Frankenstorm calls to mind Romney’s opposition to federal disaster aid

An article on the Huffington Post yesterday recalled how, during a debate in the GOP primaries, Mitt Romney said FEMA should be shuttered so the states can deal with disasters individually.

“Every time you have an occasion to take something from the federal government and send it back to the states,” Romney declared, ” 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 should we cut, we should ask the opposite question, what should we keep?”

John King, the debate moderator pushed harder: “Including disaster relief?'” he asked.

Romney’s response: “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.”

Hurricane Sandy and the superstorm of which it is a part began tearing into the Northeast Sunday night.

The HuffPost reported that a Romney official had reaffirmed the position taken by the GOP candidate during the primaries.

According to the HuffPost the official said: Gov. Romney wants to ensure states, who are the first responders and are in the best position to aid impacted individuals and communities, have the resources and assistance they need to cope with natural disasters.”

So Romney wants to dismantle FEMA, turn it over to the states, or, as he said during the primaries, privatize disaster relief altogether. There’s no good fortune when it comes to being hit by a mega storm. For the millions being impacted by Sandy this week it could be worse, however. Mitt Romney could be the president.

Photo: In Hampton, Virginia, Michelle Hamor, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ chief of flood plain management, monitors water levels as the effects of Hurricane Sandy begin.   Flickr


John Wojcik
John Wojcik

John Wojcik is Editor-in-Chief of People's World. He joined the staff as Labor Editor in May 2007 after working as a union meat cutter in northern New Jersey. There, he served as a shop steward, as a member of a UFCW contract negotiating committee, and as an activist in the union's campaign to win public support for Wal-Mart workers. In the 1970s and '80s, he was a political action reporter for the Daily World, this newspaper's predecessor, and was active in electoral politics in Brooklyn, New York.