Save Haiti the smart way

  • Follow Editorials

The natural progression of things after a disaster such as the Haiti earthquake is rescue, recovery and rebuilding.

Earthquake survivors, watched by UN troops from Argentina, helped to unload emergency supplies in the Haitian city of Leogane on Wednesday.  Associated Press
Associated Press
Earthquake survivors, watched by UN troops from Argentina, helped to unload emergency supplies in the Haitian city of Leogane on Wednesday.

As the rescue of survivors, and the recovery of bodies, went on this week, talk continued of rebuilding in Haiti.

A few questions at the outset:

- How much more can the United States afford to invest in Haiti? Estimates are we've sunk close to $3 billion into Haiti since the early 1990s. To what end? It's still the poorest nation in the hemisphere -- and it's clear in the aftermath of the quake that the government was shaky to begin with.

- What strings should attach to any rebuilding money we send there? If your uncle were bailing you out of a jam, would he not have the right to have some say in what you do with his money? How you live your life while you pay him back? Wouldn't he be irresponsible himself if he invested in you knowing that you'll blow the money?

- Even if Port-au-Prince were reconstructed -- with buildings able to withstand natural disasters -- what kind of human infrastructure would be left? Would the government be worth our investment -- and would we have any say in its infrastructure? Would emergency services and utilities be up to responding to the next disaster, without having to depend on airlifts from other countries?

The bottom line question is, is Haiti even a viable investment?

One other question: What are the constitutional limits of federal charity? And where is it provided for in the Constitution? This president and others before him have felt at liberty to promise other countries all sorts of our money for all kinds of reasons. We won't question the $100 million in humanitarian aid Mr. Obama has promised Haiti, though one legitimately could. But when it comes to money for reconstruction in Haiti, will our government again feel free to dig into our pockets in order to invest our money in a questionable enterprise?

"All the money in the world will be of no help should Port-au-Prince be returned to the state it existed in prior to Jan. 12," writes Michelle Anjirbag in the University of Connecticut Daily Campus .

"A precondition of the Haitian government's legitimacy is its ability to deliver basic services," writes Robert Muggah in the Toronto Globe and Mail . "Haiti needs a coherent strategy to deliver certain core services."

Maybe something as radical as a Marshall Plan.

Will there even be a coherent plan? Or should we just start airlifting money in?

Comments (46) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
Riverman1
83927
Points
Riverman1 01/22/10 - 05:14 am
0
0
We don't have the money. The

We don't have the money. The Chinese and arabs are keeping us going and they are going to balk at our worthless dollars before long. Why are they not funding the relief efforts? Are they wiser than we are? They are probably asking this same question about us raised in the editorial: "- If your uncle were bailing you out of a jam, would he not have the right to have some say in what you do with his money? How you live your life while you pay him back? Wouldn't he be irresponsible himself if he invested in you knowing that you'll blow the money?"....When those Chinese students asked how we were going to pay for our health care plan, that was a carefully orchestrated warning to us. The laughter at the answer that it would save money sounded as if it were coming from a tea party rally.

Riverman1
83927
Points
Riverman1 01/22/10 - 05:21 am
0
0
Let me offer a practical way

Let me offer a practical way to help, also. Install a capitalistic system that has little government interference or taxes. Make the people self-sufficient by instilling work ethics based on the profit motive. It could become the pearl of the Carribean in short order with international corporations investing there creating jobs and raising the standard of living in short order. China went from famine under socialism to owning us in a very few years, simply by allowing free enterprise to begin its transforming work. When they complete the move into capitalism and consume more and more, socialist countries will have to beg them for food and commodities of all sorts just as we beg them for loans now.

johnston.cliff
2
Points
johnston.cliff 01/22/10 - 06:55 am
0
0
Haiti is a mess and was long

Haiti is a mess and was long before the 'quake. The black nation has been every bit as successful as the black nations of Africa. The fact that their official language is French hasn't helped at all. The country is without leadership or any form of social coordination. It is little more than a mass of people surviving on a tropical island. If an empire building effort is made under Dem control, no improvement will take place. No hope, no change.

avidreader
3219
Points
avidreader 01/22/10 - 06:58 am
0
0
I like the "China owns us"

I like the "China owns us" comment. Well said!

fred1217
4
Points
fred1217 01/22/10 - 07:00 am
0
0
The Editor is concerned about

The Editor is concerned about giving $3 Billion in aid to Haiti over a 20 year period? Just for comparison, we give about $3 Billion annually to Israel. The Bush/Cheney team gave Halliburton more money than that in no bid contracts in less than a year. We also airlifted money and sent it in by the truckload to Iraq. Billions are still unaccounted for. There were no concerns over any of this. The people of Haiti are in a natural disaster and humanitarian aid is warranted. If this was an earthquake in England or Ireland how much would the Editor think would be justified? I say we help the poor people of Haiti, its the right thing to do.

