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.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Let Them Eat Beignets

According to the Pantagraph, Tim Johnson is being stingy about rebuilding New Orleans:
U.S. Rep. Tim Johnson, an Urbana Republican, said Thursday that rebuilding the storm-ravaged, below-sea-level city may not be realistic. His two Central Illinois Republican colleagues took differing views.

A spokesman for U.S. Rep. Jerry Weller, a Republican from Morris, said it's too early to make those decisions, and Rep. Ray LaHood said the federal government must play a role.

"The popular thing for me to say is, 'Whatever they need. It's a horrible crisis. I don't care what it costs. I don't care what it means to us. Just open the checkbook, completely rebuild the city of New Orleans and make it an entirely new city,'" Johnson said.

"That would be the politically correct thing to say. But I don't always do what's politically correct, and I'm not going to say that."

Johnson did say the federal government must spend money to help rebuild the port system in the Mississippi Delta, a key point for barge traffic serving Illinois agriculture.

I'm not sure who's saying "just open the checkbook" -- I think there's widespread agreement that, as LaHood says, the federal government will have to play a role, and it's pretty obvious that cost will necessarily be a factor in what Congress decides to do.

But Johnson's sneering dismissal of the notion that the government should come to the aid of its citizens in a genuine and unprecedented crisis as mere "political correctness" betrays a stinginess and lack of charity that ill represents this District's citizens. It is all the more unbecoming that Mr. Johnson is so parsimonious about rebuilding New Orleans, when he has been so profligate in rebuilding Iraq. (The EPA estimates that the clean-up cost in New Orleans may approximate the cost of one year of the Iraq War.) And even more so when one considers that the cost of rebuilding New Orleans is about the same as what the Bush tax cuts championed by Mr. Johnson have already given to America's richest 1% (few of whom live in this District).


Post a Comment

<< Home