Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Good for Her

In the last few hours, Gov. Blanco finally injected some sanity into the issue of Mayor Nagin's foolish casino gambit. Before I comment on the Governor's actions, I must confess a few things.

I was not a supporter of Gov. Blanco's, choosing to support Rep. Bobby Jindal, instead. In my honest opinion, Lt. Gov. Blanco did not show a sufficient grasp of the issues to become Gov. Blanco at a time when I believed, and still do believe, Louisiana faced either a precipice of it's own making or would turn the corner for the better.

I especially didn't appreciate her last-minute campaign ad featuring a "Republican" doctor who blamed Mr. Jindal for cutting hospital budgets. She knew better and chose to produce a disingenuous attack to secure a tight victory; Mr. Jindal should be rightly faulted for not responding, however the issue is mostly moot.

With that said, Gov. Blanco did something today for which I feel compelled to compliment her. By standing in the way of Mayor Nagin's foolhardy gamble (sorry, if that was a bit on-the-nose), Gov. Blanco has accomplished two very important things. One, she acted like a leader who may possess a clear vision of what a revitalized New Orleans can mean to the region and the state, and not one opting for a quickie fix for our economic woes.

Two, Gov. Blanco finally showed the intestinal fortitude to do something to C. Ray Nagin that she sorely needed to do: break one off in his nether regions (this is an adult forum, but I nonetheless apologize for the graphic nature of that comment). I once supported Mayor Nagin and never supported Gov. Blanco, but notwithstanding that, I can appreciate how delicious this particular payback may have been. Good for her, she shouldn't be taking some much crap from someone so insignificant.

Finally, this may prove to have one more added benefit. Mayor Nagin may now be effectively alientated from almost all of his possible support. Other than those who've a lot invested in his reelection and the terminally ignorant, very few are left to support Hizzoner.

Can't wait for February.



At 8:40 PM, Blogger Jimmy Huck said...

I'm not a fan of Nagin's gambling plan. But I find it interesting to note that it took Nagin's proposal to shake Blanco and others from their paralysis and stupor. In fact, I wonder if Nagin really buys into his own idea. But without his proposal, as bad a one as I think it is, I honestly think we'd still be running to the Feds like chickens with our collective heads cut off and begging for taxpayer bailouts. Give the man some credit ... not for his foolish idea, but for taking a risk and throwing it on the table to begin with. Even Bobby Jindal, who is lauded by his supporters as a visionary idea wonderkid, could only propose some kind of federal government bailout to jumpstart our redevelopment.

Even though he ended up with his foot in a pile of doggy-doo, Nagin took a step outside the box, and New Orleans ultimately will be better for it.

At 10:09 AM, Blogger Scott M. Phillips said...

So you think it's a good thing that he proposes such a foolish idea, not for it's merit, but for it's existence alone? Now who's being foolish, Huck?

At 7:30 PM, Blogger Jimmy Huck said...

Uncle Speed - First off, foolish ideas often lead to transformations of the world in the most positive of ways because they spur others into action or light the spark of better ideas in others. At one time in history, it was also thought foolish to spend millions of dollars to try to put a man on the moon. Even today, some are saying it is a foolish idea for the federal government and US taxpayers to spend scarce tax dollars to help rebuild a "party" city below sea level.

We might not like Nagin's idea for a variety of reasons, but it's only foolish in an abstract sense. From a practical point of view, selling out to the gambling industry would pump millions of non-taxpayer, private sector dollars into the city right away. That's indisputable.

But if a foolish idea leads us to a great idea that would not have surfaced otherwise, give me the foolish idea over nothing any day. That's the "merit" of Nagin's idea. It didn't just exist, it caused a stir. And I, for one, am glad somebody finally stirred the pot and stopped either complaining or begging for a handout.

By the way, what's your idea for private sector rebuilding of New Orleans?

At 10:26 AM, Blogger Scott M. Phillips said...

Again, now who's being foolish, Huck? In your world, there's no consequences for suggesting a bad idea. Stop being such an insufferable shill for our Mayor.

You mention how other successful plans were once thought foolish, but proven over time not to be. That's called a strawman, Huck, and it's a quite amateurish debating trick. Would you like me to now cite every bad idea that was indeed a bad idea? What would either of those things prove?

As for begging for hand-outs, what do you call Mayor Nagin's "razoo" speech the other day? First, he likens Federal aid to a game of marbles, which is stupid. Second, he basically states that the Feds shouldn't take back any money that we don't need "jus' cuz dat wood be uncool". How is that any different from asking for a handout?

My ideas I will save for a separate post, but in a word it's this: fix the streets and the schools, lower taxes, then got out of the way of real businesspeople.

Thanks for asking.

Uncle Speed

At 1:57 PM, Blogger Jimmy Huck said...

My friend, fixing the streets and the schools, when our levee system is obviously weak, strikes me as pretty foolish, too. Besides, fixing the streets to how I assume you want them, in a below-sea-level lake bed, will cost a hell of a lot of money, which lowering taxes won't do much to help if the government is supposed to foot the bill for doing this. Where do you propose to get the money to fix our levees and roads?

