O'Grady on Haiti
By David Henderson
You can’t make this stuff up. Apparently-serious people are suggesting that Bill Clinton be made the aid czar. Mary O’Grady of the Wall Street Journal says why this is a bad idea. An excerpt from her piece:
According to sources familiar with the issue, word has already gone out that Mr. Clinton has been unofficially designated by the multilateral aid community as the conduit through which anyone who wants to participate in the country’s reconstruction will have to go. “That means,” one individual told me, “if you don’t have Clinton connections, you won’t be in the game.”
A person entrusted with this much power should have an impeccable track record. Mr. Clinton’s record doesn’t come close.
But there’s a bigger question here: should anybody be made the czar? Many people believe that markets work alright during normal times but during emergencies we need much more central planning. In fact, it’s during emergencies that markets outperform central planning even more.
For more recovery from major disasters, see what the late UCLA economist Jack Hirhsleifer wrote in “Disaster and Recovery.”