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Sunday, June 15, 2008

Flooding in Iowa

There has been substantial flooding in Iowa. Such disasters seem more and more common lately. There are several causes.

The land near most rivers is heavily developed. Previously, when there was heavy rain, the water would flood swampland or the flood plain with minimal damage. Now, there's nowhere for the water to go. Concrete prevents rainwater from draining directly into the ground.

Second, there's no incentive to take proper precautions. If a levee breaks, that's just too bad. Nobody is responsible for maintaining the levee. It's the government's job to maintain the levee. If the government fails, it just gets to demand more resources via taxes.

Third, there's an expectation that the Federal government will bail out the disaster victims. Why should I pay to help someone living in an area with a high risk for flooding? They should be forced to bear the cost via flood insurance. State manipulation of the market prevents flood insurance from being properly priced.

In a free market, people living in near a river would be expected to take proper precautions. If their police failed to protect them, then they would have a valid claim against the police. If it became too expensive to protect people due to overdevelopment, then insurance prices would rise; eventually, it would pay to purchase land and covert it back to swamp or flood plains.

In a truly free market, protection and insurance are always appropriately priced.

As usual, the State prevents people from taking responsibility for their actions. The State prevents the market from properly pricing flood insurance or the cost of providing adequate protection. The State has an unaccountable monopoly. Free market competition for protection is banned, and people become dependent on the State for help. Whenever there's a disaster, the State merely demands more resources in the form of higher taxes.

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