Thursday, September 08, 2005

Another "It's Bush's Fault!" argument struck down

posted by Rob at 9:09 AM

Bush-haters have several cliched arguments as to why the tragedy in New Orleans is all the president's fault. A friend listed several in an e-mail to me, including this one:
-Giving millionares tax cuts had to result in state and local funding cuts, New Orleans requested improving its coastal defenses, (not just levees), via plans from the army corps of engineers and instead of pouring money in Bush and fellow reps cut funding
Now enter this report from the Washinton Post (emphasis mine):
But over the five years of President Bush's administration, Louisiana has received far more money for Corps civil works projects than any other state, about $1.9 billion; California was a distant second with less than $1.4 billion, even though its population is more than seven times as large.

Much of that Louisiana money was spent to try to keep low-lying New Orleans dry. But hundreds of millions of dollars have gone to unrelated water projects demanded by the state's congressional delegation and approved by the Corps, often after economic analyses that turned out to be inaccurate. Despite a series of independent investigations criticizing Army Corps construction projects as wasteful pork-barrel spending, Louisiana's representatives have kept bringing home the bacon. ...

The Post goes on to report on one example:

The Industrial Canal lock is one of the agency's most controversial projects, sued by residents of a New Orleans low-income black neighborhood and cited by an alliance of environmentalists and taxpayer advocates as the fifth-worst current Corps boondoggle. In 1998, the Corps justified its plan to build a new lock -- rather than fix the old lock for a tiny fraction of the cost -- by predicting huge increases in use by barges traveling between the Port of New Orleans and the Mississippi River.

In fact, barge traffic on the canal had been plummeting since 1994, but the Corps left that data out of its study. And barges have continued to avoid the canal since the study was finished, even though they are visiting the port in increased numbers.

There are some examples cited of Bush offering and Congress giving less money than requested from Louisiana politicans. But this sums it up:
Lt. Gen. Carl Strock, the chief of the Corps, has said that in any event, more money would not have prevented the drowning of the city, since its levees were designed to protect against a Category 3 storm, and the levees that failed were already completed projects.


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9:45 AM, September 08, 2005  

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