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Good read I got today in my e-mail

Discussion in 'Members' Lounge' started by jeffie7, Sep 10, 2005.

  1. jeffie7

    jeffie7 Wrong Whole! VIP

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    Saying No to Federal Disaster Relief
    Published in The Freeman: Ideas on Liberty - March 1990
    by William B. Irvine



    Professor Irvine teaches philosophy at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio.

    Hurricane Hugo and the earthquake in northern California have raised an old, but easily ignored question in political theory: What role, if any, should the federal government play in disaster relief? The current consensus seems to be not just that there is a role for the government to play, but that it is the government's duty, among other things, to help people rebuild homes and to help businessmen recover lost income.

    Indeed, politicians have been falling all over themselves in trying to show how willing they are to spend government funds (i.e., taxpayers’ dollars) on disaster relief. In the aftermath of the San Francisco earthquake, the federal government allocated $3 billion for disaster relief, even though doing so made a shambles of the Federal budget. More such relief efforts are probably on the way.

    I readily admit that the federal government has some role to play in disaster relief. It has, for example, a role in helping maintain order if local and state governments are unable to do so. It might also have a role in helping restore the infrastructure-again, if local and state governments are unable to do so. And of course if the federal government can take steps to save the lives of disaster victims, it should do so.

    Where I would draw the line in Federal disaster relief is when it comes to compensating individuals and businesses for property and income lost in a disaster, either with grants or low-interest loans. I would like to argue that the government should in almost all instances refuse to make such compensation. In such cases, I think the government’s duty is to stand back and rely on private relief efforts.

    In defending this position, I would first like to challenge the common notion that a disaster victim is somehow entitled to Federal funds, that his status as a victim gives him a moral claim to the wealth of others. It is entirely appropriate for this person to ask for our sympathy or even to ask for contributions from us, but he is mistaken if he thinks that because he has been victimized, we owe him a new house, or lost wages, or anything else. Stated bluntly, the fact that nature has victimized someone by depriving him of his property does not entitle this person to victimize the rest of us by depriving us of our property, either indirectly through taxation or in some more direct fashion.

    Private relief efforts have one major advantage over Federal relief efforts: They rely on voluntary contributions, rather than on coerced tax payments. To the extent that someone abhors coercion on the part of government, he should disapprove of Federal disaster relief; and if this person thinks that the victims of disasters should be helped, let him make a Charitable (and entirely voluntary) contribution to the disaster-relief organization of his choice.

    In discussing the disasters in South Carolina and San Francisco, it is important for us to keep in mind that they were foreseeable: South Carolina has been the target of many hurricanes, and San Francisco is perched atop the San Andreas fault. Notice, also, that the residents of both places could have taken steps to minimize the harm they might experience when these foreseeable disasters took place. A case can therefore be made that many of the victims of Hugo and the San Francisco earthquake knowingly took chances. What else can you say about someone in South Carolina who built his home on the beach or about someone in San Francisco who passed up earthquake insurance (as did four in five Californians)?

    I have no objection against people taking chances; I object only when they expect me and my fellow taxpayers to bail them out when they lose their bets. And this is what many of those in South Carolina and San Francisco are doing when they petition for Federal disaster relief.

    Americans are remarkably inconsistent in their views on whether a person should be compensated after experiencing a disaster. Suppose, for example, that someone in Kansas prefers to spend his money on a VCR rather than on homeowners insurance. Suppose that his house subsequently bums down, (It gets struck, let us assume, by lightning.) Who would argue, in such a case, that government funds should be spent to buy him a new house?

    Extending this analogy, we might understand if this Kansan were to appeal to his neighbors for help in rebuilding. Suppose, however, that instead of appealing to his neighbors, he informs them that they owe him a new house. We might admire his boldness, but we would be foolish indeed if we thought that his failure to buy insurance gave him some moral claim to our wealth.

    This Kansan’s behavior would be particularly audacious if he happened to be wealthier than his neighbors. (San Francisco, of course, is one of the most affluent regions in America; and anyone who can afford to own a home in San Francisco probably isn’t in need of a Federal bailout.)

    For another example of how inconsistent Americans are on the issue of when disaster victims should be compensated, consider America’s investors, who recently experienced a major disaster, the stock market crash of 1987. It is true that this disaster was economic rather than natural, but in terms of money lost, it was a disaster that put Hurricane Hugo and the San Francisco earthquake to shame. (The Crash cost investors $1 trillion; Hugo and the San Francisco earthquake did under $20 billion in damage.)

    America’s response to the Crash was most instructive. Many Americans laughed at the plight of investors and said that they “had it coming.†Others had a less vindictive attitude and said that America’s shareholders knowingly took chances and lost—too bad. It is my contention that this second attitude is entirely appropriate; my question is why we do not hold a similar attitude toward those who suffered property or income losses in California and South Carolina. (Perhaps our difference in attitude stems from the fact that a shareholder clutching a worthless stock certificate isn’t nearly as photogenic as a hurricane victim standing in front of his smashed seaside home.)

