The Problem with Hurricane Sandy Aid

Red Hook, Brooklyn - When Hurricane Sandy slammed the East Coast last fall, the“frankenstorm” blazed a trail of destruction and even death.

Here in Red Hook Brooklyn, waist-high floods destroyed the ground floor of practically every building in sight.  Residents in this public housing project went without electricity for two weeks.

Now things are getting even messier. New York and New Jersey pols are demanding that taxpayers who have never even been east of the Mississippi River pick up 100 percent of cleanup costs.

Congress has signed off on $9 billion in Sandy-related insurance payments and will vote on as much as $50 billion more in aid by January 15.

The truth of the matter – and I say this as a resident of earthquake-prone southern California – is that New York, New Jersey and everywhere else would be better off without any federal funds rushing to the rescue.

Like a quick fix for a junky, this money – including super-subsidized flood insurance - simply allows a rotten situation to keep on keeping on.

Consider the effect on New York City’s mass transit system, which will get billions of relief dollars in the wake of Sandy.

Who in their right mind would give the transit authority more federal disaster money?

The tax dollars it got after the 9/11 attacks resulted in some of the biggest boondoggles in recent memory -including a $3.4 billion dollar World Trade Center Transit Hub and a $1.4 billion dollar Fulton Street Transit Center.  

While we don't yet know the final language of the $50 billion relief bill, you can bet that it will be porkier than a bacon buffet.

The original Senate version included $150 million for Alaskan fisheries, funds to repair the Smithsonian Institution's roof, to fix up the Kennedy Space Center, and to buy new vehicles for the Department of Homeland Security

I feel sorry for the businesses and homeowners here in Red Hook who lost their savings and livelihoods because of the storm.

But many of them didn't have flood insurance because it was too expensive. If flood insurance is too expensive, maybe people shouldn't live in this low-lying coastal area. Now their poor choices are being compounded by inefficient government once again illustrating its corruption and uselessness.

That's just one many useful lessons washed away not by the fury of Hurricane Sandy but by billion of dollars of taxpayer money.

Hosted by Kennedy. Written by Kennedy, Jim Epstein, and Nick Gillespie. Produced by Epstein and Josh Swain.

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  • Sevo||

    "If flood insurance is too expensive, maybe people shouldn't live in this low-lying coastal area."

    I don't care if they do, but I'm not interested in paying what they chose not to.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    Funny how all those 'fiscally responsible Republicans' had no problem voting for years of hurricane and tornado relief in mostly red states suddenly want to draw the line when a hurricane hits blue leaning states.

    So yeah, taxpayers outside the NE shouldn't have to pay for the Sandy cleanup. Provided all those other states be required to pay back NE taxpayers for previous relief efforts + interest.

  • KPres||

    LOL!

    New Englanders want the same amount of money for Sandy that those red states got for Katrina, despite the fact that Katrina did 4 times as much damage.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    The Sandy bill ($51 billion) is less than half that of the Katrina relief ($127 billion). And the insurance industry's current estimates that Sandy caused about half the damage Katrina caused.

  • Kreel Sarloo||

    The people who live in New york and New Jersey are not New Englanders.

  • ||

    By that standard, neither are the people in Vermont.

  • Kreel Sarloo||

    Hmmm, maybe Republicans had no problem voting for years of hurricane and tornado relief in mostly red states but libertarians certainly did.

    I would have thought that after all the time you've been reading this blog you'd have figured out it's a libertarian site, not a Republican one.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    The problem with Sandy relief is that libertarians are cheapskates with other people's money. Just wait until an entirely predictable natural disaster hits your homes. Also, LEGISLATORS NEED VOTES, DAMMIT.

  • Paul.||

    I live in an earthquake zone. Hold on to your wallet!

  • waaminn||

    Dude is talking all kinds of crazy sense dude.

    www.DotAnon.tk

  • JRCrews||

    I have to admit, Kennedy has some good views on this one. The government shouldn't be concerned about buying new vehicles for Homeland Security, nor use it to Rebuild the Smithsonian. There are several programs where tax payer money is being wasted. Like government funded career centers that don't do anything to help people find jobs. I personally believe the government can do a little to help sandy victims.

  • Sevo||

    "I personally believe the government can do a little to help sandy victims."

    Under what circumstances? Those that 'couldn't afford' the insurance they now want everyone else to provide?
    And what's "a little"? Everything they want?
    Sorry, I live in 'quake country and pay the ridiculous government-mandated one-size-fits-all rates even though I'm on bedrock.

  • JRCrews||

    You don't have to be an anarco capitalist to be a libertarian. I agree with spending cuts, there's no question about that. But short term aid will not hurt the budget.

  • Sevo||

    Oh, and
    "I personally believe the government can do a little to help sandy victims."

    It AIN'T the government who is doing so.

  • Jester2138||

    As a New Orleanian, Katrina survivor, and HUGE fan of Reason and fervent evangelist for the libertarian message:

    This article is an embarrassment to Reason and the libertarian message. I'm very disappointed to find my beloved Reason falling into the same trap so many fools fell into after Katrina ("A city shouldn't have been built there anyway... Don't bother rebuilding it... etc."). They were wrong at the time for so many reasons, emotional AND economic. They are additionally wrong now because of how it turned out - the region has bounced back significantly stronger and more prosperous than before. The money contributed back into the economy by the Gulf Coast's economy is far, far more than whatever relative pittance the federal government invested in it.

    There is room for federal disaster relief and humanitarian aid in the libertarian worldview. I understand the temptation to engage the knee-jerk anti-spending reaction to ANY spending and frequently engage it myself. However, we must always question ourselves and this time Reason is simply wrong.

    Thank you for reading my comment (signed up for the first time just to post it). I love Reason but find this particular article upsetting.

  • An0nB0t||

    "There is room for federal disaster relief and humanitarian aid in the libertarian worldview."

    No, there isn't, at least so long as the means of relief comes through the form of coercion. You might as well say that there's room for conscription of federal disaster relief and humanitarian aid workers as to make this claim. After all, what harm is a little bit of slavery when you're saving so many lives? This was a very popular argument for the first 6,000 years of human history, and it still has its share of supporters today.

    The state ultimately relies on coercion--the threat of violence--for its funding, even for the handful of helpful services it provides. The libertarian ethos is one of voluntary action, whether in trade, cooperation, or charity. Until the state is able to pay for the aid it provides by moral means, it can't afford to offer legitimate aid to anyone. No one, not me, not you, and not an elected leader, has any business robbing Peter to pay Paul.

  • Jester2138||

    You are straying very close to ANARCHISM, not mere libertarianism, with those assertions.

  • BiPolarMoment||

    I think you'll find many here that would equate those two words--except without all the capital letters.

  • Jester2138||

    That's unfortunate because they don't mean the same thing.

  • BiPolarMoment||

    Capitalize the L in libertarian and you're absolutely correct. The small 'l' has a lot more wiggle room.

  • BigT||

    The money contributed back into the economy by the Gulf Coast's economy is far, far more than whatever relative pittance the federal government invested in it.

    OK. Then pay it back.

    Else, fuck off, slaver.

  • Jester2138||

    And Libertarians wonder why they don't win elections!

  • Kelby9906||

    Several libertarians have won state and local elections in recent years. Libertarianism is getting more popular every year.

    But we sure do know why we haven't won many elections up till now -- because we don't sell-out our principles.

  • ygsrf||

    2013 Happy New Year,NFL,NBA,fashion kickoff for u

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  • sohbet odalari||

    :( o my good

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