Maybe I would be happy if I owned Carnival stock

But as it comes time to do my taxes, I get more and more sensitive about bad spending decisions by our government.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency-contracted cruise ships still occupied by emergency staff in New Orleans and Mississippi will be vacated by 7 p.m. today.

As of Monday, there were still 1,428 emergency response personnel in New Orleans on two Carnival cruise ships…

The $236 million contract between FEMA and Carnival cruise lines only lasted for six months. Originally there were about 2,400 police officers, firefighters and EMS workers on the ships in New Orleans. link [dailytexanonline.com]

Let’s run some quick numbers here. $236 million / six months = 1,311,111 per night; divided by an average of, say, 2000 relief workers = $655 a night.

By comparison, you can stay at the Waldorf in New York for $549 a night. This is a pretty bad deal, FEMA.

As I was looking for pictures of cruise ships docked in New Orleans, I found the Honolulu Advertiser’s take on this whole debacle.

To critics, the price is exorbitant. If the ships were at capacity, with 7,116 evacuees, for six months, the price per evacuee would total $1,275 a week, according to calculations by aides to Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla. A seven-day western Caribbean cruise out of Galveston can be had for $599 a person.

“When the federal government would actually save millions of dollars by forgoing the status quo and actually sending evacuees on a luxurious six-month cruise, it is time to rethink how we are conducting oversight. A short-term temporary solution has turned into a long-term, grossly overpriced sweetheart deal for a cruise line,” said Coburn and Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., in a joint statement yesterday calling for a chief financial officer to oversee Katrina spending.

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