Friday, September 16, 2005

Bush's Big Ideas

The big question from Bush’s speech last night on his grand plans for rebuilding the Gulf States is, where is the money coming from? Today, Bush said there won’t be any increased taxes. He also said, during a press conference with Russia’s Putin, that the money required for the rebuilding would definitely be spent.

In a measure of the credibility of Bush’s remarks, Fox News played the following excerpt from Bush’s speech, and then asked Bruce Katz, director of the Brookings Institution's Metropolitan Policy Program to comment on it. First, the excerpt:

Homesteading will allow evacuees to occupy a government-owned home at a favorable mortgage rate, in exchange for their personal investment of sweat equity in the property. Under this approach, we will identify property in the region owned by the Federal government, and provide building sites to low-income citizens free of charge, through a lottery. In return, they would pledge to build on the lot, with either a mortgage or help from a charitable organization like Habitat for Humanity. The Department of Housing and Urban development, in cooperation with other Federal agencies, local governments, and public housing authorities, will support the development of homes on Federal property in New Orleans and cities across the region, and will encourage nonprofit organizations to commit properties as well.[emphasis added]-- President Bush Addresses the Nation on Recovery From Katrina

Due to not having an exact transcript yet of the Shepard Smith question-and-answer with Mr. Katz, this is the gist of what was said: Smith asked where the federal property in the area was that Bush referred to, and how much there was, and Mr Katz simply said he found the whole proposal to be “curious” since there wasn’t much, if any, of this type of land in that region.

What else was “curious” about the homesteading proposal was that the abject poverty of the people who would benefit from this program would preclude any ability to make payments on a mortgage at the least, and would, according to the Mr Katz, lead to continued development of poverty in that region, just the thing Bush said in his speech he was aiming to avoid.

So much for big ideas.

"We're going to make sure we cut unnecessary spending, maintain economic growth and therefore, we should not raise taxes."

But while Bush said the government should not take more money from working Americans, White House officials and top Republicans on Friday acknowledged that U.S. taxpayers would be funding the recovery plan.--Fox News

Bob Kur noted on MSNBC that when he polled a couple of administration people as to what programs were being talked about, his answer at that point was, “none.”

So much for grand plans. Let’s hope Bush doesn’t try to distract us from how bad a job he’s doing by invading Iran. Don’t laugh—he’s thinking about it.

Jesse Kornbluth’s Blog refers to a story in the Washington Post that indicates the US is on a track regarding Iran that is quite similar to the one prior to war with Iraq:

With an hour-long slide show that blends satellite imagery with disquieting assumptions about Iran's nuclear energy program, Bush administration officials have been trying to convince allies that Tehran is on a fast track toward nuclear weapons.

The PowerPoint briefing, titled "A History of Concealment and Deception," has been presented to diplomats from more than a dozen countries. Several diplomats said the presentation, intended to win llies for increasing pressure on the Iranian government, dismisses ambiguities in the evidence about Iran's intentions and omits alternative explanations under debate among intelligence analysts.--Dafna Linzer Washington Post Staff Writer Wednesday, September 14, 2005

All of this will be made more evident at the Bush/Cheney impeachment hearings, which can’t start too soon!

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