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August 26, 2011 3:50 PM Ron Paul rejects FEMA role in hurricane response

By Steve Benen

And to think, Ron Paul struggles to be taken seriously as a presidential candidate.

After a lunch speech today, Ron Paul slammed the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, and said that no national response to Hurricane Irene is necessary.

“We should be like 1900; we should be like 1940, 1950, 1960,” Paul said. “I live on the gulf coast, we deal with hurricanes all the time. Galveston is in my district.

“There’s no magic about FEMA. They’re a great contribution to deficit financing and quite frankly they don’t have a penny in the bank. We should be coordinated but coordinated voluntarily with the states,” Paul told NBC News. “A state can decide. We don’t need somebody in Washington.”

To be sure, this isn’t exactly surprising. It’s consistent with everything we know about Ron Paul and his ideology.

But for the record, let’s take a moment to note just how misguided his worldview really is.

As a factual matter, natural disasters hit American communities in 1900, and in time, they’d recover. But “in time” is the key part of that sentence — families and communities would struggle for a very long time to get back on their feet before federal agencies played a role in disaster response. FEMA isn’t “magic,” but so long as we overlook 2001 to 2008, it is an efficient, effective agency that’s proven itself very capable of providing much-needed assistance to hard-hit areas. If Galveston is ever hit again by hurricane, I suspect Ron Paul’s constituents will be very glad to see FEMA on the scene.

What’s more, voluntary coordination among states is a recipe for one outcome: failure. Cash-strapped states barely have the resources for schools and law enforcement; the notion that they’ll be able to prepare and respond to a natural disaster, and rebuild in its wake, without any federal role whatsoever, is ridiculous.

If Mississippi, which is not at all a wealthy state, gets hits by a hurricane, will it have the financial wherewithal to provide for the affected areas? For that matter, would Mississippi, Alabama, and Louisiana — none of which is wealthy — be able to effectively put together a “voluntary coordination” plan in the event of a natural disaster?

As Jay Bookman explained a few months ago, “A state suffering destruction on such a scale cannot be told to suck it up and pull itself up by its own bootstraps. After all, it is moments such as these that put the ‘United’ in the United States. We are not self-contained human units each out to maximize individual wealth and consumption; we are Americans, and we help each other out.”

On the list of things Americans can and should expect from the federal government, “disaster relief” should be one of the few responsibilities that the left and right can endorse enthusiastically. It’s something people can’t do for themselves; it’s something states can’t afford to do; and struggling communities can’t wait for the invisible hand of the free market to lift them up, especially since it’s a market private enterprise isn’t eager to enter.

“We should be like 1900”? No thanks.

Steve Benen is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly, joining the publication in August, 2008 as chief blogger for the Washington Monthly blog, Political Animal.

Comments

  • Mike on August 26, 2011 3:56 PM:

    "We should be like 1900"

    Isn't that the GOP platform?

    Frankly I think we should explore devolution ala Scottland, with the 50 states going mostly their separate ways, with loose coordination on issues like border security and extradition.

  • efgoldman on August 26, 2011 3:57 PM:

  • Andrew on August 26, 2011 4:00 PM:

    I'm so tired of this baloney. Go live in a cave already and let the rest of build a society that works.

  • Okie on August 26, 2011 4:05 PM:

    Blinded by ideology.

    FEMA is like an insurance policy. You pay your premiums (taxes), and in case a disaster affects you FEMA will be there to help.

    Paul hates FEMA just because it's the government. Blind ideology leads to strange places if you never take a reality check.

  • DAY on August 26, 2011 4:06 PM:

    We could have saved a whole heap of money on Dec 7, 1941 by not going to war. Hell, Hawaii wasn't even a state!

    One wonders if "old fashioned' Doctor Paul washed his hands before delivering all those babies. After all, his predecessors didn't. . .

  • Jamie on August 26, 2011 4:11 PM:

    So does that mean Doc Paul will refuse FEMA help the next time a hurricane hits Galveston?

  • rea on August 26, 2011 4:11 PM:

    He's actualy citing the 1900 Galveston Hurricane--8,000 dead (conservatively), 30,000 homeless--as an example of proper disaster handling?

  • Objective Dem on August 26, 2011 4:11 PM:

    The Hurricane that hit Galveston in 1900 was one of the great natural disasters in American history. It killed approximately 8,000 people.

  • patrick II on August 26, 2011 4:15 PM:

    Paul: "We should be coordinated but coordinated voluntarily with the states

    FEMA is voluntary coordination between the states. I don't know how he thinks democracy works, but people in the states voluntarily vote for some among them to go to Washington and ask them to, among other things, coordinate disaster relief for the (United) states.
    Mr. Paul might prefer a different kind of coordiantion -- ad hoc, ineffective coordination -- but not many of his fellow travelers would get elected. Probably because they lack his gravitas.

  • Luke Coley on August 26, 2011 4:22 PM:

    Should the armed forces be structured as they were in 1900?

