Okay, I’ll admit it–I sometimes listen to NPR in the morning if I’m driving into DC to the office. Just think of it as good opposition research. Good to know what the enemy is thinking. But I almost drove off the road in amazement the morning when “Morning Edition” (which I typically label “Morning Sedition” to go along with the afternoon marquee show, “All Things Distorted”) got something spectacularly right. And when they do, we should acknowledge it.
The segment came up: “Will Hurricane Cleanup Aid the Economy?” Naturally I braced myself for the usual Keynesian stimulus nonsense. To my surprise, the economic correspondent they had on, Adam Davidson, not only got the conclusion right, but even mentioned the “broken window fallacy,” which he attributed to “this awesome 19th century French writer, Fredric Bastiat.” Bastiat! Mentioned favorably on NPR! Dogs and cats living together! What’s next: Reagan was a great president perhaps?
Davidson didn’t budge when host Steve Inskeep pressed him to find some kind of silver lining. Davidson was clear: the deadweight loss and overall wealth destruction from this kind of natural disaster is negative. Full stop. Krugman’s cat is no doubt cowering in a corner somewhere this morning.