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. Anie

    If people persist in living in areas that are constantly hit by natural disasters – why should the taxpayer support them? It's their choice to live in hurricane/tornado/earthquake/etc., areas – These are not emergencies, these are dumb choices, consciously chosen that I shouldn't have to pay for. I understand and agree with the need for *real* emergencies – but these predictable ones? If you choose to take the chance on a certainty, you should be the only one to pay the price.

    August 27, 2011 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  2. 'Bama Grandma

    Luckily Ron Paul will never become president so his opinion of FEMA is a moot point. People who survived the April tornados may beg to differ with his assesment. And for the person who touted WalMart as a federal disaster center the one in my area was an epic fail. Wal Mart closed its doors, had no back up generator and when they finally did open they let in only a few people at a time. It was Publix Market that stayed open, stocked and handed out free bottles of water and bags of ice. Wal Mart was woefully unprepared as a disaster center.

    August 27, 2011 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  3. Publius Novus

    You have to give it to Ron Paul. He is consistent. Consistently nutty, but consistent.

    August 27, 2011 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  4. Bob

    All I can say is that Ron Paul is exactly what we don't need in government. How long has he been on the public dole? Decades! It's easy for him to cut spending for certain parts of the population in need, all the while collecting a "forever" check that has made him wealthy at our expense. Now we have his flaky son jumping on the money bus. If these two were so hell bent on fiscal coservativism, then why don't they give up their salaries! I'm sorry, but texas seems to be putting out this block of politicos that are really on the edge of...............weird!

    August 27, 2011 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  5. James

    Paul is an idiot. Sure Gavelston eventually built back, but let's not forget, six to eight thousand people perished (at least 1/6 of the 1900 population), 3,600 building were destroyed. Many people don't know that FEMA not only aids in disasters but also HELPS STATES AND COMMUNITIES PREPARE FOR DISASTERS.

    August 27, 2011 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  6. David

    Ron Paul will never be President and even if he somehow got in by a miracle he would not have support to end FEMA. It is a purely academic argument.

    August 27, 2011 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  7. Robrob

    "Individuals are much better at helping out other people than inefficient government agencies." – - Got a phrase for you,
    "Economy of Scale"

    August 27, 2011 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  8. Aaron

    We don't need FEMA.
    American Red Cross + Insurance.

    August 27, 2011 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  9. madcow11

    Ron Paul is a disgrace to America.

    August 27, 2011 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  10. Darryl Schmitz

    Amazing. Half the commenters here call him crazy with regard to FEMA, and the other half says he's absolutely right. Well, he's either right or wrong. Do we need a federally-administered standby natuonal emergency response team, or is it like most socialist programs an inefficient, expensive money pit?

    August 27, 2011 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  11. nobody

    It is because of statements like this that Ron Paul will again fail to reach the white house. While he enjoys tremendous support among the youth corps of the GOP his continued extreme and illogical statements places him in the fringe right along with those other wing nuts Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry. They are simply outside of the mainstream and are unelectable outside of the bible-belt.

    August 27, 2011 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  12. David Whitney

    Please take 2-3 minutes to check out Texas Straight Talk at toll-free 1-888-322-1414 by Hon Dr Ron Paul to clarify the issue of individual responsiblity vs governmental programs. We have been conditioned since grade school to look to Uncle Sam to solve our problems. A college professor once said that whomever we trust to solve our problems is our God. Our nation, established as a Constitutional Republic "under God," has morphed into a Democracy–the worst possible form of government according to Benjamin Franklin. Our forefathers faced many difficulties and disasters when building America. Their courage, prayers, self-reliance, hard work and 'can-do' attitude made us the envy of the world long before FEMA. George Washington said "Government is not eloquence; it is not reason. It is fire–a dangerous servant, but a fearful master!" Seems that our government has jumped out of the confining walls of the Constitution and is destroying our society.

    August 27, 2011 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  13. Tony in Maine

    Ah yes, the Confederacy shall rise again. The federal government has but one purpose, to take from the poor and give to the rich.

    August 27, 2011 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  14. nobody

    Here, I have a suggestion for those that believe the federal government along with FEMA is a waste of tax payer money, call the Tea Party when you need help. Good luck.

