WDEL Blog: Allan Loudell

Another political "Groundhog Day": G.O.P.'ers who insist aid for OK tornado victims be offset by cuts elsewhere

Now that a natural disaster has hit the nation's heartland - indeed a state with two U.S. senators who've insisted in the past that Federal spending for victims of natural disasters come from corresponding cuts from elsewhere in the Federal budget - what's the spin from Republican Senators Coburn and Inhofe?

Dr. Coburn is standing firm: Any aid for Moore, Oklahoma must be offset by cuts elsewhere in the Federal budget. (Although how you do that is another question: The aid must start flowing immediately, while it may take time for the politicians to haggle over corresponding cuts or tax increases. Plus, the current relief fund probably covers the immediate needs, in spite of Sequestration. Finally, despite the horrific scenes, even a monster tornado can't compare - in terms of dollar damages - with a massive hurricane extending over hundreds of miles.)

Senator Inhofe is trying to split the difference, saying aid for Oklahoma won't carry expensive add-ons.

From The NEW REPUBLIC on line:


Will any politicians risk tying aid to relocation, as in the case of vulnerable coastal locations? In New Jersey, we've already seen pushback to new requirements for raised or rehabilitated homes in FEMA flood zones.

Posted at 7:37am on May 22, 2013 by Allan Loudell

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Comments on this post:

Wed, May 22, 2013 7:54am
Worshipping Austerity without increasing taxes is very similar to those fanatics who shun medical treatment for their children, because they can cure all ills with prayer.

Austerity has been disproven to be a viable economic theory.


Mike from Delaware
Wed, May 22, 2013 8:43am
I'm with Kavips on this. We shouldn't cut aid to others; no, you help both, and cut from areas that don't benefit the people in need. There's plenty of real crap that can and should be cut. Let's start with Congressional salaries, benefits, pensions, perks, limos, larger-than-life staffs, etc., etc. Notice they never feel the effects of any austerity program.

I believe in miraculous healings, but would never shun medical treatment for me, my wife, or my kids as THAT may [and probably is] the treatment God's chosen for that situation to be where the miracle of healing happens. Those other folks are trying to force God to do THEIR bidding instead of them doing God's bidding, which is never a good idea.

I believe "miraculous healings" like what we read about in the Bible still do happen today, but I believe they happen when the normal human effort has failed and in God's will and timing, not ours, not just for any ailment that a prescription from Walgreens can fix.

Wed, May 22, 2013 10:13am
I know in Delaware we have funds set aside in state, county and local budgets for annual snow removal costs. I am surprised that the federal budget doesn't have a specific line-item for natural disaster relief efforts. Thankfully, I don't live in Tornado Alley but do those residents have to carry tornado insurance as you do if you live in a flood plain?

Wed, May 22, 2013 10:17am
Already the media have comments from "victims" promising to go back and rebuild. Apparently people move into the path of disasters even after a disaster.

Maybe the federal government should go into the insurance business - instead of just giving "bailouts" to people who pick bad places to live. Hire some actuaries and calculate risks. Then put a disaster-risk surcharge on income taxes (aka premiums) tied to disaster risk in an area. Live in a safe area, pay less; live in a disaster-prone area, pay more. Instead of FEMA and tax dollars, federal disaster insurance kicks in.

There also have to be ways of building buildings in places like Joplin and Moore that can withstand storm damage. But, no, they'll want to rebuild quickly and cheaply and just throw up the same kind easy to blow down boxes. Maybe FEMA should be forced to watch "The Three Little Pigs" a few times.

Mike from Delaware
Wed, May 22, 2013 10:17am
Interesting question, Arthur. What about those who live on the beach or in California with the mud-slides and forest fires; do they have to have their own insurance as those who live in a flood plain?

Speaking of the beach, I do not think it's right for those who have private beaches to get government money to replenish their beaches, since thee and me aren't afforded the opportunity to enjoy those beaches.

Wed, May 22, 2013 10:40am
In retrospect, we are so fortunate that we have the resources to rebuild. Just 100 years ago, nothing of the sort existed. You lost everything. You started over from zero.

Wed, May 22, 2013 10:44am
Sad and outrageous. Playing politics with a horrible tragedy. If people need help, just give it to them, and worry about where the money comes from later.

Wed, May 22, 2013 11:18am
MikeFromDelaware: You have the right to enjoy ocean beaches. Getting to those beaches is another matter since you may have to cross private property which completely cuts off access. But the beaches themselves are open land - if you can get to them.

