, Salem, MA


February 21, 2014

Column: Coastal residents should pay true cost of flood insurance


“Were” is the operative word here. The rate hikes prompted an explosion of constituent outrage. And that left members of Congress running for cover from their own legislation. Apparently, claims in your campaign brochures that you’re a warrior against climate change and that you’re not going to enable high-risk behavior for those living in prime coastal areas have to be set aside when the “high risk” turns out to be your own seat in Congress.

The most hilarious scene was Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif. — co-sponsor of the bill that bears her name — trying to blame FEMA Director Craig Fugate during a hearing before the House Financial Services Committee for the trouble she had created.

She complained to Fugate that he had failed to let Congress know how much premiums would rise under the bill she co-sponsored, even though the bill specifically called for those increases.

She wrung her hands in faux outrage about the “unconscionable” harm that was being caused to people “placed in this position,” even though she was one of the prime movers to place them in this position.

Apparently, this was yet another law like Obamacare — even the sponsors had to pass it so they could find out what was in it.

This kind of “have-it-both-ways” thinking would be amusing coming from kindergartners. From members of Congress, it is both disturbing and pathetic. Waters and her colleagues want the accolades and endorsements from environmental groups for removing “a market incentive that has encouraged development and destruction of floodplains.” When those homeowners start complaining, however, they want to blame the director of FEMA for failing to tell them what they had done.

Unfortunately, this is a familiar kind of hypocrisy. Our progressive leaders pretend to agree with environmental groups who say the way to keep people from driving more miles every year is to make them pay the true cost of every gallon of gas they burn.

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