managed to get accepted after my first try.

Did you ever get your insurance payout? Just curious to see how long it's taking people to get their money from their various insurance companies.

Saturday, June 17, 2006 2:05:00 AM  

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