Ron Paul: The Feds Should Have No Role In Disaster Relief

As Hurricane Irene makes its way up the East Coast, Ron Paul says disaster relief isn't a job for the Federal Government.

Ron Paul, whose home district has seen its share of hurricane-related disasters over the years, said after a campaign appearance today that he didn’t believe that there should be a role for the Federal Government in disaster relief at all:

“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.”

Here’s the full interview:

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Not surprisingly, Paul’s comments have drawn criticism, especially given that he made them as a Category 1 hurricane bares down on the Northeast and threatens New York City with one of its most serious natural disasters in recent memory. Lawrence Rafferty accuses Paul of being un-Christian, which is unfair largely because there’s nothing about being a Christian that mandates being in favor of compelled charity. Joe Gandelman argues that disaster relief is one of the things that Americans expect from the Federal Government, as does Steve Benen:

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.

That last part isn’t necessarily true, of course. Private insurance covers rebuilding costs in most cases, the exceptions typically being homes constructed in areas like flood plains where the cost of insurance would be prohibitive. In that case, Congress established a government-provided flood insurance program that has the perverse result of subsidizing construction in high-risk flood locations. If homeowners had to pay the true cost to insure their homes in those areas, those areas would likely become far less attractive locations to construct homes. Logically, that would seem to me to be the result that we would want to see occur, rather than encouraging people to live in areas where their properties, and their lives, are at risk from floods.

Paul’s other complaint about FEMA is one that is well-founded by experience. More often than not, FEMA presence in a disaster area tends to hinder relief and reconstruction rather than help it. Additionally, Katrina showed us how organizations like the Red Cross were able to respond quickly to the disaster, while FEMA languished on the sidelines thanks to bureaucracy and, of course, the incompetence typical of government agencies. Moreover, we’ve seen examples in the past of how private action being able to respond faster, and more efficiently. After a 2005 tornado nearly leveled an Amish community in Indiana, other Amish and Mennonites came to help rebuild the town, a task they had largely accomplished within a month.  The same thing happened in Pennsylvania in 1985 when two neighboring towns were destroyed by tornadoes. One town had its aid administered by FEMA, the other was an Amish community. Guess which town was up and running first?

That’s not to say that there shouldn’t be a role for the Federal Government in disaster relief. Clearly, when something like Hurricane Irene threatens multiple states, there is a role for Washington to play. Rather than taking the top-down approach that FEMA does, though, it strikes me that a better alternative would be to make disaster relief  block grants available to local communities to use as they find necessary without having to comply with the endless regulations of the Federal Government. After all, what does some bureaucrat in Washington know about what the residents of Joplin, Missouri need?

Congressman Paul is wrong to say that there’s no proper role for the Federal Government when a major disaster strikes, but he’s right to point out that the Federal Government hasn’t really done a good job in that area lately.

FILED UNDER: Natural Disasters, US Politics, , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020.

Comments

  1. Rick Almeida says:

    More often than not, FEMA presence in a disaster area tends to hinder relief and reconstruction rather than help it.

    Please provide clear evidence for this claim.

  2. anjin-san says:

    he’s right to point out that the Federal Government hasn’t really done a good job in that area lately.

    Under the incompetent Bush administration? Sure. Republicans are actively working to break government. They have had some success.

  3. Mike says:

    @Rick Almeida: @Rick Almeida: Two words:Hurricane Andrew. I lived it and FEMA was a big reason things went so badly for the first few days. Check it out Rick

  4. Tano says:

    without having to comply with the endless regulations of the Federal Government.

    boilerplate propaganda.

    Would you care to give some examples of FEMA regulations that hinder relief efforts?

  5. michael reynolds says:

    Yeah, if a hurricane wipes out a nuclear power plant we should call the Amish. Let’s go contain that contamination, Elder Jebediah!

    Ideology makes for stupidity.

    Roads, power lines, sewage treatment, phone and data lines, medical care, food and water supply — none of them is state or locality-specific. Roads here connect to roads there. Sewage that spills untreated into water here ends up in the water supply over there. Data lines don’t begin and end in a given state. If food is in short supply in location A then location B suddeny gets a lot of hungry refugees which — being just a town or a county — they aren’t prepared to deal with.

