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Ron Paul: Get Rid of FEMA and the National Flood Insurance Program

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FEMA is a waste of taxpayer dollars. At least, that’s what Ron Paul said in an interview on CNN: ” I think it’s bad economics. I think it’s bad morality. And it’s bad constitutional law.”

Ron Paul is a Libertarian, which, in his view, means that people should be allowed to do what they want to do, that is except when it comes to abortion or legal recognition of gay marriage, and he said that the 1964 Civil Rights Act actually “violated the Constitution and reduced individual liberty.” One wonders what, in Paul’s mind, would have worked better towards easing racial discrimination throughout America. He would eliminate many federal government agencies, such as the U.S. Department of Education, the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Department of Commerce, the US Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Interstate Commerce Commission and the Internal Revenue Service, calling them “unnecessary bureaucracies.”

That said, Ron Paul does make sense on other issues, such as legalization of marijuana and prostitution, support for stem-cell research, and protection of habeus corpus. He also supports cuts in defense spending, but only in the form of removing bases in Western Europe and Japan, which is probably why China would be eager to see a Paul presidency. In fact, Ron Paul has repeatedly supported China when it comes any legislation concerning human rights abuses, Tibet, or trade with China.

But let’s address Paul’s desire to rid America of FEMA. In the interview I watched with Good Morning America’s George Stephanopoulos, this was the exchange that got my attention:

[George Stephanopoulos] “Do you think everyone should just be responsible for themselves and if a flood washes your house away no FEMA?” the viewer asked via email, “Sink or swim?”

[Ron Paul] “I think that’s the way a free society works and that’s what the Constitution mandates.” 

In the same interview, Paul went on to say, “Insurance is an old fashioned way of doing it. Buy insurance. If the insurance [company] won’t sell it to you, it means it’s too dangerous. If it’s too dangerous, why dump the responsibility on the taxpayer? You know it doesn’t make economic sense, it doesn’t make good moral sense, it doesn’t make Constitutional sense.”

This is when I became disgusted with Ron Paul. Why? Because he’s taking a completely dogmatic approach to a problem that faces many Americans every single year. Here’s what he said about the Mississippi River flood:

You brought up the subject, you know, of the Mississippi. FEMA is more or less in charge. But their decision now, because of government levees, because of the flood and no natural result and taking care of this flood, they have a decision to make. OK, down the Mississippi and flood this city, or down here and flood some innocent farmers.

Ah, so it’s the government’s fault for building levees. I remember my grandmother telling me about the Great Flood of 1927, how lucky they were that their house was on a small rise of about a few feet, and how everything else around them was flooded. Apparently, if Ron Paul had had his way, most of the Mississippi delta would have been flooded once more (with all the economic damage that entails), instead of the much smaller part that faced it this time. He bemoans the plight of the innocent farmers (whose source of livelihood, their land, would not be destroyed), and he apparently thinks it would have been preferable if New Orleans, whose far more numerous residents would certainly have had their livelihoods badly damaged or destroyed, had suffered another major flood.

It has become apparent that Ron Paul is not truly thinking through the practical applications of his political dogma. Why? Let’s look at one particular sentence: “If the insurance [company] won’t sell it to you, it means it’s too dangerous.” So if the insurance company won’t sell insurance to you, you should move! The problem with this is the fact that without government help and regulation, many of America’s flood-prone areas, essentially, any place that’s flat and near a river, would have zero flood insurance. Here’s why the government stepped in: In 1968 the U.S. Congress established the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) to address the nation’s flood exposure and challenges inherent in financing and managing flood risks in the private sector. Private insurance companies at the time claimed that the flood peril was uninsurable and, therefore, could not be underwritten in the private insurance market.

What does Ron Paul think about the National Flood Insurance Program? “But I have opposed, you know, flood insurance since I’ve been in Congress for 30 years, since 1976.”

So he thinks it would be better to keep the government out of the matter, despite the fact that much of the land on either side of the Mississippi would likely become suddenly uninsurable. If no one could live near the river, then how would it be managed? How would we be able to bring the majority of the nation’s grain exports to the river, that it may be shipped overseas? How would the absolutely crucial locks be operated if no one can live nearby to operate them? That, and an interruption of the river’s traffic would “cost the U.S. economy hundreds of millions of dollars for every day of idled barges carrying coal, timber, iron, steel and more than half of America’s grain exports.”

Obviously, Ron Paul didn’t think things through. He didn’t consider the permutations of his dogma were it to be implemented. And it doesn’t stop there, in 2007, Scientific American reported, “In South Carolina private companies have stopped insuring homes valued at less than $500,000. In Rhode Island some agencies have refused to cover any coastal properties. Allstate, one of the largest residential property insurers on the east coast, elected not to renew 30,000 policies covering coastal properties in New York City, Long Island, Westchester County and Connecticut, and is considering reducing coastal area coverage in Massachusetts and along the Gulf.”

And then there’s the effect on the nation’s real estate market! The Sacramento Business Journal reported that in Sacramento county alone, since no home buyer can get a mortgage without flood insurance, thanks to a filibuster by Republican Senator Jim Bunning for several days, the National Association of Realtors estimated that about 1,400 real estate transactions a day were stalled during the lapse.

So if we got rid of the National Flood Insurance Program, in every county nationwide that requires flood insurance, which includes most cities on or near a river, the real estate market would come to a screeching halt. What would that do to our nation’s economy? Of course, this is only for the citizens who actually decided to stay in flood-prone areas despite the fact that there was no flood insurance available. One also has to wonder what the owners of tens of millions of acres of farmland would do when their crops were destroyed by floods, if there were no flood insurance. As I said, Ron Paul didn’t think things through.

But this article was also about FEMA, wasn’t it? So let’s think about what Ron Paul said, that people should rely on insurance alone (as if everyone can afford insurance). What happens when a major disaster hits? Let’s look at the Jones family who just lost everything, absolutely everything but the clothes on their backs, and we all know that in major disasters, such a scenario is not at all unusual.

What do the Jones do in Ron Paul world? They thank God that they’re still alive, and they wait for the insurance adjusters. Now said insurance adjusters (who may or may not have also suffered in the same disaster) are going to be trying to make it to all those covered by the company, and the numbers of their constituents can run into the thousands. So the adjusters have to each find their way to the addresses, if the addresses can be found after said disaster, mind you, and try to do their jobs. And then the real frustration starts. Why? Because if the insurance adjuster does not personally know the victims, then the victims have to somehow prove who they are, and this can be problematic if identifications were lost in the disaster. Furthermore, does the insurance company cough up money immediately? And in the unlikely event that they do, is there even a place where the victims can readily purchase food and water? Bear in mind that all this is if the insurance adjuster can find them in the first place, since they may be at what is left of their residence, or they may be in an aid shelter, or the may be someplace else shivering in the cold. And they need most of all what the insurance company does not provide (and what local charities almost certainly cannot provide enough of in a truly major disaster): food, water, blankets, clothing, medical aid.

So here’s what FEMA did in Alabama after the tornadoes struck, while they were busy frittering away our taxpayer dollars:

Funds approved:

* $15.2 million for housing assistance grants to help with recovery rental expenses and home repair costs;
* $5.9 million for other needs assistance to cover essential disaster-related needs, such as medical expenses and lost personal possessions.

Survivor recovery

* 44,562 registered for disaster assistance;
* 20,220 applications issued by the U. S. Small Business Administration for low-interest loans to eligible homeowners, renters or business owners;
* More than 8,000 damaged homes and property inspected;
* 42 counties declared for individual assistance; and
* 18 disaster recovery centers opened.

Key supplies

* 2.1 million meals ready to eat (MREs);
* 1.4 million liters of water;
* 136,000 tarps.

Yep! All just a huge waste of taxpayer dollars to the Libertarian mind! Far better it is to just trust everything to insurance companies and the profit motive! Who needs government assistance! Look at Haiti! Their government has helped none at all, and look at the glorious recovery they’ve made as a nation!

Virulent invective aside, what Libertarians do not understand, indeed refuse to understand, is that no matter what, they will pay for disasters that happen to other people. If the tax dollars are not available for responses like those that FEMA provides (which aid even in the worst instances is more than what victims by themselves can hope to receive otherwise), then the people, who all too often will not be covered by insurance (since insurance companies really hate covering acts of God), will be left in the same situation as the victims in Haiti. Crime will rise sharply, and tax revenue will plummet or even become nonexistent. Jobs disappear, and people are suddenly stuck in a cycle of grinding poverty for years and years and become a drain on the federal and state budgets, using money that would otherwise go to things like defense or education or NASA or what have you. Again, every taxpayer will pay for disasters that happen to other people, and hopefully the reader of this article will come to understand that it’s a heck of a lot cheaper to pay the tax dollars up front than to pay for what can become a never-ending aftermath. Again, think Haiti.

Sure, in Ron Paul world, millions of Americans would fork over a few dollars, churches would respond, and so on and so forth, but would this be enough? Perhaps for one disaster, but would they continue to do so when the disasters strike again and again and again as they have this year, now that America has thus far (not counting Joplin, MO) been struck by

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About Glenn Contrarian

White. Male. Raised in the deepest of the Deep South. Retired Navy. Strong Christian. Proud Liberal. Thus, Contrarian!
  • George Washington

    FEMA provides at taxpayers expense, insurance to land that is so dangerous and high risk that even insurance companies will not insure the area. How man little nicks like that until our country is bleeding out?

    Ron Paul 2012

  • johnnyb

    The Mississippi R. basin has been populated for 10,000 years. Why not allow the individual states or the individual prepare for disasters. Or amend the constitution?

  • Glenn Contrarian

    “George” –

    You really didn’t read the article, did you? If Ron Paul had his way – no FEMA and no National Flood Insurance Plan – and since insurers even in 1968 were beginning to consider flood-prone areas ‘uninsurable’, then NOBODY living in a flood plain would be able to have flood insurance…and they’d get little help when the floods come.

    Imagine that – nobody in Memphis or St Louis or New Orleans or Kansas City or any of the other large cities along the Mississippi river and its hundreds of tributaries would be able to get ANY flood insurance at all!

    Not to mention the fact that real estate lenders in flood-prone areas will NOT approve of mortgages without flood insurance…so the real estate market plummets.

    So how do you think these would affect the economy, sir?

    It’s SO easy to sit back and complain about “the guv’mint this” and “the guv’mint that”…but the reality ain’t so simple…and that’s why you don’t leave government to simpletons like Ron Paul and the Libertarians who support him.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    ‘johnnyb’

    For most of those 10000 years, flood insurance wasn’t a requirement by lenders in order to approve a mortgage, was it?

