September 2, 2005

#191: The complaint will look stupid in a week or two...


The New York Times editorial page and Paul Krugman in Can’t-Do Government (09/02/05) shifted into partisan overdrive today in the after math of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans and nearby coastal areas. Nothing makes their Bush-bashing juices flow quite like the thought of catching Bush 43 in a rerun of something they did to Bush 41–in this case 41’s presumed indifference to Hurricane Andrew back in 1992. And now they have an extra hook–they believe National Guard units stationed in Iraq have depleted units needed here.

Here’s a sample of how the Times sees it from today’s editorial:

“Watching helplessly from afar, many citizens wondered whether rescue operations were hampered because almost one-third of the men and women of the Louisiana National Guard, and an even higher percentage of the Mississippi National Guard, were 7,000 miles away, fighting in Iraq.”
Krugman, of course, is just plain nasty:
‘Even military resources in the right place weren't ordered into action. "On Wednesday," said an editorial in The Sun Herald in Biloxi, Miss., "reporters listening to horrific stories of death and survival at the Biloxi Junior High School shelter looked north across Irish Hill Road and saw Air Force personnel playing basketball and performing calisthenics. Playing basketball and performing calisthenics!"

Maybe administration officials believed that the local National Guard could keep order and deliver relief. But many members of the National Guard and much of its equipment - including high-water vehicles - are in Iraq. "The National Guard needs that equipment back home to support the homeland security mission," a Louisiana Guard officer told reporters several weeks ago.’

Hmmm. High-water vehicles in the deserts of Iraq? Well, they do have a couple of big rivers. But we smell a Krugman whopper here and hopefully some intrepid bloggers will run this down.

We also note that a Rudy-Pataki combo representing local and state government has not stepped forward in La. Indeed the local police seem to have been AWOL and the mayor spends most of his time blaming others, especially the federal authorities.

But we think there’s a larger point here. In the battle of the Times and Krugman vs. Bush 43, they are “misunderestimating” him again! We fearlessly predict that in just a few weeks there will have been such a flurry of cleanup and rebuilding activity that their only option for complaint will be that he should have done it faster, and those kind of complaints typically have short shelf-lives. The reason we are so confident of our prediction is that a disaster like this unites all parties in Washington around that function they do best–spend money. No one will want to be left out. New Orleans will be showered with money and aid. Much of the most effective work as always will be done privately (Krugman will be too busy snarling to acknowledge that). And, by the way, the economy will benefit from Katrina also. We look for strong GDP growth for the rest of the year. The amazing thing to us is that the Times and Krugman could fall into such a trap.

Is all this rebuilding a good thing? We have some doubts because subsidizing construction in hazardous areas with cheap insurance and expensive infrastructure is usually a bad idea. But in this case, the New Orleans area ports are such vital national interests that maybe it will all work out. But Krugman, the Times and Co. are going to look like chumps very shortly.

[The Truth Squad is a group of economists who have long marveled at the writings of Paul Krugman. The Squad Reports are synopses of their discussions. ]

John adds: Regardless of the truth of the charges, the instantaneous hatred and partisan venom we've seen from leftists at a time of crisis is sick. Mentally sick. These people are deep in embittered-loser-land. And they will keep losing for a generation or two, unless they can come back to the reactions of normal people.

Posted by John Weidner at September 2, 2005 12:43 PM
Weblog by John Weidner