beaches subsidizes development coasts

We Spend So Much to Build in Harm's Way

Why Is Government Subsidizing Coastal Rebuilding?

Communities such as Ocean City have signed agreements with Washington that commit the federal government to help pay to restore their beaches every few years. This 2013 excerpt is from Pacific Standard, June 21.

by Theodoric Meyer

Paying to restore beaches year after year is one of a number of ways the government subsidizes less-than-smart development and rebuilding along coasts that are increasingly vulnerable to flooding and hurricane damage, even as it has discouraged coastal development in other ways. We’ve taken a closer look at four of these subsidies.

To read more

JJS: If you build in the path of mad Mother Nature and get wiped out, it does seem charitable of politicians to step in and help property owners rebuild. But then, owners rebuild in the same vulnerable locations, and in the same dumb ways, such as on flat ground instead of on stilts in hurricane country. Maybe government ought to butt out and leave the issue between owners and insurers.

Or, if the state is going to help out a few owners for their bad choices, why not help out everyone for their short-sighted decisions? Why not reimburse people whose stock purchases didn’t pan out? Whose marriages ended in divorce? Whose career path became a stultifying rut? No, rather than let politicians “help” or micro-manage, just boot them out of life’s big decisions.

If we had justice, we wouldn’t leave anybody out in the cold. We’d pay everyone an equitable share from society’s surplus, which is all our spending for land and resources, and should be our common wealth, not the source of unfair fortunes of the “oiligarchy”, but a Citizens’ Dividend, an extra income for all. Then people can more easily afford private insurance if they still want to risk it all. But once they’re wiped out, they won’t be back for more.


Editor Jeffery J. Smith runs the Forum on Geonomics and helped prepare a course for the UN on geonomics. To take the “Land Rights” course, click here .

Also see:

When Taxpayers Pay People to Rebuild in Harm's Way

The US Ignores Beaches while the DOD Grabs Land

Insurers already paying for humans harming nature

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