  • http://www.consticon.com Avenger

    [personal attack deleted by comments editor]

    What you don’t seem to be able to grasp is what rights do you have. You have a right to your life. You have the right to private property. But you have no right to have other people pay for your mishaps.

    When the Jones family loses everything in a flood or otherwise, it is a tragedy, but it does not mean I owe them something. If they ask me for help, I probably will help them, voluntarily. I send money to the red cross every year. Lots of it. Do you? I doubt it very much.

    Somehow the country got along very well without FEMA for most of our history. We don’t need it and we never have.

    Using your excuse for logic, we should cover the cost every car accident that occurs if the person doesn’t have insurance. What about people who lose their homes to fire and don’t have fire insurance. Do we bail them out? Why not? Does it have to be a major event before we help people?

    My brother owned a chicken farm in Arkansas. A few years ago they had a major 100 year ice storm in his county and his chicken house was completely destroyed. The insurance didn’t cover ice damage. He lost his farm, his home, and all his income and the Federal government did nothing. Guess FEMA only does something if the disaster makes the papers.

    Two years later my brother was back on his feet and doing very well. How? He worked his butt off and his friends and family and church helped.

    We don’t need FEMA and we don’t need the government making people into wimps who can no longer manage to care for themselves.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    ‘Avenger’ –

    Hm. Why is it that all of a sudden I see these new names pop up that haven’t been seen on BC before?

    Anyway, guy – about car insurance – is there anywhere in America that ALL auto insurers REFUSE to provide insurance? No? But that’s the problem we faced (and would face again if Ron Paul had his way) when the insurance industry was going to stop giving flood insurance. And then there’s the small matter of your real estate markets coming to a complete standstill….

    And for your brother and the chicken farm…tell me – did the ice storm destroy or severely ALL the businesses of the area? What damage did it do to the Wal-Marts? Or how about to all the automobiles? Did it destroy your brother’s house? Was every single residence and business in several counties severely damaged or destroyed?

    No?

    THAT, sir, is the difference between an ice storm and a major flood. And I DO know what an ice storm is – my family lost every single tree on their property in the MS Delta in that 100-year ice storm…but their house and cars were just fine, thank you very much.

    Next time, think through what you’re saying and compare apples to apples and not to oranges, okay?

  • JBM

    Ron Paul’s Congressional district is Galveston and other coastal communities that would not be there without flood insurance and FEMA assistance after Hurricane Ike and previous storms. I don’t remember him telling FEMA, NFIP, HUD, SBA, and other agencies to stay away and let his constituents eat the cost of living in a hurricane risk area. Why is it that all the anti-government Congressmen represent districts that are subsidized much more than they pay in taxes? Not just FEMA, but the oil and gas industries and all other industries in coastal Texas are subsidized by government programs or tax breaks.

  • Jon in san jose

    The opposition to Ron Paul’s careful analysis of govt waste and excess comes from an unfortunate decades long indoctrination in the feel-good doctrine of socialism. Socialism suppresses industriousness, initiative, self-reliance, competency, persistence, reliance on family and VOLUNTARY associations, long-term planning, looking before leaping, seeking out of complementary workmates and partners, finding livelihood appropriate to one’s aptitudes, seeking living and working environments UNLIKELY to make one into a long-term dependent, knowing what constitutes victimhood, and not milking the taxes that other people pay.

    The self-reliance that Emerson wrote about and the creativity that de Tocquevile wrote about are the spirit of America that today’s liberals decry or ignore or have never been exposed to. That’s the only way to explain their evident ignorance.

    Ron Paul is literate, involved, patriotic, attuned to the crises of the age, and very far from a simpleton. How could he be right on a few issues and way off-base on others? How can this author believe that one of the best examples of doing that which should not be done is not also the attitude that will rob a whole country blind? Clearly Glenn C does not apply any reasonableness test to govt expenditures. He thinks if it’s a good idea, price is not a consideration. Good luck with that.

  • http://eagleviews.org Allen Scott

    that’s why you don’t leave government to simpletons like Ron Paul and the Libertarians who support him.

    Naw it is far better to leave the government to the real professionals like Harry Reid, Ms Boxer, Charlie Rangel Obama and Biden and the ever so eloquent Nancy Pelosi.. yep those tprofessionals in government are doing a bang up job.

    Now if we could just convince enough of them really smart democrats to legalize marijuana then America can sit back and light em up. That will certainly bring about real change in America..

  • http://eagleviews.org Allen Scott

    For most of those 10000 years, flood insurance wasn’t a requirement by lenders to approve a mortgage, was it?

    That is because the GOVERNMENT had not required it until they made it a regulation. The government controls most of the mortgages today through Freddie and Fannie and therefore they set the conditions of how the money can be lent and to whom and under what circumstances.

    I just wonder how many people would actually build so close to the ocean if there was not flood insurance. With or without flood insurance I am not going to ever build a home in New Orléans since it is below sea level and sinking.

    The river deltas are there for a reason but man in his infinite wisdom dares mother nature building houses on sinking sand. TO some people this would seem foolish.

    But since nothing is considered foolish in DC if there is money to be made, they pay people to do foolish things simply by making everyone else pay for it.

  • JP in clt

    Wow, the author edits people’s comments? Well I call foul before even writing a comment. FEMA is unconstitutional. Remember that quaint piece of paper? Nothing else needs to be said. Or we can just print more money to bail out people that live in unhabitable areas and push the value of the dollar to precisely ZERO! Btw, Paul says that his Galveston constituents claim FEMA is a bigger nuisance than the local authorities.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Wow, the author edits people’s comments?

    No.

  • Scott Craig

    I am very happy that most the people that commented on here are against what the author of this article is stating. FEMA is great if it ever ends up helping you but if you actually watched any of what happened after most of the recent Tornadoes I did not see a single FEMA official or help. All of the help was coming from local communities and religious groups which is how our Founding Fathers intended our country to work. They believed in a moral society that would look out for other Americans while believing in a free market and not to really on a government to provide for you with minimum wages and unemployment benefits or social security.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Scott –

    You say you didn’t see any FEMA actually there…so were you there?

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Allen –

    Did you actually read the article? The government stepped in with the National Flood Insurance Program when the insurance INDUSTRY – you know, the one that’s not run by government? – said that flood-prone areas are becoming uninsurable.

    Did you get that? The insurers – and NOT the government – were saying it’s uninsurable. The government stepped in so that people could STILL have insurance.

    Got that? Without the government, no flood insurance at all for all the flatlands, the millions of acres on either side of the Mississippi river and its tributaries. So are you going to say that nobody should live there? That we should evacuate Memphis and St Louis and New Orleans and all the other cities along the way?

    Because if there is no flood insurance, when it comes – as it happens every single year at one point or another – if people didn’t have flood insurance to help them rebuild, then entire counties, communities, cities are screwed…because they cannot recover nearly so quickly without the insurance!

    If you don’t believe that, then look at Haiti! It wasn’t a flood…but since the government’s not helping them at all – which is the way you think it oughta be, apparently – well, they should be all recovered by now! And are they?

    Allen – THIRD WORLD COUNTRIES provide little or no help to their citizens when disaster hits – and that’s because they can’t. But the point is, if things are better without the government help, then why is it that disaster victims in third-world countries are often destitute for years after a major disaster?

    And what you and the rest of the critics don’t get is that YOU PAY ANYWAY. Either up front through taxes, or down the line when the people become a never-ending burden on the state and federal budget and drain money that would otherwise go to better things. YOU PAY ANYWAY, Allen – and higher taxes are the price of admission to live in a first-world democracy. If you don’t like it, then leave it. Go to Mexico, and you can live without paying taxes at all!

  • naed

    he is not for legalizing prostitution or cannabis, he just stats that its unconstitutional for the government to take away your rights to do these things, and would leave any legalizing up to each state, why put words in is mouth that he didn’t say? can’t you at least be honest about what he is about, your rights and freedoms are what he’s looking out for…wake up this is the time for taking your country back….

  • pitt

    Joplin, mo devasted by a tornado millions DONATED by businesses and individuals the community working together volunteering time Ron is right it should be a volunteer basis only

  • Clavos

    Go to Mexico, and you can live without paying taxes at all!

    And live well and free anyway.

  • Leroy

    Libertarianism is the path to poverty and oppression.

    Since libertarians always carefully carve out their own areas to be secure from the anarchy that libertarianism results in, they make themselves personally safe from the consequences of their dictates.

    Libertarians lie constantly about the US Constitution. For example, there is nothing in the constitution that bars FEMA. There is no mention of ‘free enterpise’ or ‘capitalism’, at all, let alone as Libertarians wish to interpret those terms.

    My conclusion is that Libertarians are Feudalists who are too wimpy to show their claws.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    pitt –

    So…since America’s been struck by FIVE billion-dollar weather disasters this year – NOT counting Joplin, mind you – do you really think that the American people, as compassionate as we tend to be, would really donate such amounts…and continue to do so in the weeks and months to come since recovery from disasters never happens overnight?

    No, I don’t think so.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos –

    Why is it that the great majority of third-world countries provide little or no help when a major disaster strikes, but first-world nations (even those who are not democracies) ARE quick to provide help when a major disaster strikes?

    But I get it – it’s better that we emulate the third-world countries so you can keep a few more of Your Precious Tax Dollars.

  • http://eagleviews.org Allen Scott

    The government stepped in with the National Flood Insurance Program when the insurance INDUSTRY – you know, the one that’s not run by government? – said that flood-prone areas are becoming uninsurable.

    Actually yes I understand this pretty well since I used to work in the insurance industry. The tendency in modern America is to shift risk and responsibility to others to bear. Rather than assuming those risks ourself. Insurance companies are set up to pool risks across a large number of people who VOLUNTARILY apply for and pay for coverage. When RISK pools get too large and revenues are too small an insurance company (due to government regulations and requirements) are unable to off-set potential losses against current revenues and guarantees. Insurance companies must keep on hand a certain percentage of funds in eschew to cover risks, these guidelines are set forth by the federal government. It becomes impossible to adequately insure billions of dollars worth of properties with million dollar revenues. Therefore many insurance companies would no longer write flood policies for property owners moving into flood prone areas. I am not sure which came first but my guess is insurance lobbyists affected congress to assume the risks of these flood insurers and off-set their liabilities to taxpayers. Therefore assigning the risk to those who dwell on mountain tops as well as those who live by the sea.

    This is a faulty premise and damaging to our country in more ways than one. Too many are spreading their personal responsibilities to taxpayers who are forced by law to assume these risks they would not necessarily assume on their own. Since these homeowners now living under sea level have insurance they figure there is no risk to living there and build more and more houses and condos in flood prone areas. Disaster strikes which was predictable – the main reason insurers could no longer assume the risk of more and more properties in flood areas.

