Mandeville, LA – Exclusive Transcript – The big story here in New Orleans is how FEMA has come in here and is altering the flood zone maps. This is FEMA, the organization that you love to hate if you live anywhere where there’s ever been a natural disaster. I shouldn’t say ever, where there has been a natural disaster in the past 20 years. The federal government has charged FEMA with bailing out the NFIP program. Check out today’s transcript for the rest…
Begin Mike Church Show Transcript
Mike: The big story here in New Orleans is how FEMA has come in here and is altering the flood zone maps. This is FEMA, the organization that you love to hate if you live anywhere where there’s ever been a natural disaster. I shouldn’t say ever, where there has been a natural disaster in the past 20 years. The federal government has charged FEMA with bailing out the NFIP program. If you don’t know what NFIP is, National Flood Insurance Program. This was instituted back in the 1990s and another unconstitutional power grab by the Feds that nationalized another industry because there had been a series of events that had led people that lived in low-lying areas where they shouldn’t have lived to start with — I shouldn’t say shouldn’t have lived. If you’re going to live in a place that is prone to flooding, like near the Gulf of Mexico where I live, or like near the Atlantic Ocean where some people in New Jersey live, or like near the Atlantic Ocean or the Gulf of Mexico like people in Florida, Alabama, and Mississippi live, that carries with it some significant private property risk.
It’s no secret that hurricanes are deadly and destructive storms. It’s also no secret that even if you don’t suffer a direct hit from a hurricane because you live on the coast, if you’re near the coast, a hurricane can pass over where you live and swell rivers nearby, wind damage can take trees out and cause extensive property damage. So you either have to prepare for this or insure yourself against it. I’m not breaking any news here. What happened back in the 1990s is that there had been a series of events where people were either underinsured or weren’t insured. Of course, when the natural disaster hits, and Hurricane Andrew was among them, people bring out the sympathy card. [mocking] “We can’t let those people just not have homes. It’s not their fault the stupid hurricane or stupid tornado came in and destroyed their home. We gotta do something.” So if you’re going to rebuild in some of these areas, then you’re going to have to buy flood insurance.
Some of the flood insurance companies were basically going to go out of business because they couldn’t cover some of their losses. In ride your saviors, your knights in white, shining golf carts — that’s what the FEMA boys drive — to say: This is just a temporary thing, but let’s just nationalize the flood insurance program. Of course, if you nationalize it, that means that people that do not live where it floods receive the ultimate federal government Christmas gift. You know what that is, right? That means you get to subsidize someone who does live in a flood area or in an area prone to flooding. Private flood insurance was basically kicked out of the marketplace. Whenever you do that, whenever you begin to subsidize risk, which is what has happened here, you have then removed the disincentive for people to live or put private property at risk in those dangerous areas. [mocking] “Well, they’re gonna get a bailout, aren’t they?” So, over the course of the last 20-some years since NFIP has been in existence, it has begun, like all federal agencies, to run up debt and operate in the red. Right now, as I speak, the National Flood Insurance Program is $20 billion in the hole, $20 billion with a B. By the end of 2014, it’ll be $28 billion in the hole, $28 billion with a B.
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Let me explain what that means to you if you live in the high plains of New Mexico. Let me explain what that means to you if you live in a cornfield in Iowa or near a cornfield in Iowa. That means that you are on the hook to have the money borrowed in your name to make the payouts and policies good and bring the deficit back into balance. In other words, people who do not live in flood-prone areas are forced to subsidize those who do. Congress has said: Wait a minute, we can’t run deficits in every program. Somebody’s got to do something about this. They dreamed up this great idea: I got it, let’s let FEMA go to where the floods are and where we’ve issued all these flood policies and let’s have FEMA redraw the maps to make certain that wherever you live, you are properly surveyed, if you live in Flood Zone A, that you actually are in Flood Zone A. Or if you live in Flood Zone C, where I live, which means I’m about 25 feet above sea level, make sure you’re actually in Flood Zone C. That’s not the only consideration, of course. They look at the levies the Corps of Engineers build. They go: Ooh, that’s not a good levy. We’re gonna downgrade you….
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So what’s about to transpire here in southeast Louisiana, anyone who lives in Hurricane Alley, your flood insurance premiums, in some instances, are going to increase by a factor of ten. There are people that have flood insurance policies currently that are costing them $2,000 a month. One woman claims she received a notice. She was at a parish council meeting last week. She received a notice that her flood insurance premium would go from $2,000 a year to $20,000 per year. Of course, the woman said: I can’t pay that. You have to do the math here. If you live in a $150,000 home and the flood insurance is 20 large, it only takes eight years to not pay the premium, pray on bended knee that you don’t get flooded, and now you’re ahead of the game. You actually have your own $20,000 that’s in play here.
You people know my predispositions towards the federal government doing things not within the powers it was accorded here. It seems to me that since they’re the ones that decided they wanted to take over and play like they owned the flood insurance company, it is patently unfair to people that have made and based their location decisions, in other words where they’re going to live, where they’re going to establish residences, have established those things based on the precedent that the nitwits in DC said. You can’t just pull the rug out from under people in one fell swoop. I’m a proponent of doing it, but it has to be done in some kind of an orderly fashion to where we’re going to phase you out. In five years, there will be no NFIP program, so you better start shopping around and looking for private carriers. Private carriers need to get back into the market to buy flood insurance. This is way too easy and too much of a common-sense proposal to have any possibility of actually being tried.
