any luck, this will be my last column on stupid government stuff. Then again,
perhaps not. There always seems to be a plethora (I love that word) of things
to keep on writing about. Diamonds for the mining, so they say.|
hurricane disaster relief effort has given all of us plenty to write about for
the years to come, but then that would be boring after awhile, don’t you think?
In any event it’s still tempting to examine, isn’t it? It always amazes me that
people with authority in high places can’t seem to figure things out that you
and I deal with each and every day of the year.
For example, it came out
the other day that the government was spending $4,000,000 a day to pay for 70,000
hotel rooms to house some of the victims of the hurricane. Now, simple math tells
me that dividing $4,000,000 by 70,000 gives me an average hotel rate of close
to $60 a night. Now, if we multiply this by 30 days in a month, we’d get $1,800.
I can’t think of too many cities (outside of New York City) where you couldn’t
find a nice, furnished, apartment for less than that amount. I bet your average
family of five being cooped up inside of a two bed motel or hotel room would love
to be able to have a kitchen and more than one bathroom. It might even feel more
like home, don’t you think? Besides, here we are going on two months into this
fiasco and shouldn’t we be looking at putting these folks into something a little
more substantial than a motel room, especially if it saves the taxpayers some
Then there’s the deal with the ice trucks…the report says they
have spent or are about to spend some 100 million of our bucks on ice. Most of
which will never be delivered where it can do any good. The story goes kind of
like this…. the good old US Government ordered 91 thousand tons of ice at a cost
of $100,000,000. to be used during the Katrina tragedy. Now, get your calculator
out and do the math on this one…. 91,000 tons is 182,000,000 pounds of ice. Ice
is generally sold in ten pound bags, so this would be 18,200,000 bags of ice if
we were headed down to the local Stop N’ Rob to pick up. They might not have this
much…. but that’s not important.
Anyway, most of the places around here
sell ice for about $1.69 for ten pounds…but let’s just say it costs $2.00 a bag
for this ice…then we’d be spending what? About $36,400,000…that sound about right?
So I guess what I’d like to know is where the other $60,000,000 tax payers dollars
has melted away to…. no pun intended…. some of the drivers told stories of being
loaded up and gone, then turned back to places like Fremont, Nebraska. Last time
I looked, I can’t recall too many hurricanes hitting the great state of Nebraska.
One of the other reports that I read says the government has a contract
with a company called IAP to provide 20 tons of ice for $12,000. That’s delivered,
but then the cost goes up by $2.60 for each mile beyond and $900 a day additional
‘waiting costs’. Stay with me here…. using our old $2.00 per ten pound bag at
the store pricing structure, you get 40,000 pounds of ice (20 tons) divided by
ten pound sacks (what you and I pick up at the store) and you get 4,000 bags of
ice which you and I can buy for $2.00 a bag all day long. But what does the US
Government pay for this load of frozen water? Over $3.00 a bag if it gets to the
original destination and isn’t diverted to some other place like Alaska, where
they always need more ice. I always thought the more you paid for something the
cheaper it got, not the other way around, unless you are dealing with the government.
I just wonder if those 70,000 hotel rooms have an ice maker down the
hall…. looks like they could be putting those babies to work and save some bucks…your
money and mine…ain’t it great?