    After the disaster strikes those with insurance file their claims and that should be the end of it, but it is not, more federal dollars are sent to these areas to help those disenfranchised by the disaster. These are not voluntary contributions but mandatory at the discretion of the federal government.

    I am all for helping others but first let them do all they can do and then if they still need help ask for it and Americans are more than likely willing to help out. IT IS THIS EXPECTING others to do for us what we fail to do for ourselves which is the problem with federal mandates and coercion for federal compliance.

    Flood insurance is required on all properties in designated flood zones. Therefore one would think that if a person is living in a flood zone like say New Orléans when there is a flood their FLOOD insurance should cover them for either their structural loses or personal belongings or both depending on the type of policy issued. And this settlement of a voluntarily agreed upon amount should be enough.

    So are you going to say that nobody should live there? That we should evacuate Memphis and St Louis and New Orleans and all the other cities along the way?

    Actually no you can live anywhere you want but remember if you live by the sea sometimes the sea gets restless. Make your own preparations for such times and do not come crying when the sea does what the sea often does, overruns its boundaries.

    If having government guarantees is the only way insurers can offer flood insurance then we are left with the albatross of a federal bureaucracy. If private insurers assess risks and offer insurance based on those assessments and they find that the risks to provide coverage far exceeds their abilities to adequately cover those loses perhaps one should think twice about locating in such a HIGH RISK situation.

    There are many high risk situations in life most of which are uninsurable. Some people choose to take those risks many do not. ALL should not be forced to provide for those who live life at high risk levels.

    And as to your last point as for paying anyway either by paying their insurance or paying their welfare both programs are in my opinion an anathema to freedom loving people. If there were no federal guarantees people would make other life choices. But since many feel there is a free lunch they ofttimes make bad life choices. I really take offense every time I am asked to pick up the tab for another’s poor life choices.

    I have suffered my share of loses through the years and I have yet to receive one federal dollar toward those loses. I excepted them as a fact of life and moved on. And I live on a hilltop so as not to worry about flooding. Fire on the other hand and wind damage now that is something I INSURE for.

  • http://campaignforliberty.com Louis Nardozi

    For all those who say, “well what would happen to the real estate market in low lying areas”, that’s the POINT. Building structures in those areas without putting them on stilts is just plain STUPID. Expecting a guy like me (who lives inland) to bail you out with MY tax dollars is SLAVERY. What are you, pro slavery?

  • John S

    I want to build a house on an ice floe so that if it drifts into a warmer climate, I can get federal assistance at the expense of the rest of you. After all, it’s not like I would have any responsibility in the matter.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Allen –

    The tendency in modern America is to shift risk and responsibility to others to bear. Rather than assuming those risks ourself.

    No, that’s NOT ‘modern America’…it’s been that way for a long, long time, ever since long before Lloyd’s of London began insuring ships over two centuries ago. And then there was our nation’s first health insurance mandate – which was signed in 1798 by John Adams, and which effectively spread the risk among our sailors who were the lifeblood of our shipping industry.

    So are you going to say that nobody should live there? That we should evacuate Memphis and St Louis and New Orleans and all the other cities along the way?

    No – but that’s what Ron Paul said in so many words: “Buy insurance. If the insurance [company] won’t sell it to you, it means it’s too dangerous.”

    It becomes impossible to adequately insure billions of dollars worth of properties with million dollar revenues. Therefore many insurance companies would no longer write flood policies for property owners moving into flood prone areas.

    You’re absolutely right! And that’s precisely my point! What mortgage lender is going to approve of a mortgage when no insurance company will insure the property because the property’s on a flood plain?

    More than anything else, this is where the rubber meets the road, Allen – a LARGE percentage, perhaps even a majority of the Midwest and our central southern states are one gargantuan flood plain, the flood plain of the Mississippi and ALL its hundreds of tributaries! You’ve probably driven these states, you know how flat it is!

    And if the mortgage lenders will not lend because no flood insurance can be had, what will happen to the real estate market of this area that comprises perhaps a quarter of our nation? The real estate market plummets over night…which is why I posted the link in the article of how this was happening earlier this very year in Sacramento – which is also in a flood plain, btw.

    So HOW would you fix this without destroying a full one-quarter of our nation’s real estate market, Allen? And when you answer, please keep from pie-in-the-sky dogmatic we-hate-the-left arguments, but give real-world practical solutions that Congress – whether Republican or Democratic – would actually pass.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Louis –

    For all those who say, “well what would happen to the real estate market in low lying areas”, that’s the POINT. Building structures in those areas without putting them on stilts is just plain STUPID.

    Looks like you’d better go tell everyone in the Mississippi River watershed – which includes all its hundreds of tributaries – that they’d better start building their houses on stilts, then…

    …and that would include all the business buildings, Wal-Marts, hospitals, and skyscrapers in cities like St. Louis, Memphis, Minneapolis, Kansas City, Indianapolis, New Orleans, and hundreds of smaller cities!

    I can see it right now – the St. Louis Arch on stilts! HA!

    That, and it looks like you really need to educate yourself on slavery. I mean, unless you can show me the whip scars on your back, the shackle scars on your wrists and ankles, the ownership papers of your daughter’s child that she had after being raped by your master…

    …but yeah, I guess being required to pay taxes support the general welfare (“general welfare” IS in the preamble to the Constitution, remember?) is every bit as bad as knowing that your master can rape your daughter even though you can’t do anything about it. Boy, taxes are REALLY bad, I guess.

  • LeeS.

    Glenn, you and every like-minded person on this comment board is missing the most important fact. Liberty is based on the principle that you’re freedom to be you, includes my freedom to be free from you.

    People that build homes and decide to live in a place that is “uninsurable” are taking that risk. There is no right to insurance. Once a hurricane, flood or whatever sweeps through a town, people rebuild and expect that it will never happen again. Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results.

    Insurance companies are in business to make a profit, not ensure the common good. The reason the government can offer National Flood Insurance is because it doesn’t have to worry about losing billions of dollars which would bankrupt a company. The government’s failures are on the backs of the taxpayers which are becoming a shrinking population in this country.

    I don’t know how to fix the insurance thing, but maybe it should be left to the states. Those that are in a flood plain could choose to put a certain percentage of their tax revenue into a state run fund that would cover natural disasters. This would mean they would have to put this in a budget and actually balance it year after year. What a novel thought.

    Calling people that believe in personal responsibility simpletons is quite offensive and ignorant. It’s obivious that most everybody in this country is quite content with allowing the government to encroach on every aspect of their lives–some of us aren’t. We won’t stop promoting personal responsibility, free markets (which we haven’t really had in 70 years), less federal government and increased local government; all while fighting for your right to disagree.

  • LeeS.

    By the way “general welfare” is laid out in the constitution and is not open to interpretation.

    The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

    To borrow Money on the credit of the United States;

    To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;

    To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization, and uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies throughout the United States;

    To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures;

    To provide for the Punishment of counterfeiting the Securities and current Coin of the United States;

    To establish Post Offices and post Roads;

    To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;

    To constitute Tribunals inferior to the supreme Court;

    To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offences against the Law of Nations;

    To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;

    To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;

    To provide and maintain a Navy;

    To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;

    To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;

    To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;

    To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the Acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings;–And

    To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Lee S.

    Liberty is based on the principle that you’re freedom to be you, includes my freedom to be free from you.

    Then you’d better find a deserted island or at least move to a third-world country, then, because in any first-world democracy – repeat, first-world DEMOCRACY – on the planet, you will pay taxes, and some of those taxes will go to help the less fortunate, the ones who are victims of poverty or crime or disaster.

    You can spout all the Libertarian rhetoric you want, but I just gave you a fact of life in this world…unless you’d like to point out a first-world democracy that works on Libertarian principles.

    Can you? No? Why is that?

    And don’t say it hasn’t been tried, because there’s lots of nations out there that DO operate on Libertarian principles…and they’re ALL third-world countries. Not every third-world nation operates on Libertarian principles, but every nation that does operate on Libertarian principles is a third-world nation. No limits on guns, taxes are rarely collected among the people, no mandated insurance of any type, no seat belt laws, nobody forcing your kids to go to a public school – hey – it’s a Libertarian paradise!

    But on the other hand, every single first-world nation has the kind of comprehensive set of laws that Libertarians hate. This is not to say that lots of laws automatically makes a successful nation, but it DOES mean that a modern first-world nation cannot operate successfully without a comprehensive set of laws – the kind that Libertarians hate.

    Of course you can prove me wrong about all this by showing me one – even ONE – first-world democracy that operates on Libertarian principles! Your turn!

  • LeeS.

    Glenn,

    I guess one example would be the US between 1776 and 1930, before we headed down the road to conservatism, liberalism and socialism. How about you find a “first world Democracy” that is doing well and not at least 1 trillion dollars in debt? Here’s a list for you to choose from. As you can see, the US is #1. Is that your benchmark for success?

    All of the “feel good”, liberal/socialist policies that these countries have put in place are unsustainable, thus the crisis that the European Union is having.

    I have no problem paying moderate taxes for defense (not aggression) and infrastructure. Giving handouts to big corporations or “less fortunate” people just promotes unscrupulous individuals on both sides to take advantage of the system and seems to perpetuate the problem.

    My question is, don’t you think we could get by with less government intervention in our lives and a little more personal responsibility? If not, there is really nothing else to discuss or debate. we’ll just have to agree to disagree. I really wish we could wipe the slate clean and start over. All signs say that we may get the chance, or at least the younger generations will.

  • http://eagleviews.org Allen Scott

    You’re absolutely right! And that’s precisely my point! What mortgage lender is going to approve of a mortgage when no insurance company will insure the property because the property’s on a flood plain?

    And most reasonable people would not ever think about building a permanent dwelling on such a flood plain UNLESS OF COURSE they can get written guarantees that when the inevitable happens someone else will pay them for their loss. Insurance is the market solution to risk management, but not even insurance companies are foolish enough to insure against a guaranteed loss. But today that is exactly what they are being asked to do. So then the insurance companies like many other corporations turn to government to spread their losses over the entire population through a government program or regulation, thus giving written guarantees to these corporations that their loss would be covered regardless by the federal government which is every American who pays taxes.

    So HOW would you fix this without destroying a full one-quarter of our nation’s real estate market, Allen? And when you answer, please keep from pie-in-the-sky dogmatic we-hate-the-left arguments, but give real-world practical solutions that Congress – whether Republican or Democratic – would actually pass.

