You may have even if you didn’t know it? If you paid taxes there is a distinct possibility that you paid for a sex change operation, someone’s divorce, season football tickets, a tropical vacation and a host of other things you didn’t know you were funding when you paid your taxes.

The AP headline reads FEMA funds spent on divorce, sex change, but actually you paid for those, since the only money FEMA has is yours.

As much as $1.4 billion has been paid out for non-emergency reasons. Who’s to blame for all this waste? Everybody and anybody.

FEMA – Of course, FEMA is part of the problem. They are a bungling agency incapable of handling a huge crisis. They simply gave debit cards to people, knowing that they could (and some would) use them for nonessential things. In one case, an undercover agent applied for a card using the address of a New Orleans cemetary. Even after FEMA discovered he didn’t live there, they sent him the card.

Bush Administration – They rubber-stamped all the spending. Bush went on TV to let everyone know the government was going to be there to help and give them money. He fostered the idea that the government will save you. His entire administration handled this poorly.

Congress – They, as always, loved spending your money to look compassionate. They okayed every type of spending that would make it look like they cared about those hurting. Instead of delivering a tough message, they folded and gave in to whatever they were asked to do.

Media – The press moaned and screamed about the travesty that had fallen upon the victims in New Orleans – including fabricating stories. They stoked the fires of calling on the government to pour in money to the region. Whatever was done was not enough. The government must do more.

Public – The American people essentially demanded that something be done. They didn’t care if it was done right, as long as it was done now. This is what happens.

Government bureaucracy – Do you honestly think a government agency is going to be the most efficient way to help people in need? The government has never been capable of doing anything efficiently. They always waste money, yet we clamour for them to have even more of our money and grow even larger so they can waste money on even more ridiculous things.

Victims – This is harsh, but many of the victims brought much of this on themselves. They refused to take action to prepare or help their families. Many could have left, but chose to stay and risk it. Then they blamed the federal government for not acting fast enough. There is something called personal responsibility. I don’t expect the government to save me everytime something bad happens. We cannot (and should not) rely on the government to protect us from tragedy.

Con-artists – Speaking of personal responsibility, these are the ones most responsible for the waste of the money. They scammed the government, trying to help people in need. The government, in turn, should do everything in their power to track these people down and punish them for their crime.

As a nation, we simply cannot sustain the cost of paying millions of dollars to everyone who suffers a tragedy. The federal government is a horrible charity. There are much better charities, who handle funds much more efficiently.

Besides, we don’t help everyone who suffers a natural disaster, only those that make the national news and cause a political uproar. FEMA doesn’t rush out to give thousands to the guy whose house burns down. He is just as much without a house as those in New Orleans, but he won’t get a FEMA trailer, a debit card and national sympathy, nor should he.

If I was in that situation, would I want those things? I probably wouldn’t turn them down, but that doesn’t mean I deserve them or am entitled to them.

As a nation we have got to relearn the concept of personal responsibility. If you want to debate the fact that the government should or should not be a first-responder charity, you can, but it cannot be debated that the federal government will always, no matter who is in power, do a horrible job at it.

Again, whether they should have to or not, the reality is that victims will have to take care of themselves in the first few days after a natural disaster. That should be the lesson of Katrina – don’t rely on the government, take care of yourself.