I know … destruction along the shore, flooding, power lines down. The cost will be immense but do taxpayers in Texas have an obligation to pay for our problems, or should each state be prepared for the worst on it’s own. Congressman Ron Paul has said FEMA is often used as a political tool .. and a writer at UCONN’s Daily Campus agrees.
Just as a point of reference last week Governor Dannel P Malloy he thought Congressman Ron Paul was an “idiot” for wanting to eliminate or curtail FEMA. But who really has Connecticut’s best interests in mind? Thomas Dilling at UCONN’s Daily Campus newspaper says Ron Paul does.
In the absence of a federal program designed to subsidize more disaster-prone states such as Texas, the cost associated with these routine natural disasters would be paid out by the taxpayers of Texas, rather than the taxpayers of other states. Furthermore, abolishing a federal role in these routine disasters would give states and municipalities the incentive to be better prepared for when these events occur, rather than relying on federal support. The moral hazard associated with subsidizing states that are more disaster prone ought to be clear. By externalizing the costs associated with these disasters, it makes these states more attractive to people looking for places to live, putting more people in harm’s way come future disasters. This hurts Connecticut’s competitive standing against states like Texas who don’t have to price the cost of disaster into their taxes.
Some may say that a national FEMA response is necessary because it can handle disasters that states could not handle on their own. But, these people fail to recognize that the existence of the federal institution crowds state-run disaster relief programs. Furthermore, it certainly is not true that all FEMA declarations of disaster are in need of federal attention. In the words of former FEMA Director, James Lee Witt, “Disasters are very political events” and as such, are declared on a very political basis. Dr. Russel Sobel, an economist at West Virginia University shows, using FEMA data, that historically, the number of disasters declared strongly correlates with whether or not it’s a re-election year. Every president since Ronald Reagan has declared more disasters during their re-election year than during any other year of their terms.
Also from FEMA data, Matt A. Mayer of the Heritage Foundation, shows that the number of declared disasters has skyrocketed in recent years, more than tripling since George H.W. Bush’s term. This can be attributed to the incentive the federal government gives to states of subsidizing the relief efforts. Therefore, states put pressure on the federal government to cover the bills of problems that are easily within their control. Often times, disasters are not even declared until weeks or months following the event, which demonstrates that it is primarily about states trying to obtain free money, not a genuine need for outside emergency services.
Even including hurricane Irene, Connecticut isn’t on the receiving end of FEMA money, so it would be in our best interest to oppose FEMA and focus on in-state response. Meanwhile, it would do Gov. Malloy well not to endorse programs that, by his own admission, favor Texans at Connecticut’s expense.
Go and read it all. H/T ctcapitolreport.com
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