Ron Paul: We don't need FEMA
August 27th, 2011
03:59 PM ET
3 years ago

Ron Paul: We don't need FEMA

(CNN) - As Hurricane Irene barrels along the U.S. East Coast, Rep. Ron Paul of Texas said the nation would be much better off without the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

"I live on the Gulf Coast. We put up with hurricanes all the time," the GOP presidential candidate told CNN after a New Hampshire campaign event Friday. "There's no magic about FEMA. More and more people are starting to recognize that."

Paul has long been a critic of the agency, which he calls a "great contributor to deficit financing."

With more than 7,600 employees, FEMA falls under the Department of Homeland Security and coordinates response efforts when disasters strike.

Citing the Galveston hurricane in 1900 that obliterated much of the Texas coast, the libertarian-leaning congressman said Americans were able to rebuild their cities and put up a seawall without the federal government's help.

"FEMA is not a good friend of most people in Texas," Paul said. "All they do is come in and tell you what to do and can't do. You can't get in your houses. And they hinder the local people, and they hinder volunteers from going in."

After Hurricane Ike demolished parts of the Texas coast in 2008, Paul voted against a bill that would funnel billions in aid to the area, which covers his congressional district.

FEMA has since pumped more than $3 billion in federal funds into the state.

The agency received wide criticism in 2005 for failing to respond in a timely, organized manner to the vast destruction wrought by Hurricane Katrina.

– CNN Political Producer Rachel Streitfeld contributed to this report.


Filed under: 2012 • FEMA • Ron Paul
soundoff (1,050 Responses)
  1. jokerster

    Well, Mr. Paul, since you won't be in office in 2012, we will cut your insurance, you will have to buy your own and we will cut your pension ih half....that is what happen to people like us when we retire....that will save a lot of money won't it????? We do that to all the congress people....why aren't your tea party yelling for that to be done?????

    August 27, 2011 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  2. trufaldino

    Ron Paul is a true conservative i.e. morally obscene. He takes the theme of "No man is an island" and turns it on its head. His idea of the golden rule is "Do what you will, and damn the consequences to anyone else." He takes the 19th century robber barons" "Public be damned" attitude and turns it into an art form. The connection between the well being of one person and the well being of all totally escapes him. He is an exemplar of the sickest part of American political culture. It's a pity we don't have a President who can give the SOBs hell. We needed a Harry Truman, and we got a weak kneed, compromising Obama who thinks you can reason with the devil and appeal to its better nature.

    August 27, 2011 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  3. Rob

    What did all us spoiled spoon fed Americans do before FEMA came into the picture you ask? ...We got by, that's what. Nothing has changed in humanity to suggest that we aren't all competent enough to get through a storm without the government. The people who claim Ron Paul is a nut for suggesting we don't need FEMA are the same spoiled brat entitled Americans who are part of the problem. When you invite the government to oversee business they don't belong in you invariably lose 2 things ...your money and more freedoms. People need to wake up and stop letting fear guide every decision they make.

    August 27, 2011 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  4. Doug

    Boy, never seen better timing than that!

    August 27, 2011 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  5. Dynan3

    I know this is going to sound like fringe-element conspiracy, but FEMA has some scarrrry powers.

    The way US citizens act during a crisis is much better aid than a federal agency that runs on forms and inertia (of rest). There was no FEMA to help Honduras, Haiti, etc., yet Americans rose to the occasion and helped tremendously. We cannot be held responsible for corruption if our help gets diverted in the pockets of the greedy, which is the case many times.

    RON PAUL stands by his convictions...not changing them or refusing to answer questions about them...(see "I am running for the presidency of the United States...MB) He tells the truth without the sugar coating. Would you rather be lied to?? Some more?

    RON PAUL 2012 !!!

    August 27, 2011 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  6. Eric

    Bunch of big government supporting wimps in here. You people would happily lick the boots that are stepping on your necks. Do you still sleep with the lights on?

    August 27, 2011 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  7. MaryM

    I think the people on the east coast in the path of the hurricane will strongly disagree with you, Ron Paul

    August 27, 2011 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  8. John B

    FEMA should be a specially trained group of military men and women. I think we currently call them The National Guard. I say expand it by 200,000 people. Train this group to save lives instead of killing. Create 200k jobs....or more.

    August 27, 2011 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  9. ikihi

    One of the few articles CNN writes about Ron Paul and they use it to attack him and take his words out of context. More proof the media is biased against Ron Paul. They have an agenda to elect the corporatist candidates.

    August 27, 2011 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  10. fair&ballanced

    Sweet! Another GOP hit piece from Ashley Killough. Would it have killed you to mention that he's running for president? How about a word that he almost won the Ames Straw Poll without a huge war chest and without handing out meal tickets? Or that he polls within the margin of error against 0bama if the election was held today?

