Friday, June 23, 2006

Subsidized Stupidity

Let a Hurricane Huff and Puff - New York Times

On the Gulf Coast of Texas, Jim Hayes is building houses on concrete
stilts that he says will shrug off winds of more than 130 miles an hour
and will easily survive the worst hurricane flooding. Near Orlando,
Fla., modest but striking cottages are being built with safe rooms and
ballistic nylon storm shutters. In the Florida Panhandle, Jason Comer
is putting up a village of gleaming white mansions with eight-inch
concrete walls and heavy, ridged concrete roofs.

Is it just me, or does this represent a special version of stupidity?  Does it occur to any of these people NOT to keep building on the coast?  Does it occur to the taxpayers that we should not be subsidizing building in the hurricane zones and floodplains, only to further subsidize the rebuilding of the houses when the disaster strikes?  Talk about a vicious circle!  [Caution: logic-based sarcasm ahead - use at the risk of penetrating your denial and hubris]  Nooooo...let's keep buildings bigger and stronger, and hey, yeah, let's build seawalls, and..and breakwaters, and...and pump sand onto beaches!  Oh, and let's not forget to channelize and dredge rivers, and use the dredge to fill the naturally flood-mitigating wetlands along the rivers - that's a twofer!  Then we can plant soybeans in the filled wetlands and subsidize that!  Woo-hoo - we're cookin' now!   But wait! There's more!  Let's build a city in a natural bowl below sea level with dikes all around it so we can hold back a huge lake and the largest river on the continent!  And then when it fails, resulting in one of our worst disasters, let's pretend that it is a good idea to do it again!  Yeah, that's it, let's destroy the natural barriers that nature provides for free, and spend billions trying to pretend that the laws of nature don't apply to us!  Let's get drunk on our own hubris!

And while we're subsidizing stupidity, why don't we subsidize farmers to overproduce corn, so we can make high sugar corn syrup to be put into our food stream, and make America even fatter?

I am sure there are many more examples of this (but the whole subsidies for the oil industry has been done to death), but whew, that was tiring.  But it was good to get it off my chest.

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