Although Hurricane Irene appears to have been more bark than bite, it did draw attention to what would be required of various government agencies if a more devastating storm were to strike the United States. Nonetheless, Texas Republican Rep. Ron Paul is unimpressed.
In an appearance on “Fox News Sunday” with Chris Wallace, the 2012 Republican presidential contender alluded to the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s failures after Hurricane Katrina. (RELATED: Ron Paul on Libya: ‘Victory for Empire, but loss for American Republic’)
“You read the reports that came out of New Orleans and all of the wonderful things they did — giving checks to people who didn’t live there, sending in hundreds of millions of trailers they had to junk because they didn’t meet FEMA standards,” Paul said. “No, it is a system of bureaucratic central economic planning which is a policy that is deeply flawed. So no, you don’t get rid of something like that in one day. As a matter of fact, I have had the position for a long time and the people keep re-electing me and I have a coastal district. But I also suggested that there is different way to finance this too because FEMA is in big trouble financially. Their flood program is about $20 billion in debt.”
Paul told Wallace he would be against voting for any sort of bailout for the financially beleaguered entity unless Obama would consider cutting $2 billion from the military actions in Libya.
“Well, where does the money come from?” Paul said. “Go hat in hand to China and borrow the money? But, I would consider what I just said because I have precise beliefs in what we should do and transition out of the dependency on the federal government. But I would say, ‘Yes, Obama you want a billion dollars? Cut $2 billion and quit the war in Libya that is undeclared and unconstitutional – bring the troops home, save a billion dollars and put that billion against the deficit and tide our people over.”
Paul added that FEMA is one example of how government has created a culture of dependency. It is also, he says, an example of how the government encourages ill-advised behavior in the private sector.
“We conditioned people that FEMA will take care of us and everything will be okay. But you try to make the programs work the best you can, but you can’t just keep saying, ‘Oh, they need money,’” he said. “Well, we are out of money. This country is bankrupt. This idea that the bleeding hearts say we have to take care of them — the whole idea of FEMA is a gross distortion of insurance.
“FEMA creates many of the problems because they sell insurance because you can’t buy it from a private company which means there is a lot of danger. And we pay people to build on beaches and then you have to go rescue them. So it is so far removed in the market and understanding of what insurance should be about. Insurance should cover major risk and not [be] a bailout program.”