, Salem, MA


February 21, 2014

Column: Coastal residents should pay true cost of flood insurance


Yet, every time the price of gasoline spikes, no matter what the reason (there is a world market for oil, after all), they rush to blame the greed of oil companies for making obscene profits, somehow forgetting to mention that it is government that makes the most “profit” in taxes from every gallon of fossil fuel, even though it had nothing to do with finding, extracting or refining it.

During the debate on delaying the impact of the flood insurance bill to “study” it some more — which will probably go on indefinitely — some of those who voted to undo what they had done took pains to contend that their coastal constituents were not all that wealthy — an important point to make, you see, because being wealthy is indefensible.

But that is an attempt to duck the reality that those who live on the coast, whether in a primary or second home, have been subsidized for years by those who have never had the chance to live there. How is that fair?

The one good point many of the homeowners have is that the expansion of the so-called “flood plain” needs a major overhaul. It has been expanded to include properties that are at relatively low risk.

But for the rest, where the danger is obvious and flooding has been a regular problem, a taxpayer subsidy makes no sense and is not fair. Those who want to live in harm’s way should be free to do so, but they should also assume the risk.


Taylor Armerding is an independent columnist. Contact him at

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