    August 27, 2011 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  15. LMC

    FEMA was far more effective when it was it's own department before the Bush Administration put it into Homeland Security!

    August 27, 2011 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  16. John

    I would say Galveston is a pretty bad example of why we don't need FEMA. Rep. Paul's timing couldn't be worse. And his examples couldn't be worse either.

    August 27, 2011 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  17. James

    (cintinued) And, reeparation is the key to minimizing loss of life and property. God help us if Ron Paul becomes President. Certainly, FEMA fell far short in its response to Katrina but could that be partially due to its head coming from head of the Arabian Horse Association ("Brownie you're doing a great job") and zero experience in disaster preparation and response? Today's FEM?A head Craig Fugate was director of emergency management for the State of Florida– hurricane experience surely!! I am from NC and we were prepared for Irene and that is good and FEMA played a role in that preparedness.

    August 27, 2011 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  18. Brock

    I love how CNN decides to use this hurricane as a reason to put doubts in peoples minds aboug Ron Paul. He says to get rid of the beurocratic monstrosity known as FEMA HE DOESNT SAY that there wouldn't be a state level program to help in such times.
    stop lying about Ron Paul CNN!!!!

    August 27, 2011 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  19. DMcG

    Paul is right, the title is true, but does not really give the truth.. the monies should be there, but sending some jagoff from Washington down to oversee crap in an area that he/she is not familiar with is stupid. The money should be used at a state level with people from the state, who know the lay of the land and the people. I may not like Rep. Paul's politics, but FEMA has been a disaster for the last decade and should be dismantled, the monies allocated to the program should stay entact, but the actual program itself should be more state run.

    August 27, 2011 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  20. SuRy

    I'll never understand how the same folks who hate our federal government, believe we are in the ends times, and want to secede from our United States want to be President of the United States. Makes no sense to me.

    August 27, 2011 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  21. bud

    Common sense. Ron Paul brings common sense to this discussion. "You're doing one hell of a job Brownie". That ring a bell? The money FEMA wastes is more than the cost to help the victims. I saw WalMart parking lots full of ice melting in Tuscaloosa. All paid by FEMA. I know people that bought BRAND NEW temporary living trailers intended for New Orleans at less than 30% of the govt paid price. They still had plastic on the furniture. FEMA is the poster agency for waste, inefficiency and graft. end it. Let the states decide how best to spend it. And give us back our National Guard. Ron Paul is right.

    August 27, 2011 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  22. Dank Rankinforrest

    BOOOOOOMMMMM!!!!!!!!!

    There it is, just when you say;

    "I really think I could get on board with Ron Pa..........uh oh, he said what?????"

    and his son doesn't help matters either....

    August 27, 2011 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  23. usualone

    Ron Paul should ask the people who are affected by this hurricane if FEMA is a waste. They have been pro-active now. His comments are ridiculous. Did he notice how fewer people are being killed these days with the notifications we get in combination with FEMA being prepared. He talked about 1900 and other years of bygone. He is a foolish man.

    August 27, 2011 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  24. Galveston

    Things like this make me cover my face. Ron Paul is TOTALLY wrong about this one. I live in Galveston and I was here when Ike came through. Galveston has a large number of very poor people who would have been completely LOST without FEMA... all this "LOCAL HELP" was not to be seen. While the state did what it could, it needed more resources in order to recover. As for the 1900 hurricane, the ONLY reason Galveston came back after 20 years was because of the HUGE cotton trade which used Galveston as the primary port. If Galveston had been a less important port city... it would be a ghost town. The idea of local control can not handle LARGE scale problems. PERIOD!!!! I vote against Ron Paul EVERY time he comes up for election.

    August 27, 2011 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  25. Mike Fleissner

    ron paul and his supporters are the most ridiculously stupid people in the country. They deserve to be in harm's way without government warning. The only good thing about them is that they only number about 5%. And their goddess. ayn rand was also a stupid idiot class d boring hollywood scriptwriter. She was so stupid she thought the govt. warnings about cigarettes were a conspiracy and then died of lung cancer. Pity.

    August 27, 2011 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
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