Monday, September 19, 2005

The Gulf Coast will be a Laboratory for the Bushian Vision

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/18/opinion/18brooks.html

But in policy terms, the speech pushed the journey toward Bushian conservatism into high gear. The Gulf Coast will be a laboratory for the Bushian vision of energetic but not domineering government.

Bush proposed an Urban Homestead Act, which will draw enterprising people to the area, giving them an opportunity to own property so long as they're willing to work with private agencies to put up their own homes. He proposed individual job training accounts, so much of the rebuilding work can be done by former residents. Children who have left flooded areas will find themselves in a proto-school-choice program, with education dollars strapped to each individual child.

This is an effort to transform the gulf region, which had become a disaster zone of urban liberalism. All around the South, cities are booming, but New Orleans never did. All around the country, crime was dropping, but in New Orleans it was rising. Immigrants were flowing across the land in search of opportunity, but as Joel Kotkin has observed, few were interested in New Orleans.

Now the Bush administration is trying to change all that. That means trying to get around the corruption that made the city such a rotten place to do business. The White House is trying to do this by devising programs in which checks and benefits flow directly to recipients, not through local agencies.

That means challenging the reigning assumptions. Right now the White House is fighting with Louisiana over where to house evacuees. The state wants to put temporary trailer parks on faraway military bases, where there are no jobs and where they will live in "abject dependency," as one senior White House official puts it. The Bush folks want to put temporary housing within a mile of the original neighborhoods so people can become self-sufficient as quickly as possible.
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places will be in shambles by the time the Bush crew leaves office?"

The Storm That Ate the GOP --Who will pity the soulless Republican Party now that Katrina is mauling their regime? By Mark Morford 14 Sep 2005 "Hell, the oil companies are as giddy as schoolgirls at being able to falsely jack up prices to over whopping 70 bucks a barrel, despite a recent (temporary) glut of supply. Halliburton is squealing like Jenna Bush at a kegger at scoring the contract to help rebuild New Orleans' infrastructure thanks to the fact that the former head of FEMA is now a Halliburton lobbyist, and the GOP plan to decimate FEMA and militarize emergency efforts is going -- pardon the pun -- swimmingly."

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