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. lynn

    I don't want to understand the issues because it's too hard. I want to watch TV and rely on the government to do everything for me and make every decision for me. I just want to send them my money. And then when I'm old I can die in front of my TV. Now that's life!

    August 27, 2011 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  2. Times Are Changing..

    BTW, where I rurally live, we have all volunteer fire/emergency response teams. MANY wait a very long time (or die) before help gets to them or another district is able to assist (especially during working hours). KKK still prevalent & local cops are crooked. Thank you, but NO THANKS, Mr. Paul. I, though white, don't care to go further back to the Jim Crow South. KEEP FEMA!

    August 27, 2011 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  3. JulianAlien

    You must either work for FEMA or know somebody who does.I am a native of Florida and all they did was send in their already millionaire cousins(with illegal alien labor) to scoop up the most lucrative contracts whilst locals were stopped by the national guard powerless.Then FEMA has the power to tell the city how to rebuild and the city has to do what they say because they have federal authority.Guess who gets those contracts?That money should go to the States treasury.We do not want the feds interfering with our storm cleanup.They are a bunch of Yankee crooks.7 tropical systems 1 tornado.

    August 27, 2011 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  4. seerightthroughthem

    Save themoney FEMA costs, refund it to the states and let each state deal with its own particulaer emergency situations. You spin doctors keep trying make it sound liek Ron Paul is saying do away with all emergency repsonse. Your liars, period. It the federal government that cant handle emergencies well. Each state has it own particulars... easy common sense.

    August 27, 2011 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  5. Angie

    So what prison are u chirping from blue j. Afraid youll lose your internet after all the funding is pulled from the drug wars end?

    August 27, 2011 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  6. marco

    Local people should order evacuations. Local people and local insurance should take of damage. the feds should stay away and only help by providing very short and temporary police protection if needed and requested by the local authorities.

    August 27, 2011 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  7. Chrisg510

    How many people on the east cost will strongly DISAGREE WITH YOU NOW, RON PAUL?

    August 27, 2011 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  8. Cody Callihan

    We were a better nation before FEMA and we will be better off without it. Look up FEMA camps, or the video of truthfrequencyradio broadcaster getting arrested for asking why they were writing down license plates of passing drivers.

    August 27, 2011 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  9. Tyler Durden

    Based on the comments herein....this country is toast. I guess the average American has no concept of, or desire to be self reliant. Keep sucking on the government tit folks. When it finally lets you down (and it surely will), try not to have that stupid deer in the headlights look. Just keep drinking the Kool Aid, all is well.

    We are so far removed from the idea of government our Founders envisioned we will never get back. And, I have come to understand, most Americans are OK with that. We, as a nation, will surely pay a severe price for our lack of participation in our own lives.

    Guess what. There were hurricanes before FEMA, and there will be hurricanes long after FEMA is gone.

    August 27, 2011 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  10. jake

    Wow and I respected this man once...How do you think your local fire department gets the vast majority of their funding Ron? It was a FEMA grant that bought the extrication tools that have saved hundreds of lives at my department alone. I guess this means Ron Paul is anti-emergency services as well?

    August 27, 2011 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  11. lasha

    im a young black girl from kansas..and my vote is for ron paul..people wake up..the government is not protecting us they are controlling us..soon people will get an micro chip implant. what will u do then...wake up america make ur own choice.if do ur research and see..the government feed us what they want.

    August 27, 2011 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  12. CheeseSteak

    Jesus Christ, what an insensitive creep of a human being. Is this man insane?

    August 27, 2011 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  13. jim dollinger

    once more Ron Paul nails it. this man is the most qualified person to lead our nation. join the Revolution...Ron Paul 2012.

    August 27, 2011 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  14. A Kickin` Donkey

    This is exactly why "the crazy uncle in the attic aka Ron Paul" won`t get elected. That and hw believes someone took all the gold out of Fort Knox.

    I`m kidding [sort of] but at a time where such major population centers are facing thw water threat from Irene, now is not the time to be spouting off about FEMA. It has been a well run, well managed, effectice entity under the Obama administration.

    If he were going to bad mouth FEMA, the time for Paul to do so was mid/late September 2005.

