I haven’t started Marvin Olasky’s new book yet, but here’s a bit from the abstract of a new NBER paper, “Rules Rather Than Discretion: Lessons from Hurricane Katrina,” by Howard Kunreuther and Mark Pauly. Speaking of property owners who suffer severe damage and don’t have the resources to rebuild:

To avoid these large and often uneven ex post expenditures, we consider the option of mandatory comprehensive private disaster insurance with risk based rates. It may be more efficient to have an ex ante public program to ensure coverage of catastrophic losses and to subsidize low income residents who cannot afford coverage rather than the current largely ex post public disaster relief program.

That solution doesn’t sound too promising to me, and it strikes me as a false dichotomy. Are the only two options government action before or after the fact?

  • JB,

    Olasky’s book is sitting on my dresser to. Got through the first chapter, and it looks interesting enough, but I think I get his point already – people are easily freaked out and manipulated, and governments are never prepared at first but recover eventually (mostly) after spending heaps of money.

    In the meantime, Mom sent me an autographed copy of “Captured by Grace” by Dr. David Jeremiah. Frankly, I think spending a couple of weeks studying about God’s grace would be more profitable than paging through ineffective bureaucrats and disasters.

    Perhaps in God’s Providence, reading one will lend perspective to the other.

    Grace and peace,