I wasn’t sure if this should go in the “politics” category or the “flamewars” one, but since I’m asking this question in good faith, I’m putting it in “politics.”
I was listening to the Slate Political Gabfest on the way to work this morning, and the hosts of the show have been talking about the various natural disasters that have hit the US for the past couple of weeks. One of the hosts brought up an idea that I’ve been thinking about a lot:
Should the US government ALWAYS help rebuild a destroyed area like Houston, Miami, Puerto Rico, etc? As climate change increases the likelihood that certain areas are going to be devastated by natural disasters repeatedly, at what point do we as a society say “enough is enough?” Should we even say that to begin with?
The host talked about how, most likely, the government is going to spend X billions of dollars to rebuild location Y, only to have to do it again in the near future. Instead, wouldn’t that money be better spent using it to relocate the population of that area?
Just as an example, instead of spending billions of dollars to rebuild Houston, only to most likely have to do it again in a couple of years, wouldn’t it be more efficient and economical to use that money to help residents of Houston move? And instead of having to spend that additional money in a couple of years to help rebuild Houston in the future, we could use it for something else: scientific research, better education, whatever. His point was that it seems somewhat foolish to spend billions of dollars again and again and again to help rebuild areas when we know that they’re just going to get destroyed repeatedly, especially with climate change making things worse.
On the one hand, I think he makes a good point, strictly speaking from an economic and utilitarian standpoint. On the other hand, these are people’s homes and I know that if I were from Houston, or New Orleans, or Miami, or or Puerto Rico, or even New York City, I wouldn’t want the government basically telling me that I had to move.
I just wanted to throw this out there to the forum and see what people thought…