The most controversial parts of the Bush aid package for New Orleans are the ones that attempt to free the poor from the tentacles of government bureaucracy. He wants to give the unemployed personal accounts to assist in their job search and create a $500 million program to fund school vouchers for displaced children to attend private schools. The current political climate is premised on the notion that no one should say ''no'' to any Katrina-related program, but Democrats will attempt to veto these proposals.
The objection to these Bush proposals isn't fiscal, but philosophical. They serve to undermine the principle of government dependency that underpins the contemporary welfare state, and to which liberals are utterly devoted. In a reversal of the old parable, liberals don't want to teach people how to fish if they can just give them federally funded seafood dishes instead.
I thought this was a very clever way to highlight the essential differences in philosophy between the Left and the Right.
Those on the Left are fond of always saying that Republicans "hate" the poor; and are determined to increase poverty. This is part of their reflex negativism toward all capitalistic solutions to social problems. The Left wallows in its "sensitivity" to the poor, but all the social programs they have foisted on the public over the years have done next to nothing to actually improve the lot of poor blacks and other minorities. Now they are so wedded to social programs that perpetuate poverty rather than eliminate it; that they have the vapors if anyone suggests that there might be more effective programs to help, screaming hysterically about the racist, bigoted assault on those "less fortunate".
Frankly, it is the social programs that reinforce dependence; lack of initiative; and victimhood that keep people's fortunes forever depressed.
As I have pointed out before, poverty has a cure. And that cure is not federally funded seafood dishes.