Who will pay for Sandy?

President Obama toured the Shore by helicopter with NJ Gov. Chris Christie. Mitt Romney held a canned-goods drive for Sandy victims at a campaign event. The bigger question, asks McClatchy Newspapers': who's going to pay for the mess Hurricane Sandy left behind?

Damage estimates run into the tens of billions. Standard & Poor's notes that insurance will cover something north of $5 billion of that. But that doesn't include the cost of draining, replacing and protecting NYC subway equipment -- or the billions in NJ barrier-island repairs for uninsured roads and property. 

"The program, like much in Sandy’s wake, is itself under water," McClatchy reports. "It has a $17 billion deficit, but it also has more than $900 million in cash and $3 billion in borrowing authority to cover claims, according to both FEMA and insurers.

 “A lot of people have been hurt by Hurricane Sandy who don’t have flood insurance,” Steve Ellis, vice president of Taxpayers for Common Sense, a government watchdog group, told McClatchy. "He predicted that claims will be greater than the available funds, and FEMA will have to ask Congress for more money: 'Sandy will bankrupt it.'" 

Separately, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, owned by the Mayor of New York, puts the blame for Sandy damage squarely on... Global Warming -- and notes insurers say the number of expensive weather-related storms has been rising rapidly -- though it also notes, it's useful for insurers to say so.

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