Mike from Delaware
Wed, May 22, 2013 1:16pm
Billsmith: There are private beach communities next to the Cape May/Lewes Ferry on the way to Cape Henlopen that have signs that say "Private Beach". They are making it pretty clear that those beaches are just for them and as such, they should not get a dime of government money for replentishment. If the public doesn't have access, then they should have to pay for their private beach.

Allan Loudell
Wed, May 22, 2013 2:09pm
I could see governments assessing people in coastal communities extra taxes for a special storm devastation fund; using various prods to compel people (and entire communuities) to move inland.

North Carolina's barrier islands and eastern coast are particularly at risk, yet reap the benefits of tourism. Some formula might incorporate the profits for barrier protection and public costs in the event of devastation.

The interior of the country would seem to be more problematic. What do we do? Just "erase" entire states in Tornado Alley?

Of course, fundamentally, they need tighter building codes, more storm basements, etc., but I understand the ground - for example, around Moore, Oklahoma - is exceedingly hard, and it costs plenty to dig. And many of these communities are hardly affluent.

Yet, as discussed in a previous blog, many of these folks oppose tough government oversight. I'm not sure it's FEMA's fault as much as it is state and local governments and the mindset of the folks who elect them.

As for "private beaches", especially along oceans, I find that term offensive, but as Mr. Smith says you have the right to those beaches, at least, at the water line -- I'm not sure, whether from the high or low-tide lines! I guess you could wade in from an adjacent area without those signs. Of course, you still might get people glowering at you, and they might even call their local cops.

Allan Loudell

Mike from Delaware
Wed, May 22, 2013 3:26pm
That's hardly a public beach then, and the sand replenishment is up on the land that is their land, not open to the public.

Wed, May 22, 2013 4:27pm
Allan - Along the Outer Banks of North Carolina the 'private beaches' are owned by larger corporations that have built communities along that area. Those companies pay higher flood-insurance rates, and if I remember correctly, are required to pay additional town beach replenisment taxes. Most every year, severe storms hit the Outer Banks, and they are constantly replenishing those beaches. It's happening right now. And their individual taxes are much higher than along the Delaware coastline.

As for the 'Tornado Alley' I don't know how much stricter you can make the building codes when it seems a lot of those twisters tear through mobile-home parks. That being said, do the mobile-home owners who live in Delaware's resort areas carry flood or hurricane insurance?

Thu, May 23, 2013 2:44pm
Regarding replenishment: I understand the sentiment of not wanting to replenish "private beaches", but you can't replenish one part of the shoreline and not another... if you don't replenish the private beach, then the public land (i.e., the road) on the other side of it is at greater risk of flooding. So the private beach-goers get replenishment by default, as Delaware seeks to protect its own land and infrastructure.

"Apparently people move into the path of disasters even after a disaster." --billsmith

I understand your point, Bill, but where would you have them move? Every part of the country is prone to some sort of disaster. Hurricanes in the southeast. Blizzards in the north. Tornados in the middle. Flooding around the big rivers. Earthquakes and fires in the west. The story is different, but the end is the same... in the battle of man versus mother nature, mother nature wins. While I certainly wouldn't want to live in Tornado Alley, I'm sure there are people there that look at us living in the path of hurricanes and ask what kinds of fools WE are.

Mike from Delaware
Thu, May 23, 2013 3:38pm
Shawn the places I'm referring to on replenishment of private beaches are developments that have private roads [the sign tells you at the entrance] so their entire development would have to be flooded out BEFORE getting to any public roads. There may be other places where what you say is correct, but not in this case.

I'm sorry I don't believe these sorts of places should benefit from the public when we would have the cops called on us if we even drove into their private development to have a look at how the other half lives, much less set foot on their very private beach.

Thu, May 23, 2013 4:55pm
Shawn: If you get away from the bay and the rivers, this area seems pretty safe. Enough rainfall so you don't have dry timber. No earthquake faults. South Jersey is between us and the ocean so hurricane damage is not real severe. Tornadoes, according to the map, are few and low intensity. About the only thing people need to worry about is falling branches. Stay off the roads when it snows and don't go on golf courses when you hear thunder, you're probably OK.

Fri, May 24, 2013 12:18am
If we all lived underground, tornadoes would not bother us.

Fri, May 24, 2013 4:10am
But floods and earthquakes would.

Underground housing would certainly help cut heating and air conditioning costs.

Up top, you'd have lots of nice park land instead of row houses or apartments. It would be important not to build anything above underground housing. If whatever is up-top blew down, you'd be stuck in the house-cave.

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