What Harvey Wrought
Like 9/11, Hurricane Harvey brought us together.
In awe at the destruction 50 inches of rain did to East Texas and our fourth-largest city and in admiration as cable television showed countless hours of Texans humanely and heroically rescuing and aiding fellow Texans in the worst natural disaster in U.S. history.
On display this week was America at her best.
Yet the destruction will not soon be repaired. Nearly a third of Harris County, home to 4.5 million people, was flooded. Beaumont and Port Arthur were swamped with 2 feet of rain and put underwater.
Estimates of the initial cost to the Treasury are north of $100 billion, with some saying the down payment alone will be closer to $200 billion. In inflation-adjusted dollars, the cost of Harvey will exceed that of the Marshall Plan, which rebuilt Europe after World War II.
Though the country has appeared united since the storm hit, it is not likely to remain so. Soon, the cameras and correspondents will go home, while the shelters remain full, as tens of thousands of people in those shelters have only destroyed homes to return to.
When the waters recede, the misery of the evacuees left behind will become less tolerable. Then will come the looters and gougers and angry arguments over who's to blame and who should pay.
They have already begun. Republicans who balked at voting for the bailout billions for Chris Christie's New Jersey after Hurricane Sandy ravaged the coast in 2012 are being called hypocrites for asking for swift and massive federal assistance to repair red state Texas.
And whereas George W. Bush soared to 90 percent approval after 9/11, no such surge in support for Donald Trump appears at hand.
Indeed, the sneering and sniping began on his first visit to Texas.