    Mother Nature doesn’t know that North Carolina and Virginia are different places. Power, water, transportation, data, supply chains — none of them are about states. Even the impact on housing isn’t limited geographically unless you can somehow guarantee that displaced people in one town or state won’t drive on over to screw up another town or state. If a nuke plant pulls a Fukushima you rally want Mootown and Cowtown and however many Amish happen to be ready with their claw hammers to run over and take care of that?

    Obviously there’s a federal role in disaster relief. Obviously.

  6. anjin-san says:

    what does some bureaucrat in Washington know about what the residents of Joplin, Missouri need?

    If they have expertise in disaster relief and recovery? Possibly a great deal. That “bureaucrat” you are so dismissive of may be just as good as what he does as you are. He might even be better. By your logic, what does someone like Gen. Schwarzkopf, who was born in New Jersey, know about winning a battle in the middle east? Well, let’s see. He’s smart and he has trained for it. In other words, it is his profession, so he is paid the get the job done.

    Tell me something Doug, if I need advice from a lawyer in your area of expertise, would you be able to assist me, in spite of the fact that I live 3000 miles away? Or would you say “What does an attorney in Virginia know about what some guy in San Francisco needs?”

    Don’t you get tired of dumbing it down?

  7. @Rick Almeida:

    Umm, Katrina or any other number of more local disasters where FEMA rules get in the way of getting the work done

  8. @anjin-san:

    Tell me something Doug, if I need advice from a lawyer in your area of expertise, would you be able to assist me, in spite of the fact that I live 3000 miles away?

    No, because I am not familiar with the law of your jurisdiction. Go find a local attorney.

  9. anjin-san says:

    Guys I think we need to keep in mind that Doug, like bithead, Jay Tea, and all the other right wing freeholders has several million dollars in liquid assets on hand to get him through life’s rough patches.

    If, God forbid, his home is destroyed by a disaster, or he or someone he loves should suffer a catastrophic illness or accident, he will simply get out his checkbook and reach into this vast prudent reserve he has accumulated by living responsibly and within his means. Should the government offer assistance, they will be told “no thank you, it’s not necessary”.

    Right?

  10. Lit3Bolt says:

    Shorter Doug: Here’s some random anecdotes which prove my point that government is always incompetent, all the time, while the free market and tight-knit religious communities are always perfect, all the time. None of these anecdotes were cherry picked and they provide an air-tight case of why federal spending is always wasteful, while state and local spending is utterly perfect.

    I denounce Al Sharpton so you have to take me seriously.

  11. john personna says:

    The theory of federal disaster management is pretty easy. It is that some (a) some events swamp a state or region’s resources, and (b) it would be cost-prohibitive to set up maximum resource in all states and regions [in preparation for rate events].

    These combine to an efficiency argument, that an adaptable organization can assist in an earthquake, or forest fire, or tornado, or flood, or hurricane, at lower cost.

    The argument “yeah, but I don’t like FEMA” is kind of poor response to the original motivation.

  12. Jay says:

    @michael reynolds: I would say roads, food, power supply, water, data, and sewage are all examples of things that can be organized locally or at the state level (for healthcare I agree that it is no longer possible). The states and localities certainly need to coordinate, but that is not the same thing as organizing the entire operation at the fed level. do you really want the federal government telling people with well water how to distribute it? or NY how to get water from upstate into the city? emergencies, i agree, require the federal government. day-to-day needs should be negotiated among cities and states…or else they wouldn’t get done.

  13. jan says:

    @anjin-san:

    Guys I think we need to keep in mind that Doug, like bithead, Jay Tea, and all the other right wing freeholders has several million dollars in liquid assets on hand to get him through life’s rough patches.

    When sputtering around for some kind of really good, satisfying rebuke, and all else fails, just use class warfare. It works everytime!

  14. Ben Wolf says:

    Yeah, if a hurricane wipes out a nuclear power plant we should call the Amish. Let’s go contain that contamination, Elder Jebediah!

