Kristen McQueary of the Chicago Tribune presents the conservative argument that Hurricane Katrina was awesome because it destroyed those teachers’ unions and pesky city workers’ labor contracts. She wishes it on Chicago.
Envy isn’t a rational response to the upcoming 10-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.
But with Aug. 29 fast approaching and New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu making media rounds, including at the Tribune Editorial Board, I find myself wishing for a storm in Chicago — an unpredictable, haughty, devastating swirl of fury. A dramatic levee break. Geysers bursting through manhole covers. A sleeping city, forced onto the rooftops.
That’s what it took to hit the reset button in New Orleans. Chaos. Tragedy. Heartbreak.
Residents overthrew a corrupt government. A new mayor slashed the city budget, forced unpaid furloughs, cut positions, detonated labor contracts. New Orleans’ City Hall got leaner and more efficient. Dilapidated buildings were torn down. Public housing got rebuilt. Governments were consolidated.
An underperforming public school system saw a complete makeover. A new schools chief, Paul Vallas, designed a school system with the flexibility of an entrepreneur. No restrictive mandates from the city or the state. No demands from teacher unions to abide. Instead, he created the nation’s first free-market education system.
Hurricane Katrina gave a great American city a rebirth.
Yes, let’s wish a Hurricane Katrina on everyone! Even better, let’s wish some conservative post-hurricane governance with Michael Brown’s effective response and George W. Bush’s clear caring about the situation. And obviously New Orleans is a better place today than it was a decade ago, what with its half-rebuilt neighborhoods, migration out of much of its African-American population, and increasingly exclusive and white French Quarter. Isn’t that every conservative’s dream, to bust unions and whiten the city?
It’s been awhile since I read something so utterly loathsome. Sounds like Fred Hiatt will be giving McQueary a call soon enough.