PDA

View Full Version : Liberals & Conservatives Hitch Wagons to Recovery



SnakebyteXX
09-26-2005, 06:35 AM
By Ronald Brownstein, Times Staff Writer


WASHINGTON — Both Democrats and Republicans increasingly view the battered landscape of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast as a giant laboratory for testing their competing domestic policy agendas.

Politicians and policy advocates across the ideological spectrum — John Edwards and Newt Gingrich, the Sierra Club and the Wall Street Journal editorial page — are trying to jump-start new ideas, and revive old ones, by linking them to the massive post-Katrina reconstruction.

For Republicans, the proposals include initiatives such as tax cuts for business, education aid that would follow students to private schools and the relaxation of federal environmental regulations.

For Democrats, the priorities include expanded housing assistance for the needy, more generous income support for the working poor and new efforts to promote renewable energy and mass transit.

What both sides share is that they see the massive reconstruction as a way to demonstrate the value of programs they hope will be adopted nationwide.

"It is once in a generation that an opportunity like this comes along, where the status quo is called into question and where the policy community and Congress can look at it, change it and improve it," said Michael Franc, vice president for government relations at the conservative Heritage Foundation. "Given how hard it is to change that status quo … every policy organization, every think-tanker, every ex-Cabinet officer is going to have a vision, and even a plan, of what we should be doing."

Most observers agree the reconstruction challenge — and the enormous federal spending it will trigger — offers an unusual chance to test new thinking on problems such as poverty, racial segregation, education, environmental protection and urban planning. But many caution that both parties could face a backlash if they allow philosophical disputes to slow practical responses to the region's problems — or seek to impose rigid ideological specifications on its rebuilding.

"You have a unique opportunity here for the first time to rebuild an American city," said former Sen. John B. Breaux (D-La.). "That means not just the buildings have to be rebuilt, but you have to address the problems of race and poverty and culture…. But New Orleans and the South [are] not going to go through the second Reconstruction, where the federal government comes down and says 'This is what we want you to look like.' "

Each side has accused the other of exploiting the tragedy to revive ideas it could not advance otherwise. Yet each side also believes the recovery effort is likely to provide the most powerful engine to advance domestic policy initiatives through at least 2008.

"Both sides of the spectrum are really going to use the opportunity provided by Katrina to really begin to test some ideas that they otherwise couldn't test," said Leon E. Panetta, former chief of staff for President Clinton.

In some instances, advocates appear to be reaching in an attempt to attach their platforms to the reconstruction challenge.

The liberal Campaign for America's Future recently declared that Congress "should repeal the recently passed bankruptcy bill to help families struggling with disasters."

Similarly, the libertarian Cato Institute said the images of destitution in New Orleans demonstrated the need for President Bush's private investment accounts under Social Security because "asset accumulation plays a vital role in escaping poverty."

Most proposals in the hurricane's aftermath, however, seem to blend a genuine attempt to think creatively about the response with a desire to establish precedents that could shape national policies later on.

Republicans have emphasized the long-standing party goals of reducing taxes and regulation, as well as Bush's vision of an "ownership society."

The plan Bush unveiled in New Orleans this month centered on a Gulf Opportunity Zone that would promote economic recovery through tax breaks for employers. He also proposed an "urban homesteading" plan that would allow poor families to build homes on vacant federal properties — a new twist on the homeownership initiatives that have been a hallmark of his domestic agenda.

The Bush plan advanced another longtime Republican goal by proposing that displaced families could use education aid to pay for private, as well as public, schools.

Republicans familiar with White House thinking say Bush may offer more detail in some of these areas, particularly in ways to combat poverty. In the meantime, other conservatives are filling in the gaps.

Gingrich, the former GOP House speaker, has urged big tax cuts to spur investments and the appointment of an "entrepreneurial public manager" to direct planning and "cut red tape."

Last Wednesday, the Wall Street Journal editorial page proposed centering the recovery plan on even larger tax reductions. "Why not allow the Gulf [Coast] to operate as a laboratory for a flat tax, with an 18% [income tax] rate and no taxes whatsoever on capital investment for businesses — small and large?" the Journal wrote.

Sen. James M. Inhofe (R-Okla.), chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, and Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) proposed legislation authorizing the administration to suspend any environmental law for as long as 18 months during the cleanup. And Inhofe has suggested that he might seek to roll back citizens' ability to file lawsuits against federal projects on environmental grounds.

Among conservatives, the Heritage Foundation has produced the most detailed response. The Washington think tank calls for eliminating capital gains taxes on investments in the region; tax credits to help displaced workers purchase healthcare; creation of more charter schools in the Gulf Coast; and enlisting the private sector to operate roads, rail lines and other infrastructure "under contract with" the government.