    As the like/dislike system is off, I’m giving this sentence a +10.

  15. Ben Wolf says:

    When sputtering around for some kind of really good, satisfying rebuke, and all else fails, just use class warfare. It works everytime!

    It was a rhetorical device, Jan. No one seriously believes Eric, Drew or yourself have anything approaching a million dollars.

  16. jan says:

    @Jay:

    , but that is not the same thing as organizing the entire operation at the fed level. do you really want the federal government telling people with well water how to distribute it?

    If the government intervened in well water distribution, they would first burn out the pump. There is no common sense in government implementation.

    Government’s starting point is to do something which expenses out at the highest cost, uses the most Intellectuals to work on the project, and ends by screwing up the mission.

  17. Tsar Nicholas II says:

    Ron Paul??

  18. JohnMcC says:

    Just to comment on a line of reasoning in the original posting that has gotten little notice — it is absolutely true that subsidizing insurance for expensive home on barrier islands and flood plains and known fault lines and similar disaster prone areas is extremely dumb. It is extremely popular with developers on the barrier island and such, however. As is very expensive ‘beach replenishment’ and such. And because those people are local economically rich and politically connected, we are certain to keep subsidizing stupid things.

    And having encouraged expensive development in disaster prone area, it takes a conservative to say the Fed Gov’t has no responsibility for the development that occurs.

    Wonder if Dr Paul has read anything about the Galveston Hurricane of 1900 and thought about his stupid myopic nostalgia? Or has any opinion about spending the necessary money to keep the levees of NewOrleans in operating condition so that Katrina style disasters don’t occur? Conservatism has become a self-mocking ideology.

  19. ponce says:

    I think Eric Cantor said the same thing recently(before the earthquake and hurricane hit his state).

  20. Davebo says:

    I remember Paul screaming for no federal assistance after Rita or Ike for his district…

    Oh wait, no I don’t.

    You have to turn to his son Rand to find a bigger hypocrite.

  21. Davebo says:

    And by the way, a Category 1 hurricane is like a lame blowjob.

  22. Jay Tea says:

    @anjin-san: Shove it up where the sun don’t shine.

    This might be a news flash to you, but a lot of us have known it for some time. Ron Paul is nuts. His supporters are even more nuts. His main purpose, it seems, is to give asshats like you excuses to kick around others who think that he might have one or two good ideas, but they’re buried neck-deep in industrial-grade, mil-spec crazy.

    Sad you feel the need to pre-emptively insult people… especially when you have to just plain make crap up to do so.

    J.

  23. steve says:

    I can see how the Amish would be good at rebuilding an Amish town. No power lines and mostly wood construction. How would this apply to a major city? How many states keep the necessary resources on hand to deal with a major disaster? Have recent cutbacks eliminated their ability to respond? Is it economically efficient for every state to maintain the needed resources to respond to every disaster? If FEMA is so awful, and everyone who votes for the GOP seems to know it, why dont GOP governors ask FEMA to stay away?

    Steve

  24. WR says:

    @Doug Mataconis: Here’s the Republican two-step: The crazy evil Republicans take power and dismantle the government, deliberating installing incompetents and cronies in positions of authority who tranform the agencies into machines for throwing money to their buddies.

    Then when they are finally out of office and a decent American tries to restore these agencies to their original purpose, the sane Republicans like Doug can all say “these agencies don’t work — just look how terrible they were under the Republican administration.”

    I don’t know if Ron Paul is crazy, stupid, or just evil. I do know that anyone who could agree with him on this point must be so blinded by ideology that he no longer has any humanity left.

  25. WR says:

    @jan: I realize that reading comprehension isn’t your strong suit, but this was a bit of heavy-handed irony. His point was the the Doug’s of the world don’t actually have millions in gold squirreled away and that should disaster strike them they will be looking for help like anyone else.

    I’m sorry I have to explain this to you, but maybe if someone had taken the time to explain how the world really works at one point you wouldn’t spend your life repeating crap you read on right wing websites.

  26. ponce says:

    Here’s the Republican two-step

    The Republican’s tragedy is that a vast majority of humans prefer to live in societies with strong central governments.

