Liberally Conservative

"Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men were free....... ~Ronald Reagan~

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Answering the "Progressives" with LBJ's other Quagmire

Brendan Miniter in "LBJ's other Quagmire" provides an answer to critics and blame artists in Opinion Journal. We've said as much here in the Attic but it's nice to hear it elsewhere.
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Miniter begins with Ted Kennedy's quote in the aftermath of Katrina:
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"What the American people have seen in this incredible disparity in which those people who had cars and money got out, and those people who were impoverished died."
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Mr. Miniter argues:
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That debate has so far largely focused on race and class to explain why tens of thousands of poor people were left behind to fend for themselves in a flooding city. Liberals are now blaming small-government conservatism for cutting "antipoverty" programs.
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There is, however, another explanation: The welfare state failed the residents of the Lower Ninth Ward and other flooded New Orleans neighborhoods long before the levees gave way. And it also explains the role Mayor Ray Nagin and Gov. Kathleen Blanco--both Democrats--played in leaving mostly poor, minority citizens in a city that was clearly descending into chaos.
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One out of four New Orleans residents was living below the poverty line, and tens of thousands of people were living in public housing. These are the people who were left behind in the flood and who have long been left behind by failing schools, lack of economic opportunity, and crime well above the national average.
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It was an extreme example of what the welfare state has done to the poor for decades: use the promise of food, shelter and other necessities to lure most of the poor to a few central points and then leave them stranded and nearly helpless.
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This isn't a failure of President Bush's compassionate conservatism. Nor is it evidence that Ronald Reagan's philosophy of smaller government is fatally flawed. If LBJ had won his war on poverty, Ninth Ward residents would have had the means to drive themselves out of New Orleans. Instead, after decades and billions of tax dollars have been poured into big government programs, one out of four people in the Big Easy were still poor. That is an indictment of the welfare state and all its antipoverty programs.
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Now for the most recent proposal, a 25,000 unit trailer park in Louisiana which will house evacuees up to five (5) years. More good U.S. taxpayer money chasing bad. The cycle continues because the mindset hasn't changed.

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