  • RussellB_in_LA on August 26, 2011 4:27 PM:

    Yeah, federal spending is the problem. Paul should know -- he's been suckling at the federal teat for 21 years. Clearly he wants to ensure the government doesn't run out of money to issue the paychecks he's been so gleefully cashing since Carter was president.

  • Mike on August 26, 2011 4:27 PM:

    I don't think that Ron Paul understands the term "economies of scale."

  • Anonymous on August 26, 2011 4:28 PM:

    OK, Steve, you're not doing your readers a service here by making the EXTREMELY relevant connection to what happened in 1900 in Galveston, TX.

    "It was the deadliest hurricane in US history" - 8,000 to 12,000 dead.

    And it was extremely deadly because the U.S. Weather Bureau was inexperienced and unprepared, and there was no federal disaster response.

    The people in Galveston were sitting ducks, blind to the impending storm, and on their own once it hit.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1900_Galveston_hurricane

    So, the historical irony is that if the people in Galveston were to return in time to 1900, they'd almost certainly be killed.

  • SYSPROG on August 26, 2011 4:34 PM:

    I am so sick of this crap. Aren't we the UNITED STATES of America? Aren't we SUPPOSED to look out for each other? Doesn't the GOP hold a cross in one hand and a flag in the other? Shouldn't we abide by the GOLDEN RULE? SUCH SUCH hypocrites. Ron Paul? Take a flying leap. Eric Cantor? Let YOUR God come and smite you. You nasty lying hypocrites.

  • Danp on August 26, 2011 4:34 PM:

    U.S. Weather Bureau was inexperienced and unprepared

    Paul would eliminate the Weather Bureau even now.

  • Bob on August 26, 2011 4:40 PM:

    I have an idea, let's bring back the Articles of Confederation.

  • Anonymous on August 26, 2011 4:47 PM:

    Paul: "We should be coordinated but coordinated voluntarily with the states"


    Somebody send Mr. Goldbug a telegram (a proper 1900 style form of communication) and let him know that our Union and its Federal government is voluntary coordination with state representation in the US Senate. It is all there in the ratified Constitution.

  • Kathryn on August 26, 2011 5:01 PM:

    Amen, Sysprog!I hope everybody got a load of golden boy Marco Rubio denouncing Medicare for making us weak, we should depend on our neighbors, on casseroles and, of course Jesus. Earlier tape shows the same hypocrite talking about how important Medicare is and how it helped his Father. They must have to scape off the hypocrisy before they get in bed at night.

  • Gregory on August 26, 2011 5:03 PM:

    I'm happy to see others have pointed out the Galveston connection as illustrative of just how very wrong Ron Paul is, and I'll go further than that. Not only was the life much more severe than it would have been had there been a modern weather service and coordinated disaster response, but also, relative to its original size and importance in 1900, Galveston never did fully recover. Instead, much of its surviving population moved inland to a little town called Houston. Guess which one is bigger (by two orders of magnitude, no less) today?

  • martin on August 26, 2011 5:04 PM:

    If Galveston is ever hit again by hurricane, I suspect Ron Paul�s constituents be very glad to see FEMA on the scene.

    Actually, Galveston was whacked by Ike in 2009. And what did FEMA do for Galveston:
    http://www.fema.gov/hazard/hurricane/2008/ike/fco_archive.shtm#1

    It has been a year and a half since Hurricane Ike made landfall on Texas� southeast coast. Today, recovery continues with support from the state of Texas, the federal government, county and city officials and dozens of local agencies.

    Looking at the federal assistance provided to Texas to date � nearly $3 billion in grants from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has helped thousands of individuals and families obtain safe and secure housing and assisted in the enormous cost for emergency protective measures, debris removal and repairs to the damaged infrastructure in the local communities.

    In addition, more than $157 million in FEMA Hazard Mitigation Grants for property acquisitions has been awarded, while other non-FEMA aid such as Social Service Block Grants (SSBG) from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is helping many recovering Texas cities and counties.

    Disaster recovery is a collaborative process that thrives on the partnerships at the state, federal and local level. With everyone working together we are able to capitalize on ideas and opportunities to assist hurricane survivors and mitigate damages from future disasters.

    Along with the grants and low-interest disaster loans, recovery continues to be supported by programs and people. FEMA caseworkers and Disaster Case Management (DCM) staff from local agencies are working with survivors who still have unmet needs.

    Also, several programs have been extended including HUD�s Disaster Housing Assistance Program (DHAP-Ike), which was extended to May 27, 2010; FEMA�s Temporary Housing Program, now set to end July 9, 2010; and FEMA�s DCM Pilot Program now scheduled to run through Sept. 30, 2010.

    FEMA is still here, 18 months later, working closely with its state and local partners to complete recovery operations.

    I have no idea if Ron Paul tried to stop this sort of Socialist help, but it happened on his watch.

