Hurricane aftermath

The wrong lessons learned

By Mark Luedtke

 

Hurricane season ended Dec. 1. after three major hurricanes devastated Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico. Every year, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), to promote the great global warming fraud, predicts a higher than normal hurricane season. For the first time since 2005, NOAA was right, supporting the old adage that even a broken clock is right twice a day.

The usual suspects want people to learn the wrong lessons from the hurricanes. Patti Domm, writing for CNBC, leads the way. “Devastating Hurricane Harvey, unprecedented in its rainfall, could be a slight negative for U.S. growth in the third quarter, but economists say it may ultimately provide a tiny boost to the national economy because of the rebuilding in the Houston area,” she writes.

In the same vein, JP Morgan economists Michael Feroli and Daniel Silver wrote, “As a general rule, hurricanes tend to be a short-run depressant and a medium-run boost to economic activity.”

They predicted GDP would increase because of Harvey. If that was the case, maybe we should destroy more property and kill more people to make GDP grow even more. If we razed the US and killed everybody, we’d be rich beyond our wildest dreams.

That is the state of modern economics. Any time you hear an economic egghead say the economy is great on cable news, remember that same non-expert thinks destruction boosts the economy. This is fake news by fake experts. Frédéric Bastiat destroyed this argument called the broken window fallacy in 1850, but it’s alive and well in modern economics because misinforming people enables rulers to steal more of our money.

The Guardian presents another ridiculous claim. “Lawsuits filed in July by three coastal California communities against ExxonMobil, Chevron, BP, and other large fossil fuel companies argue that the companies, not taxpayers and residents, should bear the cost of damages from rising seas.”

Peter C. Frumhoff and Myles R. Allen, the authors of a pseudo-scientific paper, claim they can apportion blame for the damage to emissions produced by oil companies, so the oil companies have to pay. These activists pretend hurricanes and rising seas didn’t exist before Exxon and SUVs.

A New York Times editorial called for imposing a carbon tax in the wake of the hurricanes. Higher taxes make people poorer and less able to survive and recover from natural disasters.

Here are some lessons people should learn, but most won’t. At the same time as the three major hurricanes struck the US, the sun output an unprecedented series of X-class solar flares, including the biggest flare in eleven years, and seven flares in seven days. The Earth’s electrical connection with the sun, ignored by establishment scientists, is the cause of earthquakes, volcanoes, and huge hurricanes, but government funding of science prevents the paradigm shift necessary for better prediction of natural disasters.

Cato, the flood insurance company, recommends reforming government flood insurance in the wake of the hurricanes. “We made what—to us—seem like obvious critiques of a broken program: it doesn’t charge an actuarially fair price for many homeowners who live in floodplains, and those who get the best deal seem to be the wealthy,” wrote columnist, Ike Brannon. “It also fails to use updated maps that detail the current geography and risks to homeowners, and generally doesn’t charge enough to cover the costs of major catastrophes. The result of this is that we have too much development in the flood-prone areas of the country.”

Their call for reform is misguided. We should abolish government flood insurance. Subsidizing people to live in floodplains with money stolen from taxpayers is immoral and counterproductive. It gets people killed and property destroyed.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) also makes disasters worse by pretending to help victims recover, but actually hindering recovery. FEMA’s failure after Katrina is well documented. FEMA will do as badly or worse for this year’s victims.

In contrast, markets empower victims before disasters and help them recover afterward. This is why death tolls from US disasters are so much lower than for disasters in poor countries.

Economist Robert Murphy notes, “After a natural disaster, the supplies of certain items—such as bottled water, gasoline, flashlights, and canned goods—become much more rigid, while the demand for these items goes through the roof. Consequently, the ‘market-clearing price,’ at which the quantity supplied equals the quantity demanded, also may rise quite significantly.”

This so-called price-gouging effectively rations critical supplies and ensures fresh supplies get to the neediest people as rapidly as possible.

Capitalism aids victims of natural disasters. Socialism harms them further.

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Reach DCP freelance writer Mark Luedtke at MarkLuedtke@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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