Fix the Debt or Save the Coasts?
prospect.org — One of the casualties of Hurricane Sandy is the premise that America’s biggest economic problem is deficit reduction. That’s because the United States just became a much larger version of the Netherlands. Once we get through the election, official Washington may be willing to talk about this. President Obama’s leadership in helping flooded communities cope with the damage nicely positions him to lead an effort to prevent future super-storm damage. The new normal is here, the legacy of our denial of the reality of climate change. The federal government needs to do a comprehensive assessment of the public investment necessary to protect our coasts, which will run into the trillions of dollars. One consequences of that reality is that it blows away past assumptions about deficit reduction. The government needs to begin a multi-year public investment program.