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February 07, 2003

Did 911 Affect NYC's Economy?

Okay, the question seems ridiculous. Of course the attacks on the World Trade Center affected the city's economy.

But the Bush White House, which is trying to waive away its creation of $300 billion deficits based on Al Qaida's acts (nothing to do with its trillion dollar tax giveaways to the wealthy), is reluctant to acknowledge that maybe the public deficits in New York might be related to that terrorist attack.

So the Bushies have resisted up to now giving any disaster relief aid to help out on the city and state budgets reeling from economic losses in the last year or so.

Apparently, the Bushies feared creating a "precendent" that massive damage to an area's infrastructure might call for more direct bailing out of local government than FEMA has done in the past. Well, it's a bad precedent if it exists, since it seems to argue that the Feds will bail out private individuals if they suffer, but health care systems and other local government functions (often even more needed after a disaster) can just go to hell as far as the Feds are concerned in case of disaster

Well, they apparently relented with a $980 million package to assist the state and local governments. A relative pittance given the need, but welcome for the city.

Hopefully, other cities and states around the country, reeling from the economic disaster perpetuated by the White House itself, will demand their own "Bush economic policy disaster relief" packages.

That was no doubt what the White House has feared all along.

But other states and cities shouldn't get their hopes up. This $1 billion isn't new money-- the White House is just taking the money from aid already promised and decreasing aid for other recovery efforts in the city.

Posted by Nathan at February 7, 2003 07:54 AM

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You also want to keep in mind that our newly-reelected governor, who tossed out his "moderation" along with his three year binge of spending like a drunken sailor right after his inauguration, is the only one who can apply for the funds, and he's angling for a role in a future Bush administration. They don't have to give anything to us if the Governor of our state doesn't think we need it.

He did request funds right away, but there was such a stink when we found out the money was going upstate instead of to the city that he gave it up and only stopped sitting on his hands some time last week.

Posted by: julia at February 7, 2003 11:04 AM

Implicit in the Bush reluctance to assist states—not only in this example, but in beefing up emergency response to terrorist destruction and in recovering from the recession (especially acute here in Oregon)—is the old conservative concern for preserving "state's rights." After all, states cannot assert their independence if they are feeding from the federal teat. Much as an individual cannot be a truly free agent in the capitalist marketplace if one is receiving welfare. Of course, in either case, how independence is maintained when one is broke and weak is a question conservatives tend to elide.

Posted by: Kevin Moore at February 7, 2003 12:26 PM

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