    The Republican’s comedy is that nobody is stopping these government hating Republicans from trekking into the wilderness and starting a society based on their small government vision…but.they.never.do.it.

  27. sam says:

    @Jay Tea:

    His main purpose, it seems, is to give asshats like you excuses to kick around others who think that he might have one or two good ideas, but they’re buried neck-deep in industrial-grade, mil-spec crazy.

    I take it you don’t think this is one of the one or two good ideas.

  28. @jan: \

    If the government intervened in well water distribution, they would first burn out the pump. There is no common sense in government implementation.

    You mean like the most powerful military in the world? (Indeed, in all of history).

    You mean like the interstate highway system?

    You mean like the FBI? The CIA?

    Food and dug safety?

    One can certainly gripe about a host of imperfections and failures, but it is ridiculous in the extreme to argue that the federal government is always an automatic failure.

    Further, where is the logic in claiming that “government is always bad” at the national level, but not at the state level. It is nonsensical.

  29. sam says:

    @jan:

    If the government intervened in well water distribution, they would first burn out the pump. There is no common sense in government implementation.

    I try, I really do try. I think, well, she can’t really be that dumb. And then.

  30. anjin-san says:

    No, because I am not familiar with the law of your jurisdiction. Go find a local attorney.

    Hmm. You did not even ask if it was a civil or criminal matter, or if the relevant statutes were municipal, state or federal. I suppose you are to be congratulated, you certainly don’t seem to be hungry for new business.

    So really, all attorneys only can operate within the municipality in which they practice, or perhaps the country. Fascinating. Tell me, do all your clients live in the town in which you practice? Or perhaps just the county. Do you cease to do business at the state line?

    I am going to have to remember all the next time I am working with one of the attorneys in our New York office.

  31. anjin-san says:

    @Jan

    Class warfare? Really? Well, I guess if that is the best you can do.

    By most people’s standards, I am part of “the elite”. In reality, I am someone who makes a pretty nice living working for people who are honest-to-goodness members of that group. I have no interest in seeing the rich get eaten, my fortunes are too closely tied to them.

    But, as others have already pointed out, my little snippet was not meant to be taken literally. Perhaps you should stick to cutting and pasting from right wing rant sites, as none of us are interested in diagramming things for you with crayons…

  32. anjin-san says:

    Steven,

    I would add the remarkable work being done by NASA in unmanned space exploration. We are in perhaps the greatest age of discovery in history, thanks largely to the inept, helpless bumblers that work for the U.S. Government.

  33. PogueMahone says:

    We suffered through hurricane Ike here in Houston, and the general opinion around these parts is that FEMA did a good job. And these were the opinions of ruby-red Texas republicans.

    FEMA has had its failures in the past, sure, but the idea of an organization whose sole purpose is to manage disaster areas seems very efficient.

    Cheers.

  34. trizzlor says:

    Since there’s not much point in criticizing without offering an alternative, I’d like you to expand a bit on the idea of disaster relief block-grants. Disasters don’t usually happen in all states at once, and yet nearly every state has some chance of a disaster occurring at some point. Do you distribute the grants to each of the state and have them develop redundant systems? Alternatively, do you only let them activate the grant once a disaster is approaching and risk the chance of being unprepared? Even in a free market paradise it seems like this is something that would be solved by a central agency.

  35. michael reynolds says:

    @anjin-san:
    Interesting, because my intellectual property lawyer is out of New York. And I’m in California.

  36. anjin-san says:

    I would say roads, food, power supply, water, data, and sewage are all examples of things that can be organized locally or at the state level

    Given the vast disparity between the level of resources and competency that different cities, counties and states are able to bring to the table in dealing with a disaster, I am not so sure about that. Can Wyoming or Arkansas come to grips with a disaster as rapidly or effectively as California or New York? How does a town that is too small to have a full time police dept. manage?

    Mind you we are talking about situations where lives are on the line and where slow or ineffective action may have grave downstream economic consequences.

  37. anjin-san says:

    @ Michael Reynolds

    my intellectual property lawyer is out of New York. And I’m in California.

