Why wasn’t more preventive action taken? After 2003 the Army Corps of Engineers sharply slowed its flood-control work, including work on sinking levees. “The corps,” an Editor and Publisher article says, citing a series of articles in The Times-Picayune in New Orleans, “never tried to hide the fact that the spending pressures of the war in Iraq, as well as homeland security – coming at the same time as federal tax cuts – was the reason for the strain.”
In 2002 the corps’ chief resigned, reportedly under threat of being fired, after he criticized the administration’s proposed cuts in the corps’ budget, including flood-control spending.
–Paul Krugman in The New York Times, Sept. 2