Speaking to the National Baptist Convention of America today, Howard Dean was frank and to the point about his opinions on the Katrina disaster. While I have not always agreed with Howard Dean I respect his candor, at a time when we can use all the candor we can get.
Dean referenced the proposed estate tax breaks that are due for a vote any day. We have a petition below on the estate tax breaks from John Kerry. Please sign it if you have not.
“We must … come to terms with the ugly truth that skin color, age and economics played a deadly role in who survived and who did not,” Dean said.
Dean said Americans have a moral responsibility to not ignore the devastating damage caused by Hurricane Katrina when it struck the Gulf Coast.
The former presidential candidate said the government will be judged by how it treats the old, the young and the poor.
‘They are not refugees’
“People are poor in different parts of the country. They are not refugees. They are Americans,” he said.
Dean said that instead of considering proposed estate tax breaks, the Senate should channel the money into disaster relief.
“Shall we give that to the wealthiest people in the country, or should we rebuild New Orleans?” Dean said.
Dean also urged the government to exempt victims of Hurricane Katrina from a stricter new bankruptcy law for one year.
Ken Mehlman, Dean’s counterpart at the Republican National Committee, said he hoped Dean “will match his rhetoric with his support for reforms that replace bureaucracy and entitlement with hope and opportunity.”
Stephen J. Thurston, president of the National Baptist Convention, said there was a lack of response and sensitivity by the government following the Gulf Coast disaster.
KnightRidder has piece on how the new bankruptcy laws will affect Katrina victims: New bankruptcy law imposes more burdens on Katrina survivors. That’s a whole other ball of wax, read it and see.