There is no question that Hurricane Sandy turned upside down and devastated millions of our fellow Americans on the eastern seaboard. People were killed and wounded, homes were destroyed or heavily damaged. The "lucky" ones were "simply" without power for days or longer. All of the victims of this catastrophe are deserving not only of our thoughts and prayers, but of labor and material aid to restore the region. The crisis is how to pay for it.
The states of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut have calculated that they need a whopping $82 billion to be made whole, and are expected to ask the $16 trillion+ indebted federal government to foot the bill for most, if not all of it, including money to be devoted to efforts to prevent such widespread and horrific damage from occurring in the future.
$82 billion well exceeds the annual cost of the federal food stamp program and constitutes a significant portion of government revenues.
The nation must avoid incurring additional borrowing if it is to undertake the expensive initiative to repair and restore the eastern seaboard. Creative and innovative means must be found to make a commensurate amount of spending cuts so that a suitable amount of appropriation can be made to those that are in dire straits through no fault of their own. Are the members of Congress capable of coming up with such solutions? There is every reason to be pessimistic, given the bumbling that is currently in progress over the matter of the much ballyhooed "fiscal cliff."