This just in from the climate debate: a group of atmospheric scientists and actuaries have found that the increasing billions of dollars in costs for hurricane damage do not come from worsening storms—but from the millions of additional people now living in affected areas.
For example, if the 1926 Greater Miami hurricane were to strike today, it would ring up losses costing $140-$157 billion, dwarfing Katrina's $81 billion.
Research showing the cost of hurricane damage has been doubling every 10-15 years was presented in the paper Normalized Hurricane Damage in the United States: 1900–2005 [Natural Hazards Review, February 8, 2008].
This research stands in opposition to noisy opinion among the global warming crowd that climate change causes more powerful hurricanes in heightened numbers.
They won't like this report. It removes one of their simpler arguments—that exploding costs are indicative of worse storms.
Everyone understands the money. But plenty of other data remains suitable for argument.
You could say the results of this investigation are nothing more than common sense: many more people now reside near the ocean than in earlier decades, so of course tropical storms cause worse, more expensive damage. However, public debates about the general direction of the country have had no discussion about what skyrocketing population growth is doing to citizens' quality of life and the continued supply of natural resources like water, as well as the all-important checkbook issues.
Honest environmentalists notice these things. (See Overpopulation issue overlooked by presidential candidates, by Rob Zaleski, Capital Times, [Madison, WI] Jan 25, 2008.)
Indeed, the costs of accelerating population growth have not been discussed in terms of the preventable cause—unsustainable immigration. The candidates debate minutiae of immigration policy when they are forced to, but never express any insight about the bigger picture. They certainly have not revealed their thoughts about what America's maximum population might be—the number at which immigration should cease.
But the idea that politicians have "thoughts" is purely speculative.
We citizens have become so accustomed to the growth-uber-alles assumption that we hardly notice our taxpayer pocket being vacuumed to continue construction on the Billion-Person America project.
That ugly milestone is the inevitable outcome of current policies in this century, and no open-borders cheerleader has ever spoken against an America more than three times as crowded as today. (Keep in mind that immigration often manages to surpass Census estimates, which show the one-billion mark being crossed in 2089 under the High projections.)
"Reform" for many in Washington consists of streamlining of today's procedures to allow in as many foreigners as can possibly be rubber-stamped.
The hurricane illustration is useful because it starts out with billions of dollars, and therefore qualifies as an acceptable subject for public policy. The study should be accorded more attention for its obvious truth, that overpopulation is very expensive. Some portion of the costs connected with hurricane damage—taxes allotted to rescue activities, subsidized loans for rebuilding—are part of the growing body of hidden immigration taxes.
Any public expense that is connected with population growth is literally an immigration tax. Without the radical levels of legal and illegal immigration put in motion by the 1965 legislation, the country would be nearing a point of stability. Instead, we citizens are required to pay for a drastically crowded future, filled with hostile foreigners who come only for the money. Immigration is not a public good, or even neutral; it is a wholly negative proposition—depleting our wallets, paving over our farmlands and shredding our communities.
Projects like California's proposed Peripheral Canal to send water south, school construction, power plants, dams for water supply, various road widenings—all are costs for immigration that citizens don't want.
California leads the way off a financial cliff with the most egregious immigration taxes:
In January when the state budget was $14 billion in the hole, the Governator was pitching school "reform" that consisted of $5 billion worth of English language learner programs.
Another scheme out of Sacramexico was $4 billion in water project bonds. Not that long ago, reservoirs held enough water to get the state through a dry year or two. No longer. With the population around 38 million, massive new storage systems are needed.
Last March, Los Angeles had to spend $200 million for hepatitis vaccinations for food workers. The amended needs on the public health front aren't cheap either.
Assembly member Chuck DeVore remarked on CNN Feb 15, "...most estimates are that we spend in upwards of $11 billion of that money caring for, providing welfare, educating, housing people who are here illegally."
In addition, non-governmental expenses are affected. One instance is the increase in home insurance premiums prompted by Katrina and other mega-storms, assuming you can get it. More than three million coastal homeowners lost coverage between 2004 to 2007 because of insurance company fears of more billion-dollar payouts.
Meanwhile, the country can't manage to maintain the infrastructure we already have—demonstrated by the Third-Worldish bridge collapse in Minneapolis last August. New Orleans still has not been rebuilt after its 2005 hurricane disaster.
One estimate is that $1.6 trillion is needed over the next five years to rebuild America's failing infrastructure. The USA spends less than 1 percent of GDP annually on infrastructure, a pitiful amount considering the advanced age of much of our physical plant.
Sound infrastructure is the backbone of a first-world economy. Yet the subject has been notably absent from Presidential debates.
(A glance at the National Debt Clock shows an indebtedness of over $9.3 trillion, and that doesn't count the long-term red ink of over $50 trillion in Social Security and Medicare IOUs.)
Let's review: America apparently can't afford to keep its vital infrastructure in good working order. Yet Washington insists on endless population growth via immigration that requires billions of dollars in additional spending.
When the spiritual descendants of Chairman Mao stop financing Washington's irresponsible borrowing, we will wonder what we got for all that spending.
Not what this country needs—that's for sure.
And we will see the beginning of another kind of perfect storm.
Brenda Walker (email her) lives in Northern California and publishes two websites, LimitsToGrowth.org and ImmigrationsHumanCost.org. She wants a bumpersticker that reads, "Immigration: Don't Mend it—End It."