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Vehicles drive on Interstate 10 which was flooded from Tropical Storm Harvey in Vidor, Texas, Thursday, Aug. 31, 2017. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

"How government policy exacerbates hurricanes like Harvey: As if global warming were not enough of a threat, poor planning and unwise subsidies make floods worse" — cover editorial of The Economist:

  • "Around the world, governments are grappling with the threat from floods. This will ultimately be about dealing with climate change. Just as important, is correcting short-sighted government policy and the perverse incentives that make flooding worse."
  • "The overwhelming good news is that storms and flooding have caused far fewer deaths in recent decades, thanks to better warning systems and the construction of levees, ditches and shelters."
  • Why it matters: "All this is a test of government, of foresight and the ability to withstand the lobbying of homeowners and developers. But politicians and officials who fail the test need to realise that, sooner or later, they will wake up to a Hurricane Harvey of their own."

Go deeper

Justice Department drops insider trading inquiry against Sen. Richard Burr

Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) walking through the Senate Subway in the U.S. Capitol in December 2020. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images

The Department of Justice told Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) on Tuesday that it will not move forward with insider trading charges against him.

Why it matters: The decision, first reported by the New York Times, effectively ends the DOJ's investigation into the senator's stock sell-off that occurred after multiple lawmakers were briefed about the coronavirus' potential economic toll. Burr subsequently stepped down as chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Netflix tops 200 million global subscribers

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Netflix said that it added another 8.5 million global subscribers last quarter, bringing its total number of paid subscribers globally to more than 200 million.

The big picture: Positive fourth-quarter results show Netflix's resiliency, despite increased competition and pandemic-related production headwinds.

Janet Yellen plays down debt, tax hike concerns in confirmation hearing

Treasury Secretary nominee Janet Yellen at an event in December. Photo: Alex Wong via Getty Images

Janet Yellen, Biden's pick to lead the Treasury Department, pushed back against two key concerns from Republican senators at her confirmation hearing on Tuesday: the country's debt and the incoming administration's plans to eventually raise taxes.

Driving the news: Yellen — who's expected to win confirmation — said spending big now will prevent the U.S. from having to dig out of a deeper hole later. She also said the Biden administration's priority right now is coronavirus relief, not raising taxes.

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