There are lots of people who need (or, as of this writing, are about to need) financial assistance in the wake of the hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and who knows how many more this year. Governments, charities, and individuals are already pouring millions and millions into relief efforts, which is both laudable and necessary.
I have a suggestion for the deep-pocketed billionaires sitting on piles of cash wondering what they can or should do with their money. Why not do something governments don’t have the stomach to do? Buy up coastal and other flood-prone properties and turn them into parkland/buffer zones, stipulating that the land never be used for commercial or residential development again.
Collectively we need to get off the flood-and-rebuild hobbyhorse that we have been riding for decades. It matters not whether you believe in climate change or anything like that, empirical evidence is all around. Just look at the millions upon millions of dollars spent rebuilding the same properties over and over again. Federal flood insurance statistics show that a small percentage of properties are responsible for huge percentages of claim payouts because those properties are repeatedly damaged and rebuilt – ultimately at our collective expense since flood insurance premiums don’t reflect the actual costs involved.
So if Mr. Buffett or Mr. Gates or the Koch brothers or any other multi-billionaires out there want to actually do something truly constructive for the common good, they can take steps to prevent construction in locations where people with more money than sense keep rebuilding.