The good of government

I just got off the phone with Melissa, my associate relative (she’s my brother-in-law’s sister).

She and her family live on West 12th Street between the West Side Highway and Washington Street. They have a big duplex in an old converted loft factory building. Their apartment’s top floor is on street level; the lower floor is beneath street level.

Melissa said they looked out of the window and saw that the street had been taken over by the river. Their lower level — bedrooms, clothes, computer, books, records, washing machine and dryer, family mementos — was flooded by more than three feet of water.

I’d offered to come over and help her clean up. But they don’t really need me: the building’s insurance paid for draining out the water and will be replacing the floors and walls, and their homeowner’s insurance pays for other things.

But she said that FEMA was especially wonderful. They applied to FEMA last week and a FEMA representative has already visited and inspected and deposited money in their bank.

FEMA is a great example of why we need an embracing federal government: it knows more and can help us quicker and more meaningfully than can profit-making private insurance companies and public utilities, ad hoc or established charities, state and city governments.

Nobody does it better than the feds.

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