    Firstly I would not look to the federal government for a solution since they are the cause of the problem. I would not expect career politicians to seek out what is in the best interest of the WHOLE country since they are usually only concerned about what is in their best interest. There are 2 solutions to this problem, one is a guarantee and an inevitable reality, do absolutely nothing and propose no spending cuts or budgets for 2 or more years (aka Democrat congress) and wait for the country to go bankrupt and in the mean time start to teach everyone Chinese.

    alternative would be to take back power from the federal government back to the individual level. Number one enforce term limits at the ballot box, remove all incumbents from office every election until they learn that they serve on behalf of the people not in spite of. #2 vote local and place in office local representatives who adhere to limited constitutional government. #3 continue to promote states rights the 10th amendment and enact local state laws that nullify federal laws thus returning governance back to local communities. Local governments respond better to the people then a bloated far off federal government does. #4 support constitutional conservative activism when possible but particularly on a local level. We change Washington by changing local communities. #5 lobby for the elimination of the progressive income tax and replace it with a fair tax system. No more tax loopholes by which government officials buy votes. There are no easy fixes for the mess we are in but a return to limited constitutional government is the only answer to progressivism.

    As you notice most of my solutions come FROM THE PEOPLE themselves and not from the politicians. Exercising our freedom of choice at each election and removing from office those who see Government as the solution to problems and replace them with those who see the AMERICAN people as the only real problem solvers.

  • Daniel Zegibe

    Had the government not stepped into the flood insurance market to compete in the 1st place, the private insurance companies would have been able to afford to take on more risk and insure the high risk areas. When the government stepped into the market, they provided insurance at rates that the private companies could not compete with. The private companies had to continue to lower their own rates just to compete with the government and therefore did not have the necessary funds to insure high risk areas at the artificial price that the government had set.
    The lesson here: government can take over any industry it wants by stepping in to compete and then driving down prices to the point where nobody makes money. As a result, all the private companies leave that industry and the only remaining competitor is the government. The government is able to keep the artificially low rate because it has unlimited tax money coming in. This is exactly what they’re trying to do with Obamacare. Just because they’re able to insure high risk areas at an artificially low rate, it does not necessarily mean they are making a profit. “In 2009, the Federal Flood Insurance program was over 17 billion dollars in the red.”–> Rep. Steve King on House Floor (4/15/2010)

  • William Hall

    FEMA and National Flood Insurance put my property in a “flood zone” in 1998 forcing me to buy flood insurance to keep my mortgage. The problem is my property will never flood. To pay for the program, the government run flood insurance has been arbitrarily adding “flood zones” all over the country. Communities that don’t allow the FEMA surveys aren’t allowed to receive FEMA funds. The process to get your property taken off is so cost prohibitive and complicated the average American never tries. Since that time I’ve paid an additional $700.00 in “taxes” a year to keep my mortgage.

  • Clavos

    @#33:

    Yet another example of the utter stupidity of the feds.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Allen –

    You never did really answer my question, but went off on a strange tangent. How, exactly – and give me SPECIFICS here and not some “get rid of all the Dems” fantasy – how do you get the lenders to lend money for mortgages when THEY are the ones who don’t want to approve of mortgages without flood insurance?

    No mortgage company wants to be left holding the bag on a mortgage because there’s no insurance and the homeowner can’t pay because of a major flood. How do you get the lenders to approve of mortgages?

    Please answer that question, Allen.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    #’s 32 and 33 – two more brand new people among several that showed up just for this article, and who don’t reply in the same name.

    I think I smell me some sockpuppets.

    But for “William Hall”: let’s assume that you’re being truthful that your house will never flood – although most insurance agents, I think, would smile at such a claim. Guess what, guy – this isn’t all about you the individual. It’s all about the tens of millions who DO live where it can flood and will eventually flood…and it comprises much of the heartland of our country.

    So I’ll ask you the same question I asked Allen – since it’s the insurance INDUSTRY that doesn’t want to insure such places (and began saying so before the government ever stepped in), how do you get lenders to approve of mortgages when they really, truly don’t want to approve of any mortgage in a flood plain when there’s no flood insurance to be had? How do you get the lenders to approve mortgages, Mr. Hall?

  • Glenn Contrarian

    And for Clavos – same question for you – how do you get the lenders to lend if there’s no flood insurance, when it’s the insurance INDUSTRY that will REFUSE to insure if there’s no government backup?

  • LeeS.

    Glenn,

    You don’t…and that’s okay. It’s the free market.

    Maybe it should be left to the states. Those that are in a flood plain could choose to put a certain percentage of their tax revenue into a state run fund that would cover natural disasters. This would mean they would have to put this in a budget and actually balance it year after year. What a novel thought.

    If not, the state could pass a law banning people living in flood plains. It’s common sense.

  • http://eagleviews.org Allen Scott

    - how do you get the lenders to lend money for mortgages when THEY are the ones who don’t want to approve of mortgages without flood insurance?

    I do not expect them to do anything that is not profitable for them. However since they receive federal funds they are forced to do many things good business prudence would not dictate. If someone can not get a mortage to build somewhere where it is deemed risky then perhaps they will build elsewhere, it is not like flood zones are the only places in the country to build.

    I am not sure if that answers yoru question or not simply put I do not wish to force anyone to make a business deal without weighing all the pros and cons of that deal. Mortgage companies should be free to write deals they wish to write and not write deals they feel are unprofitable.

  • http://eagleviews.org Allen Scott

    Besides there is always private investments one could raise to build a project when conventional funding sources are not available. (aka bank loans) Of course they could always pay a lobbyist to get a zoning change or some other government perk that will give them federal dollars to develope undevelopable land. This happens frequently.

  • Paul

    This is one of those poorly written hit articles on Ron Paul by an author with a phony name, designed to get maximum web hits from angry RP supporters. Glenn Contrarian? I mean really.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    LeeS. and Allen –

    So neither of you could come up with a solution, huh? FYI, among other things I’ve been a Realtor, and I do know a little something about real estate…and NO bank, NO credible financial institution, and very few private individuals are going to finance building something in a flood plain where it can’t be insured against flooding! Look at Allen’s incredible statement of utter ignorance:

    If someone can not get a mortage to build somewhere where it is deemed risky then perhaps they will build elsewhere, it is not like flood zones are the only places in the country to build.

    Do either of you have ANY clue as to how large an area we’re talking about with the Mississippi River and its tributaries? You’re talking about shutting down nearly the entire real estate market for:

    Most of Louisiana
    A third of Mississippi
    Almost half of Arkansas
    A quarter of Tennessee
    Perhaps a third of Kentucky
    About half of Missouri
    At least half of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois
    Nearly ALL of Iowa, Nebraska, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and the Dakotas!

    Do you get it? The above areas are FLATLANDS…and if it’s flat, it’s almost always a flood plain!

    And that’s the area where the real estate market – the single biggest factor in our nation’s economy – would come to a screeching halt.

    NOT ONLY THAT, but suddenly there’s no support for a river system that as of 2001 enabled:

    59% of total grain exports
    90% of total corn exports
    60% of total soybean exports
    83.8 million tons of exports through the Port of New Orleans

    Yep! If you two and Ron Paul have your way, you’ll effectively shut down the American economy. But your dogmatic blinders are such that you can’t see that it’s NOT the government who wants vast tracts of America to be uninsurable – it’s the insurance INDUSTRY.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    ‘Paul’ –

    Welcome to sockpuppet central!

    And while you’re at it, how about addressing the issue that I brought up? How about telling us how to keep the real estate market going when (if Ron Paul has his way) NO bank or financial institution would approve mortgages in our nation’s heartland since there would be no flood insurance available?

    Give me a real workable solution – that’s all I really ask.

  • Paul

    Glenn, here’s something to consider. If someone built a housing community on the side of an active volcano, that of course no private company would insure, should tax payers be on the hook to rebuild that community every time the volcano erupts and wipes it out? I mean think about. Really think about it. Building on a flood plain, an active fault-line, on the side of a cliff prone to mud slides etc. is the same concept.

    Another thing to consider. How many days did it take FEMA to get water to the Super Dome during after Katrina? Central planning and the Federal government simply aren’t very effective in matters such as disasters.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos, C-shop, Arch, SFC, and the other BC conservatives –

    I’d really like to hear if any of you have any answers to the above questions. I know that Ron Paul might not be real high on your list of favorite people, but I’d like to hear your opinions anyway.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    ‘Paul’ –

    We’re not talking about the few hundred square miles around a volcano – we’re talking about hundreds of thousands of square miles of our nation’s heartland…and an area that is CRUCIAL to our nation’s economy.

    In other words, you’re talking apples and oranges.

    And on your comment about FEMA and the Super Dome…could FEMA have done a better job? Surely! The Coast Guard and the National Guard (at least what wasn’t in Iraq) was there, too – and you, as a taxpayer, were also paying for their efforts.

    And what you’re not getting is when a major disaster hits, the more organized the response, the better. As good as the Red Cross and the other charity organizations are, NONE of them can even hope to respond well to the scope of a truly major disaster. Furthermore, you can’t just let everybody and his brother come down to help…because you’re also going to be allowing in quite a few bad people who are not there to help, but to loot and to rape and to rip off those that are most vulnerable.

    Next time, please remember that a volcano does not compare to a river system that serves and supports the commerce of nearly a third of our nation.

  • Daniel Zegibe

    AIn’t no sock puppets here-just dispelling liberal lies, that’s all. Contrarian-why isn’t there some type of waiver that people can sign to opt out of flood insurance mandates? Just because 20 percent of Americans are too stupid and incapable of functioning in the free market without any type of government help, doesn’t mean the rest of us should have to pay their way. I’m positive that if the government flood insurance program was canceled tomorrow, Americans would immediately find another way to protect their property in the government appointed “flood zones”. Remember now, the reason private companies can’t compete with government flood insurance is because the government is keeping competitive rates artificially low. When the Federal flood insurance program gets canceled by our 2012 president elect, you can see for yourself what I’m talking about. You’ve had welfare bread so deep into your system that you can’t even think of having to function without it. You are truly a product of the progressives. I will pray for you.

  • brian m

    you have not stated all that ron paul said. you have twisted it to make it look the way you want it to look.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Someone actually cited the US from 1776 to 1930 as a libertarian country. This is fantasy. In addition, this period included 90 years of slavery, 60-plus years of post-slavery Jim Crow laws [there’s some repressive government for you], plus child labor, corrupt business trusts with more repressive power than any government….etc etc.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    There never has been and never likely will be a ‘pure’ libertarian government or a ‘pure’ socialist government. All the wealthy nations of the world currently have a blend of the two, with most leaning toward the socialist. Yet if you were to tell the average European he isn’t ‘free’ he would justifiably laugh in your face.

