Tim Johnson Watch

Representative Tim Johnson was elected to represent the residents of Illinois' 15th Congressional District in Central Illinois. His constituents should know what he's doing.

Location: 15th Congressional District, Illinois, United States

A concerned citizen of Central Illinois.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Lessons From New Orleans

The New York Times Paul Krugman today addresses the very real effects that the signature Republican policies of the last five years -- enormous tax cuts for the very wealthy and a war based on lies about Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction -- are having in New Orleans:
After 2003 the Army Corps of Engineers sharply slowed its flood-control work, including work on sinking levees. "The corps," an Editor and Publisher article says, citing a series of articles in The Times-Picayune in New Orleans, "never tried to hide the fact that the spending pressures of the war in Iraq, as well as homeland security - coming at the same time as federal tax cuts - was the reason for the strain."

In 2002 the corps' chief resigned, reportedly under threat of being fired, after he criticized the administration's proposed cuts in the corps' budget, including flood-control spending. (Emphasis added.)
Let me be clear. I am not saying that the Republican agenda "caused" the terrible tragedy we are witnessing this week. However, there can be little doubt that the decision to devote a vast share of our Nation's resources to enriching the wealthiest few and to fighting the wrong war -- both decisions enthusiastically championed by Tim Johnson -- rather than to such mundane but critically important needs as flood prevention and emergency preparation, made a disaster of the scope we are witnessing in New Orleans more likely.

To the residents of the Fifteenth Congressional District who are fortunate enough not to have loved ones in harm's way this week, the effects of Mr. Bush's and Mr. Johnson's priorities may be less dramatic -- things like veterans paying more for prescription drugs, students and their families paying more for tuition, homeowners paying more in real estate taxes, or poor children waiting longer for healthcare.

But they are no less real.


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