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Disaster Insurance

August 17, 1993

* Your editorial (Aug. 1) states: "Unfortunately, only 15% to 20% of the houses damaged by the ravaging Mississippi River were insured . . . homeowners who have lost everything . . . will need a helping hand from Washington. . . ."

The fault of this argument is clear upon stating the premise a bit more clearly: "No fewer than four of every five homeowners who sustained flood damage had chosen not to purchase insurance protection for their property." Since personal responsibility entails bearing the burden of one's own choice, the editorial's conclusion follows logically only if it is true that the U.S. government should reward irresponsibility.

When a fellow American can help a victim of disaster with heartfelt giving, everyone wins. But when such "help" is mandated by a confiscatory tax policy, nothing but negatives ensue: (a) burdensome government regulations increase; (b) the taxpayer "aid" is eaten up by an inefficient bureaucracy; (c) the intangible rewards of helping someone in need are lost in the politics; (d) the federal deficit increases, and (e) a clear message is sent to everyone: "No need to pay insurance premiums--Uncle Sam will be there!"

GLENN A. WALKER

San Diego

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