romney femaHow are you, East Coasters? Does Sandy rock it like a hurricane or what? This seems like a good time to flack back to what the candidates have said about federal disaster relief. So there are some rumors circulating that if Romney were president, he would get rid of FEMA. Get out! Is it true? Let's address those rumors and find out what he's really saying. 

In a primary debate, Romney said he supported letting FEMA shut down and handing responsibility to disaster relief to states. "Any time you have an occasion to take something from the federal government and send it back to the states, that's the right direction. And if you can go even further and send it back to the private sector, that's even better." Because we're just going further and further into debt and passing that debt onto our children is just immoral. Okay, got that? Going into debt to pay for disaster relief is immoral. Unless you're a state. 

Okay, well what if a state is bankrupt? It's okay for a state to go into debt to pay for disaster relief but not the federal government? And what's this about letting the private sector handle disaster relief? Because the federal government already works with the private sector for disaster relief efforts, but the difference is that it's the government that's in charge, not some consulting business that's going to work the profit angle and probably cut corners in order to make sure their CEO and board come out ahead financially. That's the whole point of the private sector. And that's why we don't let the private sector run everything.

Privatizing disaster relief! That gives me a headache. 

Okay, so now that Sandy is ravaging through the East Coast the Romney campaign has clarified their position. "Gov. Romney wants to ensure states, who are the first responders and are in the best position to aid impacted individuals and communities, have the resources and assistance they need to cope with natural disasters." Well duh, we all want that. Would this mean sending federal funds to states to help them handle disasters? Oh wait, we already do that. Also, that's the federal government still spending money. So he wants FEMA, he just wants to call it something else more popular, I guess.

Why do I think we need FEMA? Because natural disasters do not respect state borders. So we need to coordinate our efforts across state borders. I think states and feds should work together and both should have adequate funding.

And by the way, if you're wondering what a weakened FEMA under poor leadership would look like, I have one word for you: KATRINA.

Do you think we need federal oversight for national weather disasters like Sandy?

 

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