    August 27, 2011 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  15. g.c.kells

    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 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  16. DENNA

    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.
    You are kidding, right? 1900 Texas and 2011 Texas are two different time periods. If the government can't help in extreme times of trouble, what is it good for? Collecting taxes to pay witless politicians like you? It probably could be run more efficiently, but few people have the time, money or ability to rebuild destroyed areas alone. Please stop running if this is the best you can do. America needs serious leadership and I am not sure if you would be able to lead us.

    August 27, 2011 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  17. Alexander

    I agree with Ron Paul, why should it be every one's responsibility to subsidise your life style, if chose to live along the coast , you should know hurricanes and floods happen, so deal with it ! FEMA has to steal from some one to pay some else!

    August 27, 2011 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  18. ObamaCareS

    ANOTHER why why the old geezer ought to pack it in. And the states, like TX, MS, NC are so "po" they don't have the funds, as evidenced by their cuts in education and other vital programs.

    August 27, 2011 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  19. kat

    while I'm not a fan of big government, I do see a need for FEMA, maybe it needs some changes, but living along the gulf coast I know that we do need FEMAS, what kind of clown is he. Drop out now, we have far better candidates, as a matter of fact, some of them actually have a brain, unlike Paul

    August 27, 2011 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  20. Anonymous

    Good article Comrade. FEMA is double plus good.

    August 27, 2011 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  21. JonDie

    Elect ANY Republican president? Every hurricane will be a Hurricane Katrina event.

    August 27, 2011 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  22. JonDie

    Ralph: "I have to admit that FEMA's response to Katrina was very poor. BUT I have to wonder how FEMA's effectiveness was influenced by the GW Bush presidency? Specifically, that GWB possibly didn't care much for the citizens of Louisiana, because so many of them were Black."

    Bush's head of FEMA "Brownie" was a professional horse train trainer with no relevant disaster experience...other than he gave Bush a big campaign contribution.

    August 27, 2011 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  23. Knows Better

    Dumb comment from Paul. For a nation as large as ours to not have a Federal emergency management office would be ridiculous. State and local government simply do not have the resources to do everything that needs to be done. This is the problem with Paul - he believes in very few laws and almost no government. In a Ron Paul/libertarian world it would be "every man for himself" and we would all be holed up in our home with guns and if a tragedy befell you (for example, you became paralyzed and were not a self-supporting millionaire) you would be left to starve. Ron Paul does not even believe that health care is a human right. If you make enough money to afford the ever-increasing cost of health care, great, if not, well I guess you can just die when you get sick. It is so against the American values which made our nation great - the values of coming together for the common good and building something for the future. Ron Paul and Libertarianism are all about hoarding what you can for your self and too bad for everyone else. That attitude will move our country backward. Anti-government sentiment is not the answer.

    August 27, 2011 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  24. William Gaston

    People calling Ron Paul "kook" or "out there" don't be afraid anymore! There's nothing to fear. It's okay! Let me explain it so even YOU can understand....

    Someone made the analogy that the if we don't need FEMA is like saying the Titanic didn't need life vests....false analogy my friend. Ron Paul is not saying go without life boats ,he's suggesting a different and BETTER approach. Private companies can do the job AND do it better! You ever tried to get medical attention at the VA? or some descent customer service at the DMV? This is just how goverment does things....BADLY! And its been this way for years.

    Americans can come up with a privatized system of emergency management. It's really not that difficult. There's a saying about how if NASA was Federal we'd still be trying to get to the moon. Another expression about "well its good enough for goverment work..." There is a reason people criticize the job the government does....AT EVERYTHING IT GETS ITS HANDS ON!

    Ron Paul is not just right about a few things...he's a freaking genius in foreign policy, economics, finance, and the constitution. Read his books and then come back here and call him "kooky".

    August 27, 2011 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  25. cjn

    id be willing to bet all these people crying for fema dont even live in disaster/hurricane zones.

    you people against dr paul are close-minded; hes not saying lets allow people to just die to storms and not offer services, he is against the federal govt doing so.

    why should tax payer money from wyoming or utah have to pay for hurricane relief in the gulf or the east coast???? if we werent paying so many damn federal taxes, teh states could probably have enough money to set up their own contingency plans to help the situation along.

    and LOL at the guy who said, i bet he wants to get rid of the EPA, CIA, FBI, and SUPREME COURT. LOL BUDDY the establishment of the supreme court is mandated by teh CONSTITUTION of the USA, a document i believe you should try reading before making such BOLD statements, LOL.

    i cant seem to find the section of the constitution that mandates the creation of any other govt agency.

    August 27, 2011 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
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