The Rising Cost of Hurricanes

It’s not from more frequent or fiercer hurricanes—the rate and sternness of them actually is down over the last several years—but the increasing density of population and supporting building on hurricane-prone shores and the increasing costs of the buildings that’s driving the cost of hurricane damage.

Counties along the US shoreline that endured hurricane-strength winds from Florence in September experienced a surge in population from 1980 to 2017, with an increase of 95 people per square mile—more than double the density. Overall, Gulf and East Coast shoreline counties, those vulnerable to hurricane strikes, increased by 160 people per square mile, compared with 26 people per square mile in the rest of the mainland, over the same period.

Budgets and Austerity

The Italian coalition government (interesting in its own right, consisting as it does as a teaming up of the far left 5 Star Movement and the far right Liga) has decided to increase government spending and decrease taxes.  This has been projected to produce a 2.4% budget deficit.  For a government already badly in debt, this deficit isn’t good.

Cutting taxes has been decried by others as being the cause of such deficits and debts.  Spending cuts cannot be allowed, say the same folks, because that would be an austere measure.

They’re wrong.

The EU and Iran

The European Union is busily working with Iran to develop a channel for payments that’s outside the normal flow of currencies so that the EU and Iran can continue to do business with each other outside the US sanction regime.  The purpose of this is so the EU can facilitate Iran’s economy and so the EU can make money.

Nothing wrong with that last, at all.  The EU should be working to support its businesses.

There are other ways of achieving that, though.  With this path, the EU is making itself complicit in Iran’s nuclear weapons program.

It’s a Start

The Trump administration has agreed to sell $330 million worth of spare parts to the Republic of China.  The spares will support the RoC’s F-16s, C-130s, and other of the island nation’s military aircraft.

It’s a start.  However, we need to do more.  We should be selling uprated F1-16s, F-15s, and A-10s to them.  We should be selling missile defense systems to them and brokering deals between the RoC and Israel for the latter’s Iron Dome and Arrow missile and rocket defense systems.  We should be selling the RoC anti-ship and anti-aircraft weapons systems.  We should be selling them land-attack cruise missile systems.

Be Like Europe

Instapundit has some data concerning what that would mean for us.  Citing the Foundation for Economic Education:

Most European countries (including Germany, Sweden, Denmark, and Belgium) if they joined the US, would rank among the poorest one-third of US states on a per-capita GDP basis, and the UK, France, Japan and New Zealand would all rank among America’s very poorest states, below No. 47 West Virginia, and not too far above No. 50 Mississippi. Countries like Italy, S. Korea, Spain, Portugal and Greece would each rank below Mississippi as the poorest states in the country.

Ignorant Voters

Recall the erstwhile tax on job creation that the Seattle city government passed a while back, and then repealed.  The tax would have charged businesses making more than $20 million in annual revenue a per employee tax of $275.  Although, in response to business and public outcry, the city repealed the tax a couple months later, the commentary of the tax’s chief supporter is illuminating.  Seattle City Councilwoman Lorena González, the lead proponent of the jobs tax:

Free Markets for Health Care

Here’s an illustration of why one is badly needed.  The Wall Street Journal‘s article is centered on health coverage plans, but the underlying problem is in health care provision and the monopolistic nature of both provision and coverage.

Last year, Cigna Corp and the New York hospital system Northwell Health discussed developing an insurance plan that would offer low-cost coverage by excluding some other health-care providers, according to people with knowledge of the matter. It never happened.
The problem was a separate contract between Cigna and NewYork-Presbyterian, the powerful hospital operator that is a Northwell rival. Cigna couldn’t find a way to work around restrictive language that blocked it from selling any plans that didn’t include NewYork-Presbyterian, according to the people.

Jobs

French President Emmanuel Macron had the effrontery to say to a heretofore unsuccessful job seeker that, were the latter not absolutely set on a job in his chosen career field, the man easily could find work in France.  And the man wouldn’t even have to relocate very far.  The Left is in an uproar over Macron’s arrogance in saying an obvious truth.

The jobseeker, an aspiring gardener, said to Macron at an Elysee Palace open house,

I’m 25 years old, I send resumes and cover letters, they don’t lead to anything[.]

Macron’s terrible advice?

Foolish

Senator Bernie Sanders (I, VT) has offered legislation, in coordination with Congressman Ro Khanna (D, CA), that is his latest bit of socialism.  His legislation would hit large businesses with a tax equal to 100% of the welfare payments any of their employees might receive while working.

Sanders and Khanna say—and they’re actually serious—that this would pay for the welfare programs involved.

Andy Puzder has a different view of such legislation.

Responsibility

The government of Puerto Rico is insisting on some in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.

The Puerto Rican government is taking a hard line on rebuilding properties decimated by last year’s Hurricane Maria, offering homeowners federal financial assistance only if they move out of flood-prone areas.

It’s about time some politicians stood tall and required some personal responsibility instead of subsidizing its lack with taxpayers’ money.