My father-in-law is known for saying, “When you have a hammer everything looks like a nail.” Thomas Sowell talks about political crises created by Political “Solutions.”
Government laws and policies, especially the Community Reinvestment Act, pressured lenders to invest in people and places where they would not invest otherwise. Government also created the temporarily very low interest rates that made the mortgages seem affordable for the moment. . .
As for the flames sweeping across southern California, tragic as that is, this has happened time and again before — in the very same places in the very same time of year, just like hurricanes.
Why would people risk building million-dollar homes in the known paths of wildfires? For the same reason that people choose to live in the known paths of hurricanes. Because the government — that is, the taxpayers — will get stuck with a lot of the costs of dealing with those dangers and the costs of rebuilding.
Why is there such a huge amount of inflammable vegetation over such a wide area that fires can reach unstoppable proportions by the time they get to places where people live? Because “open space” has become a political sacred cow beyond rational discussion. . .
In other words, government preserves all the conditions for wildfires and subsidizes people who live in their path.
As for water shortages . . . The federal government’s water projects supply much of the water used in California that enables agriculture to flourish in what would otherwise be a desert.
We have created a culture where government is the solution to every every social “problem” (many time government is used to address preferences like open space which are not actually problems) just as technology is the solution to every technical problem. Lawmakers don’t intend to create crises, but crisis is the natural result when government gets involved in things that it was not designed to address (things like the cost of water or the price of home loans). In other words, if you have a hammer everything may look like a nail, but no matter how skillfully you hammer on a screw it won’t work like a screw – you need a screw driver to succeed with screws.