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Democrats to blame for impeding LA recovery dollars

More than two years past, liberal elites continue trying to impose a template on the “after Katrina” story that simply does not match reality, if a Washington Post editorial is taken to be indicative.

The newspaper essentially blames Republican Pres. George W. Bush for foot-dragging on providing recovery dollars for Louisiana, citing as a recent example the Road Home shortfall. In doing so, it ignores a few facts.

First, progress was slow because Democrat Gov. Kathleen Blanco couldn’t get her act together. By the beginning of 2006 plenty of federal recovery bucks were waiting to be used. Instead, because first she supported an entirely unrealistic $250 billion level, then because she pinned her hopes on the flawed “Baker plan,” the cumbersome Road Home program didn’t get up and running until the second half of 2006 and has been plagued by inefficiency since. In the meantime, GO Zone lending and granting had been authorized providing potentially large infusions for commercial applications of which many have taken advantage.

Second, the reason the Road Home shortfall exists is because of deliberate actions by Blanco’s administration. The federal government set down one set of rules about who would qualify for what money if federal dollars were going to it, yet the Blanco Administration disregarded them and without permission vastly expanded the program. This put Washington over a barrel: either cough up additional money or be made to look unfair and have eligible people under the proper rules not receive promised funding. For political purposes, Blanco tricked the federal government and the American taxpayer out of billions.

Finally, it’s difficult to blame Bush for perceived funding shortages in the past year because of his reduced leverage over a Democrat-led Congress. Not one bill specifically designed to address the Road Home gap or any additional funding has even been allowed to come to the floor by the Democrats. It smacks of intellectual dishonesty to give Democrats a pass on this when they’ve been the ones who have refused to date to give additional funds, and instead to try to fob that off on the White House.

The editorial essentially wishes Republican incoming Gov. Bobby Jindal luck in getting the recovery going but entirely misidentified the problem. It’s not Bush impeding things, it’s the past mistakes of Blanco as well as a culture of dependency and a too-prevalent belief that government exists to acquire and transfer wealth rather than facilitate its creation. But understanding the true causes of a slow recovery would violate the “blame Bush and/or GOP” script.

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