October 30, 2012 8 Comments
According to the New York Times a big storm such as Hurricane Sandy requires a big government. The Times takes their argument a step further, not only does this story require a big government but Mitt Romney wants to eliminate Federal response to big storms. To believe the Times on their second argument is to believe in unicorns. Romney has never gone on record opposing a Federal response to hurricanes and other natural disasters. The Times is taking its opportunity to baselessly attack Romney hoping it will convince people to vote for Obama. It’s shameless and typically left-wing.
FEMA didn’t exist until the Carter administration. Amazingly we survived until the late 70′s without a coordinated Federal response to hurricanes and other disasters. Since the creation of FEMA can we say that hurricane response has been very good? Sure the Feds are coordinating efforts but they haven’t exactly done a good job. FEMA consistently wastes money. Their response during Katrina was a disaster, aided by incompetent local officials in New Orleans. The FEMA response to the Gulf oil spill a few years ago was inconsistent and largely wasteful. We can go back over the years and see the same during just about every major natural disaster.
We really don’t need a coordinated Federal response during natural or other disasters. State and local governments are closest to the people who are affected by these disasters. They know and understand their needs, they know and understand the threats around them. Not only do state and local governments understand these things, private citizens and private local charities understand them as well. The Feds offer an outsiders one size fits all approach. Their approach rarely works and usually results in waste. It is state and local government that knows how to do things for their people the best, in addition to private citizens and charities.
Not only does FEMA generally do a rotten job they create a false sense of security for people. People just expect the Federal government to take care of things because they’re the biggest and perceived to be the best and/or in control. As such you have people in New Orleans who end up trapped on their roofs during a hurricane and flood. But it’s even worse than this, a giant Federal government makes citizens lazy and unwilling to help themselves. After all, government will just take care of it. By telling everyone government will take care of things, people take less responsibility to help others and to take responsibility for themselves.
Before FEMA there were a multitude of disasters in this country. The Galveston hurricane, the San Francisco earthquake, the great Chicago fire and so on. There wasn’t a Federal response to any of these disasters, in fact many in Congress (Rep. Davy Crockett for example) actively argued against Federal charity. Somehow without a Federal response people made it through the aftermath of these disasters. Local governments aided people but mostly money and other items poured in via private charities. What exactly would FEMA have done in these situations besides get in the way and waste tax money?
It’s one thing for the Feds to offer loans or subsidies to local governments after a disaster. It’s another thing for them to push everyone out of the way and control things from on high. FEMA has a long track record of waste and abuse. So for the NY Times to suggest we need big government for big storms, the facts suggest we don’t really need it. Furthermore, there is nothing that Romney has said that would suggest he favors eliminating FEMA. That is unless you’re the NY Times and take random phrases Romney has said and piece them together into such as way so that he can be attacked without mercy. We need to ask ourselves whether we really need government to do those things that private citizens should do themselves.