Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Welfare State Failed New Orleans's Poor

Hat tip to CigarJoe
See LBJ's Other Quagmire by Brendan Miniter in Tuesday, September 13, 2005 Wall Street Journal Opinion Journal

“the national debate now under way in the wake of the most devastating hurricane to hit the U.S. in decades ...why tens of thousands of poor people were left behind to fend for themselves in a flooding city. Liberals are now blaming small-government conservatism for cutting "antipoverty" programs. The lyrics are still being written, but the refrain for this ditty is a familiar one: Small government conservatives did it to us again.”

“There is, however, another explanation: The welfare state failed the residents of the Lower Ninth Ward and other flooded New Orleans neighborhoods long before the levees gave way. Large swaths of the city were mired in poverty for decades. One out of four New Orleans residents was living below the poverty line, and tens of thousands of people were living in public housing. These are the people who were left behind in the flood and who have long been left behind by failing schools, lack of economic opportunity, and crime well above the national average.”

“For decades city, state and federal officials poured good money after bad into public housing and other programs. It's reasonable to surmise that Sen. Kennedy is correct about those who wanted to leave: Most people who could arrange for their own transportation got out of harm's way; those who depended on the government (and public transportation) were left for days to the mercy of armed thugs at the Superdome and Convention Center. It was an extreme example of what the welfare state has done to the poor for decades: use the promise of food, shelter and other necessities to lure most of the poor to a few central points and then leave them stranded and nearly helpless.”

“In late August the levees broke in New Orleans. But the welfare state had left the poor stuck in the mud long before that.”

See Prior Posts:
Environmentalist Lawsuit Blocked Storm Gates to Protect New Orleans
Tim Russert Interviews New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin
Laguna Beach Bluebird Canyon Slide Deserves Federal Disaster Aid
Help Victims of Hurricane Katrina


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