1. Disasters that don't severely damage the capital stock boost GDP relative to the counterfactual, especially when the economy is weak.
2. Disasters reduce welfare.
3. Disasters reduce wealth.
4. It would be better to decentralize FEMA but maintain subsidization of disaster areas with the infusion of federal funds.
5. Restrictions on price gouging are a bad idea. Increasing prices compensates for the risk of delivering goods in disaster areas and should rarely price people out of the market. When it does price people out of the market, donations are surely entering the areas where the prices are highest.
6. Unlike price restrictions, quantity restrictions on individual buyers can be a very good idea. You don't want some yuppie who simply lost power freaking out and clearing out the shelves because he got there first when his neighbors a couple blocks away were devastated. "Limit 5 per household" restrictions are extremely reasonable.
7. Private actors are extremely important for recovery. I see no good reason why government should restrict private actors from entering and operating in disaster areas.
8. Private actors (for and not for profit) are not sufficient for recovery in large disasters. Demonstrating the importance of private actors is not logically equivalent to demonstrating that public actors are unnecessary, and no one should pretend the claims are equivalent.
9. People who get angry that other people are even discussing the possibility that disasters are related to climate change are imposing costs on future generations. People that are simply skeptical of the idea are not imposing costs on future generations. Informed skepticism leads to better climate science. It's never easy to pin one weather event to climate change, after all.
Over at Project Syndicate: The Internet's Next Act
19 minutes ago