resident Bush's advisers insist that he's not abandoning conservatism in his commitment to rebuild the Gulf Coast. But a mark of conservative thinking is properly identifying problems before dedicating billions to solving them. The president hasn't done that in New Orleans. Instead, in his September 15 speech from Jackson Square, Bush vowed to combat "poverty"-a foe that cities and the feds have never conquered in their long war against urban decay.
In the language of Lyndon Johnson, Bush ascribed the violence and desperation Americans saw in New Orleans in the days after Hurricane Katrina to "deep, persistent poverty in this region. . . . That poverty has roots in a history of racial discrimination, which cut off generations from the opportunity of America." The president then issued a call to the nation: "We have a duty to confront this poverty with bold action. . . . Let us rise above the legacy of inequality."
But amorphous talk about poverty, racism, and inequality won't help New Orleans rebuild. New Orleans has two more pressing-and much simpler-problems that need fixing right now.
The first is obvious: "Gulf Opportunity Zone" or no, businesses won't invest in New Orleans again, and workers won't live there again, unless the government protects the city with the best flood barriers that technology and money can provide. This job is hard-but civil engineering actually works, unlike the social engineering that Bush has invited with his lament about urban Southern poverty.
The second job is less obvious. New Orleans's immutable civic shame, before and after Katrina, is not racism, poverty, or inequality, but murder-a culture of murder so vicious and so pervasive that it terrorizes and numbs the whole city...
Much more at the link, and it's recommended.