A number of companies are using Katrina as a PR opportunity. Here's a list of some of the companies that have issued press releases announcing their donations.
Does that sound cynical? It's intended to be. If making a donation to a high profile cause makes sense for these companies, that's ok with me. Just as it's ok with me for companies to support services I enjoy through their advertising.
But I'm not thrilled with efforts to encourage individual donations. I just received an email solicitation to attend a Katrina relief concert. It said bring your wallets. I'm not planning to go.
The point of insurance is to take care of situations like this. And the point of a government is to serve as the insurer of last resort. Wouldn't it make Bush happy if corporate and individual donations took his administration off the hook and he could continue pressing for tax relief for his wealthy buddies. I think that would be terrible. This is a federal responsibility. If Bush proposed a temprary tax of some sort to fund Katrina relief, I'd be all for it. But Bush doesn't believe in taxes, and he doesn't believe in the Federal government accepting any real responsibilities that require taxes. To ask people to donate instead of having a rational system for dealing with disasters of this sort is wrong — and it's why people don't understand why taxes are necessary.
Taxes support governmental services — such as disaster relief. Yet Bush and his buddies argue that taxes and government in general are bad — except, of course when he wants the goverment to restrict individual liberties. (Do I sound angry? I guess I am.) By making that sort of argument, Bush misinforms the public about how a government works, and making individual contributions to Katrina relief simply supports his position. Don't do it.
See next post down for related thoughts.