    At this point, some might argue that Federal funds are essential to the relief efforts in South Carolina and California—that the only way these states will be able to recover is if the federal government assists them. Those taking this line might argue that private relief efforts, while desirable from a theoretical point of view, would not be sufficient to deal with major disasters like those experienced by South Carolina and California.

    In reply to this argument, I can only point out that in 1906 San Francisco suffered from an earthquake far more devastating than the recent one, but recovered quickly even though Federal assistance was minimal. Despite what many politicians would have us believe, people can help themselves; and when people can help themselves, there is every reason for allowing them to do so.

    Let me offer one last reason why the government shouldn’t compensate disaster victims for their losses. Notice that when the government adopts (either explicitly or implicitly) a policy of making such compensation, it inadvertently sets the stage for even greater disasters in the future, disasters that may extract a terrible toll not just in lost property, but in lost lives.

    If, after all, the government adopts a policy of bailing out those who lose the bet they place when they pass up earthquake insurance or build their home on a beach, the government unintentionally encourages people to engage in this sort of behavior. (“Why pay for disaster insurance when you can get it ‘for free’ from the government?â€) More generally, the government encourages people not to worry about tomorrow’s foreseeable disasters. (“Why worry? The government will take care of us.â€) And by encouraging this carefree attitude, the government increases the chance that future earthquakes and hurricanes will do even more harm than they now do.

    In other, words, disaster relief today can result in additional disasters tomorrow; and those who genuinely care about the well-being of their fellow citizens should be willing to allow some suffering today to prevent a far greater amount of suffering tomorrow.
     
  2. E_SolSi

    E_SolSi Member of the 20 nut club Moderator VIP

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    :werd: :withstupid: x1000000000000000000000000000000000000
     
  3. jeffie7

    jeffie7 Wrong Whole! VIP

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    I really enjoy seeing my online buddies views on topics such as this. here's his reply to my foward I sent him of the e-mail.
     
  4. tab

    tab Super Moderator

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    Holy fucking jesus on a stick.

    Well put. I think I agree with every word. God damn.

    Amen and shit.

    Those who live in poverty are not out much. Those in wealth are out a lot. Who gives a fuck. You gambled, and you lost. The more wealth you have, the more choices you have been given. Those with nothing to lose(besides family of course), have lost nothing.

    I do believe that low interest loans are a good idea, but I also believe that every american should be provided with the chance to improve their lifestyle through a low interest loan. [Reality]Fucking high interest is bullshit, but the AMERICAN WAY.[/Reality]
     
  5. phyregod

    phyregod !!YTINASNI

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    A few thoughts:

    I have insurance on my house and its contents. I pay a price for that insurance, and if something were to happen to it, my insurance company would step in and slap down a chunk of change and buy me a new house, and new contents. This is how insurance works.

    BUT, If half the people in Texas had some kind of disaster... The insurance companies would fall to their knees. They would be negative so fast their CEO's would be out on the streets selling roses and newspapers to people at red lights (which is MOST profitable, BTW.. but thats another rant).... Insurance companies can't handle disasters without aid. The state can't handle disasters without aid. The state has a budget. Say its 8 billion a year (I have no damn clue what the state budget is) They set aside 2 billion for street/highway repair. 2 billion in wages for state employees and officials, 2 billion for infrastructure, 2 billion for various bullshit.. they Don't set aside 10 billion just incase a freak hurricane swoops down and erases n'awlins. We saw, in the days following the hurricane what happens when the state and insurance companies are left to deal with disasters. Looting, shooting, rioting... The Govt stepped in and fixed it. It may not be the Govt's job, but it HAD to happen.

    Now, what about those without insurance? They MUST eat to survive. They need somewhere to stay. This is where people start robbing other people, out of necessity.

    This is why almost every city has the "projects" where poor people are housed. and food stamps to feed them, Because if we didn't house them and feed them, they would house and feed themselves by whatever means necessary. They would steal, rob, break into our homes and businesses... We pay their rent with our taxes. And although I hate the concept, it works. I'll pay their fucking rent if they'll stay the fuck out of my house.



    True.. AMEN brotha... But if we don't give it to the fucker, he will take it. Crime rates would soar. People would die.

    I could type for days.. But I'll stop now....

    another quick point I would like to make,


    What the hell are you thinking man? "Jesus tap-dancing Christ" was funny "Jumping jesus on a pogo stick" was even better... But "Holy fucking jesus on a stick"???? That offends me and I'm not even all that religious. It offends me that you would so freely offed other people like that. I know, freedom of speech.. you can say whatever the hell you like. But you should try to be a little considerate.

    I'm going to go post another picture of a freaking glade plug in somewhere. These political posts are making me angry.
     
  6. Cashizslick

    Cashizslick !i!i!i!i!i!i!i!i!i!i!i!

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    Finally a political perspective thats dead on.
     
  7. Citizen_Insane

    Citizen_Insane Senior Member

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    Yep, dead on capitolist.
     
