Thank you, John Barry. Thank you, L.A. Times. Thank you, Californians in general, who seem to "get it" more than any other Americans. (Thanks to Jeffrey and Varg for showing me the link.)
[The multibillion dollar costs to protect south Louisiana from hurricanes] are a federal responsibility because benefits to the entire nation, including massive engineering projects built in, and providing direct benefit to, states as far away as North Dakota, have in the last 60 years transformed New Orleans from a city reasonably safe from hurricanes to one dangerously vulnerable to them. These projects have had an effect as great as sending saboteurs from 1,500 miles away to dynamite Louisiana's levees.
That analogy may sound like an overstatement, but it may be an understatement . . .
Human engineering has reversed [the natural land-building properties of river silt], causing the loss of roughly 2,000 square miles of land since World War II. If this buffer -- equivalent to the state of Delaware -- had not been destroyed, New Orleans would need little other hurricane protection . . .
So far, policymakers have not seen the problem as a whole, and they largely perceive federal assistance as generosity. That's the wrong way of looking at it. Given that benefits to states throughout the Mississippi Valley actually created the problem, federal funding is not generosity. It's equity.