Trump Celebrates “Billions Of Dollars” In Infrastructure Spending He’s Raised For Puerto Rico
This is an update to a story we wrote earlier in the week: How Natural Disasters Quietly Benefit Trump’s Agenda.
While we alluded to Puerto Rico when we originally wrote that piece, we didn’t feel comfortable directly speculating about what Trump might’ve been referring to when he called his response to Hurricane Maria there an “unsung success.”
But now he’s made it crystal clear:
Understandably, most people today are focusing their reaction — and fury — on Trump’s attempt to pooh-pooh the body count and furiously characterize an independent report commissioned by Puerto Rico’s own government as yet another attempt by Democrats to victimize him.
And for those of you who have come to question why the researchers who did the report kept adding to their totals even months after the hurricane passed, the Washington Post’s Philip Bump has a pretty comprehensive and common sense explanation. In short: the way researchers at George Washington University compiled their numbers is they compared the number of deaths in Puerto Rico in the wake of the hurricane with the number of deaths that would normally be expected there. They planned to stop adding to their numbers as soon as deaths dropped back into a more normal range. Only — as the island struggled to recover—they never did.
Heck, even someone who typically frolics in Trump’s tentacles like a clown fish was quick to separate himself from the President on this. (Of course, Scott is running for Senate in Florida, where hundreds of thousands of Maria victims relocated, and some of whom have doubtlessly registered to vote.)
But there’s an angle to the story that’s by-and-large being lost, and that’s Trump’s celebrating that he got Congress to spend money on infrastructure that it otherwise never ever would have allocated, so was all worth it (which is what we suspected all along he meant when he said Puerto Rico was “unsung success”; now we know for sure). And Trump is actually kinda right about that.
But we can pretty easily assert that even “raising Billions of Dollars” is no compensation for lives lost.
And we will remind you, as we did in our original piece, of a quote from French economist Frédéric Bastiat (originally shared with us by the St. Louis Fed): “Destruction is not profit”.