Hurricane Irene damage could stimulate the economy, or not

(Photo: Associated Press)

Hurricane Irene spun up the coast and caused billions of dollars in damage. The good news is that it will take billions of dollars to fix everything. Economic recovery, here we come!

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Peter Morici, a business professor at the University of Maryland, tells WUSA that there's an economic upside: "We rebuild better. On the shore folks will often build better properties, better-constructed, larger, to bring more tourism to the area."

The necessary money isn't going to appear out of thin air, though, and thanks to the Republicans, it's becoming less likely that it'll come from the federal government. That means it'll come from the affected towns, businesses, and homeowners. Some of that money will, in turn, go to con artists who overcharge for repairs (or simply take the money and run), but maybe they'll spend their loot at Best Buy and Target?

Ocean City sure could use that cash. The seaside destination was spared major destruction, but Irene took away an prime weekend's worth of profit. With Labor Day almost upon us, city businesses will need big crowds to recoup their losses.

We're confused. So do we want this to happen again or not?

[WUSA]

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