Instead, what is going to happen here? You’re going to have senators, members of the House of Representin’ and Congress that are going to do everything they can, they’re going to move heaven and earth to try and save the NFIP program. Everyone acknowledges that this is an unmitigated disaster, that the flood insurance program is bust, that it’s going to go more in the red every year that it exists, and that the Feds need to get out of the business. Yet there is no political will even to do that. That can’t even be done. That’s how ew-scrayed the American sheeple are who are in bed or in business with Washington, DC I almost anything. You just can’t change it. Once they get a tentacle into it, it’s over. You can’t get them out, even when everyone admits that they need to get out of it.
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I suggested last night on the ABC five o’clock news, I suggested maybe it’s time that states like Louisiana that have all these places and properties that are at risk for flooding, maybe it’s time we kick the Feds out and take responsibility for the ownership of the land, take responsibility for the stewardship of the natural resources, and then do an honest and earnest accounting why people that live in the City of New Orleans specifically are facing — that would include Orleans Parish and Jefferson Parish. There are two parishes here. When you look at New Orleans on a map and you see that giant crescent, when they have the Super Bowl here or whatever, and they show you the map of where the Superdome is or they do a blimp shot and show you the crescent shape of the city and all that, there are two parishes there. We call them counties; we call them parishes here. There’s New Orleans and Jefferson Parish.
Both parishes have properties, home sites that are underwater. There’s a reason for this. Without getting into the weeds with the discussion, let me just tell you that for a millennia and a half or so, ever since the Mississippi River has taken the course it has taken, that it currently takes, it has made that delta, which is what the City of New Orleans basically is. It’s a delta. Every year after the snow melts in the north, it flows down various tributaries into the Mississippi River and comes downstream. Every year, the City of New Orleans would flood, every spring, like clockwork. You could just count on it; it’s going to flood. All the way up till 1928, there were some floods that were worse than others, but people found higher ground to build homes on. Because the water would come over at least once a year or so, you also get the benefit of the sediment. When you have sediment flowing over the landmass known as the delta, Mr. Gruss, what happens to the landmass? Does it rise or does it sink?
AG: It sinks.
Mike: No, it rises. The sediment deposits on the delta.
AG: So you don’t have erosion?
Mike: No, no, you have the exact opposite. If you look at the Mississippi River Basin from a satellite image, you can look down and see where it used to flood and where the plains in Missouri, parts of Arkansas, the Mississippi River Delta, as it used to be called, became fertile, rich farmland specifically because it flooded every year. We’re not talking about the kind of floods where everything gets washed away. We’re talking manageable kinds of floods. This is why, if you travel into the Crescent City, you’ll notice that even on streets like St. Charles Avenue that are a little higher, even those houses are usually built up five or six feet off the street because they knew that every spring there would be a flood.
The point is that if you build levies that deprive or prevent the flood from happening every year, now you have an erosion problem. Every time it rains, some of your yard flows down into the street, which then flows down into a sewer drain, which then flows down to a collection station — we call them pumping stations here — then they pump it out either into the river or into Lake Pontchartrain. They get rid of the water, disperse it, get it out of here. What has happened is there has been a collective loss of land every year. I don’t know what the measurement is, but I know it shrinks a little bit every year. In this area anyways, there is a cause and effect for holding Mother Nature back, for holding the river back. That’s the only way you can deal with this. Congress cannot fix this problem forever. Did you know, for example — I hope I’m not boring you people with this, because I actually find this fascinating. Did you know that the Army Corps of Engineers spends a couple hundred million dollars every year, up to $100 million every year, to stop the Mississippi River from turning? Did you know that?
AG: I was unaware.
Mike: [mocking] “Mike, where does it want to turn? Does it want to make a left turn at Albuquerque?” No, where it wants to turn is just north of Baton Rouge. The Mississippi River wants to go west. The Mississippi River used to come out in what today is the Pearl River, which is about 50 miles to the east of where the City of New Orleans is. Now the Mississippi River wants to turn again. If you ever looked at the Mississippi River on a satellite image or from a helicopter, you might have noticed that it’s a pretty big river. If it wants to turn, I don’t think you can stop it from turning, yet up near Abbeville Louisiana, there is a management system that the Corps of Engineers has to maintain and manage. If they ever were to stop — did you ever see any of the TV shows on the Science Channel? They were titled “After Humans” or “After People.”
AG: Yeah, yeah.
Mike: It’s what would happen to Wrigley Field, for example, if there was no one around to trim the hedges, what it would look like in 20 years. If there were no people to stop the Mississippi River from turning today, number one, it would probably find a way to break through the levies that go all the way just north of St. Louis. Number two, down here near Abbeville, it would also find a way to make that turn. The river wants to empty into the Gulf of Mexico in what is today known as the Atchafalaya River. That’s where it wants to go. Ultimately, barring a miracle from God, that’s what’s going to happen. You’re not going to be able to keep this thing in check forever, because there could be a weather event or a flood that the Corps just cannot contain and it’s going to happen anyway. Why then should the rest of the United States have to subsidize this activity?
I’m just giving you one example of what’s happening here in Louisiana and what have been the unintended consequences of, number one, man tinkering with the mighty force of nature, and number two, with the Congress of the United States playing bailout buddies. Now we have this situation where Congress is trying to go [mocking] “You people want us to balance the budget, so we’re going to have to get the flood insurance program in line, so everyone’s gonna have to pay higher premiums.” As I just said, this doesn’t seem fair to me. That’s the big news story here.
End Mike Church Show Transcript