It’s appropriate that the late Tip O’Neill, who coined the famous saying, “All politics is local,” hailed from Boston. At least, it may be appropriate by this weekend if Eastern Massachusetts, specifically Cape Cod, gets walloped by Hurricane Earl.
Those of us down here in the vulnerable states, who wonder from summer to summer if we’ll still have roofs on our houses by November, have been agitating for years for a national catastrophe fund⎯a federally-backed mechanism that would provide a stabilizing foundation for the insurance industry. This would translate in turn into stability in homeowner premiums.
But it’s hard to get low-risk states to go along with the idea. “Why should we pay more for you to live in a place that is known to be vulnerable?” they rightly ask.
I once read a study claiming that the lowest-risk state for any kind of natural calamity is Utah. But in order to benefit from this meteorological and geological peace of mind, you’d have to live in…Utah.
So the only way to overcome the naysayers is to outnumber them in Congress. You do this by taking advantage of any act of God that might come along. Let’s say the Northeast⎯not exactly a hurricane hot-spot⎯gets sideswiped by Earl...not enough to inflict serious damage or human injury, but to a degree that serves to raise the region’s consciousness.
The five states combined from New Jersey to Massachusetts marshal fifty-eight votes in Congress (Party affiliation is irrelevant. All politics is local, remember?). Get California, Oregon and Washington to go along by including earthquakes as one of the covered calamities. Add to that the combined votes of all the Gulf states, with Georgia and the Carolinas thrown in, and you’re talking some serious numbers.
Hey there, Salt Lake City property owners…can you spell “C-A-T F-U-N-D S-U-R-C-H-A-R-G-E?