Last week, a nominee to lead the Federal Emergency Management Agency generated fireworks when, during his confirmation hearing, he said he does not know the cause of climate change. The comment reignites the debate over how FEMA, which provides subsidized flood insurance and disaster relief, should respond to the risk climate change poses for both functions. Fortunately, given FEMA’s role, the cause of this increased risk shouldn’t matter. If FEMA recognizes the risk, the only question is figuring out whether and how to respond to it.
Climate change, to the extent it increases the risk of sea level rise and destructive natural disasters, substantially affects FEMA programs. It increases the National Flood Insurance program’s liabilities, if the risks are not appropriately priced (as they’re usually not). And it may increase the frequency and costs of FEMA disaster responses. But that climate change may pose risks that FEMA should account for…
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It is rare that you pick up a book and just say, ” wow, this is an achievement.” For the last five years or so, Bryan Caplan has immersed himself in the extremely large social science literature on immigration and its impacts. You would expect a 300 page academic monograph. But that’s not what you get. Instead, he teamed up with Zach Weinersmith of SMBC fame to write a graphic novel. Open Borders: The Science and Ethnics of Immigration is truly something else. It’s a slim tome that lays out the argument for unrestricted migration. It’s joyful , it’s beautiful, and most importantly, it’s right.
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Not unlike the OECD, our Productivity Commission tends to lean left. Not usually in some overtly partisan sense, but in a bias towards government solutions, a disinclination to focus on government failures as much as “market failures”, and a mentality that is often reluctant to look behind symptoms (which government action can sometimes paper over) to look at deeper causes and influences.
Sometimes the cheerleading for the left becomes more overt. There was a streak of that evident in their climate change report a year or two back, but it seems particularly evident in their latest draft report out this morning. Reflecting the change of government, the political complexion of key personnel of the Commission, the Commissioners – while each individually capable – appears to have shifted leftwards.
The Productivity Commission’s inquiries are into topics selected by the government of the day. The current Minister of Finance has…
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