Lots of people evacuated who could just as well have stayed home. Irene was not the apocalypse for which Bloomberg, Christie, and the other elected officials who pulled out all the stops prepared. Were they wrong? In a world without the second law of thermodynamics, in which time can be run back and forth, obviously they were. And if you curse every year you spend money on life insurance and don’t die, similarly. But it looks from here as though the various governments did the right thing given the information they had when they had to commit to a plan. The National Hurricane Center (that commie nest of waste, fraud and abuse that rips tax dollars from your pocket to fly airplanes into storms and pay lazy bureaucrats to stare at radar screens and crunch pointyhead computer models: Eric Cantor, where are you when we need this abuse shut down! but I digress, pant pant pant) churned out useful forecasts 24/7, and the mayors and governors used the best science available to manage a situation with large and robust uncertainty.
Will Rogers said, “It’s easy to make money in stocks! First, buy some stock. If it goes up, sell. If it don’t go up, don’t buy it!” Will Rogers was a comedian on purpose; Rick Perry and Ron Paul only inadvertently. In the real world, four storms that don’t peg the needle in the event, out of five with a working FEMA, evacuations, and subway shutdowns, is probably a good overall record, and observing one of the four says nothing about the policy. Consider the alternative.