The Corner

Krugman Speaks!

Paul Krugman sees a silver lining in the Katrina clouds:

“So the direct economic impact of Hurricane Katrina will probably not be that bad. And there will, potentially, be two favorable effects.

First, the driving force behind the economic slowdown has been a plunge in business investment. Now, all of a sudden, we need some new office buildings. As I’ve already indicated, the destruction isn’t big compared with the economy, but rebuilding will generate at least some increase in business spending.

Second, the hurricane opens the door to some sensible recession-fighting measures. For the last few weeks there has been a heated debate among liberals over whether to advocate the classic Keynesian response to economic slowdown, a temporary burst of public spending. There were plausible economic arguments in favor of such a move, but it was questionable whether Congress could agree on how to spend the money in time to be of any use — and there was also the certainty that conservatives would refuse to accept any such move unless it were tied to another round of irresponsible long-term tax cuts. Now it seems that we will indeed get a quick burst of public spending, however tragic the reasons.”

OOOOOOPS! Sorry! That was Krugman talking about 9/11 in The New York Times on 9/14/01. But why hasn’t he mouthed the same idiocy about Hurricane Katrina?

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