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Tuesday, February 25. 2014
I am highlighting a link from this morning: Voting to Hike Subsidies for People Who Build in Flood Plains.
Whether you accept global warming alarmism or not, on the face of it it makes no sense for the average sensible taxpayer to subsidize others' living or building in recognized flood zones, whether on the NJ coast, the Mississippi, the North Carolina barrier beaches, or anywhere else. It's like pitching a tent in a Western river gulch which is prone to flash floods. Periodic flooding in coastal areas and on flood plains is natural and environmentally-beneficial. The unpleasant consequences for people are entirely predictable. I would neither live in a flood zone nor in a wildfire zone without calculating that I could lose it all. People do not act this stupid unless they are paid or subsidized to do so. At the least, let the owner pay the full cost of the insurance. Caveat Emptor.
Yes, I do remember that Al Gore just built one of his new mansions in an ocean flood zone in San Francisco, but that's Al Gore and he can hold back the water (or was that Moses, or Obama?).
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Also the idiots that build houses on hillsides and mountain cliffs that are prone to cascade into the valley or ocean below. They have far more money than brains.
I recently saw the surfer dude who was getting food stamps while he was willfully unemployed (but working on kick starting his career as a rock star). It was outrageous that this guy who spends most of his time on the beach, occasionally treating his friends to lobster (bought with food stamps), while not even trying to find a job until you understand what is required to get food stamps in San Diego - come to the food stamp office and present appropriate identification and a birth certificate - that's all! He is only taking money that is basically handed to him.
Why are the people who build houses on picturesque valleys of cliffs short of brains? If their house slides into the ocean from a flood, they will be made whole and they can build their house there again. The location is worth inconvenience that it will fall off that cliff or get flooded. And that inconvenience is made a lot less inconvenient with government subsidized flood insurance. The Feds are just handing money out to people. Who would not take money handed to him?
"The Feds are just handing money out to people. Who would not take money handed to him?"
Depends on the conditions for accepting it. If I have to vote for Obama (for example) as a condition for getting that money, the benefits are not worth the cost.
Real estate developers, mortgage banks, the residents, etc all have much clout in DC and state legislatures. For fun, attend one of the public hearings when they decide to redraw the flood plain maps and watch democracy in action.
I can just imagine. And here I thought wetlands were protected from development.
A few years back insurers asked homeowners near the CT coast to install hurricane shutters to keep their storm coverage. Our ace politicians ran to their rescue saying the cost to install shutters was intolerable and how terrible that nasty insurers would do this (this is in the former insurance capitol of the world!). The requirement died but more companies did not renew the coverage when the time came.
Beach houses used to be true beach shacks but quickly became year round houses. Without subsidized insurance no one could afford the true cost of maintaining an expensive house on the shoreline.
"...but that's Al Gore and he can hold back the water (or was that Moses, or Obama?)."
It wasn't good old King Canute. Ol' Cnut recognized his limitations; and, speaking of AlgoarJazerra and Barry Hussein Soetoro, that's something lacking in the District these days.
Newsjunkie, I think you'd have a black eye from several good men of my acquaintance ( none of them welfare scroungers) were you to venture into real America where people struggle against natural disasters and hope their neighbors will encourage them, not sneer at them. A huge percentage of hard-working Americans live in flood zones because American cities were built in them, and because they bought houses that they could afford and did not have impossible commutes to work. In general, the rich live on higher ground and us plebes live in the swamps. Most people buy the house they can afford, hoping for a safe place to raise a family. Your attitude ill becomes a young man of your intelligence. Not everyone can afford to raise their house or buy on a hillside, if there is even any elevated ground near them.
I am NOT arguing for rebuilding places indefinitely, but to sneer at people for choosing to live someplace floodprone, that is all they could afford, is mean spirited and unAmerican.
The surfer dude is an ass.
Is your point that federal flood insurance is a form of welfare for poor people who buy places in wetlands? I really don't know what to make of that argument because it makes zero sense.
No. My point was that dismissing so many Americans in such a cavalier fashion was not worthy of you. Not all people who buy houses in wetlands are idiots, welfare scroungers or rubes. As I noted, a remarkably high percentage of American domestic real estate is actually in flood prone land, because so many American cities and suburbs were built along rivers or near the sea. Young people without kids can live in urban apartments and enjoy city life, or live wherever they please, but young families move out to the best school district they can afford. And that is often a swampy one. There are some tony ones. I don't think that the residents of Greenwich or Fairfield,CT, for example, would consider their flood insurance to be a form of welfare, but they would say with justice that they pay very high premiums and receive rather minimal payouts when they get terrible flood damage. Do you despise them, too, or is it only the impoverished of cities like New Orleans whose choices you dismiss without making any effort to understand them? I don't really see why you resent someone for getting flood insurance--they pay premiums. It isn't free.