  8. jeffie7

    jeffie7 Wrong Whole! VIP

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    I don't get it, Insurance is there for a reason, they charge you X many dollars to cover their ass when things do happen. that's why some cars cost more then others, they fall under a higher risk then others, same thing goes for the age of guys. younger the guy the higher the risk there for the higher the price of insruance.

    You're telling me that if a company like state farm has policy holders in 50 states. people in 50 different states are paying out millions if not billions a year for insurance policies on their houses. Even I pay insurance on my apartment. anywho, if someone big were to happen like what just happened in LA. If the GOV didnt step in State farm would go under?

    um. no

    that's why we pay every month for insruance. most of us thankfully never need to use it. but when something happens the company takes the money that we paid in to them over the years and uses it in the problem areas.

    that's why we have insruance and that's why insurace isnt free. The GOV shoudnt have jack shit to do with it.
     
  9. xj0hnx

    xj0hnx I wanna be sedated VIP

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    You don't really think the insurance companies have billions laying around in liquid assets waiting to help their customers do you? A few hundred auto claims a day, ok, a few house fires, whatever, but we are talking about replacing a city.
     
  10. phyregod

    phyregod !!YTINASNI

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    Ok, I just looked up state farm. They are currently worth 46.3 billion dollars. Thats the net worth of the company, down to every last building, pencil holder, and post-it note..

    Freaking impressive, eh?

    They made $58.8 billion dollars last year alone! Why are they only worth 46 billion? Because thats what it costs to run a freaking insurance company.


    Katrina's damage is currently rated at somewhere around $125 Billion.


    They just couldn't wing a disaster like that.. all their assets are tied up. Sure, they could liquidate and probably cover their customers, but like I said, the CEOs would be out on the curb selling newspapers and the company would be in ruin.
     
  11. jeffie7

    jeffie7 Wrong Whole! VIP

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    If every house in the county was insured with state farm they could but since maybe 30% of the houses in LA are insrured with statefarm I doubt it will be a problem.

    My parents have paid thousands in home owners insurance, never once has it been used. as with thousands of other home owners who pay out every month to insurance to never use it.

    add up the total value of every major insruance company then factor in the cost of pay outs they will have to do down south. Katrina is in the area of 125billion dollars worth of damage but how much of that is insured? a lot of companies wont even offier insurances to over things like flood damange in areas like LA becuase it's such a high risk area. And if you can get it you'll pay out the ass. It's like trying to get health insurance when you have something like AIDs you can get it.... if you're willing to pay.
     
  12. xj0hnx

    xj0hnx I wanna be sedated VIP

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    How many people have paid into social security, and where is all that money? Just because money has been paid to them doesn't mean they have it laying around waiting. They bank on risk, the risk of you submitting a claim. Insurance companies are a business out to make money, they do not have your best interest at heart, think so is niave. They are here to make money off the risk of you have a fire, wrecking, getting robbed etc... They spend that money on salaries, advertising, etc...One or several at a time is ok, they can cover it, but if a city worth of people tried to cash in at the same time, they would be lucky to survive.
     
  13. E_SolSi

    E_SolSi Member of the 20 nut club Moderator VIP

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    thats the thing right there though
    the whole city is not covered by ONE company
    there are shit loads of insurance companies out there
    and all of them can cover a percentage of the city

    and the people who didnt have the proper coverage are assed out... just like if you crash your car and dont have proper coverage... hit a pole or something without collision and the insurance company will tell you to piss off
     
  14. jeffie7

    jeffie7 Wrong Whole! VIP

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    Bottom line, chances are, places like new orleans WILL NOT insure you for flood damage. or if they do they have something like a 20% copay and a high ass deductable.

    Same goes for other high risk areas.



    And I still think that there's enough policy holders across the US plus theres X many different companies that insure people in that area that it shouldnt be as bad as people think it would be. plus, I bet that more then 50% of the houses down there have jack shit for insurance. For the people who rent, I also doubt they had renters insurance.
     
  15. totalburnout

    totalburnout Well-Known Member VIP

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    Its a terrible situation and sad that the town is in shambles. With that said, I think the article hits the nail right on the head. Some people feel as if its the government's duty to care for its people; this line of thinking has only come about in the recent past when social reform policies were very popular.

    Making the issue as simplistic as possible, the people who built their homes in a city that lies below sea level were taking a risk to say the least. It was only a matter of time before that risk became real. There's no one to blame but themselves.

    As far as the issue about insurance companies not being able to cover claims, its 100% true. The insurance business in its current state isn't as profitable as one would think. Sure the executives line their pockets and still have nice big salaries, but the company's worth really isn't that high, relative to all else. Modern society has become sue happy and for this reason, insurance companies are far less profitable than they once were. Most insurance companies are pulling out of New Jersey because its a lost cause, the only reason they're still here is from government mandated funding and programs. There's no way that insurance could pay to rebuild the city, even though very few people were even able to obtain flood policies. The city is 7 feet below sea level, insurance companies realize this and would not even sell flood insurance to most for fear of something like this happening.
     
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