If They Can’t End Flood Insurance, Can They End Anything?

If They Can’t End Flood Insurance, Can They End Anything?
August 18, 2011

Thirty-eight Congressmen stood up for liberty in July when they supported Rep. Candice Miller’s (R-MI) amendment to the National Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2011, which would have ended the federal government’s role as an insurance company and pass the ability to run such programs down to the states.

“Why in the world is the federal government in the flood insurance business?” she said in speaking for the amendment.

Thirty-five of the backers were House Republicans with the conviction to vote in support of ending this wasteful program.

Republicans Overwhelmingly Opposed

The amendment offered by Rep. Miller would have brought an end to the federal government’s role as a flood insurance provider through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) by January 1, 2012. The amendment would have allowed the states to form interstate compacts to provide flood insurance.

Proponents of limited government should have been behind such commonsense measures.

What is most troubling about the failure of Rep. Miller’s amendment is that 201 House Republicans voted to keep the federal government in the flood insurance business. These are the same folks that we are told will bring an end to ObamaCare.

If they couldn’t end a boondoggle like the NFIP, which is $18 billion in debt, why should we believe them when they say they will fight the federal government’s burgeoning intrusion into the health insurance industry?

Waste Money, Bail Out, Repeat

Rep. Miller was right when she pointed to the utter failures of the NFIP. We have seen government programs just like this one time and again, and they always work the same. Money is wasted, taxpayers bail the program out, and then more money is wasted.

But what makes the NFIP especially bad is that it is designed to be bankrupt. The government is insuring properties owned by people who would not be insured in the private insurance market because they would not be able to afford the premiums that private companies—which have a fiduciary responsibility to be solvent—would have to charge.

If the federal government were not encouraging people to live in these flood zones by providing insurance when no one else will, the government would not have to shell out billions of dollars to pay claims resulting from insuring extremely risky choices. Essentially, the NFIP exists to redistribute the wealth of people who live above sea level to those who live near or below it.

The NFIP is a bottomless pit of government waste.

Clamor for Cuts an Act?

At a time when Congressional Republicans are clamoring for government spending cuts, the NFIP was a perfect place to stop wasting taxpayer money. It makes the Republicans in Congress look as if they are staging an elaborate act when they fail to stand in support of such measures.

If Congressional Republicans are serious about shrinking the government, they would be wise to start voting in favor of legislation that returns the government to the size intended by the Founders. The hope that this Congress could do anything at all to roll back the overreach that the previous Congress took when it passed ObamaCare is dimmed by the results of this vote.

Congressional Republicans would be wise to start practicing what they preach and put the government back to its Constitutionally allowed size. Or else they just might find themselves entirely out of power again in the not-too-distant future.

Adam Bitely (adam@getliberty.org) is editor-in-chief of NetRightDaily.com, where a version of this article first appeared. Used with permission.