With this ongoing natural disaster a week before the election, let's re-examine Mitt Romney's proposed policies in dealing with disasters, while also
noting how Obama has responded and how he has even received high praise from governor Christie of New Jersey, a Republican.
During the Republican primary debates, Romney said that he is for abolishing FEMA and leaving it to state and local government to deal with disasters
AND that putting disaster response and relief in the private sector is even better:
Romney on handling natural disasters
During a CNN debate at the height of the GOP primary, Mitt Romney was asked, in the context of the Joplin disaster and FEMA's cash crunch, whether
the agency should be shuttered so that states can individually take over responsibility for disaster response. "Absolutely," he said. "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 the
opposite question, what should we keep?"
Seems FEMA is a good idea: having the federal government provide the resources and logistics for disaster response, relief and recovery. State
governments do not have the resources (funds) to do so, and having each state create the logistical infrastructure and to have supplies on hand for an
emergency would be a waste of resources, because states would be doubling/tripling/etc. up on material and organizations that the federal government
would otherwise provide. Each state does not have a big natural disaster each year, but there usually is one or more in several states each year.
Doesn't it make more sense for the Federal government to come to the aid of the states in need. In a sense, this is disaster insurance.
But worst still is suggesting that these matters be privatized. We don't privatize the police, the fire department, the National Guard or the
military. Why should this facet of safety be privatized? Are companies just going to do this work out of the goodness of their hearts? No, they
will only do it for profit, so they will charge a premium for it and not help those that can't pay. No doubt they will also try to get big government
contracts to do it. Given the massive waste and fraud of corporations contracting to the US government in Iraq and Afghanistan, why should we believe
the private sector will be any better and more efficient than the government at doing a job the government has considerable experience and skill with?
Isn't relying on private companies to provide disaster response and relief risky???
And now with Hurrican Sandy happening, Romney isn't answering reporters' questions on what he said previously on the subject:
Mitt Romney Refuses To Talk About FEMA After Hurricane Sandy
Mitt Romney refused to answer reporters' questions about how he would handle the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), after a Tuesday
"storm relief" event in Ohio for Hurricane Sandy. From the Romney pool report: TV pool asked Romney at least five times whether he would eliminate
FEMA as president/what he would do with FEMA. He ignored the qs but they are audible on cam. The music stopped at points and the qs would have been
audible to him.
A follow-up report noted the specific questions Romney ignored, as he was collecting hurricane supplies following his event: "Gov are you going to
eliminate FEMA?" a print pooler shouted, receiving no response. Wires reporters asked more questions about FEMA that were ignored. Romney kept
coming over near pool to pick up more water. He ignored these questions: "Gov are you going to see some storm damage?" "Gov has [New Jersey Gov.]
Chris Christie invited you to come survey storm damage?" "Gov you've been asked 14 times, why are you refusing to answer the question?"
The best the Romney campaign can say is that state and local agencies should lead in disaster relief. THAT IS WHAT HAPPENS ALREADY. FEMA merely
provides supplies and funds and other logistical help. The Feds don't come in and tell the local/state government how to do things. So the Romney
policy is to suggest that we should do what already is done. They really know what they are talking about.
I'll just add that we have a number of presidential administrations to look back on to see how they handled major disasters.
Bush I with Hurricane Andrew: not so good -- relief was slow in getting to those who needed help. Bush's proposed hurricane relief budget was
increased significantly by congress.
Clinton with Hurricane Floyd: the initial response was praised, but additional later flooding swamped the relief effort. In general, however,
post-hurricane and tornado relief by FEMA during the Clinton administration was considered competent and timely. No doubt Clinton, in part, learned a
political lesson from his predecessor.
Bush II and Hurricane Katrina: Uh... do I really need to say anything?
This was the moment went the press finally gave up on the Bush presidency and no longer cut him the slack it did continually up to then, after 9/11.
Clearly Bush II learned nothing about dealing with natural disasters at home from his predecessor or even his daddy.
Obama: his administration has dealt with past hurricanes and tornadoes with appropriate responses and there has been no widespread criticism of it.
Now with Hurricane Sandy he is garnering praise from a Republican governor who never had much lover for him before.
would-be president Romney: wants to do away with FEMA and have the private sector be responsible for it. Just imagine your cable company or health
insurance company being your disaster relief provider. Good times.
By the way, we've had experience with one president who was a president's son and came from the wealthy class: George W. Bush. Romney is even richer,
and although his father didn't become president, he did run for president. And from what Romney says and the way he acts, he appears even more out
of touch with the common man than Bush II. Do we really want the scion of another rich politician to become president? I really don't think so.
Or put another way: if your community/state suffered a major natural disaster, who would you want in office, Obama or Romney? Seriously ask yourself
that question before you vote.
edit on 31-10-2012 by MrInquisitive because: (no reason given)