  • newtons.third on August 26, 2011 5:04 PM:

    Noting the wiki page for Galveston, it was in competition with NOLA for shipping for the cotton trade. It was extremely wealthy, but never recovered.
    If no recovery from a natural disaster is what he is after, well forget getting votes from any area that might be hit by a natural disaster. What does that leave? Parts of the upper midwest (outside of our occasional blizzards)?

  • T-Rex on August 26, 2011 5:04 PM:

    Look, this is a guy who named his son after Ayn Rand. And that evil old bat condemned ANY kind of help for the afflicted, public or private. Didn't the hero of one of her books blow up a ship filled with food contributions for famine-victims in India because he thought it was morally wrong to give people help instead of making them fend for themselves? Rand considered altruism immoral because one should only do things that are in one's own self interest. And if Ron Paul is too stupid to realize that it's in his self interest to keep his own constituents alive so that they can vote for him -- well, I hope a lot of those voters take note of that now and remember it later.

  • agave on August 26, 2011 5:07 PM:


    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FEMA#Piecemeal_approach_.281930s.E2.80.931960s.29


    History

    Federal emergency management in the United States has existed in one form or another for over 200 years. The history of FEMA is summarized as follows.

    [edit] Prior to 1930sA series of devastating fires struck the port city of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, early in the 19th century. The 7th U.S. Congress passed a number of measures in the Congressional Act of 1803 that provided relief for Portsmouth merchants by waiving duties and tariffs on imported goods. This is widely considered the first piece of legislation passed by the federal government that provided relief after a disaster.[4]

    Between 1803 and 1930, ad hoc legislation was passed more than 100 times for relief or compensation after a disaster. Examples include the waiving of duties and tariffs to the merchants of New York City after the Great Fire of New York (1835). After President Abraham Lincoln's assassination at John T. Ford's Theatre, the 54th Congress passed legislation compensating those who were injured in the theater.

    [edit] Piecemeal approach (1930s1960s)After the start of the Great Depression in 1929, President Herbert Hoover had commissioned the Reconstruction Finance Corporation in 1932.[5] The purpose of the RFC was to lend money to banks and institutions to stimulate economic activity. RFC was also responsible for dispensing federal dollars in the wake of a disaster. RFC can be considered the first organized federal disaster response agency.

    The Bureau of Public Roads in 1934 was given authority to finance the reconstruction of highways and roads after a disaster. The Flood Control Act of 1944 also gave the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers authority over flood control and irrigation projects and thus played a major role in disaster recovery from flooding

  • Jenny on August 26, 2011 5:09 PM:

    RON PAUL IS FUCKING FRAUD!

    HE'S A WELFARE EARMARKS QUEEN FOR GALVESTON

    THE LATE TIM RUSSERT TOOK HIM APART ON HIS PHONYNESS.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GyPLFKUdhqY

  • hells littlest angel on August 26, 2011 5:11 PM:

    And yet, compared to almost all of the people he's running against, this delusional crackpot often seems like a reasonable man.

  • Danny Gail McElrath on August 26, 2011 5:16 PM:

    Lordy, I wish there was a time machine so all these selfish inane morons could go back to whichever primitive era they prefer and relieve us of putting up with their efforts to prevent a decent society.

  • Equal Opportunity Cynic on August 26, 2011 5:23 PM:

    @Gregory:

    Not only was the life much more severe than it would have been had there been a modern weather service and coordinated disaster response, but also, relative to its original size and importance in 1900, Galveston never did fully recover

    Well, that's because it was weak, like the welfare-sucking leeches on society that one sees in such prevalence today. Obviously Houston went on to thrive because it deserved to, based on hard work and inherent merit. It's not coincidence that a lot of the hard-earned government subsidy money earned by our job-creating oil companies has ended up right there in Houston. It's just as it ought to be with social Darwi... err, with the divinely-ordained invisible hand!

  • max on August 26, 2011 5:43 PM:

    Ron Paul: We should be like 1900; we should be like 1940, 1950, 1960, Paul said. I live on the gulf coast, we deal with hurricanes all the time. Galveston is in my district."

    Well, we do have helicopters now. Paul is nice putz, but still a putz. I have this mental image of him on his rooftop waving off the rescue chopper because the people flying it are government employees.

  • meander on August 26, 2011 5:52 PM:

    Whatever Paul might believe, what happens in one states doesn't just stay in that state. Consider this practical example: if a hurricane wipes out major ports along the east coast, the effects of shipment delays will be felt across the country. Exports will suffer. So if one state like Louisiana can't afford to rebuild quickly, the rest of the nation feels the effect.

  • bigtuna on August 26, 2011 6:01 PM:

    What a fucking moron

  • exlibra on August 26, 2011 6:03 PM:

    But he wants us out of Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya immediately. Which is all that matters. Just ask any libertarian (esp Sean Scanlon (?), who posts here occasionally)

  • Josef K on August 26, 2011 6:06 PM:

    I'll say it once again: absolutely no Republican officeholder above the age of 16 should be allowed out in public unless wearing a leash and a muzzle.

    How these guys and gals manage to cross the street without getting hit is beyond me.

