About Me

In writing the "About Me" portion of this blog I thought about the purpose of the blog - namely, preventing the growth of Socialism & stopping the Death Of Democracy in the American Republic & returning her to the "liberty to abundance" stage of our history. One word descriptions of people's philosophies or purposes are quite often inadequate. I feel that I am "liberal" meaning that I am broad minded, independent, generous, hospitable, & magnanimous. Under these terms "liberal" is a perfectly good word that has been corrupted over the years to mean the person is a left-winger or as Mark Levin more accurately wrote in his book "Liberty & Tyranny" a "statist" - someone looking for government or state control of society. I am certainly not that & have dedicated the blog to fighting this. I believe that I find what I am when I consider whether or not I am a "conservative" & specifically when I ask what is it that I am trying to conserve? It is the libertarian principles that America was founded upon & originally followed. That is the Return To Excellence that this blog is named for & is all about.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Government Disaster Relief Policies Encourage Moral Hazards

"When these natural disasters strike, whether it is a tornado, an earthquake, a wildfire, or a Superstorm, it should be treated as a national disaster and not left to state and local officials to deal with alone.  When our fellow Americans need help, we all must step up.  That's why I have repeatedly pledged to do all in my power as Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee to ensure that the suffering people of Puerto Rico, Texas, Louisiana, Florida and the U.S. Virgin Islands get all the federal support to which they are entitled for their short-term relief and long-term recovery." – Congressman Frelinghuysen – October 27, 2017 
click on graphic to enlarge
Both the Atlantic hurricane season & the Eastern Pacific Ocean hurricane season end this coming Thursday, November 30.  Hurricanes Harvey & Irma are the first two entries on the above graphic for the 2010s decade.
The problem with the above quote & graphic is not the natural disasters that resulted from the hurricanes tabulated in the graphic but rather is the man-made disasters resulting from the false promise of the Frelinghuysen quote that the federal government is the answer to every (misnamed) national disaster problem people might have – a statist position & movement that has brainwashed & misled the American people away from liberty, self reliance, & common sense for decades. 
A case in point is John Stossel's famous account that he brazenly broadcast to the nation regarding his ripping off tax payers when the first floor of his four bedroom beach house was destroyed by a northeastern storm.  Actually it was not just Stossel that ripped us off but thousands of people who owned properties that had repeatedly been flooded & who had seen their properties restored by taxpayers each time their property was damaged. 
Stossel broadcast on national TV "If the ocean took my house, Uncle Sam would pay to replace it under the National Flood Insurance Program.  Since private insurers weren't dumb enough to sell cheap insurance to people who built on the edges of oceans or rivers, Congress decided the government should step in & do it.  So if the ocean ate what I built, I could rebuild & rebuild again & again -- there was no limit to the number of claims on the same property in the same location -- up to a maximum of $250,000 per house per flood (in Stossel's case – see graphic below for million dollar plus properties).  And you taxpayers would pay for it."
Insurance issued by the National Flood Insurance Program is dirt cheap – a few hundred dollars per year.  This in turn Stossel says "encourages more people to build on the edges of rivers & oceans" & in flood plains.  Stossel adds "subsidized insurance goes to movie stars in Malibu, to rich people in Kennebunkport (where the Bush family has its vacation compound), to rich people in Hyannis (where the Kennedy family has its), & to all sorts of people like me (Stossel) who ought to be paying our own way."
To prove Stossel's point please look @ the graphic below.  The map portion of the graphic shows that 87% of the U.S. properties with repetitive losses are in the Northeast states, the Gulf Coast states, & Virginia & the Carolinas.  The remaining 13% is spread throughout the country.  Taxpayers pay for these repetitive losses as indicated on the bottom two graphs below.  The lower left side graph shows that 14.8% of all property payouts were for $1-million of more.  The lower right side graph shows that there were 4, 5, 6, & even 7 payouts per each property on a combined 10,815 properties.
  click on graphic to enlarge
With regard to the flooding of Harris County, Texas & its county seat Houston – property development has been so large & rapid that there is not only no enforcement of zoning regulations there are virtually no zoning regulations @ all.  Between 1992 & 2010 nearly 25,000 acres of natural wetland infrastructure was wiped out amounting to almost 70% of the wetlands in Harris County.  Source Texas A&M University.  (This would be criminal in New Jersey.)
Texas A&M University Professor John Jacob says "Almost all of the flooding in Houston is the result of poor development decisions" & Rice University Professor Jim Blackburn adds "If Houston does not change, it will not survive from an economic standpoint."  Developers paved over tracts of prairie land that once acted as a sponge for flood waters.
There are currently extensive projects in Harris County to raise thousands of houses on pillars to new desired Flood Protection Elevations (FPE) using Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) money.  Of course this has involved government bureaucratic red tape delays & some houses have been flooded again while the approval process played out.
Some homeowners who want to stay in the Houston area & had the foresight to recognize the potential flood danger elevated their houses using their own money.  Flood levels did not reach the first floor of these houses which stayed dry during the trillions of gallons of water that Hurricane Harvey dumped on Harris County.  But even if your house stays dry, someone wanting to remain in the area certainly has to take into account the disruption & hassle of their surroundings being flooded.  But @ least they are paying for what they want themselves without duping the federal government & taxpayers into providing financial protection in what is clearly a moral hazard – i.e., an individual who is willing to take risks because they know they will not have to bear the cost of their action.
The five year anniversary of Superstorm Sandy devastating houses on the NJ & NY shorelines just passed last month – over 365,000 houses in NJ were damaged.  Click here, @ the 2:38 mark, to hear NJ Governor Chris Christie, who worked through the losses of Sandy, explain why an affected locale should not rely on the federal government for disaster assistance.  Christie explains that the federal government bureaucracy is so hard to deal with that local elected officials have to "stay on top of the federal government every minute of every day" in order to get some help & concludes that people affected by natural disasters should not "solely depend on the government – (they should) look to non-profits, look to friends & family."
After every disaster there are people who come from all over – everywhere - who want to help distressed people.  Some of these people are professional storm followers who work to rebuild & clean up affected areas.  Add them to friends, family, neighbors helping neighbors, police, firefighters, the national guard under the control of the governor not president, & non-profits & you have an army of people who act quickly, not saddled with the federal government red tape as described by Christie in the above video.  There are 4 non-profits per thousand people in both NJ & Texas which works out to 42,111 non-profits in NJ & 106,770 in Texas.  Source – National Council of Nonprofits.
In addition philanthropic & charity giving is another worthwhile & helpful endeavor.  See September 6 written statement below of President Trump & First Lady Melania donating $1-million to twelve nonprofits whose excellent disaster relief work they witnessed first hand during their visit to Houston after Hurricane Harvey made landfall.
click on document to enlarge
Federal government responses to natural disasters are another in a long list that need a mindset change.  The meaning of the general Welfare portion of the Spending Clause of the Constitution has been completely changed from its original understanding in that "general" originally meant applicable to the whole country not particular parts like Houston after a hurricane or special interests like John Stossel's vacation home ruined by a northeastern storm.  "The salient point is that its (the general Welfare portion of the Spending Clause) implications are negative, not positive – a limitation of power, not a grant of power." – The Heritage Guide To The Constitution, page 43.
"The First Congress refused to make a loan to a glass manufacturer after several Members expressed the view that such an appropriation would be unconstitutional, & the Fourth Congress did not believe it had the power to provide relief to the citizens of Savannah, Georgia, after a devastating fire destroyed the entire city." Ibid. Page 93
President James Monroe, my favorite president, vetoed spending bills he thought unconstitutional because the bills overreached Congress's power by trying to spend on local or state benefits – not the general or national welfare of the entire country.
President Monroe's two terms in office were known as the Era Of Good Feelings & he won reelection to his second term receiving all but one electoral vote & that was because that single elector thought that George Washington should be the only president ever unanimously elected.  People worked in their communities to solve their own problems & elected officials like James Monroe were appreciated because they were strong leaders who followed the Constitution & whose very being epitomized strength & respect for America.
Chicago was rebuilt after its fire, as was Galveston after its hurricane, & San Francisco after its earthquake, all without a dollar of government money.  The philanthropy & charity of the American people, coupled with the free market capitalistic system that has made America the envy of the world restored those cities.
Instead of this type of self-reliant individual responsibility today, we have people moving into hurricane alleys in trailers with the mistaken notion that government will take care of them when disaster strikes.


