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Stop bailing out poor judgment
By Mark Shepard, Bennington Vermont

May 14, 2010

On top of mortgaging our children’s future, the federal bailouts have essentially killed a very effective teacher – the natural consequences of poor judgment. When will this irresponsible bailout foolishness stop?

This week’s bailout is the Homeowner's Defense Act (H.R. 2555), which appears to shift responsibility and risk from people who inappropriately build homes in locations prone to hurricanes, mud slides or other quite predictable natural happenings to people who do not build in such locations or build their homes to withstand the likely natural events of their region.

While we in Vermont are much less likely to encounter hurricanes, earth quakes, mud slides and tornadoes, we do have our challenges and they require just as much preparation and are just as costly as the challenges mentioned above. We have to pay extra to build our homes to keep us warm or we pay extra in heating costs. We also have to build foundations deep enough to prevent damage from deep frost. It would be considered irresponsible if we ignored these realities of our region and built by less expensive standards that might be fine in another part of the country. And it would indeed be irresponsible.

Likewise it would be irresponsible for us in Vermont to build our roads to the standards of the south and then expect the nation to bail us out every spring by funding the rebuilding of the roads that could not withstand the predictable winter frost.

Each region has its weather patterns and it is irresponsible for us as a nation to create a system whereby people are encouraged to build in an irresponsible manner. Shifting the cost of predictable hazards is encouraging irresponsible building and increases the cost of living in places like Vermont. This makes Vermont a less affordable place to live and a less competitive place to do business.

Peter, Pat and Bernie, are you listening? "The answer is blowin' in the wind."

© Mark Shepard

Mark Shepard
Bennington, Vermont

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