Anyone who thinks flood insurance is like winning the lottery must have a very strange idea about what flood insurance is. It's more like gambling in that the House (ie: the insurer) always wins. Never the homeowner. Like all insurance, it involves the homeowner paying out a lot of money in premiums, year after year. Just because the Feds may not be setting this money in a dedicated fund isn't the fault of the homeowners....
The tone of this discussion seems to be one of resentment towards those who actually make a claim against that insurance when there is a disaster. This doesn't make sense. To take another tack: There are many people on this blog who talk happily about their red meat, smoking and drinking. Your choice, pick your poison. God gave you free will to enjoy life as you please. But might someone be as resentful of them for collecting on their health insurance policies when they inevitably have heart attacks, strokes, etc. which they will unfortunately be more likely to get because of their lifestyle choices? You'd call such a person a jerk. Kicking someone when they are down is un-American.
It's one thing to resent people for feeling entitled to freebies (ie: illegals and feckless people who go without health insurance and expect to get free medical care at the hospital). But why resent people who pay expensive flood insurance (or health insurance) premiums that they PRAY they will never have to collect on?!
Furthermore, I know lots of people who have flood insurance and who have been flooded. All have paid more than twice as much in premiums over the last 20 years as they have collected in claims, despite two bad storms that did a lot of damage. So the government more than broke even, money wise. You guys didn't have to subsidize any of them. Flood insurance is NOT welfare. So chill!
WRT Surfer dude: Of course he's an ass, but he's acting rationally. In a rational system people would be discouraged from acting to the detriment of one's neighbor (or even the whole community). The system as it exists encourages people to "get theirs" at the expense of everybody else.
Why does the federal gubmint subsidize stuff? Because they can, because it gives them control and because our elected representatives need to bring home more bacon each year in order to secure for themselves a brighter prospect of re-election. They are creative little mice who work hard every day trying to find more things to fund. In short and for the umpteenth time, the federal gubmint subsidizes EVERYTHING!!
For example, if your church accepts funding from that abomination of a policy called the, "Faith Based Initiative", you are attending a government church. The Catholic Church is the largest recipient of such funding and was very happy to accept it. Those regulations make for an interesting read. You might be interested to know that one of the primary regulations is that the government decides what is a "religious" activity, location and person. If a portion of the church building is deemed to be "religious", it may not be used for the charitable activities funded by the government. Nor can a "religious" person doing "religious" things. It's a hoot. Say, I wonder if Peter ever considered bifurcating his Church into religious and non-religious portions? I also wonder when charitable activities became non-religious? Jesus wept, they say. Now I know why.
A good friend of mine in California owned a home on a city street you would never guess might be flooded. But with California's long dry then wet cycles the rains came and he got 7 consecutive floods. He would dig his house out of the mud each time until the last time when it was declared by the city to be uninhabitable. But he did something smart, after the first flood he sought out federal flood insurance and discovered he could buy it and after a 30 day waiting period it took effect. So in spite of 2 or 3 floods after he purchased but before it became effective the insurance did in fact pay off 100% for the last flood. Government flood insurance is like winning the lottery.
We owe it all to LBJ.
It got the law passed to help Southern real estate developers build on the beaches.
Now the Gulf of Mexico is lined with condos, motels, and vacation bric-a-brac on beaches 5 feet about sea level.
Growing up on the Florida Gulf coast, the old-timers used to say no one but a fool or a damn Yankee would build on the beach.
Explained Waters: “Never in our wildest dreams did we think the premium increases would be what they appear to be today.”
So why isn't she rushing to repeal O-care?
I recall that after the flooding along the Mississippi River in 1993 the feds told some towns that it would not renew flood insurance unless the towns relocated. Apparently they were being flooded out on a regular basis and the costs to the government were skyrocketing. So the towns moved.
One that comes to mind moved a couple of miles to higher ground while the 'old' town was bulldozed. The only residents who maintained any kind of presence in the flood plain were the farmers, and then only in their fields. (The flood waters helped restore much of the farmland.)