  • Daniel Zegibe

    Oh and by the way Glenn, here’s the solution to your problem about nobody being able to get a mortgage without flood insurance in the flatlands. That solution is…get the FED government and all it’s regulations out of the housing markets too. Then the mortgage providers would be able to save billions on compliance and other mandated B.S., which they’d be able to spend at will in those poor unfortunate government appointed flood zones. The government has this habit of crippling you and then chastising you for not carrying its weight. There’d be more than enough to go around if the Fed government wasn’t eating up 20 percent of what everybody produces. The states would be able to tax at a higher rate, the mortgage providers would have more freedom to take on risky investments (that’s private mortgage providers-not Fannie and Freddie which would also have to disappear), and the people who want to live in the flatlands would be free to build where they want at their own risk. Stop trying to micromanage the world. Haven’t you people learned from the past 50 or so years that America was founded on free principles for good reason? Every time the government steps in to fix a perceived problem(think of Enron) they create many more real life problems for its everyday citizens. There is no perfect world that government can create, much less sustain.

  • Leroy

    42 – Glenn is right. If libertarians would have that insurance companies, mortgage lenders and realtors operate in THEIR ideal economy, then it must be that the government MUST disallow people from building businesses and homes in high risk areas and that would destroy the entire economy.

    Plus, that ‘libertarian’ economy would eventually destroy itself as the economic noose tightens (and tighten it must, as dictated by the constant cost reducing effect of the market), until everyone is driven out.

    Therefore, it is clear that the libertarian economy can only survive (at least until it consumes itself) at the expense of the excluded under class.

    It is predatory.

  • http://eagleviews.org Allen Scott

    Glenn said

    So neither of you could come up with a solution, huh?

    Actually I think we did you just do not agree with it but none the less it is a solution.. REMEMBER not so terribly long ago people lived by the rivers and lakes and used them for commerce before there was a FEMA or federal flood insurance. And if left alone I am sure people will continue to live by the rivers and oceans and lakes with or without FEMA…

    NO bank, NO credible financial institution, and very few private individuals are going to finance building something in a flood plain where it can’t be insured against flooding!

    Exactly and we agree on this the PROBLEM is billions of dollars of developement with millions of dollars of revenue to insure against loses. Any CREDIBLE insurance company can not by law or by their own by-laws insure for more than they have the projected revenues to cover loses. THEREFORE to massively build up these marginal areas the Insurance Companies PROBABLY cause I am not sure which came first but I am surmising that the Insurance companies lobbied the FEDERAL government for off-sets to these RISKS whereby the taxpayers are now on the hook to cover these billion dollar losses. Again I postulate if these DEVELOPERS where not given GOV guarantees against any and all losses would they actually locate their businesses in these flood zone? Perhaps some would but we will never know since the market is propped up by gov guarantees meaning we the people pay for all this stupidity. SOME businesses are necessary around waterways but not whole cities. Besides if you choose to live there you should assume the risks of doing so and not expect someone else to do so for you. IMO

    And then Mr Glenn had these words of wisdom to impart:

    Look at Allen’s incredible statement of utter ignorance: Someone has been drinking way too much hateraide.

    I am not sure where you got your statistics from but it is not an either or all or nothing proposition. Somehow you feel that if the federal government is not involved in some way in these business ventures they will seize to exist. I do not hold this fallacious viewpoint. IF there is a practical market and a need for a product or service someone will offer that product or service to meet the market need.

    Finally we arrive at this:

    If you two and Ron Paul have your way, you’ll effectively shut down the American economy. NOPE the only economy that will shut down is that which is being propped up by federal subsidies and has no practical business plan or profitable market solutions. The rest of the economy will work just fine without FEMA.

    But your dogmatic blinders are such that you can’t see that it’s NOT the government who wants vast tracts of America to be uninsurable – it’s the insurance INDUSTRY.

    No actually you misunderstood my comments. The insurance industry does not want to see vast tracts of America to be uninsurable, they are just not able to assume the HUGE RISK associated with it without being able to charge accordingly to build up large enough reserves to offset losses. BUT they do not have to since the FEDERAL government AKA taxpayers are underwriting these huge losses. Therefore the contractors, builders, businesses and others who build in high-risk locations are getting a HUGE benefit since all losses they will most assuredly incur will be not borne by them but by the entire population of taxpayers in America.

    You feel this is just but for those who are put upon they may not feel the love. Since one group of people are inversely affected so that a small group of people can enjoy special benefits how is this contributing to the welfare of all?

    Again the only ones who say YOU MUST HAVE Flood insurance is the federal government who are also the ones who underwrite this insurance and are NOT THE ONES PAYING for the losses the AMERICAN PEOPLE are and yet they have no say in the matter. And that seems just to you how so?

  • Clavos

    Glenn,

    I once argued this very point right here on BC before you became a regular.

    I own a house in St. Petersburg (it’s now a rental property, but I once lived in it) which is waterfront on the bay side of a barrier island. The rear (facing the water) wall of the house is exactly 23 feet (horizontally) from the water and has a measured elevation of 4.5 ft. above mean high water. It hasn’t been washed away yet, but that’s pure luck. That it will be one day, is a dead certainty. I am of the opinion that when (not if) that happens, if the house is destroyed by more than 50%, I should be paid by the insurance people (which in this case is ONLY the government — the house is far too vulnerable to be a viable subject for a private insurance provider to make a profit) the market value of the home at the time of its destruction, and then prohibited from rebuilding in any place in the country that is so vulnerable it cannot qualify for private insurance.

    Surprisingly, you didn’t include Florida in your list above, but we are among the most vulnerable of areas in the USA, both because of out topology (our state mean elevation above sea level is 100 feet — half of our territory is less than 100 feet above the water) and because so many folks live literally right on the edge of water that is regularly struck by hurricanes and their attendant storm surges.

    I see no reason why the rest of the country should have to pay to insure these homes (and I’m only speaking of homes, not commercial or government property) so Floridians can continue to live in such a hazardous area. I am of the same opinion about the areas that are flood plains because of proximity to rivers, lakes, and estuaries.

    I said here on these threads that New Orleans should not have been rebuilt. Its situation is particularly egregious, inasmuch as a substantial portion of its area is actually below sea level.

  • Clavos

    Erratum:

    In # 54, above topology should, of course, be topography.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Um…Allen –

    It’s not the government that’s requiring flood insurance – it’s the LENDERS. You can’t have a real estate market at all – whether residential or commercial – if you don’t have lenders.

    That was why the government was alarmed way back in 1968, because if the insurance industry was going to refuse to insure the flood plains, then the real estate market was going to tank.

    And you said:

    SOME businesses are necessary around waterways but not whole cities.

    If you’ll look at a map, you’ll find that most major cities – not all, but a definite majority – are built on or close by a river. Why? Because of the ease of commerce (and access to water) that a river provides.

    You’re NOT going to move cities away from the rivers…and that’s not all! Would you also require that farmers not be able to use flood plains? If so, then there goes the vast majority of our nation’s farms.

    In other words, the anyone who takes the Libertarian approach to this matter simply hasn’t thought it through, because it would bring America’s economy to a screeching halt.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos –

    I didn’t include Florida for the same reason I didn’t include much of the rest of the nation to which this article would apply…because the example Ron Paul was addressing in the interview was concerning the MS river, and my aim was to expose the magnitude of his shortsightedness.

    And while the taxpayers not having to support the National Flood Insurance Program may sound good, how then would you solve the real estate crisis that would arise when – not if, but when – the lenders REFUSE to approve residential or commercial mortgages for the watershed of the entire MS river and its tributaries…

    …or for that matter, what would happen to Florida’s real estate market? How would you get the lenders to lend when they refuse to lend because the land and structures that THEY are taking title to as part of the mortgage cannot be insured against flooding?

    How would you solve that problem, Clavos?

  • Clavos

    how then would you solve the real estate crisis that would arise when – not if, but when – the lenders REFUSE to approve residential or commercial mortgages for the watershed of the entire MS river and its tributaries…

    If they aren’t already doing so, most will soon. But if, as I suggested above, you deny people the right to rebuild in the same spot unless they build flood proof (which would require some mighty tall stilts, but we already do that here) or on higher ground; and you do it piecemeal: flooded area by flooded area, as they flood, not all at once.

    In fact, such a program would probably give the RE market a much-needed shot in the arm.

    …or for that matter, what would happen to Florida’s real estate market?

    Florida has already taken measures to safeguard; new construction in flood plains has to be on stilts; in my neighborhood in St. Pete, which is transitional, all the older houses like mine are teardowns; when they are bought, they’re replaced with McMansions on stilts, both of the houses on either side of mine tower above mine, and only one other house on the entire block is still on grade like mine. Our market values have held because of that activity. Valuations have gone down a little since the bubble burst, but much less than the national average; that’s the basis for my thought that the RE market could actually benefit from such a program on a national level.

    I don’t think it’s right that my sister in Minnesota (or anyone else) should have to subsidize my desire to live in a flood-prone area, nor I theirs.

    How would you get the lenders to lend when they refuse to lend because the land and structures that THEY are taking title to as part of the mortgage cannot be insured against flooding?

    That happened here years ago, Glenn. I don’t know anyone whose flood insurance isn’t underwritten by the state, but that’s not a good situation, a far better solution would be to reduce the risk to where the private companies would come back.

  • DesertRose

    …”WE THE PEOPLE” Have Been Taxed To The Max…So Much That We Have Been Dumbed Down To Think That FEMA Is Doing A Flood Victim A Favor When They Receive Help…FEMA Is The Administrator Of “WE THE PEOPLE’S” Money…It Is Not FEMA’S Money…It Is My Money & Your Money…And The Account Is Bankrupt & “WE THE PEOPLE” Accept It & Ask No Questions…This Should Be A “WAKE-UP-CALL TO Every American Taxpaper…This Is What Happens When PEOPLE ARE TRANSFORMED INTO SHEEPLE…

  • Glenn Contrarian

    “DesertRose” –

    Do you realize that you’re paying LESS in total taxes right now than at any time in the past 50 years, since Harry TRUMAN was president? You’re just buying into the biggest strawman America’s seen since the Vietnam War.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos –

    It’s nice to hear a reasonable reply as compared to some of the others I’ve seen.

    You addressed the residential market…but not the commercial market i.e. skyscrapers and high-end hotels and Big Business and such, without which you’re not going to have that many nice houses. That, and what about the crucial farming industry? Would farmers continue to farm if they couldn’t insure their farmland, equipment, and crops?

