As Rahm Emanuel once said, “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.” Well that seems to be just what the Obama administration has in mind. They are using the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy to expand Big Government and hoping that it will also give a boost to their campaign.
Just two days ago the New York Times ran a story that openly promoted with its title “A Big Storm Requires Big Government.” The editorial piece read:
Most Americans have never heard of the National Response Coordination Center, but they’re lucky it exists on days of lethal winds and flood tides. The center is the war room of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, where officials gather to decide where rescuers should go, where drinking water should be shipped, and how to assist hospitals that have to evacuate.
FEMA, created by President Jimmy Carter, was elevated to cabinet rank in the Bill Clinton administration, but was then demoted by President George W. Bush, who neglected it, subsumed it into the Department of Homeland Security, and placed it in the control of political hacks. The disaster of Hurricane Katrina was just waiting to happen.
The agency was put back in working order by President Obama, but ideology still blinds Republicans to its value. Many don’t like the idea of free aid for poor people, or they think people should pay for their bad decisions, which this week includes living on the East Coast
However, The Wall Street Journal points out:
Regarding the budget for FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Agency), Mr. Obama’s own fiscal 2013 budget sought $10.008 billion. That was a cut of $641.5 million, or 6.02%, from fiscal 2012. We couldn’t find an apples-to-apples comparison in the Ryan budget resolution, because FEMA spending was part of a larger category and the Senate never did pass its budget. But if budget cuts to FEMA are the liberal standard, their beef is with Mr. Obama. By the way, Mr. Romney says he doesn’t want to abolish FEMA.
None of which means that FEMA is above reform. Matt Mayer of the Heritage Foundation has found that annual FEMA disaster declarations have multiplied since the Clinton years and have reached a yearly average of 153 under Mr. Obama. That compares to 129.6 under George W. Bush, 89.5 under Mr. Clinton, and only 28 a year under Reagan. Mr. Mayer argues that taxpayers and storm victims would be better served if FEMA devoted itself to helping out in the biggest disasters, such as Sandy, and not dive in at every political request for assistance.
While some may look at visiting disaster areas as a photo opportunity and a chance to grow big government, there is not doubt that these mayors and local officials who actually have to live in the midst of the people must take these things seriously. But then they are the ones best equipped to deal with the situation, not a bloated federal bureaucracy and a power hungry FEMA.
But as with every major emergency, the federal government, whether led by a Republican or a Democrat are more than charitable with your money. Somehow I fail to recall where the Constitution said the feds had a right or obligation to be charitable with public funds. In fact, the only people who are and can be charitable are individuals and they do that with their own money. Otherwise, it’s immoral and frankly stealing from some to pay others.
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