    I am thinking you should bring Elder Jebediah on board. Your guy sounds like a New York shyster…

  38. george says:

    If the government intervened in well water distribution, they would first burn out the pump. There is no common sense in government implementation.

    Government’s starting point is to do something which expenses out at the highest cost, uses the most Intellectuals to work on the project, and ends by screwing up the mission.

    Why do you hate our military, which of course is part of the federal gov’t?

  39. Scott O. says:

    There is no common sense in anything Jan says. I would guess that the government distributes most of this country’s water and that it flows about 99.9999999% of the time

  40. Hey, what happened to the like/dislike thing? The buttons don’t work.

  41. Jay Tea says:

    I think it’s worth noting that the Republicans have kept Ron Paul from any kind of position of authority.

    Contrast with Tim Geithner and Charlie Rangel crafting tax policy, Barney Frank regulating banks, Jeffrey Immelt advising the president on the economy and how to stop the exporting of jobs, and Nancy Pelosi running the House of Representatives.

    J.

  42. JKB says:

    Well, he’s only partially right. There really isn’t anyway to reproduce the capabilities of the military with their large body of men and equipment that is mostly standing by and easily redirected.

    On the other hand, the bureaucrats are a big part of the problem. The Feddies failed in Katrina because the DC crowd couldn’t comprehend the devastation. I know, I was sending in twice daily reports to my bosses that seemed to be ignored. Well, that and the Labor day holiday, which meant just as the outside help should have been mustering, they were all headed off to Martha’s Vineyard or something for the end of summer holiday. In the meantime, the media tried to pin the government failure on Bush so the bureaucrats were in full butt covering mode on the Tuesday they came back to work.

    And other fun stuff, like FEMA has local desks to apply at but also posted a 1-800 number. I spoke with one lady who after calling the number got no response so she went to the desk where they had not record in their computer. Turns out the 800 number posted over the table was not linked to the system being used by those on-site.

    Or the FEMA trailers that had many defects, again a 1-800 number to call for repair. Don’t try to fix it or you’ll be fined. Well, the local cops would pick up a friend of mine, very mechanically competent, and take him around to fix the missing chains on toilets, unconnected a/c ducts, etc. I think they had orders from the governor to shoot any FEMA person who came around spouting their regulations.

    Or the SWAT teams and other volunteers from other jurisdictions that were held up by FEMA to attend diversity classes before they could deploy.

    Really, other than police and SAR teams on loan, the only real help I saw in Mississippi after Katrina, at least for the first 3 weeks or so, was self-help (people setting up impromptu clothing and other donated goods distribution) or from churches sending their people down to help people clean up or provide meals. Fortunately, with no 3-star hotels available, the DC bureaucrats with their clipboards and the “advocacy” groups weren’t around and there was a wholesale suspension of many regulations.

    Sadly, too soon the bureaucrats showed up in mass to make people’s lives miserable with ever increasing paperwork and fees before they could rebuild.

  43. anjin-san says:

    In the meantime, the media tried to pin the government failure on Bush

    Ah yes, Republicans. The buck stops anywhere but here. Most of the world’s ills are the fault of the “gotcha” media…

  44. Ben Wolf says:

    @JKB: No, FEMA failed after Katrina because Bush put a man named Michael Brown in charge of the agency, a man with absolutely no management experience and whom had never worked in disaster relief. FEMA was highly effective during the Clinton Administration precisely because to Clinton it wasn’t a joke to be handed out to a crony for resume padding. And I’m saying this as someone who was no fan of Bill. Bush didn’t give a sh*t: it can’t be put more accurately than that.

  45. JKB says:

    @Ben Wolf:

    Thank you for regurgitating the meme developed by the media to explain the failure of government.

    But just as Bloomberg has done in NYC by ordering evacuation while shutting down public transportation, the government abandons when disaster looms not out of malice but out of bureaucratic tunnel vision.

  46. michael reynolds says:

    @JKB:
    It’s not that government is incompetent: it’s that Republican government is incompetent.

  47. anjin-san says:

    by ordering evacuation while shutting down public transportation,

    Should they just leave the subways going with a hurricane bearing down on them? Do you think you can just flip a switch and seamlessly shut down one of the largest and most complex public transportation systems in the world?

