Tuesday, May 17, 2011

With flood control: does government play Robin Hood?

Whether it’s the Army Corps of Engineers, or LA governor Bobby Jindal, government is indeed playing “Robin Hood”, some libertarians will say, sacrificing the property of some people to save others.  Sounds like the draft?  This came to light this past weekend with the decision of the Morganza Spillway. But the issue came up earlier in the Cairo, IL area, too.

Actually, I’ve been told anecdotally that many property owners in flood plain areas of the Gulf have signed agreements saying they know government can do this. And the government, the taxpayer, winds up paying for the losses. 

This time, Baton Rouge,  as well as New Orleans, needs saving.  I visited both cities in Feb. 2006.

Back in graduate school, at the University of Kansas in the 1960s, I had a roommate, of Ayn Rand leanings, who said that people who live in cities were “second handers” (like in “The Fountainhead”) who live off the toil of those on farms or in the country. That sounds strangely Maoist today.

Probably, anyone who lives within 60 feet of a river should have flood insurance. But the farther upstream the property, the less the risk. It’s getting so you don’t want to live on a coastal plain or tidewater at all.  Here’s the Floodsmart reference

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