Let the Big Easy Ease Out

Within a few months, president Bush will “swagger” (just walking, in Texas) over to the Capitol to deliver the annual State of the Nation speech. Judged by the current poll numbers, fickle though they are and more often than not rigged, as well, he will get the usual applause from the republican side of the aisle, tepid applause from the other side, and little notice by the general public, political speeches losing by huge margins in the nighttime TV markets. He will talk glowingly about the state of affairs, but be honest enough to mention the areas in which things are in a monumental mess. Harriet Miers may or may not be on the SCOTUS; Iraq may or may not be relatively pacified (probably not); New Orleans may or may not be livable (probably not).

Therein (New Orleans) lies a puzzlement. As nothing could have done, Katrina/New Orleans has pointed up a glaring problem in this country…not the element of devastation that can be caused by a hurricane, but the devastation that can be caused to people by the unrelenting development of a permanent underclass. Probably 70-75% of the residents of New Orleans fled the city before Katrina hit and the levees ruptured. They used plain common sense and got out. Most of the people who were left – mostly African Americans – took refuge in the Superdome or the Convention Center, which rapidly became cesspools. A few thousand stayed at home and took refuge on rooftops, again, mostly blacks. People like Senator Kennedy, ipso facto, blamed the federal government for all the ills that befell those who stayed. The senator may not be an idiot, but he and others like him, such as Howard Dean, DNC chairman and he of the SCREAM, or the Congressional Black Caucus (is there a white caucus?) have spoken words that could have come only from discombobulated brains.

In a weird sense, however, the federal government is a considerable part of the problem. Consider: Forty years ago, the rate of illegitimacy in the black community was 25-28%, according to the “summer issue, 2005” of the respected City Journal. Now, that rate stands at 70%, though, as syndicated columnist John Leo noted recently, the rate in New Orleans is probably around 80%. Translated, this means that as recently as 1965 black men lived at home – at least 75% of them, an overwhelming plurality – but that now they sire children sort of on the run and leave their upbringing to whomever or whatever agency will see to it. Before 1965, they took care of their families, even in the face of the discrimination and racial prejudices of decades. How did such a societal sea-change, almost overnight in relative terms, happen? The Great Society happened, legislated just before 1965 rolled around.

Virtually all of the media presentations, print and otherwise but especially via cable TV, having to do with Katrina and New Orleans showed multitudes of black women with their children…but with very few men, or at least, husbands. In the papers dealing with instances where they had been relocated, the last names of their children were those of the mothers but not of the fathers. Where men entered the pictures, even if claiming fatherhood, they were invariably “fiancés.” Actually, they were not that, just the perhaps latest “significant others.” Lest this be construed as racism ramblings, let it be quickly noted that white illegitimacy skyrocketed from 5.5% in 1970 to 28.5% in 2002, with the same development of “family structure” (actually the lack of it) as obtains in the black community – “fiances,” boyfriends, “partners.” The papers are full of their handiwork every day – beating and killing of infants, usually with their mothers being complicit in the uncivilized business. If the white rate of increase in illegitimacy (418% since 1970) continues, it will be no time before society is damned by the results in both communities.

The well-intentioned Great Society, predictably, has eventuated in a permanent underclass. When any government is willing to dole out funds collected from its productive citizens to those who either won’t work or are not willing to prepare for work and would rather just be supported, this underclass is instituted and gradually becomes more institutionalized. If a man and woman can produce a child for whom the government is willing to provide the upkeep for both mother and child, why should either fornicator work…provided, of course, they’re satisfied to live in poverty, and many apparently are. It has become a generational thing since 1965, producing millions of single mothers, worthless men who constantly prey upon them, and children cursed into the world with the barest chance to succeed, the boys to become the next generation of studs and the girls to become the next generation of babies-for-welfare-checks mothers.

Check out the pictures of the New Orleans misplaced people. Whining about not having enough to eat or drink but in various stages of obesity from mild to unbelievable (seemed like more than half, for sure), many, if not most, of these women in all probability were accustomed to collecting that check and, by logical extension, expected the government to “take care of them, come hell or high water,” which is exactly what happened – both ways. Despite the neglect of their own mayor in getting them out of the city, various other government agencies did just that and immediately put checks or vouchers worth at least $2,000 in their hands, much, if not most, of it to be wasted. Now, the governments are trying to relocate them, but the effort will probably be fruitless in the long run, since getting back to the Big Easy means being back in place for the government largesse to continue, not to mention the hanky-panky.

This may seem a bit over the top…and it may be. The sad thing, however, is simply that government played a primary role in jerking this mess into place. The president has pledged some $200 billion collected from all the rest of the country to rebuild in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama, but everyone with walking around sense knows that nearly all of this money will go to New Orleans. It probably would be much cheaper to lower the levees and let the city float away. Assuming $180 billion for New Orleans, each resident (almost 500,000) could be given $360,000 and resettled. That works out to over a million dollars for a single mother and two children or more than $1.4 million for a “family” of four.

If this were done, there would be no more upkeep at government expense to the levees, the vital marshlands that protect against hurricanes could be allowed back into existence, and crooks/incompetents in government in the most corrupt city in the country – from the clueless mayor on down – would be out of business. Nah…too sensible! This will never happen.