  48. Scott O. says:

    @JKB:

    Bloomberg didn’t order evacuation of NYC, just 400,000 in low lying areas. I’m not going to spend a lot of time looking into it but I bet most of them are within easy walking distance of shelters set up by the city. I’d also bet there is help available for those who need it. But by all means prove me wrong if you can. Demonstrate for us all just how this is an example of government incompetence.

  49. @Scott O.:

    I’d also bet there is help available for those who need it.

    There was, from taxis, livery companies, and private bus operators. The last was particularly ironic since Bloomberg was asking for their help at the same time he was shutting down the public busses.

  50. anjin-san says:

    It’s worth pointing out that Bloomberg was a wildly successful in business before he went into politics, just the sort of captain of industry the right is always lauding. Did he receive a lobotomy when he assumed office that turned him into a government drone who cannot take care of business?

    The reality is that he is a bright, able guy dealing with an extraordinarily difficult problem to which there are no easy answers. If there is a good scenario for even a partial evacuation of Manhattan, I would love to hear it. If Jack Welch had been put in charge would he ride in on a unicorn and magically make everything ok?

    Really JKB, have you ever even been to New York? Does not sound like it. What’s your plan… let people stay in battery park and keep the subways running?

  51. Scott O. says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    No doubt the Amish will be there with their buggys too.

  52. Scott O. says:
  53. A voice from another precinct says:

    @michael reynolds: (also @anjin-san): at the number of posts Doug files in a typical day or week, how much time would he have to practice law? I can’t see it, really. I think he lists his (former) career as an attempt at instilling some gravitas–i.e. “I’m a member of the bar; I must know what I’m talking about.”

  54. Amfortas says:

    @michael reynolds: Hurricane Andrew happened during Clinton, moron. Democrat government is just as, if not more incompetent than Republican government. Fact.

  55. Jay Tea says:

    As poor as FEMA’s response was to Katrina, it must be remembered that FEMA is NOT intended as a “first responder” — they come in after the disaster. In Katrina’s case, there was a complete and utter epic failure at the local (Mayor Nagin) and state (Kathleen Blanco) levels. Part of the piling-on of FEMA’s failures was to protect those two Democrats from the criticism they so richly deserved.

    A former co-blogger of mine had to flee Katrina, and to this day still hates FEMA and the Army Corps of Engineers (hoo boy, does he hate the ACoE), but he has a special contempt for those two as well.

    J.

  56. Jay Tea says:

    I have to give Obama credit for one thing: the current head of FEMA has been in the field for at least ten years, having had much the same job in Florida before going to DC. And he’d done so under two succeeding Republican governors (Jeb Bush, Charlie Crist), so it looks like he’s not a political appointee or apparatchik. Besides, Florida’s a pretty good training ground for managing disasters.

    J.

  57. KariQ says:

    I lived in Northridge during the earthquake. FEMA did an excellent job during that emergency. Even though it was confined to a single state and that state has a fair amount of experience dealing with emergencies, there is no way that the presence of the federal government slowed down the rebuilding following the quake. If it wasn’t for the federal assistance, it would have taken far longer for the region to recover. Rebuilding the university alone would have been prohibitively expensive, to say nothing of the major freeways that were damaged.

    I have to agree with the others: FEMA is only incompetent when incompetents are put in charge of it. When it’s run by people who believe what they are doing is important, it can do a superb job.

  58. Ben Wolf says:

    Thank you for regurgitating the meme developed by the media to explain the failure of government.

    Yes, someone who voted against Clinton twice and for Bush once is willingly repeating propaganda.

  59. anjin-san says:

    @Jay,

    Once again, you are a tough guy when hiding behind a computer. But then all of us know that in addition to being a liar, you are also a coward. So it rings kind of hollow. Why don’t you run along and pout for a while?

  60. Argon says:

    One should note that while FEMA is based in DC it has regional managers. With chief executives who care that an emergency management agency actually runs well it tends to get staffed with emergency management professionals.

