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Some facts on Bush, race and NOLA

Unlike Deroy Murdock, I found Charlie Rangel's stupid and offensive description of President Bush as "our Bull Connor" to be completely unworthy of a response.

Nevertheless, Murdock does point out some useful data to bear in mind the next time someone spouts off with this Kanye West nonsense about Bush, race and New Orleans.

While Bush has taken responsibility for Washington's disjointed first response to Katrina - notwithstanding the 33,544 hurricane survivors who Coast Guard helicopter and boat crews started saving as soon as winds dropped below 45 MPH - he need not apologize for neglecting the Big Easy's poor before these hurricanes.

Using the Consolidated Federal Funds Report's latest data, Johnson found that, "Across all federal programs, Orleans Parish received $12,645 per capita in fiscal year 2003. At the same time, the national average was $7,089 per capita. Put another way, New Orleans received 78.4 percent more funding per person than the national average."

Johnson also examined 21 low-income-assistance programs. Among them, inflation-adjusted federal poverty spending in Orleans Parish equaled $5,899 per-poor-person in Bill Clinton's final, full-fiscal-year 2000 budget. By fiscal 2003, such outlays soared to $10,222. Under Bush, federal anti-poverty spending per-poor-New Orleanian ballooned 73.3 percent, or an average, annual hike of 24.4 percent over three years!

Johnson discovered, for instance, that spending on immunization grants dropped 80.51 percent, and supportive housing for the elderly fell 25.6 percent during Bush's first three years. However, child support enforcement grew 8.3 percent. Head Start rose 13.8 percent. Food Stamps increased 43.1 percent. Pell Grants advanced 126 percent. Community Health Center funding accelerated 163.6 percent, and so on.

In 1999, under Clinton, Orleans Parish had 135,429 poor people and a 27.9 percent poverty rate. In 2004, under Bush, 102,636 New Orleanians were poor, while the poverty rate eased to 23.2 percent. So, pre-Katrina, the Big Easy's poverty rate slid 16.8 percent during Bush's tenure.