I turned on the radio to hear a local congressman explaining that protecting South Florida from sea-level rise was important, but not on his top 10 list of priorities.
He’s making a strategic mistake, succumbing to tyranny of the immediate. Now is exactly the right time for us to address sea-level rise, because interest rates are low and we have 30 years available to repay infrastructure bonds.
The rating agencies Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s are already planning credit downgrades for local governments that don’t have robust protection plans in motion. Once rising seas manifest more severely, the money supply will dry up because an economy facing imminent flooding cannot guarantee repayment of a bond issue.
Funding sea-level-rise protections is like funding retirement; it has to be done early. Florida’s junior senator and presidential aspirant doesn’t understand this basic financial principle. He cashed out his retirement savings to cover expenses and then purchased a pleasure boat with his book proceeds. With sea level rise steadily worsening in South Florida, we need to elect responsible adults who can see beyond immediate desires to invest in protecting our future.
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If we retain the same financially nearsighted officials, we will find ourselves in deep water with only ourselves to blame.
Philip K. Stoddard, mayor, South Miami