  1. That is a disgrace and Stossel is brazen to brag about receiving such aid!

  2. Majority of our elected Federal politicians are Statists, at least to a significant extent, and Virtually all Democrats are Socialist. Therefore Statist instincts naturally are to increase Federal government involvement and outright controls on matters that really should be essentially handled via private individuals, companies, local governments.

    It thus is very hard for these Statists to not take advantage of both large and small "disasters" or problems. But this applies also to both real and fake or self created problems.

    A great example of a severely over blown response from the Statists is climate change. Statist predictions (lies) made 20 years for our current climate and shorelines were way off. I do believe pollution contributes to Global Warming. But I do believe that Sun Spots and our solar system and galaxy have greater effects. As an avid runner I have championed elimination of all toll booths because of the carbon monoxide emissions. Why have not Statists advocated this ? Because eliminating control over state high ways goes against Statists natural lust for control and power.

    It is important to note that the most elite Statists are Marxists bent on destroying US Capitalism. One prime measure is to continuously expand Government control to the point where economic markets are virtually totally absorbed by Government controls - de facto Socialism.

    Many elite Statists believe Capitalism is root cause of many evils with no evidence. But Also many other elite Statists are more dangerous - they know that Capitalism that is more free will produce tremendous private industry growth with increasing number of private entrepreneurs touting free markets and personal freedoms, thereby cutting Statist power.

    Link below makes a strong argument, with real facts, that Capitalism should be seen as a solution to our environment, not the root cause of climate change.

    Data from the United Nations show that the U.S. emitted 62% less carbon for each dollar of GDP produced in 2014 than it did in 1990. In Hong Kong, which is ranked as having the most free economy, its carbon intensity dropped by 58% over those years .......
    Free markets are also inherently "sustainable" because businesses want to stay in business. That means making sure resources are carefully managed for the long term.....

    Great read with facts: