The Washington Times has a piece where the House Majority Leader, Tom DeLay states there is no fat left to cut in the federal budget.
This surely cannot be true, if only because of the $12 Billion we do not need in the latest Transportation Bill. But as I think about spending, I have to wonder if yesterday's post had the correct focus.
I think the federal government will spend billions of dollars on resurecting New Orleans. I believe this to be true because the administration is fearful of voter response if they do not make a big attempt to rebuild the city once called Jewel of the South. Voters respond to tragedy and this one, along with the continuing problems in Iraq, make for very poor approval ratings. The only way to fix public perception of President Bush and his management of the country in the immediate future is a strong showing of support for a new and invigrated city.
Is it worthwhile to spend the money? Good heavens, the congressional investigation alone will waste millions and I am sure the rebuilding will waste many times that. But that isn't really the issue because the federal, state, and local folks are going to be spending the money despite the questions of pundits. So, if we going to rebuild the troubled city, what should we be focusing on?
Should we focus on rebuilding the shipping industry even though it has largely moved on already? Or the tourism industry, which is not enough to keep the residents gainfully employeed? Or the gas and oil industry? Or another new high tech city, like I hinted at with references to Austin, Boston, and Southern California? Or the next Las Vegas, Gulf Coast style?
The first answers need to be about what the New New Orleans wants to become. And after deciding what the new city is to be we should talk about how to get there. I think my previous post will make the rebuilding easier and bring about more long-term changes, but maybe I jumped the gun on the questions we should be asking.