The Declarer (Floyd McWilliams' Blog)

Sunday, January 04, 2004

A considerable proportion of propaganda for the regulatory welfare state consists of taking credit for advances made possible by capitalism and technology. Here is an example, from today's San Jose Mercury News:

Rules save lives

Last month saw a devastating earthquake in Iran, similar to one not too long ago in Turkey. In stark contrast, one of the same magnitude in California had comparatively little loss. It is at times like these that Americans should give thanks for all those ``onerous regulations'' and inspections that so many people want to abolish.

David Porter
Mountain View

Earthquakes kill a thousand times more people in Turkey or Iran than America because America is a wealthy country with secure property rights. When a home is constructed in America, it will be sold to someone who views his dwelling as a significant long-term investment. Furthermore the house is likely to be financed by a decades-long mortgage. Of course houses (and office buildings) are going to be constructed earthquake-safe. Why would anyone spend half a million dollars for a California lot, and then another several hundred thousand dollars to construct a dwelling, without taking some basic and relatively inexpensive precautions to make sure that the structure will still be standing when the next big earthquake comes along? Why would a mortgage financier lend a huge sum of money to a home buyer without making sure that the collateral is secure?

I was reminded of this just a few weeks ago, when my mortgage company CitiMortgage did not receive my home insurance renewal because of a clerical error. CitiMortgage promptly informed me that if I did not renew my insurance, I would be purchasing insurance from them.



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