    It is true as JayTea notes, that FEMA is not a first responder but a backup for situations that overwhelm local and state capabilities. Ron Paul must be licking toads if he imagines that states or local governments can handle seriously devastating disasters alone. They don’t have the budget reserve or the equipment and manpower for a sustained response that affects a large area. Also it makes less financial sense (IMO) for states to duplicate supplies and necessary surplus rather than share the costs across the country. I suppose one can admire Paul for sticking resolutely to his principles, but I don’t — For me, someone who can accept practical solutions is more likely to get my vote.

  61. john personna says:

    @Argon:

    They don’t have the budget reserve or the equipment and manpower for a sustained response that affects a large area. Also it makes less financial sense (IMO) for states to duplicate supplies and necessary surplus rather than share the costs across the country.

    I and others above have made the efficiency argument (me with many typos for some reason). That it hasn’t been answered must mean that it has been acknowledged.

  62. PD Shaw says:

    @JohnMcC: “Just to comment on a line of reasoning in the original posting that has gotten little notice — it is absolutely true that subsidizing insurance for expensive home on barrier islands and flood plains and known fault lines and similar disaster prone areas is extremely dumb. It is extremely popular with developers on the barrier island and such, however. As is very expensive ‘beach replenishment’ and such. And because those people are local economically rich and politically connected, we are certain to keep subsidizing stupid things.”

    No subsidized flood insurance within one mile of a coast. Water is unique — its a pernicious force of destruction and provides attractive settings.

  63. Jay Tea says:

    @anjin-san: You want to talk coward, anjin? You singled out me and several others for gratuitous insults on a thread where I hadn’t even made a presence — and completely made up shit while doing so. You wouldn’t say it to my e-face.

    As far as your implications about my physical courage… I fart in your general direction. You want to make it face-to-face, I’ll gladly give you an address and discuss a time. But since you’re the one who apparently wants to get past the computer screens, you can come to me. Let me know when you’ll be in my part of New Hampshire, and we can meet in person.

    If you’re not that invested in getting past the web connection, then kindly STFU.

    J.

  64. WR says:

    @Jay Tea: Now you are complete. You have completed every single cliche of the right-wing internet troll. For months we’ve been waiting for the obligatory “you meet me out behind the gas station thousands of miles from where you are and I’ll beat you up” post, and here it is. You may now retire from the field.

  65. Jay Tea says:

    @WR: Oh, you are such a joke. I am a physical wreck. I might be able to look intimidating, but it wouldn’t last. The last time I was “threatened” by a friend of mine, I told him he would regret challenging me to a fight — I’d bleed all over him, and give him a horrific laundry bill.

    anjin is the one spoiling for some kind of physical confrontation. I’m just willing to oblige him. I have no delusions about my ability to win one, but if it will make him feel better to try to beat the crap out of someone with my health issues, more power to him.

    But back on topic… as I said before, Paul’s got a couple of good ideas, and about 3.5 metric assloads of crazy ones. This is one of the crazy ones.

    Good thing he’s never been entrusted with the kind of power and authority as such exemplaries as Geithner, Rangel, Frank, Dodd, Pelosi, or… shall I go on?

    J.

  66. sam says:

    @Jay Tea:

    You singled out me and several others for gratuitous insults on a thread where I hadn’t even made a presence — and completely made up shit while doing so. You wouldn’t say it to my e-face.

    Not wanting to get in the middle of this spat, but really, dude, “to my e-face” — really?

  67. WR says:

    @sam: Jay’s always been self-e-facing.

  68. Jay Tea says:

    Seems like anjin and WR are more interested in getting physical than discussing the matter at hand. Get a room, guys.

    J.

  69. anjin-san says:

    Ummm… Jay? I am simply Pointing out that you are the kind of guy who is only brave when it is totally safe. If you want to run some kind of fantasy that I am looking for an actual fight, well, just add that one to the rest of the fantasies your life runs on.

  70. Jay Tea says:

    And should I speculate on you in return? How you’ve adopted the name of a character who, memorably, let himself get micturated upon? Is that the sort of thing you enjoy?