ColdBeerBoiledPeanuts
7808
Points
ColdBeerBoiledPeanuts 01/22/10 - 07:12 am
0
0
Fred, you need to understand

Fred, you need to understand the difference between humanitarian aid and permanent support. Bush is out of office. It's now Obama's Fault!

MarshCroaked
0
Points
MarshCroaked 01/22/10 - 07:15 am
0
0
fred - Israel serves a very

fred - Israel serves a very useful purpose. Haiti can't even figure out how to make good cigars or rum like their island mates in the Dominican Republic do.

johnston.cliff
2
Points
johnston.cliff 01/22/10 - 07:28 am
0
0
fred, why is it Obama

fred, why is it Obama supporters have to always make ignorant comments? One of ya'll has to know SOMETHING smart to say.

MarshCroaked
0
Points
MarshCroaked 01/22/10 - 07:42 am
0
0
A thought for the day: Linus

A thought for the day: Linus Pauling said, "The best way to have a good idea is to have
lots of ideas." You'd think that sooner or later the libs/socialists would find one.....

JohnRandolphHardisonCain
576
Points
JohnRandolphHardisonCain 01/22/10 - 07:54 am
0
0
United States has a failed

United States has a failed state of Mexico on its borders. Headlines today read "From spas to banks, Mexico economy rides on drugs." This is a national security concern. United States has a long checkered history of involvement with Haiti which is a close neighbor. It is not in United States' best interest to ignore Haiti when its citizens are in dire need. Yesterday Secretary of Defense Robert Gates pledged long term commitment to aid Pakistan. We are heavily involved in Iraq, in the reconstruction of Afghanistan, in military and financial aid to Yemen, in aid to Egypt, and in military and financial aid to Israel. United States will spend over $100 billion this year in Afghanistan alone. We are waging numerous, highly expensive, counterproductive wars that are creating more enemies of United States every day. It is in our best interest to aid Haiti, to defend life instead of wage wars, and to win the goodwill of the world for a change.

willienelson
5
Points
willienelson 01/22/10 - 08:15 am
0
0
Why not just sell the island

Why not just sell the island of Haiti to a resort hotel chain and allow them to invest in it's restructure and then benefit from it.

grouse
1635
Points
grouse 01/22/10 - 08:32 am
0
0
Anything to question what
Unpublished

Anything to question what Obama does...

db16
95
Points
db16 01/22/10 - 08:44 am
0
0
Here is the SMART SOLUTION

Here is the SMART SOLUTION that will help EVERYONE!!! I say that we ask for volunteer 'unemployed' workers, specifically in the Building/Contractor industry. Tell them we will send them to Haiti, we will pay them a wage (because we have a surplus of revenue/finances based on our 700 Billion Bailout figures and the Fed reporting that they finished in the BLACK with huge profits last year) and have them help rebuild the Island! This is an all inclusive plan, it will help ease the burden here in the States on the unemployment system and will allow the Islanders and our Workers to benefit. Just my thought!!!!!

johnston.cliff
2
Points
johnston.cliff 01/22/10 - 08:54 am
0
0
Like good lemmings, we should

Like good lemmings, we should never question what Obama does? Good point, grouse.

johnston.cliff
2
Points
johnston.cliff 01/22/10 - 08:56 am
0
0
So, JohnHatesAmericaCain, are

So, JohnHatesAmericaCain, are you saying we should aid Haiti without giving it any thought?

justthefacts
21843
Points
justthefacts 01/22/10 - 09:01 am
0
0
I don't think anyone is

I don't think anyone is suggesting we don't help the people. All we want is accountability. The leadership is corrupt. There has to be a long term plan.

veritas14
0
Points
veritas14 01/22/10 - 09:26 am
0
0
Talking at cross purposes

Talking at cross purposes here. Of course we should extend assistance to the haitian people during their crisis,( Their crisis, not ours) but the question at hand is 'Do we invest untold millions into haiti's infrastructure indefinately afterwards ?.' Haiti has never been of any benefit to the U.S. and probably never will be. Some want to see Haiti as the new Jewel of the Caribbean, much like Cuba before Castro. If that were possible the Haiti would have already been the jewel, they have had plenty of time since 1958. Extend humanitarian aid to the Haitian people, but leave the rebuilding of Haiti to the Haitians.

veritas14
0
Points
veritas14 01/22/10 - 09:32 am
0
0
Marshcroaked claims 'Israel

Marshcroaked claims 'Israel serves a very useful purpose.' Perhaps you could explain comment and reasoning, as I am at a loss to understand what purpose that could be.

