Home
In this issue
April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Sept. 20, 2005 / 16 Elul, 5765

Throwing cash, kindness in Katrina's wake

By Clarence Page


Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | In his national address on Hurricane Katrina recovery efforts, President Bush took an artful shot at the always-touchy topic of race. He managed to talk about it without really talking about it.

By my computer-assisted count, he did mention "minority" twice in his text, each time as part of "minority-owned."

And he mentioned "racial discrimination" once, but only as a historical artifact, not a current fact.

And he mentioned "poverty" four times in a context that joined it to racial discrimination and minority ownership, which inadvertently, I am sure, made poverty sound as though it were a problem only for blacks.

"As all of us saw on television, there's also some deep, persistent poverty in this region, as well," he said. "That poverty has roots in a history of racial discrimination, which cut off generations from the opportunity of America. We have a duty to confront this poverty with bold action. So let us restore all that we have cherished from yesterday, and let us rise above the legacy of inequality. When the streets are rebuilt, there should be many new businesses, including minority--owned businesses, along those streets. When the houses are rebuilt, more families should own, not rent, those houses. When the regional economy revives, local people should be prepared for the jobs being created…."

"… Tonight I propose the creation of a Gulf Opportunity Zone, encompassing the region of the disaster in Louisiana and Mississippi and Alabama. Within this zone, we should provide immediate incentives for job-creating investment, tax relief for small businesses, incentives to companies that create jobs, and loans and loan guarantees for small businesses, including minority-owned enterprises, to get them up and running again. It is entrepreneurship that creates jobs and opportunity; it is entrepreneurship that helps break the cycle of poverty ; and we will take the side of entrepreneurs as they lead the economic revival of the Gulf region."

But, I actually liked the speech, if for no other reason than its attempt to grapple with race and poverty, two subjects that get too little attention until a catastrophe like Katrina comes along.

Bush could have avoided talking about race and poverty were his approval ratings not being dragged down to record lows, partly by a widespread perception that he doesn't care enough about the poor black people who Katrina left stranded in New Orleans. Although the mayor and governor deserve part of the blame, too, even Bush's own voters were questioning his slow response to this major catastrophe.

So he responded by doing what conservatives usually ridicule in liberals: He opened up the government's wallet to a wish list of projects that may total more than $200 billion, the most expensive government relief and reconstruction operation in U.S. history.

Maybe the Beatles were wrong. Maybe money can buy you love. President Bush seems to hope so.

But will his ideas to help poor people rebuild their lives really work? Some show more promise than others.

In fact, the President does not have to try to imitate his idea of how liberals behave in order to come up with good ideas to help poor Americans to improve their lives.

Some of the market-friendly conservative ideas on his current agenda show a lot of promise in helping poor folks to rebuild their lives, whether in New Orleans or someplace else.

For example, nothing helps you build a better life more effectively than a good education does. Where there is available space in good schools, public or private, the government should give parents of New Orleans' 77,000 displaced public school students full tuition vouchers so they can find a better education for their children.

And, instead of jumping into a massive project to buy hundreds of thousands of new mobile homes for the displaced, offer federally-subsidized housing vouchers to help the displaced occupy whatever conventional housing is available.

Bill Clinton's administration faced a similar challenge after the 1994 Northridge earthquake in Southern California. It responded with emergency rental vouchers based on the existing Section 8 rent subsidy program. More than 10,000 of an estimated 20,000 displaced renters used the vouchers.

Section 8 receives bipartisan support partly because it helps low-income families make their own choices of neighborhoods and schools, instead of being directed into what might be new concentrations of poverty. President Bush's new proposals to offer financial help or tax-free savings accounts for job training, education and child care could similarly expand the choices available to those displaced by Katrina.

The great lasting tragedy of the victims of Hurricane Katrina is how many of them remain homeless, weeks after the big storm, clinging to slim hopes and desperate for help. Government at all levels failed to help them when Katrina struck. If government helps them to take charge of their own lives, they will be better prepared to take charge of their future.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Comment on Clarence Page's column by clicking here.

Archives

© 2005, TMS

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles