Ron Paul Thinks FEMA is the Real Disaster
With reports that Hurricane Irene killed at least 20 people, knocked out power to more than 2 million homes and businesses and left many towns flooded over the weekend, presidential candidate Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) stood by his controversial belief that the federal government should reduce its role in disaster relief. In an interview on Fox News, Paul argues against the very existence of FEMA.
Paul criticized the agency's flood insurance program, which allows property owners to purchase insurance from FEMA for homes private insurers were not willing to back. "The whole idea of FEMA is a gross distortion of insurance", Paul argued. “It's so far removed from the market and what insurance should be about.”
"It's a system of bureaucratic centralized economic planning that is a policy that is deeply flawed. They contribute to deficit financing and, quite frankly, they don't have a penny in the bank." Paul said on Fox News Sunday. He argued that FEMA had one of the worst reputations for a bureaucracy ever.
FEMA has been under considerable scrutiny since its ineffective response to Hurricane Katrina victims in New Orleans. Some people have referred to it as the "secret government" of the United States. It is not an elected body, it does not involve itself in public disclosures, and it even has a quasi-secret budget in the billions of dollars.
Paul stressed that FEMA was in big trouble financially, noting that their flood relief program was $20 billion in debt and cast doubt that additional emergency funds could be found for FEMA. So far in 2011, FEMA has responded to “major disasters” 65 times, among the highest in the agency's history. The unprecedented demand has stretched the agency and its budget increasingly thin.
Getting the agency more money for both Irene and disasters through the rest of the year will require an act of Congress. The issue, however, has already become political, with the same fault lines forming as they did during the debt debate that paralyzed Washington last month.
In the 2012 elections, the economy is becoming even more of an issue than it was in 2008. More people have become unemployed in the past year, and the banking crisis has escalated, even after trillions of dollars were pumped into the system by Congress and the Federal Reserve. In fact, in Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke's Jackson Hole speech, he blamed Congress and the President above anyone else as being the primary reason for the continuing lack of growth in the economy.
Ron Paul is known for his unconventional views and has been praised for them in recent polls as the most likely GOP candidate to beat Obama in 2012. Two recent Rasmussen polls show that Ron Paul is not only statistically tied with Obama (38% vs. 39%), but he does better against the current president than any other declared or potential GOP candidate.
Ron Paul has been one of the few presidential candidates who is vocal on Washington's excessive spending habits. He understands that the country needs progressive financial reform and has laid out a strategic policy of specific cuts that need to be made to solve the debt problems.
“People are waking up and saying, ‘Yeah, Ron Paul is right,'” Paul said. “Why are we fighting all these undeclared wars? Why do we have a Federal Reserve that bails out the rich and dumps on the poor? Why is it that deficits don't really matter and politicians just stand around and talk that they're going to nibble away at a budget deficit that is 10 years out?”
The Revolution continues…
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