Ron Paul: We don't need FEMA
August 27th, 2011
03:59 PM ET
9 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. Jim

    FEMA is the agency that will the Concentration Camps.
    When there is a disaster, FEMA comes in and disarms everyone, and removes people from their homes, and kills people who resist.
    Could you evade FEMA in case of a disaster? Probably not.
    Disband FEMA. The purpose of FEMA is to kill you or put you in the Camps.

    August 28, 2011 02:23 am at 2:23 am |
  2. Doug

    All he is saying is states can do what is being done at the federal level. You dont need a bunch of people of from washington that has no connection to your state or the people telling the people who do live there now to manage the disaster. Its just another leech on the tax payers.

    August 28, 2011 02:25 am at 2:25 am |
  3. TampaMel

    If we don't need FEMA why was there criticism of an agency that is not need, no one would have noticed. Yes, if you have money and can fund the things you need then maybe FEMA might not be necessary. Ron Paul is a libertarian and if you look at all the people who have the same views, they have one thing in common, MONEY. It is the Republican, Libertarian view of the world, the, "I have money so don't tax me and the heck with everyone else".

    August 28, 2011 02:25 am at 2:25 am |
  4. Matt

    I cant believe the idiotic comments on this article. Several of you are astounded that we would cut out an organization that costs our country Billions of dollars when we have a 15 trillion dollar deficit. Our government was created to defend our freedoms not to hold our hands and support us. We as Americans have to stop this mentality that our government owes us all of these things. Lets face it, our government is broke and maybe its time that we make some radical changes to make it work again. Otherwise we wont have much of a country left and FEMA will be the least of our concerns. Ron Paul isn't the crazy one, the crazy ones are the people who think we still should be out on a spending spree when our uncle sam credit card was maxed out MORE THAN a long time ago. If you are anti-Ron Paul you probably dont know enough about our history, Current Situation or his positions. Being Anti Ron Paul is the same as being Anti-Constitution and Anti American.

    August 28, 2011 02:28 am at 2:28 am |
  5. An Intelligent American

    @nathan and when those organizations run out of resources?

    August 28, 2011 02:29 am at 2:29 am |
  6. Kabel

    What has this guy been smoking? He's either high or is completely out of touch with reality. He doesn't think we need FEMA, well just look at what happened in New Orleans when FEMA failed to act and see how that turned out. If anything it showed just how important FEMA is and how important it is that we have someone leading FEMA who understands what needs to be done and not some stupid politician or friend or a friend appointee.

    August 28, 2011 02:31 am at 2:31 am |
  7. musings

    I don't think it is nutty to admit that local agencies sometimes work better – though obviously not in Louisiana. But let's face it, a lot of states are better run than Louisiana. And FEMA is not magic, as he said. Once it came in – did every problem after Katrina go away? No, the people went to Texas, and even up here to Massachusetts. The people voted with their feet and left.

    August 28, 2011 02:31 am at 2:31 am |
  8. Robert

    Free market insurance companies are not more effective, and cheaper than government insurances. Free Market insurance companies only have to do things for those who can afford their rates which are high and would be even higher without government intervention. But I bet most people don't even realize that yeah the government is involved in keeping those rates down.

    August 28, 2011 02:32 am at 2:32 am |
  9. Sonnie2

    I also agree with Ron Paul. The Guy is loaded with Common Sense. The Federal Government needs to be brought home to roost. The Federal dollar gets maybe if lucky, about 10 cents worth of good when you get past all the payrolls and red tape. What a disaster is happening before our eyes. Lets all wake up in 2012 and get leadership up front instead of a mouth piece behind a teleprompter for the likes of George Soros and the main stream media. The problems here in lies that if you have Common Sense you don't fit in with the Federal Government. SAD BUT TRUE!

    August 28, 2011 02:34 am at 2:34 am |
  10. Darren

    This is hilarious. I have never heard a kind word about FEMA after a disaster. People in those disaster areas are the most incensed by the poor performance of FEMA. Someone please give me a link to a positive FEMA story. Churches and other philantropists from around the country flood these disaster areas and offer the victims support. FEMA is a joke. You people saying RP is a "nutjob" have no idea what you are talking about and truly do not know his positions. Keep drinking that Limbaugh lemonade and don't study history.

