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Disaster Relief

Recorded on August 29, 2011

From The Heritage Foundation, I'm Ernest Istook.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Irene, taxpayers may be asked to pay billions in disaster relief, largely because of flooding. That always raises the question, “Don't people buy insurance to cover these things?”

Often they do, but the federal government subsidizes major portions of flood insurance and taxpayers cover the losses because premiums are set low for political reasons.

A study finds that a fourth of the policies under the National Flood Insurance Program get major discounts. And many people don't bother with coverage because they expect FEMA and other government programs will bail them out.

And yes, it's government loopholes that let people rebuild in flood-prone areas and still stick taxpayers with the bill.

We all have sympathy and want to help victims of disasters, but it's also a legitimate question to ask what they've done to help themselves.

From The Heritage Foundation, I'm Ernest Istook.