The ongoing destruction of lives, livelihoods, economy, and productivity by the hurricane in Texas is a signal to the country: The elected officials of the United States must have refused and stalled for the last time, on rebuilding and replacing the nation’s ancient and broken-down economic infrastructure.
Let the words “natural disaster” not be misused. A major city is being destroyed because it is flood-prone, floods repeatedly, and its flood-control infrastructure — designed and built 70-80 years ago — is no longer worthy of the name. Yet the plans to completely rebuild it, requiring tens of billions in investments, have been ignored and turned down.
Hurricane Katrina killed nearly 2,000 people and wreaked $130 billion in economic losses for the same reason. Superstorm Sandy killed more than 100 people and caused $65 billion in economic losses for that same reason. These disasters could have been averted for a fraction of their eventual cost in lost wealth, let alone in lost lives. New York area residents are going through a “Summer of Hell” as the regional transportation system breaks down, for that same reason. We don’t yet know how many will lose their lives in Houston and East Texas, but the economic and human losses there are going to be staggering.
“The nation calls for action, and action now!” in President Franklin Roosevelt’s words. There is no alternative to action on a Hamiltonian national credit institution that funds the necessary trillions in new infrastructure investment.
“Trillions in Credit for a New Infrastructure: The Hurricane Shows Us There Is No Alternative!”
A Note To Readers
The quote above sets the theme for this week’s report. The full statement from which that excerpt is taken is here:
After Katrina some infrastructure was built in New Orleans, but thousands never returned to the city; after Sandy smashed into New York and New Jersey, virtually nothing was rebuilt and the New York City subway and train system was pushed over the edge to where there are now more than 70,000 train delays per month.
While the Oroville Dam spillway disaster was and is so dangerous that it had to be repaired, with a minimum cost of $500 million, the rest of the water management system of the state requires 10s of billions for both the water supply and flood control. And as articles this week make clear, California is at the top of the nation when it comes to the threat of devastating floods.
The plan of the Harris County Flood Control Authority for a new flood control infrastructure to “harden” the Houston area against its repeated flooding disasters, was most recently estimated to require $26 billion in investment. Since this was not done, Houston’s people are suffering an immense “natural disaster,” whose economic costs may far surpass Katrina’s $130 billion, and in which the loss of human life and livelihood still can’t be told.
The vulnerability of the entire Gulf Coast to storms has been studied for decades, with action taken only in a few places, and earlier in the 1900s. And over the last 60 years of the Wall Street/City of London regime, practically nothing was allowed to be done.
The proposed seawall that could have protected New York City was always “too expensive,” so damage costing ten times as much was allowed to wreck the city and peoples’ lives.
Not making a concrete emergency spillway at Oroville Dam 50 years ago, which might have cost $10 or $20 million then, but now is costing more than an order of magnitude more.
The stupid question too often asked, “how much will it cost?” must be forever shut down. The right question is “what will it cost not to do it?”
Since the assassination of President John Kennedy, decade by decade the “masters of the universe” as the Wall Street parasites like to call themselves, have wrecked the nation. Seventy-five percent of our people live pay check to pay check. Less than 50 percent of the population have even $1,000 in their life savings; for the first time in U.S. history, life expectancy is falling; more than 50,000 people each year die of drug overdoses; and an entire generation, again for the first time in our history, does not expect to have a life-style as good as their parents.
It is time, now, to use this catastrophe of Houston to, in the words of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s inaugural of March 3, 1933, “overthrow the money changers of our civilization.”
During Franklin Roosevelt’s Presidency and through the 1940s, the new infrastructure to prevent such “natural disasters”—such as the Tennessee Valley Authority—was funded by national credit through the Reconstruction Finance Corporation and the Works Progress Authority. Hurricane Harvey could be the national alarm which ends 70 years in which the country has gone without any such national credit institutions.
The United States can no longer live in the delusional domain of soaring speculative assets and a collapsing physical economy. We can no longer act as if we can somehow survive without bothering to invest in bridges, dams, railroads, nuclear energy, canals, levees… and people.
The requisite policy measures were laid out by Helga Zepp-LaRouche in her remarks to the Aug. 26 Manhattan Project meeting, and they are contained fully in Lyndon LaRouche’s Four Laws. A sea-change in national economic policy is required, and it has to happen now.
Is that not the real message and lesson of Hurricane Harvey? By getting the United States to adopt LaRouche’s Four Laws, and cooperate fully with the Belt and Road Initiative, we can catapult the nation—and with it, the world— onto an entirely different plane. Now.
In This Week’s Report
We begin this week’s report with excerpts from a Sacramento Bee editorial reminding the people of California that but for a roll of the dice, Houston today will be California tomorrow.
The Oroville Dam Update this week, while reporting on the construction progress, includes some complaints, but is skewed toward Houston. Read it, you will see.
Then my Houston report includes why this hurricane has done what it has done; why Houston is so succeptible to such destruction; the warnings sounded for years; and, of course, Houston is only one of many disasters that the 40 years of neglect of the nation’s infrastructure lie waiting in the wings.
The final section this week includes several articles on what must be done, and what must not be done.