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The Moral Hazard of New Orleans
Posted by: Jon Henke on Sunday, August 26, 2007

Douglas Brinkley has a Washington Post column about post-Katrina New Orleans (and particularly, the 9th Ward).
Two full years after the hurricane, the Big Easy is barely limping along ... Why is no Herculean clean-up effort underway?
Yes, why ever aren't we rebuilding homes whose true cost (including insurance, and defense against flooding) is far, far higher than anybody apparently wants to pay for it? Perhaps for the same reasons we're not attempting to drain the south Georgian Okefenokee Swamp in order to build low-income housing for rural Georgians. It's not worth it.

And then there's the moral hazard of subsidizing life for tens of thousands of people in a tremendously dangerous area. Hey, sorry you didn't realize how risky that area was. If only we'd used some sort of signaling mechanism that might have suggested the true cost of living there. Who could have known?!?!

Mahablog seems to have missed all that.
Whatever the reason for government non-action, the Katrina experience ought to put to rest the idea that private charities can replace government welfare, disaster relief and other “safety net” programs. I say ought to; empiricism hasn’t yet stopped a rightie from believing whatever he wants to believe. But for the rest of us, the Katrina experience reveals that sometimes you really do need government. It’s fine for volunteers to cook soup, clear brush, or help re-roof a house. But if electricity and sewage services are never restored to that house, what’s the point?
I'm not sure that 'private charity won't subsidize high-cost housing for people who can't/won't pay for it in an area where they might die' is really an argument against private charity.

I do wonder why the Left seems to have the same Willpower + Billions of Dollar + Time + We Know What's Best for You, Never Mind the Inescapable Problems attitude towards New Orleans that they decry in Iraq.
 
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I do wonder why the Left seems to have the same Willpower + Billions of Dollar + Time + We Know What’s Best for You, Never Mind the Inescapable Problems attitude towards New Orleans that they decry in Iraq.
Because Iraqis don’t vote in American elections, of course.
 
Written By: Dave Schuler
URL: http://www.theglitteringeye.com
But Jon, had the left been in power for 9/11-Katrina, then everybody’s farts would have smelt of popcorn and lilacs...
 
Written By: bains
URL: http://
Living in a rebuilt New Orleans is indeed dangerous. And not just from potential hurricanes:
If New Orleans is rebuilt below sea level, have we not just shown our terrorist enemies what one well-placed truck bomb would do? A ton or thereabouts of fertilizer and fuel oil would be all that would [be] needed to submerge New Orleans again.
And the residents would get a lot less warning than they got with Katrina.
 
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
"I do wonder why the Left seems to have the same Willpower + Billions of Dollar + Time + We Know What’s Best for You, Never Mind the Inescapable Problems attitude towards New Orleans that they decry in Iraq."

Actually, Jon, you hit upon one reason that I - as a progressive liberal - do support our mission in Iraq.
 
Written By: Eric
URL: http://
To be fair, Bush’s apparent post-Katrina inaction policy makes some cold, pragmatic sense. If the U.S. government is not going to rebuild the levees to survive a Category 5 storm — to be finished at the earliest in 2015 and at an estimated cost of $40 billion, far eclipsing the extravagant bill for the entire Interstate Highway System — then options are limited.
In other words Bush is right but we at the Post still enjoy wacking him with the "He doesn’t care stick." any chance we can get.
 
Written By: Jay Evans
URL: http://
"I do wonder why the Left seems to have the same Willpower + Billions of Dollar + Time + We Know What’s Best for You, Never Mind the Inescapable Problems attitude towards New Orleans that they decry in Iraq."

Please reference attempts to halt global warming by not driving an SUV, mandating the use of flourescent light bulbs, etc, etc, etc.

Mother Nature is a b!tch and she keeps moving the cheese.
You’d think we’d be advanced enough to figure that out.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Where are all the sob stories about lack of reconstruction in Alabama and Mississippi???

They all, actually we all, get the government we elect.

If the local and state government doesn’t fill the need, why should the federal government be plugging the gap. It’s not their job to rebuild neighborhoods. And while it might be in the fed govs interests to see the Port of New Orleans kept functionally, what does it matter where people who work there actually live?
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com
Jay: Brinkley, while he obviously is in favor of a federal-paid rebuilding of the levees, opens the door to the the fact that such may not be in the cards, and then correctly slams Bush for not having the decency and guts to come out and as much.
 
Written By: steve
URL: http://

 
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