Norm's conquest

Junior Senator's reponse to Katrina: Tax cuts for all my friends!

It may have been Labor Day, but the powers that be in Minnesota Sen. Norm Coleman's office were apparently hard at work devising a plan. Coleman is clearly becoming a sort of trial-balloon politician for the neo-con agenda's most egregious proposals, and one of them came over the transom late last night: How to frame the aftermath of Katrina.

At the very least, the response from Sen. Coleman shows an utter disregard for the victims of the hurricane.

"The devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina offers an historic opportunity to revitalize the Gulf Coast," the press release trumpeted, "while providing for economic incentives that will ensure massive investment in intellectual, physical and technological infrastructure."

How does Norm propose we do this? Well, tax breaks for corporations, of course, including:

"Tax credits to encourage recovery and restoration by businesses and corporations in the region," according to the press release. And: "Tax credits for human resources technology development."

The missive from Coleman's office concluded with a hard-right flourish, admonishing those who expect the Federal government to carry any of the post-Katrina weight:

"Coleman also stated that he felt strongly that federal assistance to the region cannot simply be viewed as government mandates and hand-outs."

In other words, now that all those poor, black people are out of the way, it's time to hand over the Gulf Coast to corporate America.

And it's vintage Norm: Opportunism, mixed with pandering optimism, and obsequious gestures toward business and "economic growth." Finally, despite appearances of concern and caring, it ultimately resembles the callousness that has defined his entire political career.

Here's the entire press release:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

September 5, 2005

SENATOR COLEMAN URGES MASSIVE INVESTMENT IN INTELLECTUAL, PHYSICAL AND TECHNOLOGICAL INFRASTRUCTURE ON GULF COAST

Washington, D.C--United States Senator Norm Coleman said today that the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina offers an historic opportunity to revitalize the Gulf Coast, while providing for economic incentives that will ensure massive investment in intellectual, physical and technological infrastructure.

"Clearly, the havoc caused by Hurricane Katrina will be felt for years to come. Yet, there is an opportunity to ensure greater prosperity for the residents of this region if we are creative and committed to making investments that will sustain economic growth and job creation for the long-term," said Coleman. "In particular, as the region begins its recovery, we ought to target government support to areas of tax credits and a relaxing of specific government regulations to stimulate job growth and economic recovery."

Some specific ideas promoted by Coleman include:

* Tax credits to encourage recovery and restoration by businesses and corporations in the region, and targeted regulatory waivers to expedite getting critical systems operational,

* Tax credits for human resources technology development,

* Creation of a federal matching grant program with math and science graduate schools,

* Relaxing of "gift rules" so individuals or corporations can donate housing and other similar gifts to victims, and exempting the recipients from any federal or state tax implication,

* A review of current bankruptcy laws to determine what modifications may have to be made to ensure that victims are not further economically disadvantaged as a result of the hurricane,

* Targeting of job training and other workforce development funds and strategies to victims of the hurricane,

* Target efforts to immediately re-open schools and provide for enhanced tutoring and mentorship,

* Passage of massive infrastructure "bonding bill" for projects in affected areas, targeting physical, intellectual and technological infrastructure.

Coleman also believes that intellectual, physical and technological infrastructure can be advanced throughout the region, and potentially serve as a model for the rest of the nation.

"Quite frankly, in much of this region, they will be starting from scratch. We should use this recovery as an opportunity to invest beyond the present, and invest in a bold future where we enhance the physical infrastructure of the region, both in terms of transportation, but also energy and technology. Additionally, we should use government resources to establish strategies that will strengthen the educational system so it becomes state-of-the-art and cutting edge."

Coleman also stated that he felt strongly that federal assistance to the region cannot simply be viewed as government mandates and hand-outs.

"American citizens suffered greatly during this catastrophe and they will continue to do so as the recovery continues, and the loss of life becomes known. An even greater catastrophe will occur for generations to come if the federal government simply spends money without a long-term strategy that ensures investment in long-term economic growth and job creation. I believe that this investment in physical, intellectual and technological infrastructure is the foundation upon which to build this recovery program."


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