  • Steve on August 26, 2011 6:08 PM:

    People simply do not understand how much DAMAGE FEMA costs to EVERYONE...it's not some insurance policy. A state can regulate its own voluntary effort to help in times of a disaster. We all know how FEMA has 'helped' in the past...not at all. More money spent on another govt subsidy charged to the people. ALL PEOPLE...not just the rich. Everyone is affected! If your own state cannot help volunteer to repair in times of a disaster, then those people therein should be left stranded. America has gained so much dependency on the government, they have become a NON-Producing country. What EXPORTS is this affecting...we hardly have any left due to regulations and restriction from "trade" agreements. People WAKE THE HELL UP! This is America, we are suppose to be a sovereign nation of People not a welfare nation of Govt subsidies. Everyone immediately condemns Ron Paul for telling people to think for themselves! He is trying to wake you up to realize, these programs are NOT going to last forever with the debt we have in this country!! Get off the "Govt will protect us" bullshit, and re-read the Constitution! This country has FALLEN apart because of programs like this...WAKE UP!

  • SYSPROG on August 26, 2011 6:28 PM:

    Oh for Christ's sake Steve...We didn't PRODUCE in the nineties? FEMA was here THEN. How about the late 40's and all of the 50's? Did we produce THEN??? The problem with your 'wake the Hell up' arguments is they are not based on FACTS. YOU know...those pesky little truths that the GOP and the Libertarians keep LYING about? Entitlements did not ruin us. In fact the word 'entitlements' makes me burst a vein. We PAY for those entitlements. We are a SOCIETY. But of course the money we pay YOU think should go to the RICH. This is OUR money...grow up!

  • Sean Scallon on August 26, 2011 6:30 PM:

    "but so long as we overlook 2001 to 2008,"

    Sure, if you can erase this section of history to make your argument, I can do the same too!

    So long as we overlook 1990-2011, the U.S. and Iraq have been at peace. And so long as we overlook 1929-1941, the U.S. has enjoyed upward trajectories of economic growth. And so long as we overlook 1968-1983, the U.S. has never had a lot of inflation.

    It's too bad when you "overlook" this period you also overlook the people of New Orleans too. Sorry, but people don't differentiate when it comes to the feds. It's all one government no matter who is in charge and given what they did I don't think you would want FEMA helping you out.

    By the way, given you've attacked other GOP candidates for controversial or otherwise statements, how does what Paul say make him any less serious a candidate than Rick "I'm going to hang Ben Bernanke" or Michele "Gay people are the spawn of Satan" Bachmann? Can please have a little consistency here? If what one says does not make you serious contender as compared to other factors (money, intensity of support, charisma), what do you have left on the GOP side then?

  • Sean Scallon on August 26, 2011 6:33 PM:

    "we are Americans, and we help each other out.

    Yes we do. We always do because we wish to do. Do we really need the Feds to tell us to do?

  • Schtick on August 26, 2011 6:39 PM:

    Ron Paul, the republican'ts, and the tealiban all think that the middle class and the poor should be the only ones taxed and all those taxes should go for their salaries and their 100% benefits and their retirement.


    crapcha really craps

  • Rick B on August 26, 2011 7:12 PM:

    So Jay Bookman says: "We are not self-contained human units each out to maximize individual wealth and consumption; we are Americans, and we help each other out."

    That statement strikes at the core failure of libertarianism. Libertarianism is based on the idea that we are each and everyone autonomous individuals who are totally knowledgeable and totally capable of dealing with whatever comes our way.

    Libertarianism is a "philosophy" which is attractive to 14 year-old boys who are in the process of breaking away from their families and establishing their own individual identities. Only there are some, like Ron and Rand Paul who never mature emotionally beyond that age 14 theory of total independence of every individual.

  • Mitch on August 26, 2011 7:51 PM:

    @Sean Scallon on August 26, 2011 6:33 PM:

    "we are Americans, and we help each other out.

    "Yes we do. We always do because we wish to do. Do we really need the Feds to tell us to do?"

    No, Sean, we generally don't need the Feds to tell us to help us out.

    What we do need them for is the money to pay for the repairs (which few regions could afford on their own), the infrastructure to transport water, medicine and other needed supplies to the danger zone (again, beyond the reach of individuals or individual States) and coordination among the countless individuals and groups who are involved in clean-up operations (without which little would be accomplished).

    Paying for FEMA is an investment for us. So that it is there when we need it. Is it perfect? Hell no. But show me anything in this world that is perfect. Anything.

    We are one nation. Acting like we're a collection of autonomous States makes no sense, and would leave us vulnerable compared to our (much larger) international competition - China, India, Russia and even the EU. I, personally, am the child of nine different States. I never pledged allegiance to a State, and I never will.

    I am an American; not a Virginian, or Rhode Islander, or Kentuckian, or Californian or Carolinan or an Illinoisan. I am an American and I do not mind losing some cash to help keep us the greatest nation on Earth. It is an investment that I take pride in. And I'm just a middle class cubical monkey who hasn't had a raise in five years.

