November King Tide Pours Over U.S. Eastern Seaboard, Providing a Glimpse of What's on the Horizon

The New York Times reports a new study on climate change impacts: by century's end, swaths of the Mideast will not be able to harbor human life absent air conditioning. In fact one only needs to observe king tides rising along the eastern seaboard of the United States to anticipate what is coming.

Along that line, a Miami Herald team led by Joey Flechas, Jenny Staletovich and Emily Michot wrote a fine, lengthy report on "Miami Beach's battle to stem rising tides." The money quote is buried somewhere in the middle:


"Developers have said to me, 'We will not self regulate. We need leadership from our government," said Miami-Dade County Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava, who was elected last year and is teaming up with Commissioner Rebecca Sosa to bridge the political divide and move forward on a suite of resolutions Miami-Dade County passed earlier this year. What's still lacking, said Levine Cava, who was in Washington this week meeting with lawmakers and the Everglades caucus, is a sense of urgency.

"It's not so much denial that it's not true," she said. "It's denying the urgency." But nature seems to be increasingly making the case. This past king tide, parts of Key Largo were flooded with knee deep water for more than two weeks. One angry resident, a lawyer, is investigating a class action. A recent model by the U.S. Geological Survey shows saltwater intrusion within a half mile of the South Dade wellfields that supply freshwater to all of the Keys.

In fact, climate change will unravel in just a few years of super high tides, more than three decades after GOP funders from the development industry began to drive the idea -- embraced by both Florida's contribution to the GOP presidential field, former Governor Jeb Bush and U.S. Senator Marco Rubio -- that private industry can self-regulate to protect the public better than government.

This notion, embraced by the Tea Party, is that over-reaching government and can only be reversed by putting Grover Norquist's dictum to action: shrink government to a size it can be drowned in a bathtub.

But rising seas can overflow that bathtub, the foundations, and the house. Who, then, is going to help developers -- or angry homeowners for that matter? The government.

Commissioner Levine Cava's statement: "Developers have said to me, we will not self-regulate," is an astonishing admission. It shouldn't be.

In fact, developers and its allies in the mainstream media like the Miami Herald stood by mutely as passionate conservatives like Bush and Rubio eviscerated regulatory agencies from the outside and from within. GOP donors streamed to Bush and Rubio's leadership in knee-capping the state regulatory agencies charged with growth management and protecting the environment.

Politico reported yesterday from Houston, of the gnashing of teeth in the Jeb Bush campaign. According to one astonished Florida donor:


"I look at this party now, and I hardly recognize it ... I never would have thought there would be so much mistrust of the establishment that we would prefer candidates who are angry over those who can actually lead."

Bush, betraying his own frustration with the state of the race and Trump's lead, raised eyebrows on Saturday by offering what sounded like an exit narrative. "I've got a lot of really cool things I could do other than sit around, being miserable, listening to people demonize me and me feeling compelled to demonize them. That is a joke," he said in South Carolina. "Elect Trump if you want that."

The revisionist history is what is truly astonishing. Both Jeb Bush and U.S. Senator Marco Rubio championed the housing boom in Florida until it crashed into cinders. Jeb's first corporate consulting gig after leaving the Governor's Mansion was for Lehman Brothers, the largest bond dealer to the state of Florida of subprime-related crap debt until it fell from the sky.

"Actually leading" was, in fact, steering Florida voters and taxpayers onto the reef, where investments in sprawl-related real estate by special interests needed to be shielded. This protection racket manifested as a jihad against regulation and coincided with the biggest economic threat since the Great Depression.

That was the effect of the GOP mantra: anything government can do, private industry and self-regulation can do better.

Today what Bush and Rubio and the rest of the presidential field can't see is that GOP hard drive is damaged. The main part of the drive -- that industry can self-regulate better than government -- no longer reads data, files or anything at all. It is corrupted. In coastal states like Florida, salt water could take care of the rest.

Alan Farago is president of the Miami-based non-profit, Friends of the Everglades. He is co-blogger of the daily, Eye On Miami, under a pen name, Gimleteye.