Thursday, November 03, 2005

Louisiana Looting

The debate is on. It started with a Washington Post Editorial (2005) entitled "Louisiana's Looters," and was rebutted by one of the Post’s alleged "looters," Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu. Her letter, published by New Orleans’ Times Picayune (2005) was entitled "Why Louisiana Matters."

The Post started this exchange by suggesting that "The state's representatives have come up with a request for $250 billion in federal reconstruction funds for Louisiana alone -- more than $50,000 per person in the state. This money would come on top of payouts from businesses, national charities and insurers. And it would come on top of the $62.3 billion that Congress has already appropriated for emergency relief."

After establishing the facts, the Post went on to issues of judgment and trust. "The Louisiana delegation has apparently devoted little thought to the root causes of the Hurricane Katrina disaster. New Orleans was flooded not because the Army Corps of Engineers had insufficient money to build flood protections, but because its money was allocated by a system of political patronage.

"The smart response would be to insist that, in the future, no Corps money be wasted on unworthy projects, but the Louisiana bill instead creates a mechanism by which cost-benefit analysis can be avoided.

"The smart response would be to insist that future infrastructure projects be subject to careful environmental review. But the Louisiana delegation's bill would suspend the environmental review process."

Calling the request "preposterous," the Post expressed concern that "the risk is that the administration and congressional leaders will accept the $250 billion as a starting point, then declare a victory for fiscal sanity when they bring the number down to, say, $150 billion."

Landrieu’s rebuttal began by suggesting that the Post editorial "displayed a profound ignorance of the regional and national miscalculation of this national disaster… an entire region vital to our national energy supply, security and commerce has been devastated."

Showing a far broader concept of reconstruction, Landrieu asserted that we must "build a better education system in the region, … a better health care system in New Orleans and throughout south Louisiana," … and "provide the infrastructure and appropriate incentives for businesses and industry that are positioned to accept the risk of reopening their doors amid their unprecedented losses and the destruction around them."

Landrieu concludes by saying that "Louisiana will be rebuilt by Louisianians. New Orleans will be rebuilt by New Orleanians. And the rest of southern Louisiana will be rebuilt under the leadership of the people who call it home."

Landrieu, Mary L. “Why Louisiana Matters.” Times Picayune. Accessed October 3, 2005.

Washington Post Editorial. “Louisiana’s Looters.” September 27, 2005.

Signature

jbv's Competitive Edge 

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