    To create and maintain the greatest nation on Earth takes sacrifices from all who reap the benefits of that nation. I do not mind paying taxes (at a higher percent of my income than your average millionaire, by the way) to help ensure the future of our nation. It is not socialism, it is not a desire for a welfare state; it is simply my desire to do my part to help America as much as it has helped me since my birth.

  • CDW on August 26, 2011 8:07 PM:

    Texans want to go it alone, so why the heck don't they just go ahead a secede? It would save the rest of us from having to listen to them.

  • Blue Girl on August 26, 2011 8:09 PM:

    Items like this drive me nuts. I spent over two decades in a career field that was heavy in mass casualty preparation and drills, and I have been the owner of the feet in the boots-on-the-ground when disaster struck, and I've responded locally and as part of teams that went from other states to help out, under FEMA.

    The thing that no one ever stops to consider is that the local first responders are not disconnected automotons. They are just as affected by the disaster as the rest of the community.

    They lose homes, they have families who are displaced, friends who are injured and killed...Everything the community is going through, they are going through. Twice.

    Fuck Ron Paul and anyone else who wants to tell them to suck it up, and I mean that sincerely.

    Captcha says ffertype Island. That's where I want to send the libertarians. They can have a grand ole time enacting Lord of the Flies in real-time.

  • bd on August 26, 2011 8:09 PM:

    @Mitch, very well said.

  • bardgal on August 26, 2011 8:14 PM:

    Ron Paul should refund everyone in America for the FEMA funds Galveston received after Katrina.

  • bardgal on August 26, 2011 8:17 PM:

    and Ike.... :)

  • JM917 on August 26, 2011 8:28 PM:

    I suggest that Ron Paul be presented by the federal government with a distant mid-Pacific atoll on which he (and hopefully also his son, Sen. Paul) can live a Robinson Crusoe existence, completely free of the baleful hand of government. I'm sure he'd be happy as a clam, and so would the rest of us, to be rid of him.

  • Athena on August 26, 2011 8:40 PM:

    Mitch- Bravo! Well said and I totally agree with you.

    captcha: enheav effort. Yes, this country requires heavy effort to maintain its existence.

  • vera lynn on August 26, 2011 8:53 PM:

    Mitch and BlueGirl - very well said. thank you.

  • Ken on August 26, 2011 8:58 PM:

    @patrick II: Mr. Paul might prefer a different kind of coordiantion -- ad hoc, ineffective coordination

    ...and will undoubtedly get it someday. That sort of thing happens when you elect people who think government doesn't work - kind of a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    (Captcha is "ncrdsc employee" - what branch of government is that?)

  • Jay on August 26, 2011 9:28 PM:

    Lots of people in Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas do not exactly hold FEMA's effectiveness in responding to disaster in very high regard. When FEMA can out do Wal-Mart in the efficiency and efficacy of its response to disaster, we can then discount the initiative and cooperative efforts of private citizens and private organizations, as well as the effectiveness of multi-state cooperative compacts, in favor of a FEMA-type response.

    Read Paul's whole statement instead of repeating other reporters who have also not read Paul's full statement. The sea wall in Galveston was not built by FEMA, but by the community of Galveston.

    After you read Paul's full statement, then listen to "Big-Box Stores' Hurricane Prep Starts Early" by Jon Hamilton (8-26-2011) and "Wal-Mart Aid Outpaced Some Federal Efforts" by Frank Langfitt (9-9-2005) both on National Public Radio.

  • Robert on August 26, 2011 10:22 PM:

    Guy from New Orleans talking here, If FEMA makes you feel safer you are all damn fools.

    FEMA didnt protect anyones property, FEMA didnt repair anyone's homes

    all FEMA did was put a blue tarp on some peoples roofs and give other people a trailer they didnt need by mistake. New Orleans recovery should be credited to Doctors, police, army, individual gun owners and of course Mexico. Government, be it FEMA or Governor Blanko's prayer directive either didnt help or worse yet got in the way of people who knew better.

    while we are on the subject, lets imagine a world where there was no FEMA, where government made no commitments to help people living in dangerous area's prone to natural disasters. Boy I bet a whole lot less people would live there. so why do they feel safe now with these inept government organs? even if they did work they still couldnt raise the dead or unrape someone. thanks government for giving my city a false sense of security.

  • Doug on August 26, 2011 10:57 PM:

    Jay @ 9:28 PM, that the people of Galveston built the sea wall AFTER the 1900 hurricane and without FEMA assistance has absolutely no bearing on your argument since FEMA wasn't around then and it doesn't construct sea walls.
    If you read the post by martin @ 5:04 PM you'll discover that FEMA isn't tasked merely with providing first response assistance. In his post martin shows that FEMA has continued providing assistance 18 months AFTER Hurricane Ike hit. Where's Walmart?
    If I was one of those residents of Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi or Texas and had had dealings with the "Heckuva Job Brownie" FEMA, I most likely wouldn't have a high regard for FEMA either. That's what can happen when one incompetent puts another incompetent in charge of an organization tasked with providing emergency first response AND mid- and long-term disaster relief services. Incompetence.
    By the way, how much did Walmart write off of their Federal taxes for the aid they "donated"?

