Tuesday, September 06, 2005


Our favorite sourpuss, Judge Richard Posner, explores the question that got Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dennis Hastert, into such hot water last week: should New Orleans be rebuilt?
To decide whether to rebuild or abandon the City, the cost of reconstruction, plus the expected cost of a future such disaster, should be compared to the cost of either building a new city or, what would be cheaper and faster, simply relocating the present inhabitants to existing cities, towns, etc., a solution that would require merely the construction of some additional commercial and residential facilities, plus some additional infrastructure. Of course New Orleans has great historic and sentimental value, and this should be factored into the analysis, but it should not be given conclusive weight. Perhaps it should be given little weight, since the historic portions of the city (the French Quarter and the Garden District) might be rebuilt and preserved as a tourist site, much like Colonial Williamsburg, without having to be part of a city.
Posner has never been accused of being sentimental. Or shy of controversy. Mardi Gras-land, anyone?

After the horror of last week, he heaps another worry on my fretfire: "Breaches similar to those that caused the recent flood, but created without warning by terrorist bombs, would cause much greater loss of life because there would be no time to evacuate the population."

Now that makes me want to down a Hurricane.


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