U.S. priorities in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy

Where is the help for stricken Americans?

Brooklyn Daily
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Unnerving images of destitute folk begging tearfully for help in the aftermath of a calamity is something you’d expect to find in a Third World country — not in the wealthiest nation on the planet with an annual budget in the trillions.

Hurricane Sandy was a killer who warned us of her arrival, and claimed more than 40 lives in the city while destroying thousands of homes, yet its survivors are coping with the worst nightmare of all — the knowledge that America is the land of plenty for other nations, many of which harbor those who would rather see us dead.

Want proof? Pakistan received $1,385,953,000 in taxpayer funds in 2011, Afghanistan $2,523,719,000, and filthy rich Saudi Arabia $368,000.

There’s plenty wrong with that picture.

Uncle Sam weathered Sandy by frittering away more than $150 million a day as part of its $54.9 billion foreign aid package, while desperate New Yorkers waited hopelessly for help, direction, power, and leadership.

The interminable situation was amplified by the numbing feeling that we had been left to our own devices indefinitely, possibly to rot.

Sheesh. That’s plain scandalous in a land with the most resources around — with enough left over to give China $17,800,000 a year, Mongolia $10,444,000, India $124,485,000, and the Democratic Republic of Congo $215,916,000.

Disaster upon disaster has befallen New York in the past 11 years — from the World Trade Center terror attacks and a massive blackout, to a crippling blizzard and a pair of hurricanes, one of them catastrophic. Yet we remain as unprepared as ever.

Hard-hit areas including Breezy Point, where 111 homes were destroyed and 20 more damaged when a six-alarm fire broke out during the height of the storm, remain woefully underserved more than a week later.

There’s plenty of blame to go around, but none of it falls on the victims, many of whom fork over 28 cents of every dollar earned in city, state, and federal taxes to ensure that someone has their backs when catastrophe strikes.

Floyd Bennett Field’s hangars and the massive parking lot at Jacob Riis Park could have been turned into huge recovery zones for Southern Brooklyn. The cost would have been minimal compared to our other financial squanderings, which put the interests of our sworn enemies above those of Americans.

Does aggressive Iran deserve $472,060,000 of American taxpayer money, or belligerent Russia $66,138,000 of our hard-earned cash?

Watchdogs are biting at Washington’s slipshod heels.

“In looking at assistance in 2010 and 2011, it’s clear the U.S. is not particularly selective in how it spreads its aid,” reports the Center for American Progress.

“Development experts have learned the hard way that delivering assistance to corrupt and autocratic states usually doesn’t create much change,” it adds.

The American gravy train continues to ladle its bounty overseas while Americans beseech for help in bare feet: $11,346,000 for Uzbekistan, $1,553,900,000 for Egypt, $1,600,000 for Algeria, on and on ad nauseam.

It certainly begs the question: are Americans chopped liver?

Shavana Abruzzo's column appears every Friday on BrooklynDaily.com. E-mail her at sabruzzo@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/BritShavana

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