Like homeless people, the unfortunate city of New Orleans is used as a dramatic way of saying that Republicans have cold hearts. But should the taxpayer be asked to pour money into the restoration of a dysfunctional city? Here is a story on what some presidential candidates are promising to spend there.

I lived in New Orleans many years, and, if it were safer, might return one day. In my opinion, the city must do something to heal itself. Sure, there’s a role for taxpayer money. Individual citizens aren’t supposed to build levees. But they are supposed to elect District Attorneys who prosecute crime (New Orleans conviction rate is around 12 percent!) and rebuild their own neighborhoods. As with the homeless, whose misfortune distresses us, no matter how they reached their desperate condition, we’re not allowed to ask: How did this happen? Unless we blame George Bush.