"If these ideas are given a fair chance in New Orleans and the gulf area," the foundation's Franc said, "their popularity and success will create a momentum for expanding them elsewhere."

While denouncing almost all GOP ideas, Democrats and liberals are detailing plans that envision much more direct government involvement. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) has taken the lead in devising a proposal for a public-private Gulf Coast Redevelopment Authority that would manage the region's overall revival, from flood control to housing. Kennedy said he was modeling the idea on the Tennessee Valley Authority, which President Franklin D. Roosevelt created to revive that region during the Great Depression.

Edwards, the 2004 Democratic vice presidential candidate, last week also reached back to FDR to propose a Works Progress Administration that would employ displaced residents in the reconstruction of their communities.

And the Campaign for America's Future, an advocacy group, is promoting yet another Roosevelt precedent — a modern Civilian Conservation Corps that would employ residents to rebuild the region in a more environmentally sensitive manner.

Environmentalists view Katrina as a warning sign — and its aftermath as a testing ground. Sierra Club officials said that the loss of wetlands, which serve as natural protection against hurricanes, demonstrated the need for greater preservation.

On the liberal website TomPaine.com, one author last week proposed accelerating the use of renewable energy sources by rebuilding New Orleans as "the nation's largest, most sustainable solar city."

Donald F. Kettl, a University of Pennsylvania political scientist who specializes in public administration, said many of these ideas might be worth exploring. But he warned that advocates were overestimating the extent to which New Orleans was really a blank slate — or the degree to which the reconstruction was likely to follow a consistent ideological direction.

"We are going to rebuild New Orleans more or less where it is, so we start out with a lot of constraints on the process," Kettl said. "It is time to put a lot of interesting ideas in the hopper, but it is certainly clear that preconceived ideological notions … are going to prove lacking."

web page (http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-ideas25sep25,0,2891970.story?coll=la-home-headlines)

pooltchr
09-26-2005, 08:31 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote SnakebyteXX:</font><hr> By Ronald Brownstein, Times Staff Writer


much more direct government involvement. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) has taken the lead in devising a proposal for a public-private Gulf Coast Redevelopment Authority that would manage the region's overall revival, from flood control to housing. <font color="red"> Yeah, Ted! Create another government agency to spend more money and generate more red tape! </font color> Kennedy said he was modeling the idea on the Tennessee Valley Authority, which President Franklin D. Roosevelt created to revive that region during the Great Depression.

Edwards, the 2004 Democratic vice presidential candidate, last week also reached back to FDR to propose a Works Progress Administration that would employ displaced residents in the reconstruction of their communities. <font color="red"> John, an even better idea. Let's just put more people on a government paycheck! </font color>

And the Campaign for America's Future, an advocacy group, is promoting yet another Roosevelt precedent — a modern Civilian Conservation Corps that would employ residents to rebuild the region in a more environmentally sensitive manner. <font color="red"> If the people want to be more emviornmentally sensitive while rebuilding, they will do it by themselves. Don't think they need Uncle Sam to make them do it. </font color>

Environmentalists view Katrina as a warning sign — and its aftermath as a testing ground. Sierra Club officials said that the loss of wetlands, which serve as natural protection against hurricanes, demonstrated the need for greater preservation. <font color="red"> All the preservation efforts in the world weren't going to stop that storm! </font color>

On the liberal website TomPaine.com, one author last week proposed accelerating the use of renewable energy sources by rebuilding New Orleans as "the nation's largest, most sustainable solar city." <font color="red"> Great idea for a city where the major source of employment is the oil industry </font color>

Donald F. Kettl, a University of Pennsylvania political scientist who specializes in public administration, said many of these ideas might be worth exploring. But he warned that advocates were overestimating the extent to which New Orleans was really a blank slate — or the degree to which the reconstruction was likely to follow a consistent ideological direction.

"We are going to rebuild New Orleans more or less where it is, so we start out with a lot of constraints on the process," Kettl said. "It is time to put a lot of interesting ideas in the hopper, but it is certainly clear that preconceived ideological notions … are going to prove lacking." <font color="red"> Tap tap tap </font color>

web page (http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-ideas25sep25,0,2891970.story?coll=la-home-headlines) <hr /></blockquote>

Everybody wants to tell them how they should build their city, and buy their way into it in the process. There are programs in place already to put money back into the region, and the construction business is going to generate a lot of revenue and jobs over the next few years. What's wrong with allowing the natural progression? Why do so many think they need to micro-manage the rebuilding process?

Gayle in MD
09-26-2005, 07:26 PM
Because Bush has already fixed it so that his Corporate Cronies will make billions, while arranging things so that the poor people who will do the labor won't even get minimum wage, and REALLY, when it comes to spending, the republicans in power have made the democrats look like coupon shoppers.

