Monday, September 04, 2006

Why New Orleans Must be Saved!

USA TODAY ran the most insightful concise article (which was picked up by the Times-Picayune and probably other papers) that I have read to date that summarizes why New Orleans is vulnerable to hurricanes and why it is important to the national interest that New Orleans be rebuilt and made ready for future catastrophic storms.

There are some who say that New Orleans should be left to die on the vine. After all, it is vulnerable and it will cost money to rebuild it. Of course, Manhattan and Long Island are vulnerable to hurricanes (when the Big One hits the Big Apple, you'll see), Pennsylvania is vulnerable to flooding (as have been the Carolinas and Virginia, thanks to inclement weather), Texas and Oklahoma are subject to wildfires, California is vulnerable to earthquakes and mud slides, the entire midwest is "tornado alley" and St. Louis seems to have problems keeping the electricity going when bad weather hits that city. Florida has some 900 miles of vulnerable coast, and they get very dangerous blizzards in the plains and in the rockies.


This article doesn't say any of the above. It sticks to the topic of New Orleans and why this city is crucial to America. And no, it isn't the usual maudlin drivel about diversity, the socio-cultural importance of jazz music, or an appeal to crawfish and jambalaya. This is a pragmatic economic issue for the entire United States. This analysis soars above partisan political squabbling and provincial pride.

It's not often I'm impressed by the writing of an academician in matters of economics and public policy, but this one is a home run.

No comments: