If you have to ask, you can’t afford it
Sometimes, it’s hard to know what the actual context was for quotes rendered by the press. But even with the normal, skeptical filters in place, Rep. Tom Davis' statements in this article set off alarms for me:
Echoing a common sentiment in Congress, Davis said that for the time being he was satisfied with the $2.9 billion Congress has allocated to build the levees to Category 3 strength by the start of hurricane season June 1.
Unless Rep. Davis has been living under a rock, he knows that by June 1, a bunch of band-aids will have been applied to the breached and broken levee sections. The best outcome by the start of the next hurricane season is levees as strong as they were for the 2005 season... and those were not Cat 3.
But he’s satisfied. That’s scary.
Asked if he supported protection capable of withstanding the strongest hurricane on record, a Category 5, Davis said he wanted to see how much it would cost. The White House, too, has been reluctant to commit to Category 5 hurricane protection, which Louisiana leaders say they need to draw evacuees back to the state and restart the economy.
And they offered no advice to city officials on whether to try to shrink the footprint of the city to sustain key services for a smaller New Orleans population. Market forces and the will of displaced people to return will drive that issue, Davis said.
We'd like to see the whole city come back," he said.
Who is the "we" he's referring to there? We, as in his committee? Congress? The American people?
I don't believe Davis has the slightest interest in seeing the "whole city come back", unless he means, "If they want to, residents can come back, rebuild homes and lives, and then watch them go under water again because the levee system cost too much".
If the cost of those levees is more important than the lives and safety of American citizens, something is wrong wrong wrong.
There’s an old saying: “If you have to ask what it costs, you can’t afford it.” The United States of America – widely touted as the richest country in the world, has to ask?