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September 17, 2005

Trailer Sweet Trailer

By Pepper

In his big Katrina speech, it looked like George II would pull a magic trick and fade his blue torso right into a blue background. But it seems like he really does want to whip up a magic trick by rebuilding the Gulf Coast into a bigger, better place without having to pay for it.

Bush and economics have had an uneasy relationship. Now, the nation has three choices when it comes to paying for the Katrina disaster: 1. Raise taxes; 2. Go into increased debt; or 3. Do the job on the cheap. Bush has clearly does not like the first option and is in denial regarding the second: "[Rebuilding is] going to mean that we're going to have to make sure we cut unnecessary spending. It's going to mean we've got to maintain economic growth, and therefore we should not raise taxes."

Therefore, the third option is the way to go for Bush and Co. And the solution is the trailer park, for why have a home when you can have a trailer?

The LA Times writes:

FEMA is barreling ahead with plans to create huge trailer-park cities — complete with schools and security. "This may not be on the scale of building the pyramids, but it's close," said Brad Gair, FEMA's disaster-area housing chief.

As many as 200,000 people — most of them in Louisiana — would be housed in the giant trailer parks for up to five years. The sites, scattered around the state, would vary in size from 5,000 to 25,000 people. About 6,000 FEMA-owned trailers are in Louisiana, and hundreds more are arriving daily, Gair said. In the next few days, FEMA plans to break ground on a 15,000-unit trailer city in the Baton Rouge area, and evacuees could start moving in within 10 days.

Trailers - quick and cheap! Bush even made the trailer shipment a focal point of his Big Katrina Speech. Those evacuees will have "homes" in no time, complete with "Trailer Sweet Trailer" cross-stitches on the walls!

Some are having second thoughts about this trailer business. Last night's "Washington Week" panel was horrified at the prospect, labeling the tent/trailer cities "Hoovervilles" and calling them "a social disaster waiting to happen."

No, that's not because journalists have an aversion to the trailer park. But the trailer-park solution smacks of "let's just put them somewhere" instead of sitting down and thinking out a long-term solution to the problem. And a trailer is decidedly NOT long-term housing. And doesn't it strike anyone as odd that, after a region has been destroyed by a natural disaster, the administration seeks to replace evacuee homes with even more vulnerable trailers? (Insert jokes about trailers and tornados here.)

September 17, 2005 in Bush Administration | Permalink

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Comments

after a region has been destroyed by a natural disaster, the administration seeks to replace evacuee homes with even more vulnerable trailers

Oww! That's a good point.

Posted by: Neil the Ethical Werewolf | Sep 17, 2005 5:39:58 PM

Yup. Back in Kentucky, we always called trailers "tornado magnets." Trailer cities may get people into shelter quickly, but it is a hare-brained idea.

Posted by: Pepper | Sep 17, 2005 6:08:44 PM

This episode of This American Life (from last week) has a segment on another trailer park FEMA made in 2004 for the displaced victims of hurricane Charlie gives you an idea about what the victims of the Katrina diaspora might face in getting out of the "temporary" trailer parks.

The segment is the last one, starts at 50:39. I recommend listening to the whole show for some amazing stories from the aftermath including the one about the people who where prevented from leaving New Orleans because they "didn't want their town to look like another Superdome"

Posted by: JR | Sep 17, 2005 7:22:51 PM

it's not like the trailer manufacturers don't donate to the GOP in mass numbers or anything is it?

Posted by: almostinfamous | Sep 18, 2005 11:23:47 AM

The Hurricane Charley trailer park was also the subject of a recent Washington Post article. Basically, it's a disaster, with high rates of unemployment, drug use and domestic violence. You'd think the Republicans, with their disdain for high-rise urban housing projects, would know better than to shove a lot of desperate people into a small area, away from any jobs. An underlying issue here seems to be that the rebuilding areas don't want their poor people back, and that the developers doing the rebuilding (who tend to be major Republican contributors) want to replace low-income housing with more profitable upper-end units. This would seem to be a tailor-made issue for the Dems, but I'm skeptical that they'll figure out how to take advantage of it.

Posted by: Rebecca Allen, PhD | Sep 18, 2005 2:01:48 PM

JR and Rebecca - THANK YOU for the links. I will post "Trailer Sweet Trailer, Part 2" over at the Daily Pepper (www.dailypepper.com), along with my summary of the problem.

If people don't plan a little better and sink some more money into housing, these trailer cities are destined to become Bushvilles or Georgetowns.

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