Romney on FEMA

Here's Mitt Romney, from one of the Republican primary debates (moderated by John King of CNN):

KING: You've been a chief executive of a state. I was just in Joplin, Missouri. I've been in Mississippi and Louisiana and Tennessee and other communities dealing with whether it's the tornadoes, the flooding, and worse. FEMA is about to run out of money, and there are some people who say do it on a case-by-case basis and some people who say, you know, maybe we're learning a lesson here that the states should take on more of this role. How do you deal with something like that?

ROMNEY: Absolutely. Every 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.

Instead of thinking in the federal budget, what we should cut -- we should ask ourselves the opposite question. What should we keep? We should take all of what we're doing at the federal level and say, what are the things we're doing that we don't have to do? And those things we've got to stop doing, because we're borrowing $1.6 trillion more this year than we're taking in. We cannot...

KING: Including disaster relief, though?

ROMNEY: We cannot -- we cannot afford to do those things without jeopardizing the future for our kids. It is simply immoral, in my view, for us to continue to rack up larger and larger debts and pass them on to our kids, knowing full well that we'll all be dead and gone before it's paid off. It makes no sense at all. (emphasis added)

It also makes no sense to think the federal government has no role in relieving the devastation caused by a major storm that disrupts life in several states. As for immorality, cutting essential services like FEMA so that greedy billionaires can have huge tax cuts comes more urgently to mind.


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I'm sure that Romney is busy shaking his Etch-a-Sketch as I write this.

By Neil Rickert (not verified) on 30 Oct 2012 #permalink

This is one of the earliest and most original roles of government; going back to the earliest agricultural societies - to collect grain during the good years so that they can save it for the bad years. If you don't think government should be doing this, you don't really understand what government was invented for in the first place.

"provide for the general welfare" is evidently not to be taken to mean 'general' or 'welfare.'

Republicans do not believe in 'governing'. This has been made quite clear since the rise of the neo-cons and was on display during the Katrina disaster.

One of the benefits of having such a large diverse country as the US, is the diversification benefits it provides from an insurance standpoint. Insurance companies know this as well. That's why re-insurance companies exist. They provide insurance to insurance companies. Some risks are too large to bear alone. This applies not only to companies, but to individuals, cities, counties, states, etc. Mutual aid pacts are a sign that it applies to nations as well.
Romney knows this full well. It's econ 101 stuff. He has to say the crap he says to pander to neo-con morons too thick headed to acknowledge reality.

If the American people are dumb enough to elect the Romney/Ryan ticket , then they deserve everything they are going to get ...The only problem I have with that is I DON'T deserve it !

By Don Phillips (not verified) on 30 Oct 2012 #permalink

FEMA is about to run out of money

Surely that is the main point.

Voting against the Department of Santa Claus is not the same thing as opposing Saint Nick. It just means that you think delivery of the presents is better facilitated by parents with jobs than a government with no money.

Methinks Kevin has either not read or not understood Blaine's comment.

Romney has no trouble increasing the military budget because "it's needed for national defense." But what exactly does he think a problem like the hurricane is? Right now 3/4 of the east coast is devastated from the damage. If a foreign invasion had caused the same damage it would be worthy of federal response, but not when Mother Nature causes it? I fail to see the relevant difference here.

Here's a response to Mr. Kevin, like Mr. Todd, first class shills for the Koch brothers. Apparently, Rethuglican New Jersey Governor doesn't agree with Rmoney about FEMA. Of course, unlike the bulk of the Rethuglican thugs, Governor Christie thinks that he is supposed to be governing, not posturing.

@Kevin - the federal government literally cannot run out of money. It is impossible (unless it chooses to). What can happen is that people could lose faith in the dollar, which would indeed be disastrous. However, extended record low borrowing rates for the past few years shows that we aren't even close to that stage.

Secondly, the fears of "debt" are vastly overstated. The vast majority of federal debt is owed to Americans.

Finally, if FEMA is out of money, maybe its coffers can be replenished by cutting down on the military. Or is it more important to rebuild in Iraq (that's what the last republican presidential lie got us, and half the country wants to elect a serial liar for president....sheesh) than in the US?

Addicted - John King (and Kevin) also clearly don't understand how the FEMA disaster relief fund works. Because Congress cannot really know how much disasters will affect the US in the next fiscal year, they put basically an arbitrary amount of money in it with the understanding that they'll put more in when its needed. It "runs out" every bad year because its designed that way. We would be idiots to put in enough to cover big disasters every year, because that would earmark money for a disaster that might never come when that same money could be used elsewhere. Its not like the DOD budget or some other department budget, with a hard ceiling and an implied promise by the agency not to exceed it. That's not how its designed to work.

It is much smarter to do exactly what we do - put some money in it, and add more when a big disaster hits. The idea that this standard and reasonably thought out operating procedure is a sign of government dysfunciton or mismanagement just shows how ignorant King and Romney are being.

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By sex izlee (not verified) on 31 Oct 2012 #permalink

Today, on TV, Governor Romney said of course he would fully fund FEMA,

By Jim Thomerson (not verified) on 31 Oct 2012 #permalink

As one of the wealthy free market conservatives whose beach home and yacht sustained damage from Sandy, I refuse to be seduced by that immoral FEMA or any other government disaster aid aka socialism. Obviously, I would really rather not downsize to a smaller yacht. Maybe someone can organize a fundraiser to pay for my repairs?

Not sent on my iPhone because I refuse to charge it on the government-provided generator down the street

By Matt Foley (not verified) on 31 Oct 2012 #permalink

"It also makes no sense to think the federal government has no role in relieving the devastation caused by a major storm that disrupts life in several states."

Or even in one state. Collective provision for disasters avoids wasteful duplication of resources. That's why we don't each keep our own fire engine.

By Richard Wein (not verified) on 04 Nov 2012 #permalink


As a wealthy liberal democrat, I winter at my beach home on Hamilton Island, Queensland Australia.
My fabulously wealhy neighbors feel sorry that you're not wealthy enough to have a beach home in a warm exotic location like us in the Whitsundays, so we're sending NJ a huge charitable donation. Maybe they can help you out because you clearly weren't prudent enough to buy insurance for your home and yacht. That's just how the free market works and you'll have to suck it up.