Interview on NPR's Marketplace Radio to discuss Hurricane Relief

NPR's Marketplace interviewed me this morning for a segment that they ran on giving the victims of Hurricane Katrina a $2,000 debit card. The segment can be found here: "Refugees to get some plastic"


SHOW: Marketplace Morning Report 7:50 AM EST SYND

September 8, 2005 Thursday

LENGTH: 274 words

HEADLINE: How to get aid money to hurricane victims




SCOTT JAGOW, anchor:

Getting the money to Katrina victims.

How to get aid money to hurricane victims MARKETPLACE MORNING REPORT Announcer: The MARKETPLACE MORNING REPORT is produced in association with theUniversity of Southern California.

JAGOW: From American Public Media in Los Angeles, I'm Scott Jagow.

Right now the emergency management agency FEMA is spending $2 billion a day on hurricane relief. That's well over a million dollars a minute. President Bush authorized another $52 billion yesterday to get through the coming month. The pace will slow down, but the government's already committed about the same amount of money it's spending in Iraq each year.

OK, so there's all this money. How will Katrina victims get their hands on some of it? One answer: Debit cards. Here's MARKETPLACE's Stacey Vanek-Smith.


After getting a lot of flak for what many called an inadequate response to Hurricane Katrina, the Department of Homeland Security and FEMA announced a novel plan: They will distribute ATM cards worth $2,000 in places like the Houston Astrodome. John Lott is with the American Enterprise Institute. He says the plan could work well because people know best what they need. But, he says, there is major potential for abuse, such as people pretending to be evacuees. Whatever happens, he says, it could be a valuable lesson in disaster response.

Mr. JOHN LOTT (American Enterprise Institute): We'll have a better idea of what people feel they need when they're in this situation or how poorly off people really are by seeing what they sign on.

VANEK-SMITH: Lott says the cards could allow the government to track how the money is spent. I'm Stacey Vanek-Smith for MARKETPLACE

LOAD-DATE: September 8, 2005

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