It’s evident that Sen. David Vitter believes he can survive the governor’s race without offering substantive answers about his alleged association with prostitutes in Washington, D.C., and New Orleans. Eventually he’ll be forced to give us more than his usual petulance and indignation when he’s asked about his 2007 sex scandal. Vitter is wrong to suggest, as he did the other day, that such questions are of the “gotcha” variety.

Nonetheless, I believe Vitter when he says he’s dealt with his “serious sin.” He needed forgiveness from his wife, not me – and he seems to have received it. Still, those who insist the real issue is not about Vitter’s sex life but about his shameless hypocrisy have a point. He did, after all, sanctimoniously suggest that President Bill Clinton should resign in 1998 and supported his impeachment. Vitter’s sex life aside, his questionable character and temperament are legitimate issues that voters should consider.

All that said, if the current governor’s race turns largely on Louisiana’s tolerance for a candidate who frequented prostitutes, that will be time and energy tragically wasted on the wrong issue. We will have squandered the chance to have a mature discussion about the real, scandalous iniquity confronting our state.

I’m talking about the immorality of our blithe acceptance of Louisiana’s deep and chronic poverty. Our endemic poverty is more appalling and harmful to Louisiana than anything Vitter ever did with a prostitute – and it ought to shame the candidates, the news media and the voters if we let another governor’s race expire without addressing the state’s most serious problem.

We ignore poverty’s role in our children’s inability to learn. We blame teachers and schools, when the true failure is societal. We refuse to see that poor children, even those in wonderful schools, do not perform (on average) as well as kids from more affluent families.

We abide a caste system that provides health insurance for the poorest and wealthiest among us – but sinfully abandons the working poor and punishes them for their labor. We are content with a regressive tax code that penalizes the poor and rewards the rich. We’re content with a minimum wage that is a poverty wage.

Deep budget cuts force universities to raise tuition and fees, making it too expensive for thousands of young people to pursue a college degree. We ignore how poverty punishes our youth and consigns them to lives of deprivation.

Continue reading on at this link.

10 thoughts on “The real immorality in the governor’s race is not David Vitter’s prostitution scandal

  1. Please explain exactly how  Louisiana “punishes” poor people for their labor.  The rewards of getting an education, showing up for work, giving 110% , being innovative and creative in the workplace, and keeping an open mind for opportunity, are all the LIBERTIES and GOD GIVEN RIGHTS we have in this society.    Nowhere is there promised a free ride.  Some chose to take advantage of the opportunity that EVERY single citizen in Louisiana has, and unfortunately, their is a high number of people who don’t.   They are the losers, and the liberals think that putting the blame on those who succeed is the best rationalization they can come up with.


    1. At least two ways. First, the very poor, those way below the poverty line, are eligible for Medicaid and get health insurance. Those who work and earn just a bit over the poverty level (about $28,000 for a family of five) do not qualify for Medicaid because Jindal refuses to participate in the program. So, if they wish to have health insurance, they would be better off working less, not more.

      Also, there is the tragic fact that if you earn more than half a million dollars, your state and local taxes in Louisiana average under 5 percent of your income. If you earn less than $15,000 a year, your state and local taxes are 10 percent (on average) of your income. Again, we punish the working poor by making them pay taxes at twice the rate of the rich.

      That’s just the beginning of the many ways we punish the working poor in this country.


    2. @gnk55


      Utter nonsense! God didn’t give man any rights. Rights arise out of the nature of man himself, the recognition of which was extracted from kings while stretching their necks over chopping blocks. This was written about long ago. You might avail yourself of the literature.


  2. I attended an ACT Work-Ready Communities meeting at the local LCTCS campus last week, and one of the speakers said that a huge issue for Louisiana is that we have around 60,000 residents receiving unemployment benefits, but at the same time, Louisiana employers struggle to fill over 45,000 vacant jobs. By simple math, around 75% of those on unemployment should be able to fill those jobs. The real sin in my mind is that they can’t. Malingering, laziness, and rampant illicit drug use render most of these residents unemployable in the modern job market. Economic pressures on companies and employers have forced us to cut to the point that only highly motivated and self-driven employees can be retained. What steps are the unemployed taking to become employable, and what role should the state play in that process? I respectfully disagree with Mr. Mann about Medicaid expansion and “regressive” taxation, as I believe that the only taxes should be sales taxes. We should tax consumption, and not production. However, I think we agree that if a great majority of our residents were working, in quality jobs, both of those issues would be greatly mitigated.


    1. Now this name rings a bell. I’ve seen Matthew spout this same drivel over at La. Voice.

      Malingering, laziness, and rampant illicit drug use

      I for one am thankful that you were able to canvass each and every one of those 60k folks that you say receiving unemployment benefits. Now, do you have some numbers to back that up?
      Remember: links are your friends! Otherwise you are just mouthing off numbers you picked up some place.

      I do believe that you believe sales taxes are good. Of course they are extremely regressive in nature because they eat up more of the income of poorer folks than those better off. But didn’t you say you were against regressive taxation?


    2. I have to disagree with having sales tax as our only tax. Our sales tax is already excessive as it is and also sales tax is not a very stable and dependable source of revenues. On the other hand, there are some valid points, though to me there does need to be a two-way street of sorts in addressing the poverty cycle. Everyone should have access to education and skills training — and education institutions should be kept in robust shape, no matter what, rather than starved, as this state has sickeningly done, at budget-formulation time — but our cultural mores could stand to shift somewhat as well, as in that we simply have to do more to place strong emphasis on studying hard, learning and acquiring useful skills and to strongly condemn all violent and criminal behavior. Many people who are not well off do work very hard and still struggle to manage paying bills, etc. and that is something that all of us who do have security need to keep in mind but at the same time it’s clear that too many of our young people are somehow getting the message that acting constantly on impulse, running the streets, being part of gangs, etc. is acceptable behavior.


    3. @Matthew Walton

      I hear that labor is flocking to Washington State since they’ve raised their minimum wage. Businesses there say they’re doing real well too. Who could have imagined??? You sound like the local Chamber of Commerce simpleton.

      “Economic pressures on companies and employers have forced us to cut to the point that only highly motivated and self-driven employees can be retained.”

      So, labor should settle for less than poverty line wages so their employers can continue buying Mercede’s and BMW’s or those brand new PU’s with the top of the line add-on packages? Believe me, labor has heard all that and more before. It’s quite well known that businessmen like to talk out both sides of their mouths, so I doubt that labor will be fooled by such simpleton logic as you’ve presented here.

      If businesses need more labor, all they have to do is pay a decent wage and they’ll have all they can handle.


  3. Thanks, Bob. You have addressed the number one, but oft ignored, problem in this State. It always needs to be an important part of the political diologue – and, hopefully, some day, a problem we really try to solve.


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