Elections have consequences

And these people all voted in the spending-cuts crowd. All spending is bad – except the spending they need! Despite their situation, they still can’t quite connect the dots

“We are basically homeless at this point,” said the owner of the house, Kenneth S. Eisenman, who had been planning to retire after 31 years as a driver for United Parcel Service.

Mr. Eisenman said he was not unsympathetic to the Republicans’ argument that Congress should partly offset the cost of disaster relief by cutting lower-priority programs. Some programs, he said, are as useless and wasteful as providing “treadmills for seahorses.”

Eugene J. Dziak, director of the Wyoming County Emergency Management Agency, in Tunkhannock, said he knew of 61 families that were homeless and needed temporary housing. He also needs help hauling off rubble and cleaning out buildings where mold has formed and could cause health problems.

FEMA provides money to eligible individuals and households to help pay for home repairs, temporary housing, replacement of personal property and other serious needs related to a disaster. In the absence of action by Congress, the agency’s disaster relief fund could be depleted by midweek, federal officials said.

Darlene Swithers, a home health nurse in the Wilkes-Barre area, said that she had received a few thousand dollars from FEMA, but that it would cost far more to repair structural damage done to her home by seven feet of water.

For two weeks, Ms. Swithers had no electric power. She still has no furnace or hot water. When she wants to bathe, she fills her tub with water heated in her microwave oven.

“We are too busy trying to get our lives back together to think much about Congress,” Ms. Swithers said. But she has opinions.

“Members of Congress are intelligent, but they have no common sense,” Ms. Swithers said. “They fight too much. They should be put in a corner and take a timeout and start working together as a team. I’m so sick of hearing Republicans this and Democrats that.”

Ms. Swithers said Congress should set spending priorities, just as she does in paying household bills. The government, she said, would have more money for disaster assistance if it spent less on inessential amenities: “a park where people sit to watch the river and eat lunch; a playground in the middle of an empty field.”

Yep. It’s all that money we’re spending on parks and playgrounds. Oy.