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Tuesday, August 29, 2006

The Real Lesson of Katrina

If Katrina had hit vanilla Orange County instead chocolate New Orleans, the damage would have been repaired in a matter of weeks. We've all heard this charge from the usual demagogues who make solid livings lighting and throwing the racial equivalent of gasoline in Coke bottles, ducking for cover and hoping to scorch as much ground as possible, always in the name of social justice, sensitivity, and, oh yeah, respect for diversity. From the pulpit of a Harlem church, Mrs. Bill Clinton offers this gem: "Our leadership has turned its back on those people who still need us." This from the co-president of an administration whose idea of compassion was to determine that not quite enough chocolate (Mayor Nagin's festive term) Rwandans had been genocidally bludgeoned to death to justify U.S. intervention. By contrast, the scope of government aid to Katrina-ravaged America is without precedent. "Staggering" is not too strong a word for the breadth of the aid, nor for the sheer waste; the two are nearly synonymous. And is any sane observer surprised to learn there's still no local recovery plan in place a year later in the swamp of cronyism and dependency known as New Orleans? The Wall Street Journal's account of why "post-Katrina spend-fest in Louisiana will be remembered as one of the greatest taxpayer wastes in U.S. history" is a sobering reminder that Ronald Reagan got it exactly right when he declared, "The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, 'I'm from the government and I'm here to help.'"