As you watch those pictures of houses under assault from Hurricane Isabel, doesn’t it make you wonder: Why do people build their homes so close to the water? They must have known a hurricane might do this. Why would they take such a foolish risk?

Well, people take the risk, because our government encourages us to take it. I know all about this, because I did it myself.

In 1980, I bought some beachfront property on Long Island, N.Y., and built a house there. It was a big investment for me. The down payment took just about all of my savings, and I knew what can happen to people who build on the edges of oceans. But I took the risk because the government made me a promise.

An Offer Too Good to Refuse

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