Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Please Support CounterPunch’s Annual Fund Drive
We don’t run corporate ads. We don’t shake our readers down for money every month or every quarter like some other sites out there. We only ask you once a year, but when we ask we mean it. So, please, help as much as you can. We provide our site for free to all, but the bandwidth we pay to do so doesn’t come cheap. All contributions are tax-deductible.
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The GOP and California’s Levees

“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

 

 

More articles by:

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

October 16, 2018
Gregory Elich
Diplomatic Deadlock: Can U.S.-North Korea Diplomacy Survive Maximum Pressure?
Rob Seimetz
Talking About Death While In Decadence
Kent Paterson
Fifty Years of Mexican October
Robert Fantina
Trump, Iran and Sanctions
Greg Macdougall
Indigenous Suicide in Canada
Kenneth Surin
On Reading the Diaries of Tony Benn, Britain’s Greatest Labour Politician
Andrew Bacevich
Unsolicited Advice for an Undeclared Presidential Candidate: a Letter to Elizabeth Warren
Thomas Knapp
Facebook Meddles in the 2018 Midterm Elections
Muhammad Othman
Khashoggi and Demetracopoulos
Gerry Brown
Lies, Damn Lies & Statistics: How the US Weaponizes Them to Accuse  China of Debt Trap Diplomacy
Christian Ingo Lenz Dunker – Peter Lehman
The Brazilian Presidential Elections and “The Rules of The Game”
Robert Fisk
What a Forgotten Shipwreck in the Irish Sea Can Tell Us About Brexit
Martin Billheimer
Here Cochise Everywhere
David Swanson
Humanitarian Bombs
Dean Baker
The Federal Reserve is Not a Church
October 15, 2018
Rob Urie
Climate Crisis is Upon Us
Conn Hallinan
Syria’s Chessboard
Patrick Cockburn
The Saudi Atrocities in Yemen are a Worse Story Than the Disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi
Sheldon Richman
Trump’s Middle East Delusions Persist
Justin T. McPhee
Uberrima Fides? Witness K, East Timor and the Economy of Espionage
Tom Gill
Spain’s Left Turn?
Jeff Cohen
Few Democrats Offer Alternatives to War-Weary Voters
Dean Baker
Corporate Debt Scares
Gary Leupp
The Khashoggi Affair and and the Anti-Iran Axis
Russell Mokhiber
Sarah Chayes Calls on West Virginians to Write In No More Manchins
Clark T. Scott
Acclimated Behaviorisms
Kary Love
Evolution of Religion
Colin Todhunter
From GM Potatoes to Glyphosate: Regulatory Delinquency and Toxic Agriculture
Binoy Kampmark
Evacuating Nauru: Médecins Sans Frontières and Australia’s Refugee Dilemma
Marvin Kitman
The Kitman Plan for Peace in the Middle East: Two Proposals
Weekend Edition
October 12, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Becky Grant
My History with Alexander Cockburn and The Financial Future of CounterPunch
Paul Street
For Popular Sovereignty, Beyond Absurdity
Nick Pemberton
The Colonial Pantsuit: What We Didn’t Want to Know About Africa
Jeffrey St. Clair
The Summer of No Return
Jeff Halper
Choices Made: From Zionist Settler Colonialism to Decolonization
Gary Leupp
The Khashoggi Incident: Trump’s Special Relationship With the Saudi Monarchy
Andrew Levine
Democrats: Boost, Knock, Enthuse
Barbara Kantz
The Deportation Crisis: Report From Long Island
Doug Johnson
Nate Silver and 538’s Measurable 3.5% Democratic Bias and the 2018 House Race
Gwen Carr
This Stops Today: Seeking Justice for My Son Eric Garner
Robert Hunziker
Peak Carbon Emissions By 2020, or Else!
Arshad Khan
Is There Hope on a World Warming at 1.5 Degrees Celsius?
David Rosen
Packing the Supreme Court in the 21stCentury
Brian Cloughley
Trump’s Threats of Death and Destruction
Joel A. Harrison
The Case for a Non-Profit Single-Payer Healthcare System
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail