Hurricane Sandy And SHTF

In the aftermath of hurricane Sandy, it’s a good approximation of what a SHTF scenario would look like.

Fortunately, where I live in Brooklyn, it’s relatively high above sea level.  There was no serious damage.  There wasn’t that much rain in the hurricane.  Most of the damage was due to wind and high tides.

My cell phone didn’t work for 2 days.

After 2-3 days, the roads were nearly 100% clear.

In downtown Manhattan, power was not restored until this weekend.  In Staten Island, some areas still don’t have electricity.  In some areas, looters were pretending to be Con Edison workers.

They cancelled the NYC marathon.  It was embarrassing that the marathon was starting in Staten Island, even while that part of Staten Island had no electricity.

After 2-3 days, the supermarkets started being restocked.  The supermarkets mostly have normal inventory now.

There still is a gasoline shortage, although some stations are starting to get inventory.  It should be better in a few days.

The subways are not yet restored to 100%. However, I could have commuted to Manhattan today.

This also shows the risk of disaster preparation.  If you had made plans to escape NYC, you needed to make sure it was somewhere sufficient distance away to be unaffected by the hurricane!  If your plan was to escape NYC by going to NJ, that might have been a disaster.

However, this was not a true SHTF scenario.  The government still has the ability to organize the police and repair crews, and restore order.  The Federal government can have deficit spending to pay for the repairs and emergency workers.

That raises another issue. Should the Federal government provide disaster relief? That distorts the market for insurance, when you know that the Federal government will provide aid in a natural disaster.

By providing flood relief, the Federal government reduces the cost of living near the coastline near sea level. Most costal land is owned by wealthy people. Federal flood aid is an indirect subsidy of people who are already wealthy.

The hurricane may have benefited President Obama’s reelection chances. He didn’t Katrina it, so he looked competent. Instead of talking about other election issues, people are talking about the hurricane.

I’m feeling mostly better, but not quite ready to return to my full blogging schedule. I’m hoping to return to work on Nov 12.

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