A top economic adviser to President Bush said Tuesday that the White House has offered to give Louisiana back to France along with a full refund for the famous Louisiana Purchase.
"We're very concerned with the situation in Louisiana" said Allan Hubbard, director of the National Economic Council. Hubbard said the White House wants wash it's hands of ongoing Katrina recovery and hand the entire mess over to France.
The proposal, by Rep. Richard Baker, R-La., would create an agency called the Louisiana Recovery Corp. that would draft the necessary papers to officially hand Louisiana over to French authority. The Louisiana Recovery Corp would also try to raise up to $376 in government money to give the French further incentive to take back the hurricane damaged state. Although the United States originally paid about $15,000,000 to the French in the "Louisiana Purchase", Baker said we are only selling back the portion known as the state of Louisiana, not the remainder of the land, which constitutes much of the plains states. Also, Baker cited 'depreciation' for only giving back $376 of the $15,000,000.
The deal would free up Katrina recovery funds needed to repair streets, power lines and other infrastructure in states less useless as Louisiana. The proposal gained the support of many members of congress, Although Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco and New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin fear having to learn to speak French and learn how to adjust to a strange new diet.
Baker pushed for support from the White House in a letter in which he quoted Treasury Secretary John Snow as saying the measure "has some real merit." Hubbard and Donald Powell, the president's coordinator for Gulf Coast rebuilding, expressed great enthusiasm for the idea and think the White House would say yes.
"We think [Baker's proposal] would relieve us of all responsibility and most importantly, accountability to the American taxpayer concerning cleaning up the mess down there," Hubbard told reporters.
Powell said "there is enough money if France needs more incentive, we're just tired of dealing with Nagin and Blanco, quite frankly, they're complete idiots, they should fit right in with French politicians".
Baker said that there is at least 160,000 ruined homes, and he predicts mass foreclosures and trouble for the banks and lending companies that hold the mortgages. "That is an outcome we'd rather not have to deal with," Baker said. "I'm not giving up on this French thing. Hey, they're the ones who sold us this flood prone area to begin with, it's time to lay blame on their shoulders anyways."
Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., said "my name is kind of a bastardized French name anyways, I think it would be cool!"
Scott Cowen, president of Tulane University and a member of the Bring Back New Orleans Commission, said "crap, I really have no idea what this all means."