Thomas Bray has a wonderful column at the Detroit News on the rebuilding process in New Orleans. Here's his man point:
Now, it's taken for granted that it's the duty of the federal government to make everybody whole. But hard questions need to be asked. Washington will have a big role to play in clearing the debris, rebuilding roads and helping with other infrastructure. And there will be pressure to create a victim's compensation fund, over and above the normal disaster relief.Let's hope the federal and state governments will take these much needed steps to ensure that New Orleans experiences vibrant growth and never suffers the fate of once great cities of Newark and Detroit. Even more, such policies will alleviate the massive poverty that's all to common in the Crescent City. We can make a rising tide that will lift all ships with such actions. I say we couldn't hurt by trying.
But the American taxpayer shouldn't be asked to rebuild New Orleans as it was. That would invite another disaster. Nor should American taxpayers be asked to create a "model city," writing blank checks for Washington planners' sentimental, utopian view of how the Big Easy ought to look.
Instead, federal and state authorities should focus on clearing away the barriers that have made it so difficult for any city to grow. That would mean setting aside the regulations, taxes, minimum wages and other burdens that mainly engorge the federal and state bureaucracies. Make New Orleans a tempting place for entrepreneurial activity, able to compete with Houston and other port cities. Then stand back and let New Orleans spring back -- if it will.