Government Subsidies Encouraged Millions To Move Into Hurricane Ian's Destructive Path• https://reason.com, ELIZABETH NOLAN BROWN
The extent of the havoc wreaked on Florida by Hurricane Ian—now downgraded to Tropical Storm Ian—is still unclear, but it is apparent that it caused major damage from which Floridians will need ample help recovering. Millions of people are reportedly without power and an untold number of homes have been destroyed after the Category 4 hurricane pummeled Florida's coast for most of yesterday.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said that Ian would rank "one of the top five hurricanes to ever hit the Florida peninsula." He has asked President Joe Biden to issue a major disaster declaration for all Florida counties, which would open up access to all sorts of federal assistance programs.
"DeSantis also requested President Biden grant the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) the authority to provide 100% federal cost share for debris removal and emergency protective measures" for the next 60 days, his office said. These moves would shift much of the cost of recovery from the storm to the federal government.
This should hopefully be a humbling moment for DeSantis, who has spent ample time not only criticizing the Biden administration (fair!), but also baselessly accused Biden of hating Florida and stiffing the state's storm victims. (It should also make DeSantis think twice about wasting state money on political stunts like tricking migrants into going from Texas to Martha's Vineyard.) DeSantis' tune this week has already been much different, talking about how people need to work together across party lines and how he's thankful to the Biden administration for wanting to help. But knowing DeSantis' penchant to infuse everything with partisan bombast, this kumbaya attitude seems unlikely to outlast Ian's immediate aftermath.
In any event, the situation brings up the question that natural disasters like this always do: Why do governments keep subsidizing houses in hurricane zones?