    Sean Scallon @ 6:30 PM -
    You're correct concerning Iraq, however (you KNEW there'd be a "however", didn't you?) EVERYTHING else is false. The first "crash" occurred in 1791. The next one in the early 1820s. The one after THAT was during the Van Buren presidency. There was another "panic" during the late 1850s and yet another in 1873. Then there was the 19th century's "Great Depression" which began in 1893 and lasted until 1900.
    Then there was the famous 1907 panic and the 1920-22 recession, followed by the 20th century's "Great Depression" of 1929-1942. The "Eisenhower" recession of 1957 and who could forget the 1970s contribution: "stagflation"? Followed by the recession during the latter part of Reagan's presidency and GHW Bush's ONLY term? Which leads us to 2008-11.
    Since inflation occurs when the value of money decreases in relation to its ability to purchase goods and services, I can safely assert that 1968-1983 was NOT the only period of inflation in US history. Ever hear the phrase "Not worth a Continental"? Nor was that the ONLY period of inflation, although it MAY have been the worst.
    "...how does what Paul say make him any less serious a candidate..." Voter support.
    A candidate can have gobs of money, be as charismatic as all get out and have very intense support. It all depends on HOW MANY people consider the candidate to be charismatic, else the "intensity of support" merely becomes another lunatic fringe. Which, unfortunately, describes not only Rep. Paul's supporters, but those supporting the current crop of GOP candidates as well.
    "What do you have left on the GOP side then?"
    Nothing.

  • jjcomet on August 26, 2011 11:03 PM:

    "We are not self-contained human units each out to maximize individual wealth and consumption; we are Americans, and we help each other out.

    This person apparently lives in a different America from the one inhabited by our right-wing brethren. The modern conservative mantra is PRECISELY maximization of individual wealth and indifference to the fate of others, with a hefty dollop of scorn for those who can't grift successfully enough to make their fortunes. But please don't forget that they're good Christians...

  • jjcomet on August 26, 2011 11:18 PM:

    "while we are on the subject, lets imagine a world where there was no FEMA, where government made no commitments to help people living in dangerous area's prone to natural disasters. Boy I bet a whole lot less people would live there"

    You'd think a person might pause before posting something so completely stupid, much less doing do three times. For your information, Solon, the entire east coast of the United States is one of those "dangerous area's (sic) prone to natural disasters," as it is struck by several hurricanes every season. Are you suggesting that the east coast should be depopulated because it is prone to natural disasters? How about the entire midwest, which is racked annually by hundreds of tornadoes? Or the northern portions of the country, which experience frequent blizzards? If that post is an example of your trenchant intellect, please stick to something more suited to your talents, such as finger painting or making mud pies.

  • Anonymous on August 27, 2011 3:10 AM:

    Robert,it was bush and cheney who made it political, because they were poor , and didn't deserve what the rich should get. Don't fall for the FEMA is at fault meme.

  • Steve on August 27, 2011 6:22 AM:

    @SYSPROG

    Obviously you dropped acid soon after reading my comment. I never mentioned anything about 'entitlements'. Unless you were stating our monies PAID for FEMA...it doesn't UNTIL AFTER they spend millions doing whatever they do when a disaster happens (like we are all dumbed down and cannot do the same for our own state/county). The government can always 'help' to 'protect the people' and just give the needed LOANS to the state in such a crisis. And the people within those districts/counties/states would repay the debt, along with voluntary DUTY to fulfill the reconstruction of damaged property and such.

    Now to 'entitlements'...i SHOULD NOT EVER have to pay for YOUR surgery, food stamps, housing, disaster, etc... Its very clear on property rights. If YOU CHOOSE to live in an area where you might get f'cked up, why should i be charged for it "AS A SOCIETY". I didn't tell you to live there, nor did the government. Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security should all be "OPT-IN/OUT" programs. Social Security should never be taxed as income as it has been. We all have paid into it as a tax, so wtf is there a tax on it twice. Further more, F'ck Social Security, if a person saved as much currency that they (the gov has forcefully taken from you) have taken out of your LABOR check for SS, you would have more currency in your 'savings' today than you ever would get in the return per month of SS until you die, IF you get it all before then! And im done for now...

  • Steve on August 27, 2011 6:34 AM:

    Okay i wan't done.

    Obviously this would effect our economy and it has. Not just FEMA, but most all Govt entities that are SUPPOSE to provide for our common welfare as a COUNTRY. This is where people get lost. They feel, this is a country matter. That everyone should back everyone in the good ol' US of A. That IS the case to most extent, but its WE THE PEOPLE that should be backing everyone in the case of an event as this not depending on the Govt. And we would, if we weren't so dependent on 'hand me downs' from the Govt. And i hear " But we don't have the money to help people out in a crisis like this ", BUT WE WOULD IF PEOPLE KNEW WTF SOUND MONEY WAS, AND PRICE DISCOVERY, AND REAL FREE MARKET, AND FAIR VALUE OF REAL TRADES! Seriously has everyone become so dumbed down that they feel, "hell if this congressman went to college he MUST know what the hell he is talking about", AND MUST DON'T HAVE A F'N CLUE! im done venting...for now...

