Senator Thad Cochran of Mississippi says "this is going to be the most expensive natural disaster that's hit the United States in history."
..and yet, at an estimated $30 billion pricetag, Katrina will only cost a small fraction of what the war in Iraq is going to cost. Many fewer deaths, too.
The Louisiana governor and the Mayor of New Orleans just had a press conference together. Bush is still in California, though apparently he will be flying back to Washington, DC tomorrow, finally putting an end to his record-setting vacation schedule.
Although it's not being widely reported in the U.S.
, the U.S. Census bureau announced that the number of people living in poverty last year rose by 1.1 million to 12.7 percent of the population. This is the 4th year in a row that poverty went up. In addition, a record 45.8 million Americans lacked medical benefits last year, 800,000 more than in 2003. This is also the 4th year in a row that the number of uninsured Americans have gone up.
The average American household income declined in 2004, falling to $44,389. The average household income for Black Americans also declined, dropping to just $30,134. Surprisingly, the rise in poverty over the last year was primarily driven by white Americans, many who find themselves underemployed and squeezed out of the middle class. The economic situation was particularly bad in the midwest, where the average household income fell 2.4%.
By region, the South had the lowest household income at $40,773. Something tells me it will decline even further this year, too... there must be about a million more people who are out of a job right about now.