Did You Really Expect Anything Else?
The Washington Post begins thus:
“President Bush, summoning the American spirit and"a faith in God no storm can take away," vowed from the heart of the Hurricane Katrina disaster zone Thursday night to rebuild this devastated city and the rest of the Gulf Coast with"one of the largest reconstruction efforts the world has ever seen."
“In a prime-time address televised from the storm-battered French Quarter, the president appeared without coat and tie to promise help for hundreds of thousands of victims to rebuild their lives with unprecedented federal assistance to secure a home, a job, health care and schooling.
“"You need to know," he said, directly addressing the dislocated and desperate,"that our whole nation cares about you, and in the journey ahead you are not alone. . . . And tonight I also offer this pledge of the American people: Throughout the area hit by the hurricane, we will do what it takes, we will stay as long as it takes, to help citizens rebuild their communities and their lives."”
They will stay your lifetime and the lifetime of your children. Your wallets will be picked by the federal government for the next two generations. And, if you wish to alleviate the pain, buy a portfolio of stocks in the construction industry.
“Although he cited no price tag, the president committed the nation to a plan that officials and lawmakers believe could top $200 billion, roughly the cost of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars combined, and is certain to reorient government and the remainder of the Bush presidency. It will create much larger deficits in the short-term, siphon off money that would have been spent on other programs and dramatically shift the focus of the White House, Congress and many state governments for the foreseeable future.”
Prepare for few or no future tax cuts.
“While he embraced a big-spending program the scale of which few liberal presidents have ever advanced, Bush also signaled plans to use the reconstruction to enact long-term conservative goals. Adopting a policy option typically used in much smaller scale, he proposed creation of a Gulf Opportunity Zone that would grant new and existing businesses a variety of tax breaks, loans and loan guarantees through 2007. And in documents released before the speech, Bush called for displaced families who send their children to private schools, including religious ones, to get federal money.”
Well, that’s all right then. None of this one-size-fits-all welfare that creates a dependency culture but targeted programs that use market mechanisms to, err, create a different sort of dependency culture. Market liberals everywhere should rejoice. To be alive at this very hour is bliss!
Of course, free-market Republicans will tell us how much worse it would be if the Democrats were in power:
“"The families in the Gulf . . . certainly don't need to hear another speech from President Bush," Senate Minority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) said."What they need is leadership. . . . Let's be clear about what Katrina was: a failure of leadership." Reid called for"an American Marshall Plan" to rebuild the Gulf Coast and accused Republicans of balking at even greater spending on health, housing and education for victims.
“As he did on Tuesday, Bush accepted accountability:"Four years after the frightening experience of September 11th, Americans have every right to expect a more effective response in a time of emergency. When the federal government fails to meet such an obligation, I as president am responsible for the problem, and for the solution."”
In an earlier era, accepting accountability in a situation like this might have meant resignation. But, of course, these days, no president resigns for such a reason. GWB just goes on and on—spending our money to try and bail himself out from the swamp into which he has climbed.
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Common Sense - 9/17/2005
As the top Republican, Bush knows his initial response damaged the party. Now he is buying votes for the mid-term election and the GOP nominee (Jeb?) in 2008. Nothing new there.
I am pleased that GWB finally admitted to (gasp!) making a mistake. A giant leap for a very small man.