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George W. Bush's handlers left no photo op unexplored as they sought to convince us that the President was fully engaged in hurricane relief after Rita. That strategy only underscores that this President is clueless. Bush moved quickly when two things of great importance to him were threatened: the Texas oil infrastructure and his poll ratings.
How to Help the Poor
Joe Klein's column "Let's Have An Antipoverty Caucus" [Oct. 3] perfectly summarized my thinking about programs for the poor. As a middle-class Republican, not an ultraconservative, I want better things for our country, but I do not want to support someone for life and perpetuate a cycle of poverty and welfare dependence. I am willing to invest in programs that train poor people for employment and allow them to contribute to society by paying taxes like the rest of us. Let's have a Congressional Antipoverty Caucus, as Klein suggests, and base aid on economic need rather than race. I don't want to give handouts. I want our money used to invest in the future of the impoverished.
Colorado Springs, Colo.
How can you have a meaningful debate about the strategy of fighting poverty without at least exploring whether the transfer of billions of dollars from taxpayers to the poor has had any positive impact over the past 40 years? I don't think that money will ever be the answer. Nor do I believe that questioning the success of our welfare-entitlement policies makes someone a racist.
Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
When Lyndon Johnson launched his War on Poverty in 1964, that Texas President aimed to bring support to the underprivileged and help them climb out of poverty. Bush, however, brings a whole new meaning to the phrase "war on poverty"--it now means war on the poor. And he has done it by letting corporations and the wealthy help themselves to billions from the nation's coffers.
San Antonio, Texas
A Flood of Money
"How To Spend (Almost) $1 Billion a Day" reported on the Federal Government's massive post-Katrina rebuilding effort [Sept. 26] and stated, "Most of the major Katrina contracts doled out so far have been for temporary housing, and they have gone, by and large, to companies with strong ties to the Bush Administration." Average Americans have rallied to help those who are recovering from the hurricane crisis. I am curious to know what our President, representatives and wealthier citizens have personally contributed. Recovery should not be paid for by cutting funds for health care and other vital federal programs, as some have proposed. While helping the hurricane victims, we still need to maintain spending on research, education, environment, medical care and energy alternatives.
I propose that all federal funding for the war in Iraq be diverted to the hurricane-recovery effort. Then the money needed to pay for the war would come from members of the Bush Administration, Congress, private citizens and the corporations that supported (and in many cases profited from) the Iraq war.
DAVID W. MCCREERY