Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Big Easy’s Money Pit

Looks like the Forbes folks agreed with my take on Uncle Sam’s billion-dollar boondoggle down in New Orleans. (From the October 1st issue).

Editor-in-chief Steve Forbes:

“…The other day the White House released a fact sheet detailing what the federal government has done to assist New Orleans and other Gulf areas in their rebuilding efforts. The sentence that hits you between the eyes: ‘The federal government has provided more than $114 billion in resources—$127 billion including tax relief—to the Gulf region.” As economist and CNBC’s host of Kudlow & Company Larry Kudlow pointed out: ‘All divvied up, that $127 billion would come to $425,000 per person!’ In New Orleans a family of four would thus have some $1.7 million.

…Another effective response would have been to make New Orleans and other impacted areas tax-free enterprise zones for a period of time. No taxes on income, business or property. Investment money would have flooded in, as would thousands of Americans looking for a place where they’d have a good chance to better their lot in life. As Kudlow put it: ‘Private-sector entrepreneurs would have succeeded where big-government bureaucrats and regulators have so abysmally failed.’”

Forbes also reprinted the following excerpt a few pages later:

Spectacularly Reckless The idea of using federal money to rebuild cities is the quintessential liberal vision. And given the dreadful results in New Orleans, we can say that the government’s $127 billion check represents the quintessential failure of that liberal vision. Hillary Clinton calls this sort of reckless spending “government investment.” And that’s just what’s in store for America if she wins the White House next year. – LARRY KUDLOW, National Review Online

Glad we’re all in agreement here.