Tuesday, September 6, 2011

FEMA--An investor or a relief agency?

It is interesting that the Public Works Committees in the Congress often view their authorizations and appropriations as "Investments" in the future of the USA. Yet their oversight of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (Public Law 100-707) that repealed in part, supplemented in part and modified in part the Disaster Relief Act of 1974 (Public Law 93-288) is never viewed as other statutes under those committees jurisdiction as an "investment"!

Perhaps the reason is that disaster funds don't ever get studied for an ROI [return on investment] is because of the 3100 county geographic areas in the USA the ones that receive most of the disaster monies year by year are the top 500 by level of relief since 1950.

Just as the NFIP [National Flood Insurance Program] has paid out over 30% of its claims to properties receiving damages from floods over and over, the federal disaster program often is paying out again and again to the same county geographic areas.

So as we (the USA) looks for cost savings in federal programs perhaps mitigation and prevention might become more important in the disaster relief effort by focusing on the problems and prospects of the top 500 geographic county areas. Does investment in NOLA for example make sense?