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Monday, September 19, 2005

A New Deal for New Orleans?

In his speech to the nation from Jackson Square in storm ravaged New Orleans, President Bush outlined a new deal for New Orleans. It's a mix of massive federal spending, combined with ideas, some new, others old but untested, for economic and social rebirth of the once great city on the Mississippi.

It is the largest single immediate federal undertaking in many years. Spending may outrank even the periodic payouts to wage war and rebuild Iraq. All in one shot.

The number of deaths as a result of the storm was dramatically less than the hysterical statements of New Orleans' Mayor Nagin, repeated breathlessly by the media. The final count may be closer to the death toll in the 1995 Chicago heatwave, which also claimed it's victims from the ranks of the poor, minority and senior citizen population.

With sections of the city reopening this week, and access to more heavily damaged sections improving as the water is finally pumped out, we will soon have a better understanding of the full scope of the disaster and urgent and long term needs that must be addressed.

From preliminary reports it seems pretty clear that the poorest sections of New Orleans are going to need the most help. Businesses in the downtown and historic French Quarter were less impacted and with insurance and the other resources available to them, they will succeed in rebuilding that economic infrastructure with minimal federal assistance.

But those who lost everything, were those who had little to begin with and little if any resources available to assist their recovery. These are the folks we should focus on and the outpouring of support from the nation has been heartwarming. Perfect strangers offering to take Katrina survivors into their homes and communities. Providing more than a helping hand with food, clothing and shelter, many kind souls offer a personal connection to new communities and hope.

But for those who wish to return to New Orleans, we need a New Deal.

It won't be enough to simply hand over billions of dollars to the same corrupt political machine which left the poor trapped in poverty. A commenter at Flopping Aces referred to the poor blacks in New Orleans and elsewhere as the Palestinians of America. Used by that cadre of Democrat race pimps and poverty pushers who lined their own pockets at the expense of the poor. Keep that in mind next time Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton shows up in a limousine, checks into a five star hotel then proceeds to the press conference to be surrounded by the poor and the downtrodden.



Two hundred billion dollars for revitalizing the area won't be enough to solve the problems created by decades of corrupt Democrat control of New Orleans and Louisiana. Should we simply hand a blank check to a Mayor who failed to implement his cities own plan to care for these poorest citizens who are now most in need? And the federal officials like Congressman William Jefferson and Senator Landrieu and the Louisiana political establishment that for years has failed to address the needs of this community as they pursued other goals. Can it be business as usual with those folks?

The key question here is will we be able to give the poorest residents of New Orleans a new deal and a new start if we simply hand over money and power to those who have proven that the interests of the poor is secondary to other political considerations?


In the past, President Bush has shown a propensity to compromise with the left. He has yet to veto a single bill coming out of congress. But handing a blank check to those who have failed to solve the problems, will only return New Orleans to business as usual where the poor are concerned. And that's not good enough!

The responsibility for a successful revitalizing of New Orleans has been placed solely on the shoulders of President Bush. Yet, if he is to succeed, he will also have to possess the lion's share of authority to do the job the way he sees fit. That of course will upset the race and poverty pimps and the corrupt New Orleans politicos currently salivating at the prospect of rewarding their friends with fat new contracts funded by taxpayer dollars.

But we as citizens, have an obligation to do more than offer another round of false promises. The political battle to decide whether a new vision for New Orleans is possible is just beginning.

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