In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

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. 19, 2005 / 15 Elul, 5765

Bush's pledge to rebuild New Orleans is an error

By Robert Robb

Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | In pledging to rebuild an even better New Orleans on Thursday night, President Bush confused what is admirable in an individual with what is responsible for the leader of a national government.

In his national address, Bush cited a New Orleans resident who, when asked whether he was going to relocate, said: "Naw, I will rebuild, but I will build higher."

We can all admire, and be inspired by, such determination not to give in to adversity. G-d bless him and all those who, through individual initiative and will, want to recreate and even improve on what they had, where they had it, before Katrina swept it away.

But Bush is not pledging his own resources to rebuild a better New Orleans. He's pledging the resources of the national government, and that's another matter.

While purebred libertarians may cavil, most Americans would agree that the national government should assume responsibility for helping the Katrina evacuees get back on their feet.

To restart their lives, what the evacuees need most of all is money. Giving all evacuee families the median American family income for a year would cost in the range of $10 billion to $20 billion. The federal government could also waive the Medicaid eligibility requirements and pick up the full cost of covering evacuee families for a year.

So, at a cost that would be a fraction of the numbers being batted around in Washington, evacuees could be given a full year's head start on a new life with all the basics — shelter, food, clothing and health care — covered and a standard of living equal to or better than that of the average American. And that's excluding any resources provided by insurance, the claim losses for which are being estimated at around $60 billion.

As a practical matter, the federal government also needs to take responsibility for the hurricane cleanup and ensuring that there are no lingering health hazards before rehabitation.

But that's pretty much where the responsibility of the federal government should end. The extent to which, and how, New Orleans is rebuilt and reinhabited should be driven by private decisions and investments and by state and local governments.

Bush, however, believes that the federal government should not only pick up most of the cost of reconstruction but drive private capital there as well. He proposes that businesses in the affected region get tax breaks and financing not available to businesses elsewhere.

The effect of this will be to redirect private capital that otherwise would be deployed in other locations. But why should the federal government prefer economic activity in this region to economic activity elsewhere, particularly in places where it might not be as much at risk of destruction from a natural disaster?

It's also clear that Bush wants to turn reconstruction into a social welfare project of sorts. He said a rebuilt New Orleans should have more minority-owned businesses and more owner-occupied housing rather than rentals.

The implication was that it would be the federal government's responsibility to make it so. Indeed, he proposed special financing for minority businesses and free land for owner-occupied, low-income housing.

Now, urban poverty is a big national problem. But it was not caused by Katrina, nor is it limited to areas that Katrina devastated.

Obviously it makes no sense to rebuild New Orleans and leave it vulnerable to being washed away again. Bush, however, was vague about whose responsibility that would be, suggesting that it would be shared between state and local officials and the federal government. But it was just that sort of divided responsibility that left New Orleans excessively exposed this time.

The claim is made that Bush is being driven by politics, needing to show command in the aftermath of an initial response to Katrina by the federal government that is widely regarded as sluggish and inadequate. I don't know whether it's that or Bush's anthropomorphic view of government as possessing, and needing to exhibit, human virtues.

Regardless, he's leading the national government in the wrong direction. The focus should be on helping people and cleaning up the mess. The rebirth and renewal of New Orleans and the more broadly affected Gulf region should be left to the organic processes of a free people.

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.

JWR contributor Robert Robb is a columnist for The Arizona Republic. Comment by clicking here.

Robert Robb Archives

© 2005, The Arizona Republic