Yes, I agree that lowering taxes would be a good thing, but heck, we're not paying any real taxes to the City of New Orleans to speak of right now. Katrina took care of that and it hasn't been the magic elixer for bringing private sector redevelopment capital into the City, has it?

And as for getting out of the way of real businesspeople, I ask you: what's currently IN the way and who are these supposedly "real" businesspeople -- assuming, that is, that the gaming, hotel, and tourism industries (and any other small business that stands to gain from Nagin's idea) don't count as "real"?

If, by "real" businesspeople you mean the small-to-medium sized business owners -- well, to listen to them on the radio, they don't seem to want government to get out of the way. In fact, it really seems just the opposite. They are pissed that the government IS absent from the scene and out of the way. They seem to want government to pump them full of money and assistance in the wake of this tragedy so that they don't go out of business. All I hear is FEMA needs to do this and the SBA needs to do that and we Louisianians need to be GUARANTEED access to big, fat government contracts. Where's the "private" enterprise of "real" businesspeople in this scenario?

Look, I'm not shilling for Nagin and his ideas. I'm saying that leadership requires taking a risk and making bold proposals that get the ball rolling. Nagin, in my estimation, has that character about him. Blanco, on the other hand, does not. And I have to admit that as often as I think George Bush proposes some foolish ideas, he, too, has this admirable leadership character trait about him that doesn't prevent him from putting controversial ideas on the table, even if someone like me thinks it to be foolish.

That's all I'm saying.

At 4:10 PM, Blogger Scott M. Phillips said...

First, obviously, Huck, I'm not suggesting fixing anything before the levees are secure. Please give me a little credit. Besides, those things needed fixing long before Katrina; a little water didn't change that fact, just made it's resolution even more possible and necessary.

Second, define for me, if you will, what your idea of "real" taxes is, Huck.

Third, my definition of a "real" businessperson is someone who's worked in any start-up business or for a private-sector employer in a position of authority. This excludes almost all politicians, who've almost to a man no experience in a real-world business situation.

Fourth, by get out of the way, I mean stop trying to "develop" business, instead focus on creating an environment where business might flourish -- that's an important distinction. Such an environment has low taxes, few regulations, a large pool of qualified workers, and, in time, consumers.

Fifth, why are you comparing an SBA loan to a hand-out? Don't you realize what a loan is?

Sixth, my friend, you are most definitely shilling for the Mayor; please be honest with us and/or yourself.

Finally, I won't argue the facts with you, Huck. Every single time the Federal government lowered taxes, the total intake has increased. Look it up for yourself. I'm not suggesting that we cease taxes, but there's no reason that we've a sales tax similar to NYC. Who do you think is burdened most by high sales taxes? You and me? No, it's the poor, whom I assume your Liberal beliefs wish to assist.

At 8:31 PM, Blogger Jimmy Huck said...

Uncle Speed - I don't really have any beef with what you are saying. And I'm not shilling for the Mayor, no matter what you say. I don't like his gambling plan and it's already dead in the water. I'm shedding no tears over this. But I do like the way he tends to think about things, and that is not to be confused with supporting his every utterance. I find his style to be so absent any of the political jargon and I think he shoots straight with us. We may not like his ideas and he has certainly made his share of mistakes, which I think he himself would admit; but he certainly does not come across as part of the corrupt machine politics that has defined this City and State for so long.

On another point, I know the SBA provides loans. I never said it didn't. I was just presenting what I hear people saying about entities tied to the government that are responsible for capital infusions or grants to businesses following disasters or economic disruptions. My point was that businesses seem to be begging for some kind of federal relief, whether in the form of grants or loans. As I'm sure you know, the SBA is a government-backed lending agency that provides low-interest loans to businesses and individuals who would not otherwise be able to get a loan on such favorable terms from private sector financial institutions. And the fact is that one is directly tied to the other. Sure it's a loan, but it's also a government program, and so my point still holds that people and businesses are begging the government for help because the private sector can't or refuses to respond adequately in the short term mitigating the financial crisis caused by this disaster. For many, many individuals and small businesses, government help of some form or another is the only hope.

I won't dispute that when taxes are lowered the total intake has increased; but I also know that in spite of these increases in tax revenues, our federal government is more in debt now than it ever has been. So, for all practical intents and purposes, your point is essentially meaningless until someone in Washington grows enough balls to curb the free-for-all spending spree. And last I checked, the GOP controls the executive and both houses of Congress, so the fiscal hemmorhaging can't be blamed on liberal Democrats.

Regarding the your definition of a "real" businessperson, I'm not trying to pick a fight, but I am wondering how it is that Mayor Nagin does not match the criteria you outline? By your definition, he's much more of a real businessperson than any of our other local elected politicians, Democrat or Republican.

Perhaps you still think that I am shilling for the Mayor because I refuse to condemn him as an all-around loser. So be it. I can live with your incorrect diagnosis. But I do think you suffer a bit from the converse problem in the sense that your very personal hatred of the man and your deep disappointment in his performance post-Katrina blinds you to recognizing anything positive about his character, background, or leadership abilities. I would venture to say that there is nothing Nagin could ever do to win your approval or support now, regardless of the merits of his ideas.

Aside from our disagreements, I think you run a sincere and good blog. I appreciate that. Thanks and God bless.


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