The Wall Street Journal editorializes today that President Bush has a chance to encourage a more free-market oriented approach to rebuilding the gulf coast:
Instead of channeling more cash through the same failed bureaucracies, he should declare the entire Gulf Coast region an enterprise zone, with low tax rates for new investments and waivers for any regulatory obstacles to rebuilding.
The Journal goes on to note that this event may be an ideal time for Bush to put a new spin on the old “how do we best help the poor” debate:
Above all, he can reframe the entire debate on how to help the poor of New Orleans. The people who couldn’t flee the storm were not ignored by “small government conservatism,” as if that actually still exists outside of Hong Kong. The city’s poor have been smothered by decades of corrupt, paternal government–local, state and federal.
While Chicago and other cities leveled their public housing projects, the Big Easy has continued to run nasty places like the Lafitte homes. The city’s crime rate is 10 times the national average, even as New York and other big cities have seen their rates fall. Its public schools are as bad as any, and its city government more corrupt than most. The last thing the poor need is to be returned to such tender, loving care.
Food for thought…