Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Winning The Katrina Lottery

The longer time goes on, the more clear it is becoming that Hurricane Katrina is turning out to be one of the best things, economically speaking, that ever happened to many residents of New Orleans. It’s almost like they have won the lottery.

The latest payday in the Hurricane Katrina lottery is federal money for uninsured homes. Those who didn't buy flood insurance, but their homes were otherwise flooded? No problem! The federal government is coming to the rescue. As long as the latest package of aid moving through Congress wins final approval, $11.5 billion of your tax dollars will be handed out to those "in need."

So, who is it that is leading the charge for this raid on the public treasury? You are probably thinking it’s a democrat. Well, you are wrong; it is Republican Senator Thad Cochran. The plan would provide up to $150,000 per home for flood damage. Imagine, for a moment, that you're sitting in your house in New Orleans. It's a complete dump. Hurricane Katrina comes and floods your house, destroying it. You were too dumb or broke to buy flood insurance. But now the federal government is going to buy you a new home, a new home that you would never have been able to afford on your own to replace your old shack. Can anyone say, “Move in on up!”

These people had the option to buy flood insurance, and they didn’t. They could have gave up a new car for an older used one to help pay for flood insurance. They could have gone without certain things to help pay for flood insurance but their fishing boats, cell phones, flat-screen televisions and other lifestyle purchases were more important than flood insurance. Now the taxpayers are expected to and are going to bail them out.

Quick scenario: Let’s say I own a house in Illinois. My house sits in a low land area that could be prone to flooding so I buy flood insurance instead of that new Harley I really want. My neighbor never buys flood insurance instead he spends his money on other things he wants. Let’s say it rains and flood waters wash my house and my neighbors house away. Should the government have to buy my neighbor a new house? If so then doesn't that punish me who took the personel responsibility to protect my house. What makes this case any different than the Hurricane Katrina Victims? Are we going to have to buy a house for someone every time their house is destroyed by a natural disaster because they didn't have insurance?

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