Star Parker

Secondly, the demagogues promote ideas that are exactly the opposite of what blacks, or anyone, need. The Katrina debacle showed us, in the most tragic way, the limitations inherent in big government. Yet, despite the clarity of this picture, black politicians will continue to sell the idea that big government is the answer to black problems.

Let's recall that Katrina was the first big challenge faced by the Department of Homeland Security, created as a response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks. In true Washington fashion, the response to the 9/11 tragedy was a commission, a fat report and creation of a new bureaucracy. The newly created Homeland Security Department incorporated under one roof more than 20 former semiautonomous agencies including the Federal Emergency Management Agency with a total of 184,000 employees and a $40 billion budget.

USA Today reported a few days ago about the widespread fraud in the FEMA Expedited Assistance Program. This is the program whereby $2,000 payments are available to each household in the disaster area. According to USA Today investigators, FEMA records show that 481,624 households in the four affected Louisiana parishes have received payments; however, census data documents only 398,629 households living in these four parishes. The implied overpayment due to possible fraudulent claims amounts to $166 million.

Now that government has demonstrated failure in dealing with the disaster, Louisiana politicians want government to play a major role in the recovery. In response to local pressure (Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco has threatened to try and block a federal sale of oil and gas leases off the Gulf Coast), Congress is appropriating another $30 billion over and above the $100 billion that it has already appropriated for rebuilding New Orleans.

Certainly, government has a legitimate role.

Creation of wealth and prosperity isn't part of that role. Private initiative is the only answer to black poverty and to rebuilding New Orleans. The only beneficiaries of government programs are politicians black and white.


Star Parker

Star Parker is founder and president of CURE, the Center for Urban Renewal and Education, a 501c3 think tank which explores and promotes market based public policy to fight poverty, as well as author of the newly revised Uncle Sam's Plantation: How Big Government Enslaves America's Poor and What We Can do About It.