Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Oklahoma disaster, my disaster, your disaster….

The tornado devastation in Oklahoma is horrible, we mourn those who died and we reach out a helping hand to those who suffered and had losses.

But, for most us, the "reach out a helping hand" part is going to be handled by federal disaster relief funds, in other words, out of the tax dollars we all pay.

I refuse to enjoy the fact that the two Republican senators from Oklahoma, Senators Tom Coburn and Jim Inhofe, are between a rock and a hard place. Both have gushingly denounced federal disaster aid in other states in the recent past, with complaints about wasted funds and calls to offset disaster relief with real budget cuts in current operations. Both of them are now choking on their political dogma as they refine their talking points on how much Oklahoma needs federal aid, and how the money should be allocated. I guess they've figured out that trashing federal disaster aid only works well in states that aren't Oklahoma…

Here's my view: I think an important advantage of being part of a bountiful society is that everyone pitches in to help after natural calamities. The obvious channel is government assistance, and that means your tax dollars and mine are being spent to help those who got hurt. I support that.

But just for the record, I think any homeowner or business owner should be required to have sufficient private insurance to cover the costs of rebuilding after a devastating storm hits. In Oklahoma, tornado insurance will cost you a chunk, but hurricane insurance will cost about 13 cents a year in Kansas, and flood insurance will cost about the same in the Berkshires….

And while the rebuilding is going on, I also think that the folks who are handing out the government checks to those homeowners and business owners should remember to say, from time to time, "you didn't rebuild that."

All of us are chipping in to do the rebuilding. And everyone should pay a fair share, so that everyone can reasonably get the benefit when it's needed.

No comments:

Post a Comment