Sue's Blog

Thursday, September 07, 2017

Hurricane Muskrat

There is no cost greater than a human life. This blog does not attempt to trivialize any loss of life resulting from the terrible hurricanes that have hit countries and are about to hit others.

Regarding the financial losses of a Hurricane such as Harvey and Irma currently and like Katrina in 2005 - we can make comparisons to our ongoing Harvey called Muskrat. Although it is man-made - the financial devastation will be similar.

Let's look at it this way. The cost to Texas from Harvey is the same as the cost of Hurricane Muskrat. The difference is we will experience this type of financial disaster year over year for the next 25 years.

Now the big question - who's going to help us?

Let me put this in perspective. There are 29 million people living in Texas and the government has said the disaster could cost $150 billion. That works out to equal $5200 per person.

There are 529,000 people in Newfoundland and Labrador - let's say Muskrat costs $13 billion - this works out to $25,000 per person.  When this amount is attributed to ratepayers then the amount could be $68,000 per person.

That's 13 Harvey like equivalencies already.

Now envision this comparable:

The economy of Texas is the second largest in the United States. It has a gross state product of $1.616 trillion (2016),[10] the second largest in the U.S. As of 2015, Texas is home to six of the top 50 companies on the Fortune 500 list and 51 overall (third most after New York and California).[11] In 2012, Texas grossed more than $264.7 billion a year in exports—more than exports of California ($161.9 billion) and New York ($81.4 billion) combined.[12][13][14]
As a sovereign country (2016), Texas would be the 10th largest economy in the world by GDP (ahead of South Korea and Canada).[15] Texas's household income was $48,259 in 2010 ranking 25th in the nation. The state debt in 2012 was calculated to be $121.7 billion, or $7,400 per taxpayer.[16] Texas has the second largest population in the country after California.

Newfoundland and Labrador has a GDP of $25 Billion and is falling. We are the home of 0 Fortune 500 companies. The economy of Texas is larger than that of Canada - so where would we sit? The unemployment rate in Texas moves between 4-5% while in Newfoundland and Labrador it sits between 14-16%. Texas tops the USA in population growth regularly while Newfoundland and Labrador continues to lose people with projections of losing another 40,000 over the Muskrat decades. On top of the Muskrat billions on the ratepayers backs - we have a provincial debt of about $23,000 per person while Texas shows up at $7400 per person. If we lose another 40,000 people and while increasing the percentage of an aging population - the remaining ratepayers could be up to $82,000 per person and the taxpayers remaining could increase each persons share of provincial debt by another $5000.

Now back to the "big" question - who is going to help us?

In the case of wealthy Texas - who by the way is the leader in medically uninsured people and whose leaders want to eliminate the affordable care act. A state which glorifies the "dog eat dog" far right economic system - is seeking funds and assistance from all over - particularly from socially democratic Canada and all kind and caring people. This might be a donation to the Red Cross or it could be the assistance from disaster relief personal. Insurance will cover another fair chunk of the $180 billion in losses and another chunk will be covered by the federal government.

Texas is able to afford it's own provision of essentials - including state assistance for income, housing, and food. They will however seek to do this through contributions from the private sector, caring individuals, and other states and countries. They will seek to minimize the costs to their own taxpayers. They don't like tax in Texas so they will try to mitigate their own human responsibility.

Meanwhile in Newfoundland and Labrador - we have nobody to help with Muskrat - its all on us. It is a man-made hurricane with no relief in sight - lest we sell off something else cheap - like Gull Island. That then ruins another 2 generations.

I hope that by comparing hurricanes to Muskrat  - and by saying we will experience - per-capita - the costs of Hurricane Harvey over and over again like Muskrat (groundhog) Day  for the next 25 years - that perhaps a few more people will get the seriousness of our mess.

At the start of the this post - I removed the element of human loss - as experienced by Texas and other hurricanes in the past - I must add that our human loss could be far greater - IF - the North Spur fails.

I bet many good people of Newfoundland and Labrador have already contributed to help people in Texas.

Unfortunately - the path we are on - there will be no people left in our place. Unfortunately our children and grandchildren will be lost to another province or country. 

The very first thing that must happen is Muskrat must stop. A forensic audit must be completed immediately to properly assess what options we may have on this fiasco of a project. We must recognize our debt crisis and unsustainable spending habits. We need to listen to people who have great ideas on how to spend less but deliver better services. We must virtually eliminate waste in our public institutions and eliminate rewarding incompetence - through bonuses or packages.

Our politicians who rely on continued electoral success as a career - should be unceremoniously fired at the ballot box and we must try to attract those truly interested in advancing our society as a contribution.

We need to change now or face our own extinction.

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