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September 28, 2005

Hard Questions For The Big Easy

Astonishingly enough, it seems that the country is not quite ready to simply begin paying billions of dollars to folks who have -- in some cases corruptly, in other cases merely negligently -- misspent billions in the past.

Louisiana pols thought this was a golden moment to begin demanding ludicrous sums from the rest of the nation -- $50,000 per resident of Louisiana! -- and further demanding little or no oversight regarding how Louisiana's famously-incorruptible bureaucratic Untouchables would spend it.

I thought they'd get away with it -- heartstrings, all those raped babies, etc. -- but there does seem to be a growing backlash:

Exhibit A is the Louisiana congressional delegation's new request for $250 billion in hurricane reconstruction funds. As a Post editorial pointed out yesterday, this money -- more than $50,000 per Louisiana resident -- would come on top of the $62.3 billion Congress has already appropriated, on top of the charitable donations, on top of the insurance payouts. Among other things, the proposal demands $40 billion of new Army Corps of Engineers spending, 16 times more than the Corps says it needs to protect New Orleans from a Category 5 hurricane. Despite the fact that previous Corps projects drained Louisiana's coastal wetlands, thereby destroying what could have been a natural buffer against at least some of the Rita and Katrina storm surges, the proposal calls for a suspension of environmental reviews. Despite the fact that Louisiana spent hundreds of millions of dollars on water projects that turned out to be unnecessary, or even damaging, the proposal makes it possible to suspend cost-benefit analyses.

Anne Applebaum -- whose poltics I can't easily reduce to a label; she's a kind of liberal/libertarian centrist or something -- then goes on a jihad against porkbarrel spending as a general proposition.

There may be something to this porkbustin' movement yet.


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posted by Ace at 11:53 AM

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