  • Steve on August 27, 2011 6:43 AM:

    typos...you know what the f*ck im saying, im an American ;) Zero Welfare, Zero Medicaid, Zero Medicare, Zero Social Security...

    We can all provide for ourselves and our families. We need not help "saving" for retirement. Imagine if the USD ever collapses. Do you think you will be reimbursed for the currency you drained into SS over the years and the value is so debased by the time they pay you it isn't worth a loaf of bread. Think about it. We are not the economic power we once was. Faith in our 'money' has been lost internationally. Prepare for the largest shift in wealth ever known....

  • Julian Beach on August 27, 2011 8:21 AM:

    "Blind ideology leads to strange places if you never take a reality check."

    Sure does, as three quarters of a century of catastrophic statist Keynesian economic policies, inflation and toxic debt will attest.

    Oh look! There's a stimulus package headed for the east coast!

  • tea party extraordinare on August 27, 2011 9:02 AM:

    I can tell that this is mostly a Democratic Blog
    because the comments are not very well thought out and Ill conceived. Typical Democratic responses that are posted here kind of like a big fart (just another asshole talking shit)

  • tea party member on August 27, 2011 9:05 AM:

    I can tell that this is mostly a Democratic Blog
    because the comments are not very well thought out and Ill conceived. Typical Democratic responses that are posted here kind of like a big fart (just another asshole talking shit)

  • Anonymous on August 27, 2011 9:22 AM:

  • Sean Scallon on August 27, 2011 9:59 AM:

    "I am an American; not a Virginian, or Rhode Islander, or Kentuckian, or Californian or Carolinan or an Illinoisan. I am an American and I do not mind losing some cash to help keep us the greatest nation on Earth. It is an investment that I take pride in. And I'm just a middle class cubical monkey who hasn't had a raise in five years."

    Bully for you Mitch. Maybe you and Larry the Cable Guy can get together and split a beer down at the roadhouse because I doubt he'd split a latte over at Starbucks. And maybe they'll have Lee Greenwood playing the background too. Wouldn't that be a hoot!

    We are one nation. Acting like we're a collection of autonomous States makes no sense, and would leave us vulnerable compared to our (much larger) international competition - China, India, Russia and even the EU. I, personally, am the child of nine different States. I never pledged allegiance to a State, and I never will.

    No, we are an empire now (as one Bush Administration official told Ron Suskind), one that has military bases all over the world and one whose drones, as much as they kill terrorists and militants, also kill little children too without any kind of legal basis for doing so (no declaration of war) and throws people into prison without trial. The President just does it and Senate merrily rubber stamps and you approve it by mindlessly waving the flag without realizing what's done in that flag's name is far removed from the ideas that help first sow it together.

    "To create and maintain the greatest nation on Earth takes sacrifices from all who reap the benefits of that nation."

    So you're voting for Santorum then? Hmm? Because he thinks like this too. The only difference is he's not willing to pay for the "benefits" which is why we have deficits. But your statement is illuminating because if Paul does win the GOP nomination, you and Rick and Bill Kristol, Obama, Frank Gaffney, Bill Bennett, Hilary Clinton other "nationalists" will be on one side and the decentralists and all those who really do "act locally" put more value on their neighborhoods and their farms and their communities than being part of the "Machine" (as Mario Savio would so rightly put it) as you seem to value, will be on the other side and our politics will be true again instead of the phony divisions we have right now.

  • Hank Xavier on August 27, 2011 10:09 AM:

    How quickly people forget the stellar job FEMA did after Katrina. God forbid we criticize the government.

  • David2011 on August 27, 2011 3:22 PM:

    In the early years of the Republic there was a serious debate about whether the federal government could provide disaster relief under the General Welfare Clause. The Civil War and the post-war amendments, in addition to ending slavery and making clear that the U.S. is a nation, is THE STATE, not a collection of states, resolved that quite clearly. Between the Civil War and 1950, most federal disaster relief was provided by the military, usually the Army Corps of Engineers or the Quartermaster Corps. As for the Galveston 1900 quake:

    "The [Galvston 1900] hurricane destroyed most structures in the city, leaving survivors homeless and destitute. Although the mayor survived the hurricane, many other officials did not. U.S. troops located in Galveston and Houston were sent in to establish martial law. The War Department also dispatched rations and tents. Clara Barton of the Red Cross arrived within the week and additional aid came from oversees. President McKinley, in the midst of an election campaign, ordered troops and supplies to the city but did not come himself."

    http://guides.main.library.emory.edu/content.php?pid=156723&sid=1327601

    The main problem guys like Ron Paul and other libertarians and states' rights enthusiasts have is that they either ignore the Civil War or seem convinced that the losing side actually won.

