Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Is There Any Doubt?

In case there were any people left who were not sure about the racist and class objectives of the Republican Party, I think this should clear up any more doubt. The state of Mississippi and its Republican Governor Haley Barbour has decided to take money earmarked for rebuilding the Gulf Coast region which was damaged by Katrina and use it to provide relief and redevelopment money for the wealthy at the expense of the poor. Mississippi was the only state that requested and the only state granted the waiver to override the provision that atleast 50% of the Community Block Grants be spent on low income projects. In creating the program Congress wanted to insure that the low income population in the affected states would not be left out of the redevelopment funds.

But so far, the state has spent $1.7 billion in federal money on programs that have mostly benefited relatively affluent residents and big businesses. The money has gone to compensate many middle- and upper-income homeowners, to aid utility companies whose equipment was damaged and to prop up the state’s insurance system.

Just $167 million, or about 10 percent of the federal money, has been spent on programs dedicated to helping the poor, mostly through a smaller grant program for lower-income homeowners.

Some critics contend that the main interest of state leaders in spending community development dollars is to help big businesses like shipbuilders and casinos and the port.[1]

So while the Governor has claimed that there is no discrimination in the allocation of the funds, the numbers seem to be telling a different story. So what are we to believe the Governor or our own lying eyes and figures? It amazes me that even with compelling evidence there are those that will continue to deny the accusations of wrong doing. I am beginning to believe that lying has become so innate in politics that the politicians don’t even care when they are caught anymore. The Governor and other state representatives continue to push the trickledown theory to the poor. Let us take care of the business owners and the wealthy first and that will in turn benefit your situation. Well, this theory has never worked in practical application and only serves to transfer wealth from the public coffers to the wealthy.

The officials for the State of Mississippi would have us to believe that by spending money on their redevelopment projects it will generate jobs which will provide income to the low income workers; the problem is that the jobs being created in a poor state like Mississippi will never go to the low income. These jobs will be prized and go to the off-spring and the cronies of those officials allocating the funds. It is a viscous circle the low income will never be able to break so long as the deck is stacked going in. The state continues to make promises it has no intention of keeping. So on the one hand they can say we are trying to help the poor, but as soon as the cameras are turned off they go back to lining their own pockets. Same as it ever was, same as it ever was.

So just as we have seen with the State of New Orleans; Mississippi has also chosen to improve the lot of the haves at the expense of the have-nots. The Katrina catastrophe has turned into a land grab and a poor population migration effort on the part of the Gulf Coast states. They now have the excuse to reclaim all that beachfront property that had been in the hands of the poor for the wealthy, while the rest of America sits idly by waiting for the resorts and casinos to be built on land and the homes of the poor. The affluent will visit the resorts and casinos currently being built and ignore the bodies they were built on. They have moved these people off their land and placed them in either hostile communities or tainted FEMA trailer parks. We have not seen a “land redistribution” on this magnitude since the reservation movement for Native Americans.

It is time we faced the facts America, Americans don’t like poor people. They are constantly treated with disdain and disregard. Sure you help them with donations and through local charities, but the reality is you would rather not see them and especially not talk to them. So the response is, so what if they are taking the land and homes of poor people and turning it into resorts, it was just going to waste with them on it anyway. I mean they don’t take care of their stuff and this is prime real estate. This land has been coveted for a long time and it took a natural disaster to allow the developers and moneychangers to get their hands on it.

It seems like lately every time America has been presented with a challenge to display our once great spirit, we have chosen to display instead fear, greed, and intolerance. With 9/11, we could have shown measured response to aggression in proportion to the threat, but we went way overboard in some kind of surreal statement of overkill and destruction upsetting the balance not only of the region, but the world as a whole and imprisoning ourselves in the process. With the Katrina catastrophe we could have displayed compassion and shared responsibility, but we chose covetousness, materialism, and racism. Have we departed so far from our ideals? The answer is without a doubt.


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