In this episode of the Heartland Daily Podcast, Heartland Institute research fellow Jesse Hathaway talks with Grassroot Institute of Hawaii President Keli’i Akina about how the state government’s housing policies have gone up in flames — literally.
Lava flows from the Hawaiian volcano Kilauea have destroyed dozens of homes and disrupted thousands of lives in the past few weeks. Why were people living there in the first place? Akina says big-government policies encouraged them to stop thinking smart and to start living dangerously.
In 1991, the Hawaii legislature created the Hawaii Property Insurance Association, subsidizing home insurance policies to people who otherwise couldn’t buy them at market rates. Akina says that subsidizing home insurance and requiring insurance providers to sell policies to individuals in the state, regardless of how risky the location, has encouraged people to live in the shadow of the island’s most dangerous volcanos.
Akina says Hawaii’s lawmakers have put citizens in danger by giving them an incentive to live in an area that free-market forces would have otherwise — and correctly — deemed too risky to insure. The families who have lost their homes have been ill-served by their representatives, he says, and the right thing to do is to sink the subsidy program and allow people to start thinking clearly when choosing where to build their new home.