Michael Tanner‘s latest column at National Review Online treats Keynesian economics with the respect it deserves. In other words, Tanner ridicules the ideas that fill Paul Krugman’s columns and motivate President Obama’s “jobs” policies.

Earthquakes, hurricanes, floods — Paul Krugman should be ecstatic. Not about the suffering and loss of life, obviously, but because the cleanup and rebuilding should provide exactly the sort of Keynesian stimulus that Krugman believes this economy needs. There is now an increased demand for home construction, flood remediation, and auto repair.

Remember, this is the same Paul Krugman who mused, a few weeks ago, that what this country really needs is an invasion by space aliens. Preparations for an intergalactic war would mean that “this slump would be over in 18 months,” he suggested.

That is because Krugman and other Keynesians believe that what is troubling this economy is a lack of demand. Anything, therefore, that causes people — or governments — to buy more things is good, be it a disaster, space invasion, or a government jobs program. …

… And tomorrow night we can expect President Obama to give a full-throated endorsement of Krugmanomics. …

… But natural disasters do not create economic growth. Hurricanes, earthquakes, and space invasions destroy wealth. The money that people have to spend rebuilding their houses, drying their basements, or buying new cars is money that they can no longer use to go on vacation, send their kid to college, or spend on something else that they want or need. The money that insurance companies must pay out to compensate victims is money that is not otherwise invested in the economy.

And for the same reasons, more government spending will not create more jobs. Government has no money of its own. Therefore, any money that it uses to finance its programs and operations must, of necessity, be extracted from others, either through taxes or borrowing. That means less money for people to spend the way they wish, and — particularly worrisome at a time of slow economic growth and high unemployment — less money available for the private sector to invest, expand, and hire workers.