FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The GOP and California’s Levees

by SETH SANDRONKSY

“Inexcusable” is what Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger recently called the lack of federal funds to improve the state’s system of flood control. In late February on a trip to Washington, he had asked for $56 million for emergency repairs on 24 levee sites eroded by rising river waters in Central and Northern California.

Following heavy rains in March and April, Schwarzenegger had declared a state of emergency in counties along the San Joaquin River in the central part of the state. People there scrambled to evacuate before a flood surge was forecast to arrive.

They dodged the flood bullet as state funds slated for future upgrades to the levee system were diverted to emergency labor. Workers placed tarps and sand bags on levee sites, watching 24/7 for breaks.

The governor’s recent news-conference rhetoric referenced the federal failure to protect people from the floods and storms of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. The specter of this awful disaster was as a potential sign of things to come in Central and Northern California, he added.

And who could argue? Obviously, flood prevention is the best medication.

The governor promised to make his case for federal funding for flood protection to President George W. Bush during their meeting a week after Good Friday in California. Yet again, the Bush administration rejected Schwarzenegger’s request for emergency funds.

Despite the evidence, there are no grounds for declaring an emergency, with no new federal funds for flood prevention measures offered, according to the White House. Confused?

Consider this; the $56 million the governor sought is 0.002% of the projected 2006 federal budget. Perhaps the real reason for the administration rejecting Schwarzenegger’s plea can be found in deficit hawk thinking.

What? For a deficit hawk, government borrowing crowds out other, more productive capital investments, while increasing the cost of borrowed money.

Yet growth of the federal budget under President Bush has not caused interest rates to skyrocket. In fact, low interest rates have been an economic stimulus, with the home building and mortgage refinancing booms two examples.

In California and nationwide, people are taking advantage of low interest rates to borrow on their homes, harvesting new cash that, of course, must be repaid in the future. Businesses have welcomed the increased buying power of these homeowners.

A deficit hawk that roosts in the minds of some officials on 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. may be challenged to explain this trend of low interest rates with a high federal budget deficit. That is, if reporters ask such a question.

Back in California, tens of thousands of people live in floodplains behind weak levees, some more than 100 years old. Contrast such real facts with a deficit hawk’s theory that the federal government is acting with fiscal prudence by failing to provide California with emergency funds to upgrade its weak levees.

Seth Sandronsky is a member of Sacramento Area Peace Action and a co-editor of Because People Matter, Sacramento’s progressive paper. He can be reached at ssandron@hotmail.com

 

 

Seth Sandronsky is a Sacramento journalist and member of the freelancers unit of the Pacific Media Workers Guild. Emailsethsandronsky@gmail.com

Weekend Edition
April 29, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
What is the Democratic Party Good For? Absolutely Nothing
Roberto J. González – David Price
Anthropologists Marshalling History: the American Anthropological Association’s Vote on the Academic Boycott of Israeli Institutions
Robert Jacobs
Hanford, Not Fukushima, is the Big Radiological Threat to the West Coast
Ismael Hossein-Zadeh
US Presidential Election: Beyond Lesser Evilism
Dave Lindorff
The Push to Make Sanders the Green Party’s Candidate
Peter Linebaugh
Marymount, Haymarket, Marikana: a Brief Note Towards ‘Completing’ May Day
Ian Fairlie
Chernobyl’s Ongoing Toll: 40,000 More Cancer Deaths?
Pete Dolack
Verizon Sticks it to its Workers Because $45 Billion isn’t Enough
Moshe Adler
May Day: a Trade Agreement to Unite Third World and American Workers
Margaret Kimberley
Dishonoring Harriet Tubman
Deepak Tripathi
The United States, Britain and the European Union
Eva Golinger
My Country, My Love: a Conversation with Gerardo and Adriana of the Cuban Five
Richard Falk
If Obama Visits Hiroshima
Vijay Prashad
Political Violence in Honduras
Paul Krane
Where Gun Control Ought to Start: Disarming the Police
David Anderson
Al Jazeera America: Goodbye to All That Jazz
Rob Hager
Platform Perversity: More From the Campaign That Can’t Strategize
Pat Williams
FDR in Montana
Dave Marsh
Every Day I Read the Book (the Best Music Books of the Last Year)
David Rosen
Job Satisfaction Under Perpetual Stagnation
John Feffer
Big Oil isn’t Going Down Without a Fight
Murray Dobbin
The Canadian / Saudi Arms Deal: More Than Meets the Eye?
Gary Engler
The Devil Capitalism
Brian Cloughley
Is Washington Preparing for War Against Russia?
Manuel E. Yepe
The Big Lies and the Small Lies
Robert Fantina
Vice Presidents, Candidates and History
Mel Gurtov
Sanctions and Defiance in North Korea
Howard Lisnoff
Still the Litmus Test of Worth
Dean Baker
Big Business and the Overtime Rule: Irrational Complaints
Ulrich Heyden
Crimea as a Paradise for High-Class Tourism?
Ramzy Baroud
Did the Arabs Betray Palestine? – A Schism between the Ruling Classes and the Wider Society
Halyna Mokrushyna
The War on Ukrainian Scientists
Joseph Natoli
Who’s the Better Neoliberal?
Ron Jacobs
The Battle at Big Brown: Joe Allen’s The Package King
Wahid Azal
Class Struggle and Westoxication in Pahlavi Iran: a Review of the Iranian Series ‘Shahrzad’
David Crisp
After All These Years, Newspapers Still Needed
Graham Peebles
Hungry and Frightened: Famine in Ethiopia 2016
Robert Koehler
Opening the Closed Political Culture
Missy Comley Beattie
Waves of Nostalgia
Thomas Knapp
The Problem with Donald Trump’s Version of “America First”
Georgina Downs
Hillsborough and Beyond: Establishment Cover Ups, Lies & Corruption
Jeffrey St. Clair
Groove on the Tracks: the Magic Left Hand of Red Garland
Ben Debney
Kush Zombies: QELD’s Hat Tip to Old School Hip Hop
Charles R. Larson
Moby Dick on Steroids?
David Yearsley
Miles Davis: Ace of Baseness
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail