Devastating economic impact from Irene? Bullshit.
WalMarts sell out. Supermarkets sell out. Bodegas sell out. Liquor stores get New Year’s business. Consumption of paid video, plywood, duct tape, flashlights, batteries, sardines, bottled water, crackers and generators, etc? Friggin astronomical.
We don’t manufacture shit anymore on the Eastern Seabord except hype. We’re a service economy. Period.
Lost business? Bullshit. Most “mission critical” corporate drones have worked remotely, as appropriate, for years–Especially in hypercapitalist, Blackberry-heavy New York state.
No lost orders. Financial markets opened for business Monday. Most folks just worked from home, as they usually do in similar weather circumstance. And legions of cops, firefighters and EMS folks got major overtime pay for cruising empty streets in the surprisingly gentle but persistent rain Sunday. Ka-ching.
Any established business worth its hype has videoconference capability, or their technically capable folks use Skype. No need for air travel except for introductory face-to-face meetings at senior old fart levels, which are inevitably just postponed–not canceled.
Our Dear Wise Father, Bloomberg, advised that NYC public sector folks will be charged a vacation day if they didn’t come into work on Monday. And this edict delivered with extremely fucking dodgy transit service. He basically asked people to walk from the outer boroughs. Kim Jong Il got nothin’ on DWF Bloomy.
Sure, lots of homes got damaged. But lines at Home Depot will be longer than the Trans-Siberian Railway next weekend. As Gawker advises, just make sure you get there before the lesbians grab all the 2x4s.
Financial news folks repeatedly wailed about the devastating economic impact for retailers of “losing” the traditional last shopping weekend for parents whose children will be starting school.
Bullshit. Folks will just buy the school gear later this week; the bucks just may not hit the books for August financial close. A lot of parents and kids buy online, well in advance.
The damage to infrastructure was expected, but a 100-year flood is just what state DOTs needed to light a fire under their asses to fix what were already known to be substandard roads and bridges, and perhaps seek innovative financing measures (e.g., appropriately tweaked public-private partnership “PPP” concessions) to finally do now what can no longer be postponed. There is no public funding left to repair and create the long-neglected infrastructure essential to the US economy.
We need to use the European/Australian/Canadian PPP model to do infrastructure. It works! The US can actually can actually learn from other countries.
Irene was a nice kick in the ass for the East Coast economy, encouraging vital spending when the government has been proscribed (by obdurate and self-serving populist dullards) from pulling additional tools from the essential Keynesian economic stimulus trick bag during a serious recession.
The hurricane season is young. Let’s hope for similar overhyped East Coast meteorological bullshit.