Stories of post-Katrina stupidity and wastefulness come in bursts, and the government's own incompetence is compounded by the seemingly limitless greed and dishonesty of Katrina victims as a group. (I'm sure there are many honest Katrina victims, but they're sure overshadowed by the fraudsters who stole taxpayer money and the bums who are still living in government housing.)

The Federal Emergency Management Administration has determined nearly 70,000 Louisiana households improperly received $309.1 million in grants, and officials acknowledge those numbers are likely to grow.

In the chaotic period after two deadly hurricanes, Katrina and Rita, slammed the Gulf Coast in 2005 - Katrina making landfall in late August, followed by Rita in late September - federal officials scrambled to provide help in hard-hit areas such as submerged neighborhoods near the French Quarter.

But an Associated Press analysis of government data obtained under the federal Freedom of Information Act suggests the government might not have been careful enough with its checkbook as it gave out nearly $5.3 billion in aid to storm victims. The analysis found the government regularly gave money to more homes in some neighborhoods than the number of homes that actually existed.

The pattern was repeated in nearly 100 neighborhoods damaged by the hurricanes. At least 162,750 homes that didn't exist before the storms may have received a total of more than $1 billion in improper or illegal payments, the AP found.

Blaming the government for incompetence is easy and right, but we shouldn't hesitate to condemn the fraudsters who stole our money in the name of victimhood.

Western Missouri and Oklahoma have been without power for weeks and buried under ice, and yet the residents of those areas are somehow managing without FEMA or fat government checks. Maybe the people of Louisiana could learn a lesson by turning their gaze northward.

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