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Government Kills: Opportunity Costs Measured in Deaths, Not Dollars

You know what is one of the largely-ignored ramifications of downzoning and vertical restrictions on construction in the San Francisco Bay Area? 

The numbers of people who will die, and the value of property which will be lost, during the next earthquake. 



Whereas some corners of the Bay Area are better equipped to survive such an imminently catastrophic event, most people cannot live there because of those restrictions and because of the consequent pricing-out effect. 

Instead, a great many Bay Area residents have desperately capitalized on relatively cheaper real estate on dangerous fault lines across the region, and the silver-tongued bureaucrats, who purport to represent the interests of their constituents, simply do not care.

Indeed, those chatterboxes care only about the observable and tangible qualities of life and the initiatives they can undertake today to bolster their perception in the polls.

They care only about those ideas which are marketable at the podium or at the bookstore, which stimulate public fervor, which can pave the theoretical designs of the never-ending tunnel toward nirvana. 

They fail to focus on the unseen and unobservable, intangible qualities of life, because they simply don't need to, because in the case of earthquakes — they cannot yet account for the future death toll and property loss.

And when that hellish event finally strikes again as it did in 1906, they will pretend, albeit convincingly, to be grief-stricken by the tremendous loss of life; they will be shielded from scrutiny for having undergone, or for having been connected to, the sorrow of the century.

As it turns out, many geologists expect a major event of this scale to occur in the not-too-distant future. 

According to recent reports, there is statistically a 76-percent chance that the San Francisco Bay Area will experience a 7.2-magnitude earthquake within the next 30 years. 

This “tectonic time bomb” poses a threat which rivals the catastrophic 1906 San Francisco earthquake, an event which left 3,000 people dead and destroyed roughly 80 percent of the city.

Recent reports contend that the Bay Area, under more imminent threat by the Hayward Fault than the San Andreas, could expect to experience a major event leaving 800 people dead, up to 18,000 injured, and 50,000 homes destroyed. 

Despite these horrifying forecasts, Bay Area residents risk their lives, taking faith against the odds, by taking up residence in higher-risk regions.

Meanwhile, their well-intentioned government sits idly by, continuing to prohibit the development of space which will one day prove an opportunity to save lives. 

Unfortunately, that opportunity cost will have been measured only retrospectively, far too late to matter for the lives which translate into mere units of a death count.

Of course, this is precisely how the government interprets the human being: not as an individual, but as a subject, an obedient tax cow, a solitary vote in an election, a Social Security number, a veritable pawn.

This serves as little surprise for many, for when you leave compassion and caring in the hands of government, this is merely par for the course.

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