(One can hear Krugman telling Obama, "You've done a heckuva job.)
Not satisfied with assuming that the damage to the New York area was comparable to much of New Orleans being flooded after a canal levee collapsed (Sorry, Paul, not even close), he then tells an outright falsehood regarding the response to the tragedy in Hoboken:
I could do a point-by-point — and it’s definitely worth it, if you’re curious, to revisit the 2005 Katrina timeline to get a sense of just how bad the response really was. But for me the difference is summed up in two images. One is the nightmare at the New Orleans convention center, where thousands were stranded for days amid inconceivable squalor, an outrage that all of America watched live on TV, but to which top officials seemed oblivious. The other is the scene in flooded Hoboken, with the National Guard moving in the day after the storm struck to deliver food and water and rescue stranded residents.In other words, the National Guard immediately took care of things. (By the way, the National Guard and even FEMA were on the ground quickly in New Orleans, but government agents there acted like government agents, telling Wal-Mart its deliveries of thousands of bottles of water was "not needed," and forcing rescue workers to undergo two days of "sexual harassment" prevention training. One would think Krugman would approve, given he hates Wal-Mart and loves government haranguing of private citizens.)
Notice that Krugman did not mention Staten Island, where apparently FEMA did not perform its Krugmanesque heroics and chaos reigns as people cannot find food or anything else. Nor does he mention the gas shortages created by price controls, but Krugman is not much for prices, anyway, unless they are part of an index.
His biggest howler comes with his lavish praise of Bill Clinton's FEMA. He writes:
...Bill Clinton came in, put FEMA under professional management, and saw the agency’s reputation restored.James Bovard would beg to differ. In his outstanding book, Feeling Your Pain, in which he chronicles the abuses and exploits of Clinton's administration, Bovard devotes an entire chapter to FEMA, which, contra Krugman, had the largest percentage of political appointees of any federal agency and handed out post-disaster checks, whether people wanted them or not. An Amazon review says:
His chapter on disaster relief is especially good, showing how the Federal Emergency Management Agency is "determined to spend tax dollars to rescue citizens, regardless of how irresponsible or negligent they have been and regardless of whether they have requested help."Krugman's column is not so much a piece about federal agencies but rather is just another partisan political screed. He also forgets something else, and that is the brunt of Katrina did not hit New Orleans but rather the Gulf Coast of Mississippi and Alabama. In those areas, the FEMA presence was not as noticeable and, not surprisingly, the Gulf Coast recovered more quickly than did New Orleans.
You see, huge numbers of private volunteers, church groups, and other citizens went to the Gulf Coast to help, something that Krugman ignores because, after all, these people were not in the employ of the government, which means they are irrelevant and useless. As for New Orleans, the government told volunteers to get lost.