This always seems like a tough issue, but the principle is still clear. Galveston got almost flattened by the most recent hurricane, and is asking Congress for $2.2 billion to rebuild. John Stossel has written about and done programs on federal flood insurance (which advertises on TV now). It sounds compassionate, I guess, but providing cut-rate flood insurance in a known flood-prone area or sending federal funds to a place that you know is going to get hit by hurricanes is simply encouraging risky behavior that might or might not be undertaken without subsidies from taxpayers in the rest of the country. Here's the Register's hard-hearted take on Galveston's request, urging Congress to turn it down.
My brother-in-law travels to Texas fairly often and has been to Galveston numerous times. He says, Glen Campbell aside, he can't understand the attraction. Perhaps there's no such thing as a bad beach, but he says Galveston is a long way from being something special in the oceanside department. Yet housing prices are high. Don't know if they would be higher or lower if taxpayers from iowa, Maine and Oregon didn't chip in to rebuiild it from time to time.
I don't think people should be forbidden from living in inherently dangerous places (after all, I live in Southern California, subject to earthquake, fire and even --sometimes -- flood). But people should take responsibility for the consequences of the choices they make.