  • Anthony Ramirez

    neither side is fully right nor fully wrong. It is tough to say what works best. But what i can say is that America is in a desperate need of change. The typical American relies heavily on the government to take care of everything. There is too much government regulation and as a nation we should take responsibility and not rely or expect the our federal government to fix everything. It is a very childish thing to do. Your parents tell you not to touch fire, what does the child do? they touch the fire. They are trying to teach you the risk, you either learn by listening or the hard way. we have taken it to another level of childness but now blaming our parents for letting us touch the fire even though they told us not to. So now we expect our parents to make it better and most parents do. What does that teach them? it teaches them even though dad or mom told you not to do it, dad or mom will still fix it. Well my parents raised me better than that which is unfortunate for everyone else. My parents taught me to take responsibility for myself and if they can help me they would but do not expect it. It is time for Americans to take responsibility for themselves. If you want to live by the ocean they by all means go ahead just understand the risk because the parents (Government) can no longer help out because they have their own problems to figure out. We need to take back the control of our own lives and decisions and not give it to the government because they can barely take care of themselves right now. That is why Ron Paul would be a great change of pace in office.

    Furthermore, all the people who would be forced to move because of no insurance and unable to afford possible damages would vacate somewhere else. Other cities would prosper with businesses and families migrating well those cities they moved away from would take a hit. But those that take a hit would eventually stabilize it just takes time. We are always looking for a quick fix in America. We have been a country for less than 250 years, became the most powerful country too fast and when things get tough, we try to put a band-aide on the situation and then go bully another country to get out of the situation. In other words we are so worried about what will happen to these areas that would be less populated due to less help from government help such as FEMA. Things would suck for that area now but eventually it would stabilize and prosper just as the new cities would benefit. Look back in history when slavery was abolished and for the next 50-60 years, ex-slaves migrated north for better and more opportunities. Cities like phili, chicago, detroit, new york etc all prospered while the south struggled to find cheap labor. Did the south become completely vacated? NO. Would it be completely vacated now? NO. Did the south figure it out? YES. Would they figure it out now? YES. It takes patience as a country but we all want to see change now, we want to benefit from the change now. The fastest way to make change is to change yourself first then work from there. Work your ass off, try and make the best decision for yourself and your family and take responsibility for that decision.

  • Kenn Jacobine

    Glenn,

    Buddy, I am so glad that many of my libertarian brethren have showed up to refute your ridiculous article. Usually it’s just me and Clavos and occasionally Nalle fighting the good fight against you big statists.

    First off, the beginning of your article was nothing more than a string of cheap shots at Ron Paul. You threw accusations around with no explanations of his actual opinion.

    Secondly, FEMA like all other government agencies produce moral hazards to justify and perpetuate its existence. If people aren’t suffering then there is no need for FEMA. So FEMA makes sure it helps to put people in harm’s way. If an insurance carrier won’t cover an area because it is too dangerous than it is immoral for the government to. Forget about stealing taxpayer dollars to support the reckless lifestyle of an idiot. What about that idiot’s kid’s who are put at risk because Uncle Scam is willing to cover the dangerous area and consequently allow the idiot to live there. But, all you can think of Glenn is the endless pot of gold that is the federal government. You know FEMA ran out of money for this year and is going back to Congress for more. At some point soon the whole system is going to collapse under the weight of our enormous debt and all of your favored statist programs will be history

  • Connie

    “I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it.” – Thomas Jefferson

  • Paul

    I can’t speak for anyone else, but I’m definitely not a sock puppet. Glenn seems to toss that accusation off when someone surfs in who disagrees with him.

    Glenn, here’s something for you – Watch the video

  • Paul

    Big government subsidizes failure and stifles success.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Paul –

    I suspect sockpuppets whenever I see several names show up and none of those have been on BC before. If you post on BC as Paul for a while, then maybe I’ll change my mind about you…but not about most of the others whom I suspect of sockpuppetry.

  • Paul

    Glenn, that is simply ridiculous.

    If you post something about Ron Paul that gets indexed with Google, as with your article, be prepared for people to surf in.

    I don’t care one iota whether you change your mind or not. Like your article, your immediate dismissal of people who surf in as sock puppets, is proof that you’re living in your own private Idaho.

    You wanna see some new names? Sit tight…

  • Leroy

    Corporate monopolies subsidize failure and stifle success. They also suborn government.

  • Paul

    @ Leroy. What entity allows corporate monopolies and cartels to exist?

    Google -> crony capitalism

  • Clavos

    Um, that’s what he said, Paul: they suborn the government; isn’t that what “crony capitalism” is all about?

  • Common Sense

    Ron Paul is saying that the Federal Government (FEMA) gets in the way, as many bureaucracies do. FEMA during Katrina was a fiasco – trailers sat unused for years; they were built with chemicals and ended up with toxic mold – so that must have been a very efficient way of using tax dollars. The underlying message Ron Paul wants to get across, is that people shouldn’t be building in high risk areas to begin with. The people in Japan ignored the message from the ancients as indicated by this link:

    “It takes about three generations for people to forget. Those that experience the disaster themselves pass it to their children and their grandchildren, but then the memory fades,” he said.

    If I choose to build in areas that are risky, then I alone should bear the consequences (as should my insurance company, should they insure me). Now the problem we have is that these locations in flood zones are already built, and regulations have shifted the responsibility to those who don’t live there, and things have become careless. So we are in a quagmire. Again, Ron Paul is saying that FEMA gets in the way more than they help, as does any bureaucracy. Often times volunteer organizations are not allowed to give their full support when FEMA is involved.

    If you believe that you can’t take care of yourself and need to be dependent, by all means you can have FEMA (and unfortunately, those that don’t want the government’s help have no choice but to accept it).

  • Paul

    @ Clavos. I was not familiar with the word suborn. Thought he made a typo. Learned a new word today. Thanks. ;-)

  • Kenn Jacobine

    Glenn,

    It’s one thing to diss one of my articles, it’s quite another to diss Ron Paul. These folks got your number now.

    Best,
    Kenn

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Leroy, Paul, and Clavos –

    You’ll find no one on the left who wants to allow monopolies – in fact, most progressives like myself hold Teddy Roosevelt up as a shining example of what to do when the spectre of crony capitalism arises.

    No president since Gerald Ford has really fought against crony capitalism, including Carter, Clinton, and Obama. I don’t hold Carter so responsible because there were no major monopolies or near-monopolies in his day, thanks to Ford. BUT since Reagan took office, since ‘thou-shalt-not-regulate’ became part of the national dogma, it’s become almost impossible prevent major competition-killing mergers, much less break apart near-monopolies – like those faced by most states where there is only one or sometimes two health insurance companies to serve the population.

    If any of you truly want to stop crony capitalism, bear in mind that it’s very rare that monopolies or near-monopolies are broken by the ‘magic of the marketplace’. It takes regulation, a strong government, and a strong leader to make it happen.

    Now figure out for yourselves how that’s ever going to happen thanks to Citizens United!

  • Paul

    Glenn, I’m not sure that you understand what crony capitalism is.

    “Crony capitalism is a term describing an allegedly capitalist economy in which success in business depends on close relationships between business people and government officials. It may be exhibited by favoritism in the distribution of legal permits, government grants, special tax breaks, and so forth.”

    It’s government involvement in the marketplace that allows for monopolies and cartels and many other nasties to exist in the first place.

    There’s no way that more government involvement can ever repair the damage caused by government involvement.

    With every decade that passes, the federal government gets more and more involved in more and more things, and all of those things get worse and worse.

  • Leroy

    Usually it is capitalists themselves who ask government to act in markets to promote their private interests: to subvert a bidding process, to disqualify a competitor, to award sole-source contracts, to renew an existing contract, etc.

    The reason we have monopolies is because business prevails on government anti-trust divisions to not prosecute anti-trust cases.

    In my fathers day business would call out the government police to beat and kill striking workers.

    Nowadays, in several states, rightists are pushing for state laws that would prohibit (as felony) undercover reports of violations by companies in animal abuse and other agriculture areas. They are asking that the government pro-actively stop reporters from investigating companies.

    Corporations are not innocent victims of government abuse, in fact they are pro-active in seeking government intervention on their behalf. Thus, the enormous sums they spend bribing politicians with ‘campaign contributions’.

    Ag-gag bills

  • Paul

    Leroy, what you described are aspects of crony capitalism.

    And I was with you until the “rightests” thing.

    Truth is, there’s not a dime’s worth of difference between the two major parties except for their rhetoric. Except for a few individuals, both parties are bought and paid for by special interests. Anyone who does not understand this at this point is naive and/or in denial.

  • Clavos

    Truth is, there’s not a dime’s worth of difference between the two major parties except for their rhetoric.

    As applies to crony capitalism,

    Quoted for Truth.

  • http://eagleviews.org Allen Scott

    Glenn-

    It’s not the government that’s requiring flood insurance – it’s the LENDERS. You can’t have a real estate market at all – whether residential or commercial – if you don’t have lenders.

    Actually there would be no real estate market without BUYERS. IT comes down to the individual. Lenders are forced by GOVERNMENT to make risky loans all the time and the latest government fiasco as led to the current recession we find ourselves in. Lenders were forced by the federal government to underwrite loans for people who were unable to pay them back and offloaded these high-risks loans to Freddy and Fannie who packaged them together into a derivatives market and floated this paper all over the world. When the economy took a downturn these investments lost most of their value and since the original borrower never had the resources to repay, the housing market took a major hit.

    SO what did the government do? They went to work to figure out a way to get tax-payers to pay for these mortgage defaults and thus remove the responsibility from the borrower to the tax-payer.

    This forced compliance to BAD BUSINESS INVESTMENTs has led to the biggest financial recession in modern history.

    The same holds true for over building in flood zones. THERE are NEEDED businesses around waterfronts but not all water-front real estate is necessary for the survival of the American economy.

    Besides why are there never any government programs worthy of a budget review? Why is the military the only government agency that gets the budget cutting ax? Why are all other federal programs deemed “holy ground”? Most of them are bloated, wasteful, and redundant. Most could be eliminated and the average American citizen would not even miss them.

    FEMA is just one of many programs that should be reviewed and possibly eliminated. IMO.

  • Biju

    Pauls right, let Mississippi flood their farms instead of FEMA doing it. If your locality has extra snow 1 year, you get a local tax for extra snow removal. Mississippi can give New Orleans 1 time tax for reimbursing farmers for washing away their topsoil instead of risking NewOrleans.
    None of those fed agencies are needed.

  • BettyLiberty
  • Glenn Contrarian

    Allen –

    It doesn’t matter how many people want to buy – if the lenders will not approve mortgages, they will not approve mortgages…

    and they’re NOT going to approve mortgages in the flood plain that comprises much of America’s heartland if they have to take on the LIABILITY of the property in the aftermath of a major flood.

