Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.
Thursday, September 20, 2018

As Climate Warms, Hurricane Impact Felt Far From Coast

Reprinted with permission from ProPublica.

For years, North Carolina has bet against a storm like Hurricane Florence.

Even as nationally known insurance companies pulled out of the state’s coastal communities, development boomed along the shore, despite the threat from a megastorm like Harvey or Maria.

In the face of warnings that climate change was making such storms more common, the state-created “insurer of last resort” has written policies for thousands of coastal properties worth tens of billions of dollars.

With Hurricane Florence headed straight for North Carolina, the state faces not only a natural disaster but a financial reckoning.

According to the most recent totals available, from 2017, the state-created insurance plan had access to about $3 billion in reserves, reinsurance, and contributions from insurance companies to repair and rebuild damaged homes and properties.



Read More

Florence Hitting Homes Already Bailed Out By Taxpayers

Reprinted with permission from ProPublica.

Though the flooding from Hurricane Florence is predicted to be unprecedented, residents of the coastal North Carolina towns threatened by the storm surge know what it’s like to take on water. Some homes in these areas have been repeatedly flooded — and repeatedly bailed out by federal flood insurance.

ProPublica examined storm surge predictions by the National Hurricane Center, layering a map of areas expected to be affected by Florence over a map of the most flood-prone properties tracked by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which provides most of the flood insurance for U.S. homeowners.

Critics have long argued that the program subsidizes risky development, but efforts at reform inevitably stall because raising premiums would make flood insurance unaffordable for lower-income residents.



Read More

Trump And GOP Congress Dig $900 Billion Budget Hole

Reprinted with permission from DCReport.

The first of two official government reports that will be released this month showing that the federal budget deficit is soaring was issued on Monday when the Congressional Budget Office published it’s Monthly Budget Review for August.

According to CBO, the deficit through the first 11 months of fiscal 2018 was $895 billion, a $222 billion (32.8%) increase over the same period in 2017.

Some of the increase was the result of timing shifts, that is, spending that was made at the end of August because the first two days of September were on weekend.…

Read More