Sympathy, but not money for disaster areas

Discussion in 'Politics' started by bobbymcgill, Sep 2, 2008.

  1. bobbymcgill
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    bobbymcgill Member

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    Hurricane Gustav has been downgraded and is looking to spare the more densely populated areas along the Gulf Coast. How joyous it is that they will experience nothing on the scale of Katrina.

    And how joyous it is that we won’t have to pay for it.

    Since we dodged a bullet this time, what’s say we use the time before the next inevitable disaster to scrap a system where taxpayers shell out billions of dollars to people who build homes in high risk areas?

    It's time they buckled down and got their own insurance.

    Be it water, wind, tremors or fire, if people decide to live on a flood plain, a forest, a fault line or “Tornado Alley,” they should accept the risks and shoulder the cost. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which oversees assistance and cash disbursement, has been subsidizing these folks for too long.

    As the Cato Institute stated in a report on FEMA:

    “By using taxpayer dollars to provide disaster relief and subsidized insurance, FEMA itself encourages Americans to build in disaster-prone areas and makes the rest of us pick up the tab for those risk decisions. In a well-functioning private marketplace, individuals who chose to build houses in flood plains or hurricane zones would bear the cost of the increased risk through higher insurance premiums. FEMA's activities undermine that process...This $4 billion-a-year agency should be abolished.”

    That report was from several years back. Since then the budget has ballooned to $8 billion-a-year. More money, same problem.

    Another byproduct of having a federal safety net is that local governments, knowing that FEMA will come in and bail them out, spend less money shoring up potentially dangerous areas.

    And FEMA is riddled with an incompetent and at times deceitful group of people.

    During the 2007 California fires, FEMA actually staged its own press conference to avoid looking bad in the media. As hard as it is to fathom, Deputy Administrator Harvey E. Johnson stood at a podium taking questions from FEMA employees posing as reporters.

    Real reporters were given only 15 minutes notice of the press conference --thus left with no choice but to phone in to a conference call which was set up in “listen only" mode. Fox and CNN ran a live feed as the faux-reporters tossed Johnson softballs like, “Are you happy with FEMA’s response so far?”, along with other questions that were framed in a way to evoke positive responses.

    It's not that FEMA is completely useless. There should be some kind of disaster relief fund that would feed and temporarily shelter people, but helping them rebuild their homes in the same location is Einstein's definition of insanity: "Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." :cuckoo:

    With more people paying into private insurance, the price will naturally come down as the higher cash reserves allow companies to lower the rates.

    And with all the money being squandered by a poorly mismanaged agency, it is time to give something else a try. There is no reason why taxpayers should chip in on rebuilding someone's summer beach house.

    Bobby McGill
    Idle Wordship- News & Politics
     
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  2. Ravi
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    Ravi Diamond Member

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    Since every part of the country is subject to disaster the best way to go is to require every property owner to pay a small premium to belong to a federal disaster insurance fund.

    Many of the states are important to the economy of the country.

    Take LA, for instance. What do you suppose would happen if we closed the Port of New Orleans? Or CA, what would happen if we stopped growing food there?

    Alternatively, we could just continue funding FEMA.
     
  3. bobbymcgill
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    bobbymcgill Member

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    I suppose that wouldn't be a good thing, and your implied point that we are one as a country is true. My concern is that there are no strings attached to the funding and thus it encourages people to set down roots where they could easily be uprooted. That doesn't seem like something that should be taxed on all citizens.

    Similarly, I guess the same could be argued about the military.

    My argument is not without its share of holes, but I think the overall premise is sound.
     
  4. Jeepers
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    Jeepers Senior Member

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    I have flood insurance. Its through a federal program. You cannot buy private flood insurance, the point of this whole thread is moot. Unless your talking about not building in disaster prone areas...
     
  5. bobbymcgill
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    bobbymcgill Member

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    I did some more research on the insurance aspect, the govenment mandated program due to the fact that the majority of those seeking insurance are in areas likely to flood and thus it makes it unattractive to insurers. I guess that does bolster the point of them not going there in the first place...

    thanks for the info... I appreciate it.

    bobby
     
  6. editec
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    editec Mr. Forgot-it-All

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    I agree with CATO that there are SOME examples where we probably should not offer national disaster insurance.

    And in SOME cases if a place proves itself to be not such a good place to put a home or town, we help people move and condemn that land from futher development.

    But as to no longer providing emergency help to sticken areas?

    That's just dumb as hell, but about what I'd expect from the libertarian cheapskates at CATO.

    There is NO PLACE IN AMERICA where natural disasters don't happen.

    It makes sense for us to have systems in place like FEMA and national flood insurance to be there to help those who are wiped out by hurricanes, tornados, floods, earthquakes and so forth.

    Now the argument might be made that continuing to save New Orleans is a mistake, I agree. Just as I agree that we should not protect beach front homes that are inevitably going to be wiped out.

    But those need to be decided on an individual basis, and FEMA is a valuable service that I continue to think is a good idea.
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2008
  7. DiamondDave
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    DiamondDave Army Vet

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    I would quickly say yes to this except for one reason... I, in no way, believe that the government exists to be an insurance company for anyone... that is what private insurance companies are for
     
  8. DiamondDave
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    DiamondDave Army Vet

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    And this is a problem.... living near a river, I had to be inspected to see if I was in a flood danger area... thank goodness I am not, but if I were the Fed would have been my only option... this is absolutely absurd
     
  9. Ravi
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    Ravi Diamond Member

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    As was stated above, private companies don't offer flood insurance because, well I'm not really sure why not. I imagine for the same reason all the major companies are no longer writing policies in Florida, too much risk. The day will come when it's not possible to get decent, affordable insurance anywhere along the gulf coast or even the southern east coast. What then? Abandon these states?
     
  10. Ravi
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    Ravi Diamond Member

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    DD, did you know that according to the flood zone maps almost no one that flooded out during Katrina was officially in danger of being flooded?
     

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