Forced Migration May Ultimately Help The Poor

Mark Alan Hughes predicts some of NOLA's poor will be better off in a couple years as a result of forced relocation to more prosperous places.

Hughes points out that Katrina exposed many things: the bleak prospects for poor residents in New Orleans, “our appalling unpreparedness for catastrophic consequences four years after 9/11, George W. Bush's callous disregard for the government he heads and the breadth of support in this country for government that matters.”

Yet, Katrina may prove to be a promising new beginning for some of poor residents forced to evacuate. At least for those people fortunate enough to be sheltered in a place that is growing, not declining.

"Older American cities...have become warehouses for people whose prospects would be brighter in other places. But immediate obligations, lack of resources and information, and plain old inertia anchor people in places that are declining.

Katrina relocated people in the harshest possible way, possibly killing thousands and driving hundreds of thousands away with little or nothing.

If I had the budget, I'd track...poor and near-poor people who've found refuge in economically healthier places....I bet that two or three years from now, most of those folks will be earning more money in better jobs with their kids attending better schools in safer neighborhoods....

The lesson of the Mayflower, the frontier, the Dust Bowl and probably Katrina is that the eventual happy ending for poor people comes from relocation more than rebuilding."

Thanks to Margy Waller



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