    Alternately, you could just stick to the topic at hand… how Ron Paul is more than just a wee bit nuts, but the Republicans keep him away from real power. Unlike the Democrats, who put people like Geithner, Rangel, Pelosi, et al in positions of real authority.

    J.

  71. WR says:

    @Jay Tea: The funniest thing you’ve ever written here: “Alternately, you could just stick to the topic at hand” — and then in the next sentence try again to change the topic to Democrats you hate.

  72. anjin-san says:

    Like I said jay, you are bold when you know it’s safe. But let’s drop the pretense that you being a punk has anything to do with your heath. It’s just who you are, and everyone knows it. Anyway, we are headed up to napa for dinner. I leave you to your homo erotic fantasies.

  73. Jay Tea says:

    Still closer to the topic at hand than anjin’s hallucinations and your own delusions of adequacy. The topic of “how nuts is Ron Paul” gets old real fast.

    J.

  74. racehorse says:

    here is an idea: FEMA and the state governments havn’t exactly had a good record with managing these things, so let’s privatize the emergency/disaster management and let insurance companies handle them. They already have expertise and experience in this field. Their people are skilled and well trained, as opposed to the government managers who are politically appointed. The insurance companies are already on the ground with their people. They would then handle the cleanup, temporary housing, rebuilding properly, etc. Even though they are profit companies, they would be more efficient, economical, knowledgeable, and responsive. Companies like Allstate (“good hands”), Nationwide (on your side), and Travelers. This would save taxpayers money. States could let out bids on disaster management each year. Now who can argue with that?

  75. WR says:

    @Jay Tea: Changing the subject to one of your pet idiocies is still changing the subject, which is what you do every time one of your little fantasy idols get tarnished around here.

  76. anjin-san says:

    Now who can argue with that?

    Perhaps anyone with half a brain. Insurance companies are in business to make money. If my neighborhood, city or region is devastated (something I have lived through before) I don’t want to be relying on people who’s first thought is “how can we improve our margins?”

  77. Ben Wolf says:

    @racehorse: The problem is privatization has a dismal record of success, and frequently increases costs,

  78. Jay Tea says:

    @WR: Speaking of idiocies, WR, why don’t you tell us again about all the people Rick Perry has murdered while governor. That was tremendously entertaining.

    Now back to your kennel, lickspittle.

    J.

  79. racehorse says:

    @Ben Wolf:”..privatization has a dismal record of success and frequently increases costs”
    Okay, but remember the Federal government paying out $300 for a hammer and $1500 for coffee makers some years ago, and the maze of government purchasing procedures where you fill out ten forms to purchase one box of nails, and then the forms go through about 12 layers of burearacracy before approval. Plus the turf battles and overlapping of agencies. Those who have been in government know about all about this kind of stuff. I agree that privatization isn’t perfect and insurance companies can be very frustrating and contrary to deal with. I used to work for one and we always automatically denied the claim at first. When I have dealt with insurance companies, I usually could find one person who was in charge of my claim, not layers and layers to go through.

  80. Rob in CT says:

    I used to work for one and we always automatically denied the claim at first.

    I hope this company is out of business. I work for a property-casualty insurer. That, right there, is *textbook* bad faith claims handling.

    Second, you cite this in passing as you advocate for privatization of disaster relief? WTF!?!?!?!

  81. anjin-san says:

    Plus the turf battles and overlapping of agencies.

    And the private sector does not have their own version of this? Please…

  82. WR says:

    @Jay Tea: Ooh, you remembered your little tagline again. But thanks for the reminder. Rick Perry deliberately murdered at least one innocent man, and is currently railroading another. There may be more. Because as one of his supporters famously said, “It takes balls to execute an innocent man.”

    Balls is what Perry’s got. Heart, soul, conscience, brains, not so much.

  83. WR says:

    @Jay Tea: And thanks for proving my point yet again, as you desperately scramble to change the subject one more time.

  84. WR says:

    @Rob in CT: Say, with this inside information you could make a killing as an expert witness for the defense in lawsuits against your insurance company. What jury would fail to find for the plaintiff in a bad faith case once you explained that it was company policy to deny every claim?