50% of U.S. food exports go out through New Orleans. There are only five nations on earth that produce a surplus of food: the U.S., Canada, Argentina, Ukraine, and Russia. Not only are the people of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama suffering the direct consequences, but soon people throughout South America, Africa, and Asia will have food shortages.
Between 15 and 20 percent of United States' foreign trade comes in through New Orleans. Most of the nation's steel and rubber comes in through New Orleans. What kind of impact is this going to have on the American auto industry? Most of the nation's coffee comes in through New Orleans - expect your morning cup of coffee to get a lot more expensive.
Understanding their own place and importance to the U.S. economy, the port of New Orleans had been requesting federal funds to upgrade the levees since 2001. Not only did the federal government not allocate the money, they reduced funding to a point that the levees were barely being maintained. Remember that prior to his election Bush had never been to any foreign country other than Mexico and didn't even know the name of the prime minister of Canada.
Between 20 and 30 percent of the United States' oil refining capability was (note the past tense) in the affected area. U.S. refining capacity typically runs at near 100%. Americans can expect gas prices to get a lot higher than $3/gal. And remember that it's not just SUV-driving suburban soccer moms that are affected by this. Ships, trucks, and trains need fuel, too, and with the port of New Orleans out of service, ships have to travel farther to reach alternate ports of adequite capacity like Los Angeles and New York, and subsequently goods have to be shipped farther at higher rates. This makes everything more expensive.
The word isn't in yet on how much lumber production in the south has been impacted, but it has been. Lumber prices are up around 15% and rising. 30% of the lumber normally consumed in the U.S. comes from Canada at a price that is artificially inflated 20% by illegal tarriffs. Add the increaces shipping costs from the more expensive fuel on top of that and understand that the price the average person is going to have to pay to rebuild their home is significantly more than it need be.
The cost of the war was already crippling the U.S. economy and driving up a debt so great that GNP barely covers the interest. He gambled with the most important port in the country by diverting federal funds for the levees to removing the rogue dictator installed by Reagan and Rumsfeld and fighting a war his own father avoided as untenable and fruitless, and lost the bet. There isn't one sector of the American economy that is not going to be affected by this.
The hurricane seasons of the last few years should have been ample warning that stronger storms are becoming more common, but remember that Bush doesn't believe the climate is actually changing (whether or not you think the change is the result of pollution or a natural variation, any idiot can see that change is happening). Shoring up and securing the most important port in the U.S. should have been a fundamental matter of national security - infinitely more imprortant to the American people than bringing "freedom" to a foreign nation - but unfortunately for us all, not glitzy enough to meet the political goals of power-hungry politicians too busy reading from Joseph Goebbels' Big Book of Propoganda How-To's (after replacing "Jew" with "Arab").
And with the American dollar being the reserve currency of choice for most of the world, its inevitable nose-dive is going to ruin the economy of most of the world. Countries like China that don't have U.S. currency reserves will prosper. Europe will proser as countries scramble to shift their reserves from dollars to euros (a trend that was already underway). This administration has taken the United States to the point where this disaster could easily cause the country to fall apart like the Soviet Union in the 1990's.
If this doesn't set off a major economic depression, I'll eat my hat (and if it does, I may have to). The irony is, as with the last depression, it is the "Red States" that will bear the worst of the economic damage.
Oringinal post: http://mbarrick.livejournal.com/647105.html