Coastal welfare for the rich

Excerpted from Robert Whitcomb's Nov. 24 "Digital Diary'' in GoLocal24.

Contrary to the usual rhetoric, much “government welfare’’ in America,  be it through tax policy or direct federal spending, goes to the affluent. A good example is the federal flood insurance program, in which vast sums of taxpayer money are spent to protect the investment of the well off (including some very rich) folks who can afford to have a seaside house,  which is in many cases a second home.

This insurance, of course, encourages people to build and/or keep expensive houses in flood zones. Thus over and over the taxpayers have to keep bailing them out (sometimes literally).

We got a reminder of this the other week with word that the Army Corps of Engineers said it wants to spend $58.6 million to lift up 341 private structures in southern Rhode Island to make them less vulnerable to storm surges as the ocean continues to rise with global warming. This would be in addition to continuing to subsidize the owners’ flood insurance. Many of the owners are from New York, Connecticut and elsewhere from outside the Ocean State.

This would be a raid on the U.S. Treasury to further comfort the comfortable but will almost inevitably happen, encouraged by the seaside towns because most of these people do pay hefty property taxes. But inland-town folks paying federal taxes might not find this pleasing.