Monday, March 27, 2006

The New Normal in Mississippi

The day after the storm, [Gus McKay] returned to the house. Virtually all of their belongings floated away or were completely sodden.

Wind and water damaged the roof and frame of the house and wrecked the contents. The house had to be gutted — the carpet and tile ripped from the floor, the soggy wallboards pulled down, the wiring unthreaded from the studs.

It will take $200,000 to fix everything. Their insurance company gave them only $27,000, and FEMA cut them a check for a mere $5,200, so they can't afford to fix everything right away. Not with monthly $1,500 mortgage payments to make.

"If we don't get some financial assistance, this house will not be put back together for many, many months," he said. . . .

Before the storm, the family's days were a blur of work obligations, school functions, softball games and cheerleading practices. Now, on top of all that, they have a home to rebuild and refurnish from scratch — and not nearly enough money to do it.

"I'm exhausted," confesses Gus' wife, Lori. "I'm the most patient person in the world, but I'm starting to feel the stress."

The Bush Administration, and those to whom they are beholden have given this Mississippi family $32,500 to replace their $200,000 lost home. Do you think Trent Lott will be given only $32,500 to replace his Mississippi home?

What happened to the social contract between society, government and business that made America great? Insurance companies, contractors, banks, and corporations, those whom this administration serves so effectively, hav no interest in making America great. The drive for profit has so completely over-ridden the notion of doing the right thing, that America stands no chance of rebuilding the Gulf Coast. Businessmen see this not as an opportunity to rebuild a bigger and better America, they see it as an opportunity to reap handsome profits at the expense of the taxpayer.

What has happened to the social contract that made America great?

Please read Tight Squeeze: Life Inside FEMA Trailer for an account of our failure to help those in need.

Dick Mac Recommends:

Come Hell or High Water
Michael Eric Dyson

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