Why Don’t Politicians Want to Pay for Disaster Relief?

Respectfully Submitted by Lawrence Rafferty (rafflaw)-Guest Bogger


It is a big deal when you read that New York City is shutting down their transit system and ordering evacuations due to the impending hurricane that is making its way up the Eastern coast.  It also concerned me because my daughter is now in NYC and is unable to get out before Monday.  I can only imagine the devastation that will occur all the way from the Carolinas up to the Northeast due to Hurricane Irene.   When you read the stories and see the pictures of the havoc and sometimes death that is the result of these kind of natural disasters, it is hard to understand why some politicians are clamoring that the government should not pay for relief unless there are corresponding spending cuts!  Congressman and Republican candidate for the Presidential nomination, Dr. Ron Paul goes even further and states that the government should not respond at all to these disasters.

“Taking his anti-government ideology to its logical extreme, Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) told NBC News’ Jo Ling Kent today that there should be no national response to Hurricane Irene, and that government responses should revert back to how they were over 100 years ago. “We should be like 1900, we should be like 1940 1950 1960,” he said. “I live on the gulf coast, we deal with hurricanes all the time.” Of course, the Gulf Coast sometimes deals with them less well thanks to a botched national response. Paul, who has called for abolishing FEMA, dismissed the organization because it is “a great contribution to deficit financing.”   Think Progress   Rep. Paul wants the United States of America to go back to the turn of the 20th Century when it comes to disaster relief.  Maybe he would prefer we go back to the year 1900 in our scientific knowledge or our technological advances too?

Rep. Paul’s fellow Congressman, Rep. Eric Cantor would only agree to government aid if the aid was followed by spending cuts of equal amounts!  “Cantor raised some eyebrows on Wednesday when, in the aftermath of the 5.8 magnitude earthquake that rattled the East Coast and originated in his district, he said Congress will help those hurt by the earthquake but will require finding offsets for any federal aid.  “When there’s a disaster there’s an appropriate federal role and we will find the monies,” Cantor said during a news conference in Mineral, Va. “But we’ve had discussions about these things before and those monies will be offset with appropriate savings or cost-cutting elsewhere in order to meet the priority of the federal government’s role in a situation like this.”  Cantor spokesman Brad Dayspring on Friday declined to say where Republicans would look to make cuts to pay for a potential storm aid package.”  Huffington Post  Let me make a guess that Rep. Cantor is not thinking of raising taxes on the wealthy to pay for disaster relief!

As the linked Huffington Post article suggests, not all of Rep. Paul’s and Rep. Cantor’s fellow Republicans agree with the “no government” response or tying aid to spending cuts.  “As East Coasters brace for what some say will be a historic pummel by Hurricane Irene, at least one lawmaker is fuming over a requirement by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) that any potential emergency disaster aid be offset by spending cuts.  “It is sinful to require us to cut somewhere … in order to provide emergency disaster assistance for American citizens,” Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-La.) told The Huffington Post on Friday.  The Louisiana Democrat pointed out that this weekend is the sixth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, which devastated his district and cost the federal government more than $100 billion. That recovery effort would have been delayed “by years” if Congress had required the same kind of spending cuts to offset aid, he said.”

I want to make it clear that the gentlemen who have come out against any government response at all or for paying for that response with spending cuts elsewhere are not wild-eyed radical terrorists, but leaders of their Party.   If I read these quotes correctly, Rep. Paul is telling current and future victims of any large multi-state disaster that you are on your own if Hurricane Irene destroys your town and home.   Rep. Cantor seems to be telling victims that they may get help, but only if Congress can agree on additional spending cuts to offset the wild spending spree that disaster relief is alleged to be.  Dr. Paul is on record of being a Christian and that the United States is a Christian country, but he does not think the Christian nation should help those in need after a natural and multi-state disaster.  Lew Rockwell.com  What would Jesus think?

With all of this self–reliance being demanded by Ron Paul and Eric Cantor and others, and the claim that we are a Judeo-Christian nation, you would think that disaster relief would be a high priority.  Why is it that politicians on both sides of the aisle preach self-reliance and Judeo-Christian values when it comes to Main Street, but Wall Street conglomerates and Big Oil and the extremely wealthy need and deserve Billions in tax give aways?  I have never been good at math, but something doesn’t add up here.

Respectfully Submitted by Lawrence Rafferty-Guest Blogger

44 thoughts on “Why Don’t Politicians Want to Pay for Disaster Relief?”

  1. Thank you for the auspicious writeup. It in fact used
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  2. aufseher,
    Mr. Paul would impose his beliefs on you if you believe that abortion should be legal.
    He would impose his beliefs on you if you believe that the Federal Government has a role and a responsibility to help those in natural disasters. Even after he walked back his statments somewhat from Saturday in his comments on Sunday, he is still tying aid to disaster relief victims to the ability to cut spending in other areas, including war funding.(I do agree with him that we should end the wars) Religious organizations can and do help, but they are in no way imaginable able to rebuild towns and roads and infrastructure destroyed by multi-state disasters like hurricanes.
    Mr. Paul’s words are very clear and the video of him stating those beliefs is available on the linked site above. He didn’t mention that he wanted any government assistance when he wanted to revert to the standards of the year 1900. FEMA was a complete flop during the Katrina disaster, but it has been helpful and necessary before the Bush adminstration and afterwards.

  3. “Maybe he would prefer we go back to the year 1900 in our scientific knowledge or our technological advances too?”
    Wow, that’s what I call a stretch.

    Churches can help (What would Jesus do? Try and raise help via his congregation, not try and use the State), private charities can help, private organizations can help. Ron Paul also said that out of records and studies that came from Katrina, most people got help from non-government sources (community help, private organization, etc). FEMA was a complete flop.

    Why can’t other States help other States and not a blanketed Federal response? Probably would be coordinated a lot better.

    Swarthmore mom,
    “Ron Paul’s statements on abortion indicate that he is without a doubt a theocrat.”

    No they don’t, they say he believes in States’ rights. Man, people can find flaws in Ron Paul if they don’t believe in his philosophical standings, but making stuff up isn’t right. Being a believer in Christ != theocrat, Perry is a theocrat.

    Not even a believer myself but I support Ron Paul, he wouldn’t impose his beliefs on me via public policy.

  4. Thank you, puzzling.

    Gene, It’s certainly possible that the federal government can better handle disasters than state and local government, but there’s ample room for a good-faith debate on that. Regardless, this post still severely misstates Paul’s position. His belief that state and local government should handle disasters is a far cry from believing there should be no government response at all.

    Posts like this which distort Paul’s views, as well as comments like Swarthmore mom’s which derail the discussion, simply fuel the fire under Paul’s zealots. Perhaps if we could have a debate on Paul’s views that was accurate and didn’t devolve into a discussion on abortion we’d all understand him a little better.

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