Friday, September 23, 2005

What if it works?

posted by Rob at 3:03 PM

Interesting read over at on Bush's plans to re-build New Orleans (emphasis mine):
The reaction from liberals to Bush's proposed War on Bayou Poverty has been outrage that Republicans would take advantage of the tragedy to advance their ideological agenda. ...

This is precisely the wrong response. Liberals, who have failed to muster any kind of social consensus for a major federal assault on poverty since LBJ's day, should welcome conservatives as converts to the cause. ... If the conservative war on poverty succeeds, even in partial fashion, we will all be better for its success. And if it fails, we will have learned something important about how not to fight poverty.

I don't see that happening. There's gonna be a fight because the president's political opponents will not risk an economic victory for Republicans. Remember how welfare reform was supposed to go?

That law, which President Clinton signed over the objection of many Democrats, proclaimed an intention "to encourage the formation and maintenance of two-parent families." ... As hard as it is to believe that a major government reform actually had its intended effect - especially a grandiose effect like restoring the family - that seems to be what has happened.

This wasn't what experts - on both the left and right - predicted before the law passed. ... Liberals routinely scoffed at the idea that young hormone-filled teen-agers and twentysomethings would change their sexual behavior just because they might not get welfare years down the road.

Many conservative experts scoffed too. ...

It's now possible to start saying that these people were wrong, and the welfare reformers were right.
Clinton did indeed sign that legislation, then ran for re-election in 1996 promising to "fix" it, which he never did. Care to guess where the idea originated? (see No. 3)

Kaus has more on Bush's plans, and admits he - Kaus - is "guilty of pursuing good policy."


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