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Friday, September 16, 2005 

A No-Spin Take on Bush Speech

Bold proposals and ideas were dolled out last night on TV. But what do they really mean? Lets take a look at what was proposed by President Bush:

A.) Establish a worker recovery account, giving up to $5,000 for job traning, education, and child care for displaced victims who are looking for new work.
B.) A tax break zone (coined “Gulf Opportunity Zone”) in LA, MS, and AL aimed at encouraging local businesses to stay, and new businesses to enter the recovering market.
C.) Government assisted relocation to get evacuees out of shelters, and into apartments and other homes, while the Federal government reimburses states for evacuee care costs.
D.) An “Urban Homesteading Act”. This would take “surplus” federal property, and use a lottery style system to give the land to “low income” families under the promise that they would build homes with either a mortgage or assistance from charitable organizations (i.e. Habitat for Humanity, et al)

Leadership has finally immerged (better late than never). The first step was Bush acknowledging that “When the federal government fails to meet such an obligation, [he] as president [is] responsible for the problem, and for the solution” Now, he has quickly come up with feasible plans to attempt a solution to the current problems.

However, I have a couple of misgivings about the potential abuse and misdirection these initiatives might have:

One of them is the “lottery system” to “hand out” federal property. For starters, “federal property” actually belongs to us, the tax payers. To hand this out is the equivalent of welfare. Unless the plan is ready to take the land away from people who don't build a home for themselves, this will turn out to be a windfall scam for developers looking for cheep land on people who are desperate for quick money.

Another is the “government assistance” to get people out of shelters and into apartments/homes. Is this going to end up being another series of “the projects”? We need to stipulate that any housing the “assist” people into is only temporary. Otherwise this will turn into a demographic centralization of poor people (mostly minorities) herded into selected apartments and trailer parks.

To end on a positive note though, the “worker recovery account” has a lot of promise. Rather than just give out money (like the filed debt card plan of yore), this will insist that to get money, people will have to be trying to get a job. This type of incentive is one step the government can take to pry people off of the welfare-state dependency.