We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
The National Flood Insurance Program is bankrupt. Not recently. That means that taxpayers are subsidizing building in flood zones, flood plains, and areas with high risk of natural water disasters - and thus encouraging, rather than discouraging, stupid behavior by making it economically risk-free to the individual.
For reasons of principle, conservation, and common sense, this subsidy should end. If you chose to live in such a high-risk place, you should carry the risk, not me. Flood Insurance should be a purely commercial enterprise, the same as any other aspect of homeowner's insurance. Not retroactively, but in the future. Somehow, I doubt anyone in DC cares about this every much, but the Katrina costs should be a chance to reconfigure this insurance/subsidy scam.
From Burnett at TCS:
When people own property and are fully responsible for losses due to their poor land use or development decisions, they are less likely to build or rebuild in areas regularly prone to flooding or erosion. This link -- between a person's property ownership and responsibility for their land use decisions -- disciplines people who use their property badly.
Unfortunately, a host of government programs break this link by subsidizing unwise development. All too often the result is lost lives, destroyed property and diminished livelihoods. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) flood control program and federal flood insurance subsidize construction in flood-prone areas and encourage high-risk development by shifting the cost of insurance and physical protection against floods from property owners to taxpayers. The result: more construction in high risk areas. Its economics 101 -- if you subsidize something you get more of it.
I guess politics trumps logic, every time. Read entire.(Image from New Orleans)
imo,the people on the ground can't see past the devastation,
and the rest of us basically have a very feeble grasp of the scope of the damage.
on a more hopeful note...
this article by Deroy Murdock at NRO
mentions a US Rep. Richard Baker(R)-Baton Rouge,
who propsed a Development Corp.
to expire in 10 years,that would make the
devastated NO real estate market even
remotely viable...the undertaking is so vast,
there's not gonna be much happening with
some kind of Federal help...the issues
are what kind of help and
*for how long*...and for God's sake
*build it above the waterline*.
i fear that last one is gonna get blown right by.
Baker in New Orleans (02/10)
Rebuilding the Big Easy
Deroy Murdock at NRO
"Congressman Richard Baker believes New Orleans and its environs can come back, if they can rebuild their housing stock and thus begin rehabilitating battered communities. The Baton Rouge Republican's proposed Louisiana Recovery Corporation (LRC) appears to be the only coherent plan for revitalizing the tempest-tossed Bayou State. It deserves the proper hearing it will get before the Senate Banking Committee February 15.
Baker's bill, H.R. 4100, would issue Treasury bonds to create a $30 billion revolving-loan fund. Owners of Louisiana's 240,000 damaged or destroyed homes and small businesses voluntarily could sell their property to the LRC. It would pay owners 60 percent of their equity and lenders up to 60 percent of their mortgage receivables. The LRC would consolidate these distressed or demolished properties and auction them off to private developers. Sales revenues would repay bondholders. Original owners could ask for first dibs on revitalized properties. The LRC would expire after 10 years.
Also, Baker's $30 billion revolving-loan fund would collect and repay 60 cents on the dollar. Even if it underwrote 40 cents on the dollar, that would involve a $12 billion outlay, not the full $30 billion.
"In this case, there is basically no market. As such, people have little or no options," Baker told BayouBuzz.com. Baker, who launched a still-operating real-estate agency at age 22 and enjoys a 91 percent lifetime American Conservative Union rating, added: "The situation calls for an unprecedented solution, through a corporation that basically remakes the market, reintroduces market forces, gets property back into commerce in a necessarily more comprehensive approach, and then gradually recedes from the marketplace over time."
dunno what unexamined problems the proposal presents
(building BELOW the waterline again??)
or what it's chances are in the Congress,
but it's the first coherent attempt i've heard of to address the rebuilding process.