Saturday, September 06, 2008

Is it worth it?

Gustav turned out to be little more than a tempest in a teacup.

Still, with every weather report claiming it was to be the "storm of the century" (cue appropriately ominous music) the prudent thing to do was evacuate the coast, with particular attention paid to New Orleans.

That is all well and good. I'm glad we exercised an emergency plan that worked, for a change.

But I'm still pissed that my tax dollars were used, and are going to continue to be used, to evacuate the city every time that bitch mother nature gets a bee in her bonnet. First, people are going to flee because they remember the "tragedy" that befell the city in 2005. Eventually, with every false alarm or near miss, fewer and fewer people will heed the calls to evacuate. (Which doesn't mean we won't allocate the resources to evacuate them.) Finall, the status quo will return, and the same people who didn't bother leaving when Katrina came to town will stay when the next Big One hits.

Make no mistake about it though, every time this happens, or looks like it's going to happen, we, the little people are going to see our tax dollars spent to evacuate a city that is built on the coast and below sea level. Sure, it works for the Dutch, but they don't have hurricanes. When I was a boy, my Sunday school teacher read a parable about two men, each building a house. One built his house upon the rock, and through all the trials and tribulations of weather, his house stood. The other built his house upon the sand, and it was continuously destroyed by every storm that came to visit.

Now, I'm not sure why my Sunday School teacher was so fascinated with building codes, but he made a very good point.

The people who choose to live in NOLA (read, all of them) need to pay a significantly higher tax called an "evacuation tax" to offset the costs to you and me for flying/driving/busing them to high ground. Hell, I pay for flood insurance, even though I live 1000 feet above sea level on the side of a hill. That's my evacuation tax. Flood insurance is run by the gummint, but I'm sure insurance companies could make recommendations to the gummint (there's a good idea...) about which geographical regions are the most and least dangerous to live in. For example, Southern California is constantly on fire. People have to evac every summer. Gulf coast residents evac seemingly every fall. People in the great plains evac in the spring/early summer when the floods come. People who live in inland areas, with good drainage, and even better forest management, don't generally need to evacuate. Why should I pay for Mr. Mollineux and his band of inbred Cajuns to go to Houston every September?


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