Another Point Of View From An Insider

For many weeks since hurricane Katrina wrecked the Gulf coast, we have heard nothing but complaints from the left about how poorly the federal government preformed. It must be true they say, because Ray Nagin and Kathleen Blanco said it. They know how inept the Bush Administration is in these sort of things. The problem, as I see it, is that too much focus has been placed upon Louisiana. It was not the only state effected but you would think so by the way the media has covered the disaster. Louisiana was dysfunctional. That explains why Mississippi and Alabama, two states that suffered just as much, are better off. It also explains why Texas is in better shape after the devastation of hurricane Rita. It boils down to leadership. But no one asks the others in the know. Here is a portion of an interview with he Governor of Mississippi:

Q. Defending himself in congressional testimony last week, former FEMA Director Michael Brown said that the biggest mistake he made in dealing with Hurricane Katrina was not recognizing “that Louisiana was dysfunctional” while noting that “the system worked in Mississippi and Alabama; the system did not work in Louisiana.” Do you agree with Brown about that?

A. GOV. HALEY BARBOUR (R.-MISS.): Well, I don’t anything about Louisiana. So, I’m not knowledgeable to comment about there. But I can tell you that in Mississippi the federal government has done a whole lot more right than wrong. They have been good partners. They haven’t been perfect partners, but I haven’t been perfect. If you talk to our mayors and county officials, who have just been fabulous, they still haven’t been perfect either. So, I don’t expect perfection, particularly when you have the worst hurricane in American history, which hit Mississippi dead on and obliterated our communications system, our electrical system, made our roads impassable, wiped out police stations, fire stations. All of our public infrastructure was literally destroyed in a matter of hours, and to expect perfection in the aftermath of that is just unrealistic.

Seems that Mississippi thinks the feds did a pretty good job but not perfect. As I stated in the past, there were things that could have gone better but the fact is if Louisiana had any kind of leadership they would not have had as many problems and I would not have to continually read how the poor state got screwed.

Another thing that struck me. The Democrats hate tax cuts. They think there is nothing good that can come from them and they certainly do not want us to ever get them. They need more money for the pork machine. Yet, when there is a disaster like this Democrats, like the Governor of Louisiana, ask for them so they can stimulate growth. How can tax cuts stimulate growth when the donks keep telling us that they are no good and never stimulate anything but higher debt? Well it looks like the administration has asked for a tax relief package for the Gulf region. I bet there will be very few moonbats who vote against it. So I wonder, why is it different now? Here is a part of the same interview regarding tax incentives:

Q. Governor, how much do you see a role for tax cuts and tax credits and other incentives for private enterprise to come in and rebuild as opposed to spending money to do it?

A. BARBOUR: Far and away the most important thing is the private sector’s response to Katrina. I should note that private business can’t do business if their customers can’t get to them, and that is why infrastructure like roads and bridges and railroads and airports and ports are very, very important and the federal government has an enormous role there which is critical. However, if we succeed in rebuilding the coast bigger and better than ever, if we restore south Mississippi to everything that it was, plus real improvements, it will be the market economy, the private sector, that is the main player. Whether it’s small businesses, entrepreneurs or large employers, they will decide how much to invest, how to invest, where to invest, to whom to lend, how much to lend, how much to insure, whom to insure.

Q. So, if you are going out and talking to people who are looking to invest in a business somewhere, what are you going to tell them to persuade them to come to the Gulf Coast of Mississippi rather than to North Carolina, or Nevada, or Arizona or somewhere else?

A. BARBOUR: First of all, assuming that the federal government passes the kind of tax packages that the President has proposed and Congress is now considering adding to even the President’s proposal, that will help get us back on a level playing field. Our disaster situation will be offset by some tax incentives. When people look at how Mississippi has responded to the worst natural in history, they see a resilient, self-reliant, strong people, who have helped themselves and helped their neighbors. They have seen people who in the wake of the worst adversity hitched up their britches and went to work, first cleaning up and recovering, then rebuilding. I believe that businesses and retirees and others who build economies will look at Mississippi and say: I like those people. That is the kind place I want to be. I like that spirit. Because the Mississippi spirit has really proven itself in the aftermath of Katrina.

So, that is one big part of it. We do have to get our infrastructure rebuilt. But, finally, it will be what the private sector decides in terms of investing. We are committed to the coast coming back bigger and better than ever.

And finally, I told you that the donks sit around waiting for the government to come in with hand outs. When they get a chance to spend taxpayer money they never, ever show fiscal responsibility. Louisiana has put together a massive package that includes a whole lot of things that are in no way connected to the damage from the storm. They see an opening and they are adding pork so they can fleece the American public out of its money. What a different approach we see in Mississippi:

Q. Louisiana Senators Mary Landreu and David Vitter have proposed a $250 billion federal aid package, which, if I understand it correctly is money that they want to go only to Louisiana and not to Mississippi. Is that correct?

A. BARBOUR: I don’t much about their proposal. However, I don’t think the cost of relief, recovery and rebuilding will be anything like that amount. That seems to me very excessive. We are trying to project what the costs would be here and it is a small fraction of that.

Q. Do you think that the relative damage in Mississippi is not that much less than in Louisiana?

A. BARBOUR: In many ways it is far worse.

Q. Do you have a general idea of how much the total federal cost of rebuilding Mississippi’s damaged areas?

A. BARBOUR: It will be well under $50 billion. Well under. Our best estimates right now are in the low thirties. I don’t want anybody to think we are trying to compare Mississippi to anyone else. We’ll stand on our own two feet. We need the federal government’s help. At the same time, we are going to be good stewards of the taxpayers’ money, and we are not going to try to use this as a way to gouge the taxpayers. The American people have been incredibly generous to us—private philanthropy, corporate philanthropy, the enormous number of volunteers who have come down here from all over the country. Our sister states have been fabulous in sending us National Guard, highway patrol, investigators, resources of all types. North Carolina sent us a whole hospital, with two operating rooms, which, by the way, was financed by FEMA, I might add. But everybody has been so generous to us, and the federal government has put hundreds of millions of dollars in here already that we are obligated and we will be good stewards of the American taxpayers’ money. That is the least we can do.

Good stewards of the American taxpayer’s money. What a novel idea. You won’t hear that coming from Louisiana where the Senators, a Democrat and a RINO, are trying to jack up the costs to fund unnecessary items. It comes down to one thing and that is leadership. Maybe when this is all over the people of Louisiana will change their leaders and get people who can run things.

But then again, I doubt it.

Read the interview at Human Events Online.

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