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The Boston Globe


edward l. glaeser

Help New York rebuild, but fix FEMA, too

If New York Governor Andrew Cuomo requests $30 billion worth of federal aid to help New York rebuild after Hurricane Sandy, as he said he will, should Congress say yes? New York City needs reconstruction, but our current federal relief system leads people to build excessively in high-risk areas and provides little incentive for battered states to make wise decisions about which reconstruction efforts are worth the cost.

To promote a more sensible recovery, Congress should link the aid New York needs to a change in the way the Federal Emergency Management Agency operates. Specifically, FEMA should split its emergency-response functions and its insurance functions into separate entities.

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