Buyouts in flood zones

I can’t stand Andrew Cuomo, but I have to give him props. Because this will be one very unpopular policy, and there will be massive pushback:

ALBANY — Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo is proposing to spend as much as $400 million to purchase homes wrecked by Hurricane Sandy, have them demolished and then preserve the flood-prone land permanently, as undeveloped coastline.
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The purchase program, which still requires approval from federal officials, would be among the most ambitious ever undertaken, not only in scale but also in how Mr. Cuomo would be using the money to begin reshaping coastal land use. Residents living in flood plains with homes that were significantly damaged would be offered the pre-storm value of their houses to relocate; those in even more vulnerable areas would be offered a bonus to sell; and in a small number of highly flood-prone areas, the state would double the bonus if an entire block of homeowners agreed to leave.


The land would never be built on again. Some properties could be turned into dunes, wetlands or other natural buffers that would help protect coastal communities from ferocious storms; other parcels could be combined and turned into public parkland.


In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, which swept through the region on Oct. 29, Mr. Cuomo has adamantly maintained that New York needs to reconsider the way it develops its coast. He has repeatedly spoken, in blunt terms, about the consequences of climate change, noting that he has responded to more extreme weather in his first two years as governor than his father, Mario M. Cuomo, did in his 12 years in the job. Last month, in his State of the State address, he raised the prospect of home buyouts, declaring “there are some parcels that Mother Nature owns.”


“She may only visit once every few years,” Mr. Cuomo said, “but she owns the parcel and when she comes to visit, she visits.”

Friends of fraud

Krugman on how and why Republicans are planning to filibuster the appointment of the head of the Consumer Protection Bureau in order to keep it from operating at all:

So the consumer protection bureau serves a vital function. But as I said, Senate Republicans are trying to kill it.

How can they do that, when the reform is already law and Democrats hold a Senate majority? Here as elsewhere, they’re turning to extortion — threatening to filibuster the appointment of Richard Cordray, the bureau’s acting head, and thereby leave the bureau unable to function. Mr. Cordray, whose work has drawn praise even from the bankers, is clearly not the issue. Instead, it’s an open attempt to use raw obstructionism to overturn the law.

What Republicans are demanding, basically, is that the protection bureau lose its independence. They want its actions subjected to a veto by other, bank-centered financial regulators, ensuring that consumers will once again be neglected, and they also want to take away its guaranteed funding, opening it to interest-group pressure. These changes would make the agency more or less worthless — but that, of course, is the point.

How can the G.O.P. be so determined to make America safe for financial fraud, with the 2008 crisis still so fresh in our memory? In part it’s because Republicans are deep in denial about what actually happened to our financial system and economy. On the right, it’s now complete orthodoxy that do-gooder liberals, especially former Representative Barney Frank, somehow caused the financial disaster by forcing helpless bankers to lend to Those People.

In reality, this is a nonsense story that has been extensively refuted; I’ve always been struck in particular by the notion that a Congressional Democrat, holding office at a time when Republicans ruled the House with an iron first, somehow had the mystical power to distort our whole banking system. But it’s a story conservatives much prefer to the awkward reality that their faith in the perfection of free markets was proved false.
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Your librul media

Hey, I understand! To the Village, this is so common, it’s not even worth mentioning that Elaine Chao is Mitch McConnell’s beard nominal wife:

CNN host Candy Crowley on Sunday failed to tell viewers that former Bush Labor Secretary Elaine Chao was married to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) as she blasted President Barack Obama’s “far-left agenda” and claimed that he had not been as willing to work towards bipartisan solutions as Republican senators.


During a panel segment on CNN’s State of the Union, Crowley noted that Obama had accused Republicans of obstructionism and standing in the way of improving jobs and the economy.


“I don’t know how he can say that when he had control of both the houses in the legislative branch, he had control of the White House from 2009 to 2010,” Chao opined. “He was able to get sweeping changes through to our economy, which actually, including for example, Obamacare and also Dodd-Frank , which are actually having a hampering effect — they’re having a dampening effect on job creation.”


“I’m actually rather surprised that in his inaugural address that there was not a more magnanimous spirit shown, that there was not more of a graciousness to focus on reaching out to the other side to work together,” she continued. “He uses the words, but if you look at the agenda, it’s very much a far-left agenda item… So, I think the president has to focus on job creation. He cannot do everything at one time.”

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