  • Margaret on August 27, 2011 5:21 PM:

    So according to what all the republicans say the states should be in charge. We should have all 50 states competing with each other to take care of things. Gee that way we can change our name to------ta da-----

    Dis United States of America....anybody have a better idea to call us. But then when they need something and don't get it they will blame the president.

  • JM917 on August 27, 2011 7:24 PM:

    Back around 1894, when a ferocious drought was raging in Texas and the farmers (many of whom at the time supported the Populist Party) petitioned the federal government for relief, President Grover Cleveland (a stout Democrat, in more ways than one) huffed back at them: "The people support the Government. The Government does not support the people." And that was that. No relief, of course. Homesteaders were free to pack up and trek back east.

    That's where Ron Paul stands today.

  • Anonymous on August 27, 2011 10:20 PM:

    Galveston received approx. $729 million for Ike damage in 2009. Why didn't Galveston reject it and ask Rick Perry for the money to rebuild after Ike? The great state of Texas could have proven just how little they need the feds. Isn't that the current platform?

  • tstreet on August 27, 2011 10:30 PM:

    The states you mentioned are hotbeds of right wing blowhards like Ron Paul. By all means, let us not send any federal help to those states, starting with Mississippi and especially Texas. Lincoln made a big mistake thinking he could truly make them a part of the union.

  • Mark Kawakami on August 27, 2011 11:29 PM:

    Galveston is a perfect example of the need for FEMA. In 1900, a hurricane struck Galveston, killing over 6,000 people. Even today, the hurricane of 1900 was the deadliest natural disaster in America's history.

    Prior to 1900, Galveston was the center of commerce for Texas. It had one of the most active ports in the nation and was a a leader in racial equally. The damage from the hurricane changed all at and Galveston never recovered to anywhere near its national prominence. Only by transforming into a pre-Vegas sin city were they able to eventually build some sort of recovery.

    But what bothers me the most about Ron Paul's attitude is that it entirely violates his own principles. What is the role of the Federal Government in a libertarian view? It's to perform the sort of services that are vital but cannot be performed either by the states or by private enterprise. Defense, diplomacy, etc.

    Disaster relief entirely fits within that range, Individual states aren't the right fit because disasters frequently don't hit just one state. The ability to respond efficiently to disasters shouldn't be constrained by state borders, and each state having their own disaster agencies would inevitably result in losses of time, money and resources at a time when those losses mean loss of life.

    The entire conservative viewpoint is that a government should be small so that the few responsibilities it takes on are performed magnificently. A real conservative government should be able to respond to emergencies with stunning effectiveness because it's not a lumbering giant beast.

    Whenever I hear a conservative dismiss or deride FEMA, I know they have no idea what the helll they're talking about. They've so incorporated thir ideology into knee-jerk reactions that they no longer spend any time asking themselves what the whole point of their philosophy is.

  • Sean Scallon on August 28, 2011 1:32 AM:

    It's amazing given the many failures and broken promises of the federal government over the years from the Great Society to Vietnam to Watergate, Katrina, TARP, the Tuskeegee Experiments to Indian policy to Iraq, the Great Inflation of the 1970s to the S&L crisis to the housing bubble that many readers of this website would believe it irrational for many people to take a dim view of the Feds. A government fails the people and you all don't expect a skepticism, cynicism or rejectionist movement to arise from this? Very strange.

  • HMDK on August 28, 2011 10:27 AM:

    Sean Scallon said:
    "A government fails the people and you all don't expect a skepticism, cynicism or rejectionist movement to arise from this? Very strange."

    Sure I do.
    I also know that failures are more vivid and remembered than sucesses. And I also know that radical reactions to perceived incompetence aren't automatically any better than what they're reacting against. They can be, sure.
    But if anyone thinks Ron Paul and his "Selfishness is a Virtue" Ayn Rand ideology is the answer to situations where selflessly helping others is important, that's not even ignorance, ideology or simple insanity... at it's base it is a pure fuckin' category error.

  • Sean Scallon on August 28, 2011 11:25 AM:

    If Paul was running a pure "Ayn Randian" campaign he wouldn't be in double digits in the polls. Paul's campaign is about the rejections of such ideological shibboleths whether they are conservative, libertarian or liberal.

    As much as he is skeptical of Social Security or Medicare or other parts of the Federal Government, he also knows they're not going anywhere anytime soon. But as President, the one area he can control is that over our foreign, defense and security policy and if he can reduce it, he's done more to "cut the size of government" than any conservative has ever done and would free up up funds to make Social Security and Medicare solvent which is what he's proposed to do.

    A Randian wouldn't do this because it would be in "violation of the doctrine."

  • Jeff on August 28, 2011 11:24 PM:

    Here is Ron Paul's Guide to Hurricane Irene Survival -- he doesn't want us sent off to FEMA campus (it is why no FEMA Response is necessary). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lNeLznFt4rY&feature=player_embedded

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