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'If You're So Rich, Why Don't you Give the Money Back?': Fox Panels Clashes Over Role of Gov't in Flood Insurance

"You think government doesn’t have a role in anything, right?"

Noted libertarian and Fox News host John Stossel and “Fox and Friends” guest host Peter Johnson, Jr. on Thursday found themselves at sharp odds with each other while discussing a government program subsidizing flood insurance.

Stossel argued that the people of America basically paid to renovate his flooded basement.

“You paid for a new basement there, thank you,” he said. “I never invited you there. But you paid for it anyway. It went out again; you paid again. The whole house went; you covered the house. This is a program that encourages relatively affluent people to build in danger.”

“Well, what’s the evidence on that, John?” asked Johnson. “You love dumping on this program. There’s a lot of people helped by this program.”

Johnson continued despite Stossel’s attempt to jump back in:

No, wait a second … That are not on the beach, that are not on river fronts, that are blocks in, that never anticipated that the ocean would come, that the bay would come. They paid their premiums. They’re not rich people like you were. If you’re so rich, why don’t you give the money back?

“Well, I probably should and I won’t rip you off again,” Stossel shot back. “I also take Medicare and I probably shouldn’t take that either.”

“Ok, so you take Medicare, tight?” asked Johnson. “You take deductions on your taxes … The point is, you’re condemning people that are taking this that have paid their premiums that are not rich folks!”

The debate continued.

“Why was the federal government selling it?” Stossel asked. “I blame the politicians. We don’t have special car insurance for Lindsay Lohan. The people four blocks in don’t get --”

“So the people who paid the premium, should they not take the money?” Johnson interjected.

“I paid the premium, I’m going to take the money. Of course you’re going to take the money,” Stossel responded.

“The problem is,” host Steve Doocy chimed in, “and Peter was talking about this earlier -- we’re talking about the FEMA program that insures people in areas that would get flooded out --  if there wasn’t that kind of insurance --”

“-- there would be private insurance,” Stossel said.

“You think government doesn’t have a role in anything, right?” Johnson asked.

“No,” said Stossel. “They have a role in keeping us safe.”

Follow Becket Adams (@BecketAdams) on Twitter

(H/T: Mediaite). Front page photo source courtesy the AP.

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