Chillen
17
Points
Chillen 01/22/10 - 09:48 am
0
0
I agree with riverman. We

I agree with riverman. We don't have the money. The situation is terrible but it is not ours to fix with taxpayer money when we ourselves are completely, totally broke as a government. If people want to donate to private charities that is super but the govt has done enough already.

willienelson
5
Points
willienelson 01/22/10 - 09:56 am
0
0
Why not allow the Dominican

Why not allow the Dominican Republic to annex this land and with the aid that is already on the way absorb these folks into their economy in exchange for free land?

corgimom
32426
Points
corgimom 01/22/10 - 10:01 am
0
0
JohnRandolph, just think. You

JohnRandolph, just think. You could go to Haiti, help them, and leave the terrible United States. Two birds with one stone.

veritas14
0
Points
veritas14 01/22/10 - 10:01 am
0
0
Simply because the Dominican

Simply because the Dominican Republic doesn't WANT haiti and it's problems. Truthfully, would you want it?

willienelson
5
Points
willienelson 01/22/10 - 10:18 am
0
0
Veri, you do know that the

Veri, you do know that the language of the Haitian people is the language of love (French) That may explain why they are so corrupt as well.

ustabe
1
Points
ustabe 01/22/10 - 10:52 am
0
0
db16 - Can't believe no one

db16 - Can't believe no one has responded to your suggestion. I think it's brilliant! There are plenty of out of work carpenters, roadway builders, construction workers, etc. in the US and surely they would welcome ANY job right now. If we can send money, why not pay andsend people to do what's needed in Haiti? Oh, and leave the politicians at home, please!!

MarshCroaked
0
Points
MarshCroaked 01/22/10 - 10:58 am
0
0
Veritas, Israel is a reliable

Veritas, Israel is a reliable nuclear weapons capable ally who help keep the 21 Arab nations who are in range of their missiles from doing anything terribly stupid. Aside from controlling the banking and entertainment industry here in the USA. Just to mention a cuple of "little reasons". Besides, they suffered the tragedy of Nazi Germany atrocities much more recently than the Haitians' ancestors were sold by their brothers.

soldout
1280
Points
soldout 01/22/10 - 11:09 am
0
0
They made a pact with the

They made a pact with the devil so they have a spiritual problem. Before you see a natural solution you have to fix the spiritual problem. When Jesus fed people He taught them and fixed their spirutal problem. Fix their spirit and they will be able to feed themseleves. They have a free will and will have to choose to fix the spiritual problem. Until that is done all you can give them is a little temporary help.

Chillen
17
Points
Chillen 01/22/10 - 11:09 am
0
0
The bottom line still is that

The bottom line still is that we don't have the money to help them. If you can't feed your family would you take out a loan to help out another family? You might want to but you wouldn't because it would not be logical. Our deficit is in the trillions. Trillions!! and our government keeps right on spending. At some point we need to slow down, take a step back & fix this mess.

Chillen
17
Points
Chillen 01/22/10 - 11:16 am
0
0
Go here to see a picture of

Go here to see a picture of how much a trillion dollars really is - it's hard to really even wrap your mind around it. http://www.pagetutor.com/trillion/index.html

veritas14
0
Points
veritas14 01/22/10 - 11:17 am
0
0
Israel has nuclear weapons

Israel has nuclear weapons capability because we gave it to them. Still, it saved Israel from having to steal the technology, I guess. As to a viable deterrent to the arab nations, I think not. Israels policy is to cry "If you don't do something, we will" knowing full well (as does the U.S) israel would be attacked by 21 arab nations if they did), so again and again Uncle Sam gets involved and inevitable comes down on the side of Israel earning arab contempt. Stands to reason, would you want yous wifes divorce attorney looking after your best interests? Israeli apologists love to claim that Israel is the only friend we have in the middle east. yet the counter-claim can also be made that before israel, we had no ENEMIES in the middle east. As to the Nazi atrocities, perhaps it should be Germany making monitary and material ammends. I believe the U.S has more than paid for it's guilt since 1945 Don't misunderstand, I am not anti-Israel or anti-semitic. I agree Israel has a right to live in peace and be a prosperous and productive nation. I just don't think that prosperity should be funded by American tax dollars.

cparker
83
Points
cparker 01/22/10 - 11:19 am
0
0
I agree with TNTHOMSON 9:55am

I agree with TNTHOMSON 9:55am post.

Back to Top

Search Augusta jobs