Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Pork and bureaucracy kill New Orleans, plus the "quote of the day"

John Stossel has a great column on how government bureaucracy and pork screwed New Orleans, both before and after Hurricane Katrina. Please read the column, though if you read nothing else, read his quote below (emphasized):
The deadliest government mistake was made by Congress. The Army Corps of Engineers had said it wanted $27 million to strengthen the levees protecting New Orleans. Congress said no, though our can't-spend-your-money-fast-enough representatives did appropriate more than that for an indoor rain forest in Iowa.

Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu, a Democrat, blamed the president. "The president could have funded it," she said.

Someday, she should read the Constitution. Only Congress can appropriate federal money.
She's only a Senator, and a Democratic one at is she supposed to know about the Constitution? "Someday she should read the Constitution"...that's classic! :-)

Former Louisiana senator John Breaux also told me the state never got what it asked for. "I'm part of the effort to try and get more money, and many times we were not successful," he complained.

But, surprise! It turns out Louisiana got lots of money for Corps of Engineers projects -- hundreds of millions of dollars more than any other state. Congress just spent it on pork projects instead of on the levees.

I confronted Breaux about his own state's pork, such as subsidies for ship builders and the sugar industry.

"I object to you using words like squander and pork," he said. "What is pork in one part of the country is an essential project in another part."
My, my, my...touchy, ain't he? At the time he was lining the pockets of Louisiana sugar barons and shipyard magnates, he wasn't prioritizing the funding of his state's levees over the aforementioned special interests.

But fear was Bush's fault. Yes, these "cuts" to the levee spending could not have been offset by...oh, I don't know...not subsidizing the LA business community? Breaux's and Landrieu's short-sightedness are undoubtedly Bush's fault.