Seven things to think about for deciding on storm relief

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To the editor:

Before we demand that Congress spend $60 billion ($600 for every family in America) on “emergency” storm relief, here are seven things to think about:

1. Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution does not give Congress the power to spend money for that purpose.

2. One reason for this is that roughly 85 percent of the proposed $60 billion is for "pork" all over the country that has nothing to with damage in New Jersey from last October’s storm. To get national money for local disasters, our members of Congress must vote for big spending on pet projects for dozens of congressmen in other districts.

3. Because every state, regardless of the federal taxes they pay, gets two U.S. senators, New Jersey, like most high income, big population states gets back only 61 cents for every $1 we pay in federal taxes. Small population, low income states like Mississippi, New Mexico, and Alaska get back roughly $2 for every $1 they pay. More federal spending always means New Jersey pays far more than our share.

4. Why should the federal government pay $9 billion for flood insurance claims? If a private insurance company collected premiums for years, but never had money to pay claims, wouldn’t somebody go to jail? Or is the National Flood Insurance Program just another welfare program? But why should middle class taxpayers bail out people who build million dollar vacation homes by the water knowing they will be flooded every 25 to 30 years?

5. In the past, New Jersey quickly recovered from bad storms without federal aid. Back then, most people had good jobs, savings, and real insurance from private insurance companies. The real disaster is that years of high taxes, high electric bills, and pay-to-play politics killed our economy so too many people can’t take care of themselves.

6. The Davis-Bacon Act lets only expensive union contractors work on projects paid for by the federal government. When Republican President George Bush tried to let non-union companies rebuild houses destroyed by Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans on an emergency basis, Republican Congressmen Steve LaTourette of Ohio and our own Frank LoBiondo stopped him.

7. If it is illegal for motels and gas stations to “gouge” customers with higher prices during emergencies, why should the federal government bail out local governments who pay double time and time and a half to their employees during bad storms?

Seth Grossman

Somers Point

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