My tax dollars. Your luxury properties.
Written by Kyle Magin
If you choose to live in a glass-walled beachfront home with a cutesy name like ‘Sandy Bottoms’ on the Outer Banks or Big Pine Key or any of America’s thousand other coastal retreats for Baby Boomers, you’d think you’d have to assume the risk of climate change-fueled tides ripping that sumbitch off the beach by its stilts, yes?
Bro, do you even America? Rich people don’t take responsibility for shit.
A hopeful Friday New York Times story on homebuyers becoming wary of investing in flood and hurricane-prone beachfront property–the private real estate likely to bear the most immediate shots fired by man-made climate change–took a really depressing turn when it revealed that you and I pay to subsidize the home insurance on Tommy Topsider’s down-the-coast getaway.
Look at this crock of shit: To make matters worse, the National Flood Insurance Program is more than $20 billion in debt. After several major coastal storms, Congress tried to fix the program, passing a law in 2012 requiring that insurance premiums be recalculated to accurately reflect risk. Coastal homeowners rebelled, arguing that the legislation made insurance unaffordable, and in 2014 Congress repealed parts of the law.
Somehow this next passage is even worse, one of the worst quotes given in 2016, which is like being the winning an award for being the best Daddy Yankee album: George Kasimos, a real estate expert in Toms River, N.J., said homeowners had good reason to react. “A homeowner may be approved for a $300,000 mortgage with a $3,000 a year flood insurance premium,” he said, but the same person’s loan application would most likely be rejected with a $10,000 flood insurance premium. As insurance prices rise, some home purchases will become cash only, squeezing more middle-class and lower-income buyers out of the market.
Boo-fucking-hoo George. Let’s unpack that giant spew of shit slurry in parts.
Homeowners had good reason to react. George, people have a good reason to react when their rent is half of what they make in a month. People have a good reason to react when they find a lump in their breast or when Wesley Snipes approaches them with an investment… Finding out that you can’t get insurance for hanging your Eames Lounge Chairs over the top of a totally predictable natural disaster is NOT a ‘good reason to react.’
As insurance prices rise, some home purchases will become cash only, squeezing more middle-class homeowners and lower-income buyers out of the market. Good! I honestly don’t want whatever freakish financial gymnast who can afford beachfront property on a ‘lower income’ to be put in a position where they could participate in this obnoxious real estate bubble. Let some guy with cash to blow watch his cash literally blow away.
You’re going to totally expect this next part, but it will suck; so, fair warning:
Politicians are more focused on keeping developers calm and reassuring people that technological solutions will save the day, he said, which plays into an expectation, especially among the wealthiest homeowners, that the government will bail them out if property values crash.
The idea that you and I would subsidize this continued willingness to ignore consensus science to the tune of a $20 billion debt is offensive. It offends me that I’m helping some boomer make their investment a little less risky because they have enough money to pay a lobbyist in Washington but not enough, apparently, to pick a fight with Mother Nature and not use taxpayers as a human shield when she punches back.
Listen, I know this sounds like a diatribe against the one percent. This is where you’d usually expect someone to prevaricate before telling you that no, this is not that, this is really just about the financial security of our country. But, no, this is an indictment of the investor class. If you have enough money to indulge your desire to live next to the world’s biggest white noise machine, you should pay for your own goddamn beach house and not ask me to help you out when your banker won’t make a loan because you want to buy the real estate equivalent of a 13-year-old dog.