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Balanced Fare: We Report, You Deride

Wednesday, April 02, 2003

Paul Krugman Is Right!

The Feds have been allocating money to the states for homeland security in a way that makes no sense, favoring sparsely populated "Red States" over the urban "Blue States". And the unsurprising explanation? It's all the fault of the evil Republicans, and that evil man Bush!

Which leaves us puzzling over this passage in the WaPo:

But [Department of Homeland Security spokesman] Johndroe said the $2 billion supplemental budget will be distributed mostly on the original formula, which comes from the USA Patriot Act, passed in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks [by a Senate vote of 96-1].

Among the formula's authors was then-Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.), whose state gets more than six times as much money per capita as California under the formula. A spokesman for Leahy said smaller states need more money because their communities do not have large standing police forces to respond to emergencies. "Small states have security concerns, too," the spokesman said. "Protection of Vermont's northern border benefits the whole country. What if a terrorist got across and went to New York?"

Another insidious Governor spoke up here:

Gov. Tom Vilsack of Iowa, a Democrat who is calling on the Bush administration to provide more homeland security money across the nation, suggested that protecting the nation's food supply was as important as, say, protecting major ports and borders.

"If they taint the food in Iowa that's shipped to a restaurant in New York, does it really make a difference that New York got more money?" he asked.

But will Tom Ridge listen to logic?

... the complaints of city and state officials are beginning to get the attention of some influential people in Washington. Testifying on Capitol Hill on Thursday, Tom Ridge, the secretary of homeland security, said the current aid formula did not adequately recognize the needs of places where the threat was perceived to be greatest.

While not specifically mentioning New York, Mr. Ridge said: "I've concluded that the formula we've used in the past shouldn't be the formula we use in the future, because it doesn't take into consideration some of the special needs that certain communities have and certain states have that are substantially greater than others."

This latest Professorial outburst leaves the impression that, frustrated by his attempts to forecast the future, Prof. Krugman is now attempting to forecast the past, with equally unreliable results. However, in what we suspect is evidence of his sly humor, we see that, like the Dixie Chicks (below), the Professor is still not over Florida:

(To be fair, there's one big "red state" loser from the formula: Texas. But one of these days, sooner than most people think, Texas may well turn blue.)

Say it with me - Florida is Red! And a loser state!

So, to wrap up, Bush has cleverly adopted a plan co-authored by Leahy that shortchanges both his home state, and his brother's key battleground state for 2004. Ridge has said he will review the formula, but ignore it. Can't outsmart Karl Rove!

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