November 15, 2005

Pulling the rug out

Stonewalling the Katrina Victims - New York Times

I think most of us were never so appalled by this Administration as we were when it completely failed the residents of the Gulf Coast after (well, and really before as well) Hurricane Katrina. Sure, there was plenty of blame to go around at all levels of government. Yet, the President et. al. continue to show an amazing level of callousness in regard to the poor in seeking spending cuts for Medicaid, Food Stamps, and housing programs like Section 8 in order to fund tax cuts for themselves and their wealthy pals.

The New York Times editorial linked above put the situation clearly:

Many, including the Brookings Institution and the conservative Heritage Foundation, urged the administration to switch on HUD's famously successful Section 8 program, which gives families government vouchers to find decent housing in the private real estate market. That program worked well after the 1994 Northridge earthquake in California. But the White House - which seems less interested in conservative philosophy about how to make government programs work than with simply cutting the amount of money that gets spent on poor people - has been working feverishly to cripple HUD and destroy the Section 8 voucher program for years.

So the administration rigged up a hastily thought out program that is less flexible and less helpful than Section 8 - and confusing in the bargain. Still focused on tax cuts for the wealthy, the administration is apparently hoping that people who need housing will be frustrated by the difficult process of applying for federal relief dollars and simply give up and go away.

I'm all for reforming welfare. I live on it and know there are a number of rules that discourage recipients from seeking the financial independence taxpayers would like to see. But I am certainly not for pulling the rug out from beneath the those trying desperately to stand upright as appears to be the intent of the Bush Administration.