Gayle in Md....wonders sometimes if the right EVER reads the newspapers, we know they don't read books.

pooltchr
09-27-2005, 05:32 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Gayle in MD:</font><hr> Because Bush has already fixed it so that his Corporate Cronies will make billions, <font color="red"> specifics?? </font color> while arranging things so that the poor people who will do the labor won't even get minimum wage, <font color="red"> really? Did Bush suspend minimum wage laws?? </font color> and REALLY, when it comes to spending, the republicans in power have made the democrats look like coupon shoppers. <font color="red"> On one hand, you want the government to do everything for the storm victims, then you don't want them to spend any money doing it. You can't have it both ways!</font color>

Gayle in Md....wonders sometimes if the right EVER reads the newspapers, <font color="red"> We sure know that YOU read the newspapers...and probably love CBS news as well. </font color> we know they don't read books. <font color="red"> I wish I was blessed with ESP!! /ccboard/images/graemlins/confused.gif </font color> <hr /></blockquote>

Sid_Vicious
09-27-2005, 06:25 AM
"We sure know that YOU read the newspapers...and probably love CBS news as well"

What's the point in this? I listen and read to all I can in life, and digest the truth from the bad. That is the intelligent way of doing things. I see ostriches and heads in the sand every time I read slams against major media corps. Yall made a professed liberal out of me just being like you are in selectively reading what you want...sid

Btw, yes Bush did drop the minimum

Gayle in MD
09-27-2005, 08:35 AM
WE? Who is "WE". Obviously, you don't keep up with current events.

You miss the point, as usual; No bid contracts, for Halliburton, (Read Dick Cheney) and Haly Barbora, sp. (Read Mississippi Governor) Both Republican cronies, both companies republican contributors.

No bid contracts do not bring in competitive prices from contractors, AND no bid contracts are an invitation for Price Gouging, of which, WE, already know Halliburton to be expert. Not wanting Bush's big Corporations to have the opportunity to cheat the poor people in the Gulf states out of the opportunity to make a decent wage while they are re-building is the point which you missed. Your homework is to find the law which has been suspended by Bush in order to accomplish this,.,

I wish you were blessed with the ability to see reality, esp would be far too much to ask of a republican.

Gayle in Md.....check the news occasionally, it might become a habit.

pooltchr
09-27-2005, 05:54 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Gayle in MD:</font><hr> No bid contracts do not bring in competitive prices from contractors, <hr /></blockquote>

I'm not going to argue that point. But considering the criticism leveled at the white house for responding so slowly in a crisis, what would the spin be if they went through the competitive bidding process for every job in the disaster area. It would add months and possibly years to the rebuilding. The wheels of burocracy turn very slowly. Sometimes, the best option is to bypass it and just get the job done.

eg8r
09-28-2005, 05:32 AM
Gayle you are right, it is awful to offer no bid contracts. Do you have any suggestions of a company that can handle the job that Haliburton does? What other company out there has the experience to meet the needs as quickly and completely as Haliburton does, all under one roof.

eg8r

Gayle in MD
09-29-2005, 08:23 AM
That is BS. There is plenty of time for bids, it's going to take months just to get the debri removed. Why give contracts out to Corporations when they are already robbing us blind in the Middle East. Even Peggy Noonan is critical of Bush's spending policies. You righties are amazing, now you want to say that Halliburton is the ONLY company in the whole United States that can handle the problem, typical right wing thinking, just make up a sound bite and stick to it, and the more unrealistic, the better.

The displaced people in New Orleans should be the ones who get the jobs re-building that State. I suppose you don't think that the fact that Dick Cheney is hooked up with Halliburton has anything to do with the no bid deals they have gotten in the Middle East and in New Orleans? How very Naive. And you don't care that 9 billion dollars has been missing for years from the money that was supposed to go to re-building Iraq? Or that the Administration failed during the Hurricaine in the very same ways which it failed in Iraq. Refusal to listen to the experts, not enough feet on the ground to prevent lawlessness, for starters. Now we learn that the computers at FEMA were overloaded, this came out today, and were one of the main reasons why the Federal Response was so poor, and it was a situation which Brown knew about way in advance of Katrina. I suppose you think Bush has done a great job appointing people to run our Homeland Security and Fema, and that the exhorbitant costs involved in lumping the two organizations together were well worth it. Do you have any idea what was spent on that little re-organization?

When it comes to spending the tax payers money on Pork, George Bush only has one question, "Pass the barbeque sauce"

Peggy Noonan....a conservative journalist yet....

Gayle in Md.


Gayle in Md.

DickLeonard
09-30-2005, 06:42 AM
Gayle I just have to say your the only Republican that I know that has a brain. Most people on this board think your a LIberal not someone who sees this Administration for what it is a LYING PACK of SCOUNDRELS and Refuses to go along. #### PS I don't think your reasoning can penetrate rock.