    Do you not realize that this is all about LIABILITY? Any good businessman tries to avoid liability whenever possible… and lenders are NOT going to risk hundreds of billions of dollars (that is NOT an exaggeration, btw) by taking on the liability of land that cannot be insured…regardless of how many people want to buy.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Paul –

    You and I agree wholeheartedly about what crony capitalism is…but what you’re not getting is that you canNOT take on crony capitalism by weakening the government. Why? Because the weaker the government, the less the legislators in that government are able to resist the money. Again, see Citizens United.

  • Paul

    For those interested in seeing how government involvement in things ruins them, watch this – College Conspiracy –

    This is an eye opener.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Paul –

    Ah – it’s all THE GOVERNMENT! It’s THE GOVERNMENT’S FAULT!

    Wrong.

    If anything, the video shows that what doesn’t belong in education is the PROFIT MOTIVE. Why do you think prices are skyrocketing? Why do you think they’re charging ever more for tuition, books, fees, and whatever? Because the universities and the colleges need to make MONEY…money that they can use not only to pay themselves, but to pay for advertising and insurance and new stadiums and whatnot.

    If you get rid of the profit motive, Paul, then all of a sudden people concentrate more on doing what needs to be done, and doing it rightly.

    Let me introduce to you what’s wrong with the profit motive: here’s a tale of two shipyards – one is guv’mint run (PSNS – Puget Sound Naval Shipyard), and one is strictly civilian-run (Todd Shipyard). I’ve worked in both while stationed on the same ship…and I can assure you that NO sailor onboard wanted to be at Todd. Why? Because it was unsafe and dirty and we had to hide all our tools and personal stuff because they’d sprout legs, so to speak. Whereas PSNS was clean and safe, and the workforce could generally be trusted to not steal all our stuff.

    What was the difference? The profit motive. Todd Shipyard – unlike PSNS – was out to make money. That’s why they would spend less on safety, and on cleanliness…and they’d spend less on their personnel, too, which is why their personnel would steal us blind if we gave them the chance.

    This is why I know firsthand that all of you who are so convinced that the government ruins everything…you’ve drunk way too deeply of Reagan’s “government is the problem” Kool-Aid.

    There’s a place for the profit motive, certainly! And that place is in BUSINESS…and pretty much ONLY in business. Why is it we’re willing to pay taxes for a fire department that puts out fires, and police that catch bad people, but not for doctors who save our lives? Why should for-profit health insurance companies get to decide whether we live or die based on how much profit they make?

    And so it is with education – why is it that our colleges should be making decisions on the quality of the education based on how much money they do or don’t make? They should be concentrating on EDUCATION, and not on the profit motive!

    The profit motive belongs in business, and only in business. Everything else that enables you, me, and all Americans to participate in business – fire protection, police, military, health care, and education – should not be subject to the profit motive. It’s not a matter of getting the oh-so-bad guv’mint out of education – it’s a matter of getting the burden of the profit motive off the shoulders of our educators.

  • Paul

    Glenn, I looked at that Citizens United site. Are you for of against them? All of the Neocon names involved turned me off.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Paul –

    I’m strongly against the Citizens United decision – the LAST thing we need is the unfettered ability of Big Business to involve themselves in elections!

  • Paul

    Glenn, I think we agree on many things. We seem to disagree on why and how things got as messed up as they are and on what could improve them.

  • Clavos

    …and they’re NOT going to approve mortgages in the flood plain that comprises much of America’s heartland if they have to take on the LIABILITY of the property in the aftermath of a major flood.

    And that makes sense; it’s reason enough for the government Not to step in and waste tax dollars.

  • Clavos

    @#86:

    Your comment completely ignores the effect that making a profit has on goods and services: it forces businesses to be efficient; in order to make a profit on an ongoing basis, you have to provide good products and good services.

    The government doesn’t have to make a profit, so it can be slipshod about what it does (and for the most part, “slipshod” describes government activity to a T), which is why the USPS, for example, is on the verge of collapsing after years of racking up multi-billion dollar losses.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos –

    Do you really want to go down the USPS road again? Nobody, but nobody is going to make a profit accepting and delivering letter mail – repeat, letter mail – with the mandate that they have to be able to deliver to ALL addresses in America six days out of the week.

    That’s why you don’t see ANY big business stepping up to get in on the business. They’ll do packages and express mail, sure – but letter mail? Shirley you jest, sir!

    And who also gets hurt if we jack up the cost of letter mail to where the USPS makes a profit? All the businesses who send you the junk mail that we all hate…but that most of us actually use enough of the time that it’s a major moneymaker for American businesses.

    Letter mail will from now on be a money-loser…but it’s a crucial part of our nation’s business infrastructure – and I think you know that.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    And Clavos –

    it’s reason enough for the government Not to step in and waste tax dollars.

    So…if the government doesn’t step in to ensure that flood insurance can be had, no lenders will lend for mortgages…and the real estate market for much of America’s heartland (major cities, small towns, and especially the farms) collapses and dies.

    But hey – at least you’d be able to keep a few of your Precious Tax Dollars!

  • Clavos

    That’s why you don’t see ANY big business stepping up to get in on the business.

    Wrong. They’re not “stepping up” because the law prohibits them, granting the USPS’ exclusive right to First Class. From a Cato Institute White Paper published last November:

    Congress grants the USPS a statutory monopoly on the delivery of first-class and standard mail and restricts mailbox access to mail delivered by the USPS.

    But probably not for much longer. the losses have grown to the point even Washington is gagging. Cato again:

    The USPS does face increasing competition from correspondence sent via a variety of electronic alternatives. While the USPS may have a statutory monopoly over a portion of physical mail, new technologies are allowing Americans to bypass the organization on all of its lines of business.

    You say:

    Letter mail will from now on be a money-loser…but it’s a crucial part of our nation’s business infrastructure – and I think you know that.

    Actually, that’s the kind of mail that’s dwindling fastest in the face of electronic mail competition. Because of electronic and private overnight services, plus online billing and payments, Cato notes: From 2007 to 2010, the USPS lost $20 billion, and its debt increased from $2.1 billion to $12 billion. The USPS expects to hit its $15 billion legal borrowing ceiling in 2011. As a result, the Government Accountability Office placed the USPS on its “high risk” list of troubled federal agencies in 2009.5 These financial problems are not temporary. Postal experts expect a future of stagnant-to-declining revenue for the USPS with stable-to-increasing expenses unless Congress makes major reforms.

    As to the First Class mail you set so much stock in:

    The decline in USPS revenues has been driven by a large drop in mail volume, particularly for profitable first-class mail. The recent recession has hurt USPS finances, but the demand for mail delivered by the USPS has been steadily falling as consumers and businesses have shifted to electronic alternatives.

    First-class mail volume has fallen 19 percent since 2001, and it is projected to fall another 37 percent by 2020. From 2006 to 2009 total mail volume dropped from 213 billion to 177 billion items, a 17 percent decrease.8 By 2020 the USPS estimates further volume declines of about 15 percent, to 150 billion pieces, which would be the lowest level since 1986.

    I wrote an article about the USPS problems two years ago. The only thing that has changed is that the USPS’ condition has worsened significantly.

    and the real estate market for much of America’s heartland (major cities, small towns, and especially the farms) collapses and dies.

    But only in those cities and towns. Those people will have to live somewhere; they’ll move and buy houses in areas that aren’t flood prone and on higher ground in their current areas.

    Your problem is that you always engage in scarce thinking. No vision.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Um, Clavos –

    I wasn’t concentrating on first class mail…my reply had much more to do with JUNK mail…which is usually not first class.

    But only in those cities and towns. Those people will have to live somewhere; they’ll move and buy houses in areas that aren’t flood prone and on higher ground in their current areas.

    C’mon, Clavos – you know very well that if a place is flat, chances are REAL good that it’s a flood plain. In fact, the only sizable flat place I know of in America that’s not a flood plain is the California high desert.

    Have you been to Nebraska lately? Or Iowa? Or Kansas? What about Minnesota or Michigan or the Dakotas? What do they have in common? They’re largely FLAT…and are mostly flood plains.

    So your solution is that most people in these states (and several others) is that they will just up and move?

    There’s a time for being dogmatic, Clavos…but there’s also a time for being pragmatic. This is one of the latter.

  • Clavos

    Yep

  • Clavos

    I wasn’t concentrating on first class mail…my reply had much more to do with JUNK mail…which is usually not first class.

    Doesn’t matter what you were “concentrating on,” the fact is the USPS is terminal.

    It’s only a matter of time

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos –

    You really, truly think that Big Business is going to allow the USPS to die when junk mail is central – and often crucial – to their business? Really?

    I think it’s time you took your dogma out for a walk – it needs to go fertilize your neighbor’s yard.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    BTW –

    I remember a conversation with the postmaster who was pointing out how they always lose money on first-class mail, that it’s junk mail that keeps the USPS going. There were times when we hundreds of pounds of junk mail, but less than fifty pounds of first-class mail.

    And the math’s not hard – if the USPS charges anywhere from seven to fifteen cents for each piece (and even less for postcard-style junk), the overall value to the post office is much higher than what is raised by first-class mail.

    In other words, your arguments aren’t what you believe them to be.

    Barring a major catastrophe to our economy, the USPS will outlive you and me, and they’ll still be delivering when our kids are old. Maybe they’ll be delivering less, but they’ll still be delivering.

  • Clavos

    …it’s junk mail that keeps the USPS going.

    Gee, that’s too bad, because they’re losing that business too, but obviously you didn’t read my links, because you have it backwards: They make money on the First Class, it’s the Standard (junk mail to you) that loses ‘em money. From the same Cato report: First-class mail, which is the most profitable, accounted for 52 percent of those revenues.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    If first-class mail accounted for 52 percent of the revenues, does that mean that it’s the most profitable? I think that falls under your correlation/causation rule…because while the first-class mail makes the most REVENUE, it does NOT make the most profit.

    Why?

    Because first class mail requires much more processing than does junk mail. More often than not, the junk mail arrives in bulk, either without addresses (which means we put one in every box) or addressed and sorted by the advertiser…and the only real processing by the USPS is by hand inside the post office. The revenue from the first class mail may be higher, but the time and effort and mechanical processing it requires means that it is less profitable than junk mail.

    I think I enjoyed that one!

  • Clavos

    Once again, you don’t read, Glenn:

    First-class mail, which is the most profitable, accounted for 52 percent of those revenues.

    Run your own analysis of what’s profitable until the cows come home, but the experts who actually have studied USPS’ operations and revenue streams have determined that First Class is the most profitable business segment they have, and it’s the most rapidly declining segment, thanks to electronic mail.

    and the only real processing by the USPS is by hand inside the post office.

    Bullshit! They’ve had mechanical sorting systems since the 60s! I have a friend whose job consists of nothing but maintaining the automated sorting machines! You don’t know what the fuck you’re talking about, Glenn.