    August 28, 2011 02:48 am at 2:48 am |
  11. Nick

    @Ralph, You're right, Bush probably F'd things up, but that's exactly what Ron Paul is saying. We don't need some agency that is subject to the whims and controls of just a few people. The local people in the states know better about how to deal with the disasters in their areas than some bureaucrats a thousand miles away. The FEMA people can simulate a try to prepare for things all they want but unless they live where the event is happening, they're just guessing and hoping things go as they hope. When they don't you get a Katrina type response.

    August 28, 2011 02:55 am at 2:55 am |
  12. Rob

    Dam socialistic people what's the idea of having a government body looking after the welfare of some of those who don't have the means to take care of themselves. Oh yea don't forget those commie fire and police departments
    how about the EPA. Everyone knows that big oil and industry are great stewards of the environment.

    August 28, 2011 02:59 am at 2:59 am |
  13. Ben

    I don't understand. So many people think that he's some heartless person who wants to get rid of FEMA for no reason. He's against government spending, not helping people. I mean, he's a doctor! He's only stating that FEMA, a government agency, does not do what is in the best interest of the people (there are many examples of that). So the money would be better allocated elsewhere. Like perhaps if we weren't taxed to hell to support these half-assed programs we could have more to donate directly to the people that need it, when they need it.

    August 28, 2011 03:11 am at 3:11 am |
  14. Young Tike

    FEMA is an obvious failure. Get rid of it.

    RON PAUL 2012

    August 28, 2011 03:13 am at 3:13 am |
  15. cyberninja

    @Elaine or you would have the america of today, more people might wake up to see it though

    August 28, 2011 03:14 am at 3:14 am |
  16. Whatshappening

    With Ron Paul's logic, we also don't need healthcare, electricity, water, education, police, fire fighters and Ron Paul himself!

    August 28, 2011 03:21 am at 3:21 am |
  17. joeschlag

    Darn tootin'. What we need to do when these disasters happen is to wait for some free enterprise outfit to go into these disaster areas and make money off the situation That'll take care of the problem. How about Haliburton?

    August 28, 2011 03:22 am at 3:22 am |
  18. dru

    Why do people look to the Federal Government to save them from everything? Why can't the people, State and Local governments take responsibility for themselves? Really, are you kidding me? There really are people that defend massive and bloated Federal agencies like FEMA that dictate down to the local level on what is or what is not best from them. Seriously?

    August 28, 2011 03:26 am at 3:26 am |
  19. Mel

    to the person who wrote so highly of the FEMA trailers given to the Katrina victims. Are you aware that they were coated in formaldehyde? Please tell me you know what that is.

    August 28, 2011 03:34 am at 3:34 am |
  20. Not fooled

    Eric Cantor is another one. He said that monies spent on Hurricane Irene by the government has to be matched by spending cuts. Now Paul wants to do away with Fema... People remember this..... Remember who is really looking out for you and declaring state of emergencies so funds can be guessed it President Obama.

    August 28, 2011 03:35 am at 3:35 am |
  21. Miriam

    I think I just lost all respect for this guy.

    August 28, 2011 03:45 am at 3:45 am |
  22. Tim

    Way too keep the mainstream media away from Dr/Sen. Paul on these key issues!

    August 28, 2011 03:56 am at 3:56 am |
  23. John H.

    Those of you criticizing Rep. Paul for his statements are not seeing the plain and simple truth. While surely it is kind for neighbors to help each other, it should not be a requirement. As our tax dollars pay for FEMA, it forces us to rebuild the homes and businesses of others. This is nothing more than socialism by definition. It is up to us as citizens to make the decision as to whether we will donate and volunteer to help others during the aftermath of a natural disaster. I'm not exactly sure why anyone would want the government to tax them in order to rebuild towns that may be 2000 miles away. It is up to us to donate to organizations such as Red Cross when we feel inclined to do so. I will never be comfortable paying against my will no matter what the cause. It's my money. I should be able to decide when and where to spend it. Thanks Ron for defending what's left of my freedom..

    August 28, 2011 03:58 am at 3:58 am |
  24. Travis

    @ralph Yeah it was the Bush administration's fault, George Bush hates black people, hell while your at it why not say he blew up the levies too. Or maybe you can take the tome to research and learn that infact it was luisiana's governor that blocked fema from entering the first few days after katrina.

    August 28, 2011 03:58 am at 3:58 am |
  25. logic in LA

    The man is an idiot. FEMA is like a national insurance policy- everyone pays in so that no one state is devastated with overwhelming losses.

    August 28, 2011 03:59 am at 3:59 am |
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