Such communities then rely on the fact that the federal government put in place a robust set of government subsidies and entitlement programs that cover the vast majority of the cost of rebuilding and reconstruction whenever a natural disaster strikes. It is not rational, reasonable, and by no measure in the public interest to continuously maintain government entitlement programs and subsidies for the populace who deliberately choose to live in a beach resort in high risk areas, such is the case of the Gulf Coast island of Dauphin.
The so called Dauphin Islands located in the western end of Gulf Coast has, according to the Gillis and Bargainer, “… Proved to be one of the most hazardous places in the country for waterfront property. Since 1979, early a dozen hurricanes and large storms have rolled in and knocked down houses, chewed up sewers and water pipes and hurled sand onto the roads. “, henceforth one has to question about the feasibility and rational behind the government programs which are then set in motion to cover the cost of rebuilding areas decimated by such large storm systems and hurricanes.
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As aforementioned, it is not only the cost of rebuilding houses, but also the cost of rebuilding public infrastructures (roads, utilities, etc) and public services; consequently it is a monumental volume of public expenditure in the benefit of few well-off communities who choose a certain life style. Such cost associated with the rebuilding tends to build up on intrinsic facts related to a disaster zone, for instance one would have to take into account the cost of tearing down a partially destroyed house into the overall cost of rebuilding a new replacement household.
Often the new households are upgraded larger versions of their former selves as noted by Gillis and Bargainer, “On Dauphin Island and in many other beachfront communities, the federal subsidies have helped people replace small beach shacks with larger, more valuable homes. That is a main reason the nation’s costs of storm recovery are roughly doubling every decade, even after adjusting for inflation. It is not only the cost of reconstruction and rebuilding entailed upon society whenever a natural disaster strikes such coastal areas, but also the presence and perpetuation of permanent government programs, assistance, grants and entitlements that heavily subsidize the cost of living in such areas; such is the case of the highly subsidized flood insurance program. Such programs need to be phased out and replaced by a buyout programs whereby the government offers to buy a imaged house rather than rebuilding it.
Another important aspect to the issue is the building code and building standards. Leveraging standards and quality in the building and construction industry would certainly mitigate the extension of damage and losses incurred in the wake of natural disasters. To that effect, a recent bill passed by congress aptly named the “Safe Building Code Incentive Act” would create a baseline of stimulus to build upon across the different spheres of government. According to the bill’s summary, the SABINA would authorize the president to offer 4 percent more than what is offered in federal life after a major disaster, if the area affected has implemented an approved building code” (Pearl). While it can be argued that no one is absolutely immune to natural disasters, storm systems, or even a small tornado meandering by; it is clear that the magnitude, scope and strength of titanic natural disasters that will predictably hit the very same area yet again and again is far more than a nuance.
For instance, and in retrospect, according to the United Stated Accountability Office, “Hurricane Strain was one of the largest natural disasters in our nation’s history and because of it s size and trench, will have long standing effects for years to come. It exacted terrible human costs with the loss of significant numbers of lives and result De in billions of dollars in property damage. At present, the Department of Homeland Security (DISH) reports that FEM. has distributed nearly $4. Billion in federal aid to more than 1. 4 million households” ( 2). One should note that the vast majority of the devastation, destruction, death brought up by hurricane Strain took place in the coastal areas, particularly in the city of New Orleans which happens to subsist below sea level. Granted that the situation of such complex urban conglomerates is not the focus of the present paper. It is not a humanitarian issue, it is not a social issue; it is a fiscal issue and a public policy issue.
The government incentives, subsides and entitlement programs set forth only furthers the cause of a vicious cycles of tax-payers resources entrapment, mismanagement, misuse, and waste in order to create a system of benefits which benefit a few well-off individuals and beach front communities. Such communities should then take hold of their own destiny and future, and if such future includes vying in an elusive and elating atmosphere at a beach resort alongside unending strips of pure white sand that casually also happens to be a high risk area, then such communities should face the consequences of their objective conscious decisions.