Very disappointed by Rush Limbaugh yesterday

I listen to Rush Limbaugh all the time, and I have written multiple op-eds defending him over the years. But I was very disappointed by his commentary on Friday. His defense of President Bush's massive spending plans to rebuild New Orleans was simply wrong.

1) "who can do this [rebuilding New Orleans] if not us, that is what the Federal government is for."

If rebuilding the city makes sense, there will be plenty of private investment available to redo it, just as there were private investments available to build the city to begin with. If anything, unless the system of subsidized government flood insurance is reformed, there will in fact be too much rebuilding. If people were required to get private insurance (no subsidized government insurance), people would build in dangerous areas only if the benefits of doing so exceeded the costs, including the private insurance costs. My concern is that the current rebuilding program is only going to make things worse because they are paying for rebuidling even when the residents didn't even have insurance. Rush counters that this rebuilding program is so large that only the government could redo it, but each house or office building is a separate building decision. The capital required to rebuild New Orleans is just a tiny fraction of what is available in the US capital markets, let alone the world market, which is really the relevant one.

2) That the victims of New Orleans were "essentially innocent in terms of the loss."

I guess that I simply don't understand this. People take risks. They should have the responsibility for those decisions. Do I feel sorry for them that they drew a bad hand? Sure I do, and I want to help and I have given money to charity to help them, but despite all that, they are not "essentially innocent." I will help them out, but I hope that they don't rebuild their homes in the same dangerous places a second time. Would Rush say that they were innocent if they moved into these low lying areas again and a hurricane actually hit just to the west of the city (instead of to the east so that the winds were actually pushing the water away from the city)? People knew that there were risks where they lived, just as they would know that there would be risks the next time.

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