Back in 2005 New Orleans got hit with two disasters, one natural (Katrina) and one man-made (the federal disaster response). Since then, the city and Louisiana have been trying to rebuild. As one might imagine, this has been yet another disaster (at least for some-for others it has been a bonanza).
To help out the state, Congress voted to underwrite $7.9 billion in tax free bonds. The idea was that the state could sell them and use the money to fund rebuilding. Shockingly enough, about 1% of the money has gone to New Orleans while about 29% has been spent on projects that directly benefit the oil industry. Interestingly, these often do not seem to be projects to rebuild from the damage done by the storm.
It might, of course, be argued that the oil industry needs that money because (like a person who is poor) they simply lack the funds to get by on their own means. So, just as the state should give handouts to the unemployed and the poor, the state needs to provide welfare to the oil corporations.
However, this does not seem to hold water any better than the levies of New Orleans. After all, the oil industry seems to be doing quite well (just consider some of the salaries and benefits the CEOs enjoy).
It could be argued that giving money to the oil industry helps Louisiana by enabling them to create more jobs. After all, if they had to spend their own money for such projects, they would not have as much money to pay to their top executives or to hire more people. Since we surely do not want the state to directly provide money to people, it makes perfect sense to help out the oil companies so they can hire people to make even more money for them. Giving directly to the people would be socialism/welfare Giving to the oil companies so they can hire people is good old trickle down economics and that is, obviously enough, only like socialism/welfare if you consider corporations to be people. Surely no one thinks that.
Since I am a heartless person, I am inclined to think that the oil industry should be left to fend with the horrors of the free market and not handed welfare or handouts. I know this seems cruel-those poor corporations left to fend for themselves on the basis of their own efforts and being at the mercy of the consumers.
Naturally, I would not suggest that the money be used to rebuild the still damaged areas of Louisiana or, God forbid, help out the small business folks and homeowners’ whose lives were devastated by Katrina. After all, person who can be heartless to a cute kitten like the oil industry surely would not be moved by the plight of mere non-corporations.