Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Fear No Hurricane: Obama Quietly Approved Federal Subsidies to Houses in Floodplains in July

Four months before Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast, President Obama quietly signed legislation expanding the federal program that offers taxpayer-subsidized flood insurance to ocean-front homeowners.

The law extended the National Flood Insurance Program for five years while also opening the program for the first time to multi-family properties like beachfront condominiums. The flood insurance provisions were part of a bill known as the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act that passed the House 373 to 52 on June 29 and the Senate by 74 to 19 the same day. President Obama signed it into law on July 6 with remarks that dwelled on the transportation spending and student loan-related language in the Act, but made no mention at all of the flood insurance.

The Left tends to look at hurricanes as examples of how government works well—the National Weather Service warns people, police and firefighters help with evacuations and rescue, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency helps clean up. Free-market types, by contrast, argue that hurricane casualties are partly the result of unintended consequences of government actions: without federal flood insurance, many fewer people would take the risk of living in low-lying areas vulnerable to storm surges.

Television reporter John Stossel, who once had an oceanfront house washed away by a storm, has called the flood insurance program an “outrage” and “dumb.”

“The subsidized insurance goes to affluent homeowners on both coasts — from Malibu Beach, where movie stars live, to Kennebunkport where the Bush family has a vacation home, to Hyannisport, where the Kennedy family has a summer home, to the Hamptons, where I bought my house,” he wrote.

Full article: http://reason.com/ar … ama-quietly-approved

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