This came up as a random past article. On that note: Former FEMA administrator Craig Fugate made a "free market case" for building codes that recognize climate change. ("Q&A with FEMA's Fugate: Captalism, Socialism, and Disaster Mitigation" from the Insurance Journal online here.)
Federal disaster policy is built on a perverse incentive: Local governments have the greatest ability to reduce damage from storms but face little pressure to do so, because FEMA will pick up the tab.
The problem is, we’re subsidizing risk that allows that. Capital will not go to areas that don’t have protections. Things like the National Flood Insurance Program, things like disaster declarations — we’re subsidizing risk below the point where behavior will change. And then we can’t understand why it won’t change.
The builders and developers and all the people running around saying they’re capitalists and they’re Republicans and they’re conservatives, and it’s all about individual freedoms and making money and growing the tax base, and all the bullshit they throw at people, convincing them this is an economic boon activity. It’s nothing but socialism and social welfare for developers when you subsidize risk below which the public gets a benefit from. They’ve got to be called out.
Property rights and all of that are such a powerful argument in many parts of the country, I don’t want to get into the argument about telling people where they can and can’t build. What I want to talk about is, Why are we subsidizing that risk?
If you think that climate change is not real, then you do not need special public funding underneath your choice to build here or there. We see this too often where a river overflows its banks, floods a neighborhood, and people go right back in and rebuild in the same place because "the government" (local, state, and federal agencies, i.e., taxpayers) paid for the loss.
Finally, the former head of FEMA found the right words. Whether he meant them or not is a different question. But he said the right thing: subsidizing development is socialism.
(Edited by Michael E. Marotta on 4/20, 3:37am)