The Concert for People Who Really Shouldn’t Need It (But Do)

Tonight I, like hundreds of millions around the globe, will be glued to my television to watch the 12.12.12 Concert for Sandy Relief.
And like hundreds of millions of people around the globe, I have better things to do with my three hours than sit and watch TV.
It’s not that I’m knocking either the concert or the intent behind it. People in this area still need help getting back on their feet and my last few weeks have been spent doing what I can and then some to assist. Even people who adequately prepared and even had enough insurance to cover their losses are waiting around for checks to begin rebuilding and feeding themselves.
It’s this last I’m finding a really bitter pill to swallow.
This tragedy occured within ten miles of the greatest concentration of wealth on the planet. Hell, this tragedy affected the greatest concentration of wealth on the planet!
So where are the rich? Where are the dazzling limos and gleaming boats, the pearl-strung ladies who lunch, delivering meals and blankets?
(To be fair, the concert was organized by the Robin Hood Foundation, which was started by hedge fund manager Paul Tudor Jones in 1988, and its board of directors includes some of the glitteriest of the glitterati)
All fall long, we heard from Republicans how a tax hike would absolutely ruin the rich, force them to conserve money and cut jobs. Wouldn’t this be an opportunity to show the world you meant what you said, Mitt? That the best way for this nation to grow is to fund the rich more so they can re-invest in our communities?
And I don’t mean with some half-assed photo op. Those days are over. How about some real relief, Mitt and minions? How about acknowledging the fact that, indeed, you didn’t build that, that it was built by the hard working men and women whose homes were destroyed in the wrath of Nature that was Sandy, created by the same global warming you and your minions have worked so hard to deny?
How about it, rich and powerful? How about parting with a substantial portion of that wealth as a sign of fealty to the nation that gave it to you in the first place, that opened up the opportunities and in many if not most cases, financed it with the tax dollars off the sweat of the very people sitting in cold dark tents on their property?
How about you live your credoes of charity? Instead of financing the wing of some hospital that just happens to treat the prostate cancer you’ve been diagnosed with or the children’s charity that just happens to benefit the nation where your kid was adopted from, how about turning some of that fire hose of funding on this conflagration?

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  • This is an issue where the media is doing its usual job of reporting in a manner which provides essentially no actual information. Of those who are “waiting for help,” how many are waiting for private insurance to respond, how many are waiting for FEMA insurance (which they have paid into) to respond, how many are waiting for help who had no insurance from governemt or private providers?

    For the first two I have sympathy, but don’t know who to be nad at. For the third not so much; if you build homes in a flood plain and don’t buy flood insurance, why should anyone help you? If you could not afford the insurance, maybe you should have built a smaller home or built it elsewhere.

    As to providing help, I have mixed feelings. Provide them with money now that insurance is going to provide them with later? So they use our help to rebuiold, and then take the insurance money and do what with it? And for those without insurance, again, why should we take care of those who did not do anything to take care of themselves?

    I’m not as uncaring as I sound here, but I just wish I could know more about who I am being asked to help. If I responded to every request for help that came along the entirety of my income would be consumed. I have to choose where my giving is going to go, and that means I nened to know the nature of the need that I am being asked to alleviate.

    • To a large degree I agree with much of what you wrote, Jay. Like you, I feel if you bought or built a $500,000 home in a flood plain and then skimped on insurance, well, that’s your get-out.

      Too, a lot of Jersey shore communities are wrestling with whether to simply buy property owners out and create a buffer from the sea. This is offset by idiots who want a larger dune structure built (which would fail eventually anyway.)

      But much of the immediate need is for perishables — food, clothing, shelter, electricity, water. There’s an underreported health emergency starting to unfold: pneumonia, flus, other exposure-related illnesses.

      Even just trash removal would help enormously. There’s only so many sanitation trucks that can be spared from the rest of the city, which needs its trash picked up, too (and I can testify from personal experience, this is impacting that as well, so resources have clearly been diverted.)

      Cuomo and Christie have asked for something like $80 billion from the feds to try to rebuild the public infrastructure. Insurance should fill in the gaps, but there are people still waiting for a claims adjuster to show up, much less for a check — private enterprise at work, I guess. It might impact earnings.

      So the stop gap measure is to feed and house these folks and get them back on their feet, back to whatever passes for a normal, albeit temporary, life after a disaster. These could be funded with hundreds of millions, which of course would include logistics and transport.

      After all, it’s not one town, but an entire swath of the coastline, hundreds of miles of shorefront communities.

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