Government Meddling

Government Meddling

Letter to the Editor The Washington Times
September 16, 2008

Bryan K. Mignone isn't telling the whole story when he claims that
economically harmful climate-change-mitigation policies are necessary
as an insurance against stronger hurricanes, a "likely" consequence of
so-called global warming ("Insuring the climate," Commentary, Monday).

In fact, one of the major reasons hurricanes are so destructive is
the federal government's misguided flood insurance program, which
subsidizes the risk Americans take when they choose to live in coastal
areas vulnerable to storm surges and flooding.

By using taxpayer money to make it less risky to live in the path of
a hurricane, the flood insurance program encourages Americans to live
in dangerous areas, which, in turn, increases the damage wrought by
extreme weather.

The federal flood insurance program is a great example of how
government meddling in the market leads to unexpected, unwelcome
results. Americans should keep this in mind when their representatives
in Washington take up climate legislation that would have the federal
government seize the reins of energy production in the United States.

WILLIAM YEATMAN

Energy policy analyst

Competitive Enterprise Institute

Washington