    August 27, 2011 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  11. M. Taylor

    Ron Paul is right! I live about 8 miles north of where the F4/F5 tornado went through Tuscaloosa, Alabama. FEMA was a joke! They denied help to people where there homes were completely destroyed. The reason was because not enough damage was done to their home. They were very disorganized too. As a matter of fact, the Churches, University of Alabama, UAB and Auburn University planned and organized better and more efficient. The local people basically said to hell with FEMA and did their own recovery effort. FEMA is a joke! They were giving out $600 Visa cards to anyone who lost power in the whole state! That is waste if I have ever seen it! Ron Paul is right!

    August 27, 2011 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  12. shaeneqa

    what a loser, if it were up to him we would all be in regional tribes with no central unity

    August 27, 2011 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  13. Jim

    Ron Paul is clearly living in a libertarian fantasy world where natural disasters that can cost hundreds of billions of dollars can't happen. Well, unfortunately for the rest of us, we don't live that world. It was only months ago that Japan had an earthquake that had damage that totaled an estimated $309 billion–all destroyed in minutes. That could have just as easily been California. Now, imagine California trying to pay for that by itself. Not pretty, is it.

    Anyone who has worked in insurance claims (particularly in Florida) can tell you that the states do not have the money to clean up after major disasters without federal money. Remember 2005 when we had hurricane after hurricane after hurricane that pretty much messed every state on the Gulf Coast? The year when insurance companies were resorting to re-insurance (the insurance FOR insurance companies) to make sure they could pay out claims? And then they STILL denied thousands of them (look up the class action lawsuits filed by Katrina victims). Without federal aid, the states wouldn't have been able to rebuild and that's a fact.

    August 27, 2011 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  14. free2do

    Paul is awesome. Tell it like it is Ron!!!!!!!

    August 27, 2011 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  15. KO

    He couldn't be more wrong. One of the fundamental roles of government is public safety. Maybe he thinks we don't need police officers and fire fighters either.

    August 27, 2011 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  16. Greg

    I think a lot of you have the wrong idea about the Libertarian stance on federal agencies. When we say do away with FEMA, we don't mean do away with disaster aid, we mean do away with inefficient, wasteful, federally controlled disaster aid. For a fraction of the cost we could double or even triple the size of local, state, and private disaster relief agencies. Why not fund the agencies that actually work, and do away with the ones that don't? Nobody is saying disaster relief isn't essential, only that it is not the role of the federal government, and they clearly can't handle it effectively or efficiently. The same reasoning can be applied to most federal agencies. Smaller governments simply work better, cost less, and allow more personal freedom.

    August 27, 2011 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  17. Ryan

    I was a volunteer helping with katrina clean up. I can tell you first hand FEMA is a joke. They did little to nothing in helping the survivors. Its pretty evident when you consider the fact it took 2 weeks for FEMA to get fresh water to the people. Much more aid was provided by volunteers. Many other people that were there will tell you the same. Ron Paul is 100% correct and someone that tells you different has no clue.

    August 27, 2011 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  18. Dan Roveto

    Citizens have always made better decisions that politicians. It's great that Dr. Paul recognizes this and doesn't sway from his beliefs because a small percentage of people are being affected by bad weather. FEMA is a waste and any small benefit that it may accidentally stumble upon is not worth the hundreds of billions of dollars and the continued destruction of our economy and free markets. Go Ron Paul!

    August 27, 2011 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  19. Don H

    He lives in an area with just thousands not millions. All the homes are on stilts practically he is not counting what happened in Houston Texas itself. He has the money to take care of the are he lives in I know because I live there. He is full of himself!

    August 27, 2011 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  20. Jason Grajkowski

    He is dead right once again. I WORKED at hurricane relief catrina and FEMA with the insurance companies are OUT-OF-CONTROL!!!

    We were pushing checks out for homes that were'nt worth more than 15k and having to load people up with tons and tons of money they DID NOT DESERVE!!! People lying about their homes, stuff they lost, and wanting more and more.

    No, this government NEEDS TO STOP. We have become a welfare nation and its going to kill us.

    August 27, 2011 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  21. RINO Bil

    Paul would just let hurricane victims float out with the tide.... and I thought that Bachmann was a nut job.

    August 27, 2011 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  22. Chamillion

    He's right. FEMA and Big Government always does more to hinder than to help. The more Government can give, the more it can take away. Let's count the things Government has control of right now.... Food/agriculture, Shelter/HUD, Healthcare, Loans/banking, Education, Land, transportation. Good luck to everybody who lives off it and gets it taken away.

    August 27, 2011 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  23. Jason Glugla

    More good Republican ideas, why don't we just cut everything that makes a civilized society and have Somalia. We already have a good start with our profit off of people's illnesses system.

    August 27, 2011 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  24. Michelle

    Why on earth does anyone vote republican?
    Maybe because they have an unhappy life and want to pass it on!
    Or maybe they have no life!

    August 27, 2011 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  25. Auzzie

    Ron Paul and his dimwit son Rand have proven to be a couple of complete idiots. I always question politicians, who constantly cry that the federal government is too large and needs to get out of our lives but regularly run for election to the same federal government( year after year after year). Just a bunch of rich con artists fooling poor and middle class Americans with their ridiculous sound bites.

    August 27, 2011 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
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