Thursday, September 08, 2005

The blame begins to spread - PORK!

The Washington Post has finally begun to do some digging and what they found comes as no surprise whatsoever. Exactly as predicted in this somewhat strident post, the fault for the destruction of New Orleans, the poor preparation and the slow response lies with the system. And who is the system? It is we, the people. I has met the enemy and he is us, to paraphrase Pogo slightly.

Louisiana has received more money than any other state, more than California which is 7 times larger, for public works projects. Where did much of the money go? It went where the Louisiana politicians wanted it to go. To pet projects having nothing to do with flood control or the protection of its citizenry - bacon . . . pork.

As to the squealing from the Democrats and the lefties blaming Bush for all of this, WaPo reports,
But overall, the Bush administration's funding requests for the key New Orleans flood-control projects for the past five years were slightly higher than the Clinton administration's for its past five years.

Overall, Army Corps funding has remained relatively constant for decades, despite the "Program Growth Initiative" launched by agency generals in 1999 without telling their civilian bosses in the Clinton administration. The Bush administration has proposed cuts in the Corps budget, and has tried to shift the agency's emphasis from new construction to overdue maintenance. But most of those proposals have died quietly on Capitol Hill, and the administration has not fought too hard to revive them.

In fact, more than any other federal agency, the Corps is controlled by Congress; its $4.7 billion civil works budget consists almost entirely of "earmarks" inserted by individual legislators.
This defense by former Democratic senator John Breaux is laughable in hindsight:
"We thought all the projects were important -- not just levees," Breaux said. "Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but navigation projects were critical to our economic survival."
What is the economic outlook for Louisiana and New Orleans, now, former Senator John Breaux?

And as for the citizens of Louisiana blaming the politicians? Says Pam Dashiell, a teacher and protester against a lock project,
Our politicians never cared half as much about protecting us as they cared about pork.
And what is pork, Ms. Dashiell? It's pet projects by legislators in the Congress to get money diverted from worthwhile projects elsewhere. And who receives the benefits of the pork? The citizens of the area receiving the money in jobs and infrastructure and the politicians who count on receiving the votes from those grateful citizens.

Who has elected and reelected these politicians for decades? Who was unaware that the city, the parishes, the state, the city police, the Levee Board and just about every facet of Louisiana and New Orleans politics were not, are not and have not been for over a century just about the most corrupt in the nation? Hell, I knew that and I live 3000 miles from Graceland.

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