Spoils of disaster

I'm back from sunny Sedona and hope you enjoyed Jessica's brief stint on this blog.

David Addams sends in two links that reveal why "exploit" and tragedy" frequently show up in the same sentence in the Republican playbook. First is a NYT article demurely titled, "G.O.P. Sees Opportunities Arising From Storm":

Republican leaders in Congress and some White House officials see opportunities in Hurricane Katrina to advance longstanding conservative goals like giving students vouchers to pay for private schools, paying churches to help with temporary housing and scaling back business regulation.
"There are about a thousand churches right here in Houston, and a lot of them are helping people with housing, but FEMA says they can't reimburse faith-based organizations," Representative Tom DeLay of Texas, the House majority leader, said, referring to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Mr. DeLay, who joined three of President Bush's top economic advisers on a tour of relief efforts near the Houston Astrodome, added that Congress should also allow students displaced by the hurricane to use vouchers to pay for tuition at private schools. Conservatives have championed school vouchers for decades.
Those are only some of the ideas being considered by Congressional leaders and White House officials that could serve the dual purpose of helping hurricane victims and pursuing broader social and economic changes that Republicans have long sought. [LINK]
The WaPo article goes into greater length on efforts to repeal the Davis-Bacon law that requires contractors to pay the prevailing wage in a given community, and to significantly relax rules on awarding disaster-related contracts. And unlike the Times, the Post dutifully does its best to pretend that both parties are using Katrina to promote an ideological agenda. The list of Democratic crimes of expediency: expanding Medicaid coverage and rent voucher programs; repealing the Bush tax cut. There really is no difference between these guys. [LINK]

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