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Balanced Fare: We Report, You Deride

Tuesday, June 17, 2003



Krugman Goes Nuclear!

Don't you hate it when that happens? From his "Dereliction of Duty" column, we note a minor point (our major points are below).

In discussing budget priorities for national security, Prof. Krugman tells us that "... Congress isn't pinching pennies across the board: last week the Senate voted to provide $15 billion in loan guarantees for the construction of nuclear power plants."

So they did. This seems an odd tack for the Prof. to take - wouldn't reducing our reliance on evil, yet frustratingly fungible, foreign oil be a good thing? Fred Kaplan, cited earlier in the column, questioned the funding of national security relative to missle defense. Message discipline, please!

Secondly, the $15 Billion is the maximum the government might spend, since these are not loans, but guarantees. If the loans perform, taxpayers lose little to, arguably, nothing. NO, I am not saying a guarantee is free! I am just waltzing around, actually.

Now, shouldn't the private market bear all this risk, you might well ask, on the off chance that I am having a bout of intellectual consistency as a devoted free-marketeer? Do not vex me! But, in a bit of tortured logic, I might respond that the process of getting approval for a nuclear power plant is so heavily politicized that it makes sense to give the Government a formal stake in the success of the project. Positive co-option!


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