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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

How Would Romney's State-Based "FEMAs" Deal With Superstorm Sandy?

Romney is on record, transcript below, saying he'd like to turn FEMA over to the states... or even the private sector. He justifies this idea based on devolution of power from Washington and also claims it's essential for deficit reduction. So is Romney proposing NO federal disaster management funding go to the states? If not, where's the savings?

There are reasons to move away from state-based solutions. If left to themselves poorer states are incapable of funding anything from quality education, to health care, or their own highways.

By turning over these FEMA function to the states... these state-based "FEMAs", are not going to benefit from the deep pockets of the federal government. How will poorer states deal with disasters? How will tiny Rhode Island deal with a dead on hurricane strike? What if it's hit twice in a year? Who covers disasters that span state lines like superstorm Sandy? How would states coordinate such efforts? Without federal funds does Romney envision nationwide disaster bake-sales to raise the money?

If federal money does go to states... how will it be allocated? The East coast state has more hurricanes. Northern states might have more blizzards. The southeast more drought. So will money be weighted to states with more potential disasters or given out by population? The questions Romney's proposal raises are endless.

While Obama needs to be careful about playing politics with Sandy, it IS a legitimate for his campaign to ask what would Romney's disaster relief plan look like if he were president now having only the resources he's proposed.

This is an area that calls into question Romney's judgment and fitness for office. Here's Romney on June 13, 2011 during a primary debate speaking with CNN's  John King:

KING: What else, Governor Romney? You’ve been a chief executive of a state. I was just in Joplin, Missouri. I’ve been in Mississippi and Louisiana and Tennessee and other communities dealing with whether it’s the tornadoes, the flooding, and worse. FEMA is about to run out of money, and there are some people who say do it on a case-by-case basis and some people who say, you know, maybe we’re learning a lesson here that the states should take on more of this role. How do you deal with something like that?

ROMNEY: Absolutely. 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 ourselves the opposite question. What should we keep? We should take all of what we’re doing at the federal level and say, what are the things we’re doing that we don’t have to do? And those things we’ve got to stop doing, because we’re borrowing $1.6 trillion more this year than we’re taking in. We cannot…

KING: Including disaster relief, though?
ROMNEY: We cannot—we cannot afford to do those things without jeopardizing the future for our kids. It is simply immoral, in my view, for us to continue to rack up larger and larger debts and pass them on to our kids, knowing full well that we’ll all be dead and gone before it’s paid off. It makes no sense at all.



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