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Don't let liberal/Democrat interests fool you about Katrina flooding

While its clear many that many parties – federal elected officials, state and local politicians, and certain environmental interests – had to collaborate in order to leave New Orleans vulnerable to Hurricane Katrina flooding, one thing all share is that they almost exclusively were Louisianans, and almost all political liberals and/or partisan Democrats, from decades ago until now.

As a result, some have an interest in trying to widen the circle of blame because these Louisianans represent almost exclusively liberal and Democrat political interests. There’s occasionally a Republican like Sen. David Vitter who as a member of the House of Representatives should have been more forceful about steering money to flood control projects, or a Gov. Mike Foster who continued to allow political hacks to serve on the Orleans Levee District board. And, liberals are always quick to assert, Pres. George W. Bush is responsible for everything bad in the world, including hurricanes, but, more specifically here, it is argued that he didn’t pay enough attention to coastal restoration efforts.

But let us not ignore the causal chain to explain the lack of sufficient effort to prevent this flooding. It began at, and was driven by, Louisiana Democrats and liberals. At the state and local level, they were the ones who did not push their federal elected officials for more and better protection. They were the ones who refused to find money to pay for it. Their cohorts elected to federal office collected far more money per capita in Army Corps of Engineers projects than any other state yet typically spent only about 1 percent of that on flood control projects (and much more on dubious “economic development” projects).

They behaved this way because their ideology is all about taking as much money as possible earned by others (minimizing the use of their own resources as much as possible) and redistributing it in order to win votes and to accrue power. While all politicians face this temptation, at least true conservatives (typically Republicans) follow a philosophy that urges them to minimize government coercion to abscond with the people’s resources. With a much smaller pot of money to distribute, it’s much easier to follow the principle of deploying it where it is needed, not to use it as a leveling tool.

This situation is best described by the analogy of a drowning person with another standing by clutching a life preserver. No matter how the person got into the floundering situation, the other should toss the flotation device to save him. But just because it was through the victim’s own negligence that got him in deep water to begin with it does not follow that the other, who could have used much more forceful means to prevent him from placing himself at risk, bears as much or even a fraction of the blame for his predicament as the one needing rescuing.

Partisans on the left will attempt to obfuscate the root causes of the thinking behind the decisions, grounded in liberalism and populism, that created the situation of flooding around New Orleans by claiming the causes were nonpartisan, but do not be fooled for a minute by that tactic. Following the dictates of their ideology was necessary for the disaster to happen.

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