    You’re unbelievable! I link to TWO good reports, and you (who have never even worked for the USPS) think you know better.

    What a piece of work you are Glenn.

  • Paul

    The USPS is suffering from a “controlled demolition” brought on like many other things, by crony capitalism. The USPS is forced to use private contractors to deliver much of its mail and forced to deliver bulk advertisements at rates that cause them to lose money big time. The USPS has been reduced to an entity that is funded by tax payers to deliver cut rate advertising to everyone’s mailbox while Fed Ex, UPS etc. make out on the real stuff. Every time you receive some junk mail from the USPS, in a round about way, you paid for it.

  • Leroy

    91-clavos: No, it’s not ‘profit’ that makes a company strive to be efficient, it’s competition. A profitable company (like KBR) that has a sole source contract has NO incentive to be efficient. At best, efficiency is an incidental effect.

  • mike

    I was around when FEMA was set up. It started out as a place to appoint people for political favors!! no bull
    Government line For our safety ha ha
    Fear or Safety those lines are getting stale!!
    Ron Paul!!! 2012…Don’t Fear Freedom!!!!
    Please check this cat out!!!! Dr. Paul!!!
    I Want my country back!!!!! Damm it!!!

  • Clavos

    The USPS is forced to use private contractors to deliver much of its mail…

    Not true. Private contractors are prohibited by law from delivering US mail. What USPS HAS done in recent years, is contract FedEx and UPS to do its long hauls (NYC-Miami, NYC-Chicago Chicago-LA, etc.), and the reason for that is because the USPS is not permitted to own a fleet of aircraft.

  • Mike

    The concept of FEMA sounds nice, but it’s wrong on many levels. Constitutionally, morally, economically, and its efficiency.

    The constitution clearly states, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” As federal law this makes it unconstitutional.

    Morally it is wrong to use unwanted taxation or artificially inflating the currency to collect revenue. Theft and weakening the purchasing power of the dollar is immoral. If individuals want to donate to charity for relief efforts on their own, they should be able to.

    Economically it rewards poor judgment by sending aid to those who made a risky decision, and creates malinvestment by distorting resources. If insurance companies were denying insurance on several properties that should be a very important indicator to a buyer that perhaps this property isn’t a wise choice to purchase. Insurance companies should be the primary financial providers for natural disasters. Also FEMA ignores the broken window principle of destruction. They claim that in this moment of tragedy, there is opportunity for economic growth. The government needs to spend billions in relief, and because they spend it creates jobs in cleaning up. The broken window principle goes as follows:

    “A young hoodlum, say, heaves a brick through the window of a baker’s shop. The shopkeeper runs out furious, but the boy is gone. A crowd gathers, and begins to stare with quiet satisfaction at the gaping hole in the window and the shattered glass over the bread and pies. After a while the crowd feels the need for philosophic reflection. And several of its members are almost certain to remind each other or the baker that, after all, the misfortune has its bright side. It will make business for some glazier. As they begin to think of this they elaborate upon it. How much does a new plate glass window cost? Two hundred and fifty dollars? That will be quite a sum. After all, if windows were never broken, what would happen to the glass business? Then, of course, the thing is endless. The glazier will have $250 more to spend with other merchants, and these in turn will have $250 more to spend with still other merchants, and so ad infinitum. The smashed window will go on providing money and employment in ever-widening circles. The logical conclusion from all this would be, if the crowd drew it, that the little hoodlum who threw the brick, far from being a public menace, was a public benefactor.

    Now let us take another look. The crowd is at least right in its first conclusion. This little act of vandalism will in the first instance mean more business for some glazier. The glazier will be no more unhappy to learn of the incident than an undertaker to learn of a death. But the shopkeeper will be out $250 that he was planning to spend for a new suit. Because he has had to replace a window, he will have to go without the suit (or some equivalent need or luxury). Instead of having a window and $250 he now has merely a window. Or, as he was planning to buy the suit that very afternoon, instead of having both a window and a suit he must be content with the window and no suit. If we think of him as a part of the community, the community has lost a new suit that might otherwise have come into being, and is just that much poorer.

    The glazier’s gain of business, in short, is merely the tailor’s loss of business. No new “employment” has been added. The people in the crowd were thinking only of two parties to the transaction, the baker and the glazier. They had forgotten the potential third party involved, the tailor. They forgot him precisely because he will not now enter the scene. They will see the new window in the next day or two. They will never see the extra suit, precisely because it will never be made. They see only what is immediately visible to the eye.”

    Finally its efficiency. Katrina is the prefect example of this. It took days for FEMA to respond to the tragedy in New Orleans. And when they got there what did they do? They blocked outside relief efforts. Wal-Mart trucks containing water and supplies were turned away; the Coast Guard was prevented from delivering diesel fuel; a 600-bed Navy hospital was left unused; firefighters were ordered away from flood sites; donated generators were refused; and rescue attempts by private citizens were rebuffed. Is FEMA really an agency that should be given billions of dollars more?

  • Merk

    Abortion = Ron Paul is personally against it, the Constitution does not allow the fed’s to regulate it. He wants to get the federal gov out of the debate and allow the states to decide if they allow it or not, which should be based on the constituents voice. He wants to defund Planned Parenthood from fed money. If you think that is a bad idea go study the origins of the organization, Margaret Sanger and the eugenics movement in the US, which was one of Hitler’s big influences. I am personally against abortion for ME but if a woman wants to have one, go for it, just don’t use my tax dollars.

    Gay marriage = Ron defines “marriage” as being between a man and a woman. Ron wants all governments, state and fed, out of the marriage business i.e. why do you need a license from the state? Why should the gov control that? Again he says leave it up to the states to decide what “marriage” is. But Ron also says that all voluntary contracts between people should be valid and gay/lesbian people have every right to be domestic partners and share in those benefits of insurance, tax filing (until it is abolished) etc. Groups don’t have rights, i.e. there is no “Gay Rights” or “Straight rights” there are only individual rights. If those rights were respected as they are supposed to be this issue would not even be an issue. All voluntary contracts entered into by individuals should be legal.

    As for FEMA, I don’t think you understand where he is coming from. If a location is so dangerous to build that no private company will insure it then why should I have to pay for it when it gets destroyed? Can I go live in that person’s beach house for a few weeks a year since I have to pay for it if it gets destroyed? After all I am subsidizing their beachfront lifestyle.

  • Jeremy Tempest

    Anyone that opposes Ron Paul’s common sense viewpoints is clearly a mass media brainwashed, welfare whore that hates God and America.

    The simple truth is that Ron Paul is more intelligent, old fashioned and yet cutting edge with his truthful, honest, and real policies.

    He has been and will be greatly blessed by God for his tireless fight to try and save America.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    Glenn Contrarian, a welfare whore? NO. You’ve got to lighten up a little, a LOT, on the exaggeration there, Jeremy Tempest. I can appreciate your enthusiasm for Ron Paul, but you aren’t helping his campaign at ALL by carpet-bombing message boards with insults for his detractors.

    Instead, the attitude of the new “Christian Republican” is a lot more “live and let live,”
    than it used to be. From a NewsMax article called “Ron Paul Steals the Show at Faith and Freedom Conference.”

    Bill Spiegel, a former member of the Senior Bush President’s Economic Council and the Southern Baptist Liaison for George H. W. Bush, says, “Much of the money that was going to evangelical lobbies in Washington is now going to Ron Paul. And the Christian leaders in Washington have been taken by surprise.

    “It is because the people are seeing what the leaders are missing. They don’t want power; they want to be left alone to worship in freedom and Ron Paul is the only candidate who is defending that right consistently.”

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    It’s funny that a guy like Jeremy can be all for liberty and freedom out of one side of his mouth, and then out of the other say, “Anyone who doesn’t think as I do is a !@#$%^& %$#@ and should shut up”.

    And he didn’t even blink, either.

  • travis

    such a absolutly horribly written article! seriously i do not think that you could have twisted the views and/or words of Ron Paul anymore than what you have in this article.

  • Tom

    If anyone (Glenn Contrarian) is curious as to why there are so many new names here, this could be why

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    Nah, the same thing happens every time one of us writes about Ron Paul. I don’t think he’s curious or even surprised.

  • Contradiction

    I think Glenn Contrarian never took a look at the Hurricane Katrina cleanup botched by FEMA. Thousands of trailers sitting empty years after the storm, while thousands of displaced people remain homeless. Then they ”
    “lost” billions of dollars and wasted tens of billions of bureaucracy and acquiring products at ridiculous prices.

    Glenn Contrarian must live in a fantasy world where government bureaucracy is efficient and corruption doesn’t exist.

  • Igor

    115-Contradiction: many of us would be quite happy if you would publish a comment specifying the numbers and facts of the messed up Katrina cleanup. With decent citations to fairly independent sources, of course (dumb citations to Echo Chamber editorials will usually be hooted down, however).

    You can only cite 3 URLs per comment (and sometimes you have to use ‘tinyurl’), and there are some here who detest facts and figures and decry people who use them as ‘empiricists’, a low and miserable lot, so beware the slings and arrows of outrageous misfortune.

    But please, post away and enlighten us. There are none here so smart that they couldn’t use both better facts and more articulate arguments.

    As for facts, I actually looked at some of the post-Katrina cleanup action, at the time, and found horrible scandals in the much-publicized programs to help homeowners get back to normal. The multi-billion dollar programs were systematically looted by local politicians so that billions went into local civic projects such as improved ports and restitution of businesses, so that only a feeble stream of small cash trickled down to mere homeeowners. Billions were allocated by congress and only a few people received a few thousand to restore their homes.

    Check it out.

  • Wanda Dickinson

    Have you ever dealt with these people at FEMA? I had flood insurance and cancelled it on 1/9 and they still have not refunded my money. They are giving me the run around as well as my insurance company who is there agent. These people treated me awful and I feel this government run agency needs to go private, so they will learn they have to treat people correctly

  • Igor

    If one depends on people choosing safer building sites, the opportunities are getting smaller: more territory in the USA becomes overdue for earthquakes every year. For example, the midwest (e.g., Illinois) is way overdue for a quake on the New Madrid fault, which last had a Big One in 1812, which is not celebrated in song and story today only because that area was sparsely populated in 1812, not densely populated as San francisco in 1906, or Fukushima in 2011.

    Plus, we are threatening to increase earthquakes with Hydraulic Fractionating (fracking) in densely populated states like Ohio, where we now get routine collections of quakes at Richter 4.

    Plus, we really have to resolve the difference we have in government insuring of corporations vs. individuals where we’ve been inclined to insure corps but not people, which seems perverse.