Even as Gov. Charlie Crist lobbied in Washington last week for a national catastrophe fund, the Bush administration summarily dismissed the idea.
While it's not surprising such a proposal would meet resistance from some members of Congress, the administration's uncompromising opposition is disappointing. The creation of an emergency fund deserves a hearing in Congress, and the president need not get in the way.
Proponents of a national emergency fund say it would help existing state insurance programs, private insurers and re-insurers when claims reach catastrophic proportions. As the Florida Legislature determined during January's special session on spiking homeowners insurance premiums, if insurers know their losses would be capped, they would be under less pressure to raise rates.
That's why Crist and Florida Sens. Bill Nelson and Mel Martinez are pushing the creation of a congressional panel to consider an emergency fund. The governor calls it a matter of national defense, and he's right. The government has a duty to protect its citizens, and no state is immune from cataclysmic natural or homemade disasters.
Whether Congress ultimately favors a federal emergency fund, it would be worth lawmakers' efforts to establish a commission to study the national disaster insurance marketplace.
- The Tampa Tribune
Inflation deflates UK? | The Issue: Takeover boom has inflated prices for British populace
Their View: Bank of England must act to avoid out-of-control result -
It is the best of times, it is the worst of times.
For the bankers feasting on the biggest takeover boom since the dotcom bubble, the owners of rapidly-appreciating houses in leafy suburbs and consumers gorging on a surfeit of easy credit, life could not be happier.
Unfortunately, every economic silver lining comes with a cloud attached. Recent shocking inflation figures are a stark reminder that one man's bumper bonus is another's rising food bill. Invariably, the people enjoying the party are not the ones who feel the pain of picking up the tab.
While the boom benefits a small fraction of the population, the price is paid by everyone. The rise in prices in March was driven by life's necessities: higher food bills, furniture costs and petrol. Rising gas bills and university tuition fees played their part, too.
Yet this is not a time to panic. The Bank's central case is that inflation will fall quite sharply later in the year. We are a long way from the stagflationary conditions of the 1970s. But the pain of the early 1980s was the result of a misguided belief that a little bit of inflation wouldn't hurt.
It did, and the Bank of England must do whatever is necessary to ensure this modest inflation scare remains just that.
- The Daily Telegraph, London