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

    The United States could certainly due without parasites like Ron Paul and the Tea Party.

    August 28, 2011 08:50 am at 8:50 am |
  2. Me

    "WE are the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. We take care of each other."

    In what USA dimension?? We are more divided then ever and I agree with Ron about FEMA, reading stories about what people had to deal with when Katrina hit, they are of no more use to the US. FEMA is a waste of money and there are people out there happy to waste money, as in any idiot that does stupid acts then cries for help-the 17 year old who dug himself a HUGE hole on the beach it caved in under him and he was buried up to his chin, idiot-or the pics they are showing of more idiots surfing waiting for Hurricane Irene to arrive on Thurs, and if something happened they would cry for help. I'm sorry but those idiots should be left to fend for themselves instead of wasting tax payer money on their stupidity

    August 28, 2011 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
  3. wendy5

    7600 employees why is my tax money going to pay 7600 people 24/7 for somthing that may or may not happen; communities help each other when these things happen ;didnt help katrina people; besides if you live in hurricane territory and cant handle your sitution get out dont lve their and expect the whole country to keep bailing you out all the time; but then again you cant fix stupid!!!!! fema is another money grab department of the government; that makes them useless and ineffective like all governemt agencies ; so when is obozo going to come out and tell us all about and start his dog and pony show

    August 28, 2011 08:56 am at 8:56 am |
  4. Anthony

    It's frightening to see all the slippery slope arguments here. How have federal agencies really helped citizens who aren't extremely wealthy? the FDA commits terrorism against Raw Milk consumers while letting monsanto poison the planet with GMOs. FEMA and DHS are completely unnecessary yet people want to assume that Ron Paul wants victims of natural disasters to suffer? Please...I was fooled into thinking Obama and GWB were different (they are NOT...just employees for the same Corporations and Int'l Bankers)...but Ron Paul is the only candidate speaking any sense these days. We are being turned info slaves again and Ron Paul is the only one talking about it. Forget Rick Perry-he is a puppet as well.

    August 28, 2011 08:57 am at 8:57 am |
  5. Big Bill

    One goal of the Republicans that are in power is to make government agencies and departments so ineffective that people become disgusted with them. That is why Michael Brown was appointed the head of FEMA under Bush. The only department and agencies that the Republican favor are Defense related and when they get into power, they flood the Department with so much money that most of it is wasted buying equipment that doesn't work or isn't needed. Then to justify the expense, they get into wars that are not in the interest of the U.S. Believe me, the entire FEMA budget is much less than the cost overruns on a project like the B1 or B2 bomber, which arent' even being used right now because they were not needed in the first place.

    August 28, 2011 09:00 am at 9:00 am |
  6. Jack

    What idiots like Paul don't seem to understand is that FEMA's help isn't always obvious or high profile. It pumps billions of dolaars into reconstructing damaged areas. It pumps billions of dollars into local first responder systems. It helps state and local disaster response and recovery efforts. So many of these GOP candidates have such a simplistic view of the world. They are living in the 19th century when people believed the Robber Barons would protect them. No, Mr. Paul does not need FEMA. He's wealthy and connected and can buy his way out of a disaster. The rest of us don't have that luxury.

    August 28, 2011 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
  7. Sequoia

    Why do right-wingers think having a functioning government is "socialism?" It's called CIVILIZATION and we've worked very hard as a species to get here. We're not interested in some backwards, Teabag fantasy land with no infrastructure, no services and no government responsibility where we're oppressed by corporations and Bible-thumpers. That's not freedom, folks.

    August 28, 2011 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  8. David_G

    It looks like most of the critics didn't bother to actually read the article. Typical.

    August 28, 2011 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  9. Mark in ATL

    Let's not confuse FEMA done wrong (Bush/Browny style) vs FEMA done right (Clinton/Obama professionals). I'd like to see Paul go to Joplin and and say "hey, tough break. I realize all you people all completely devestated, but the good news is that eventually different people will buy up your rubble and turn it into something. Your life is over... but so what?" I think I would rather have a government that asks us all to pony up a little so that we can take care of our own when some group needs extra help after a disaster.

    August 28, 2011 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  10. sky

    Whenever I look at this man's face (Ron Paul), all I see is an America from the past. Pre Civil Rights era..Big time !!!
    Candidates for the Presidency need to wake up and understand this country is continuing to change with evidence of the last election. If you cant appeal to the broader America (wealthy, mid class, poor, black,white, latino, asian, etc), then you're not going to make it very far.

    August 28, 2011 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  11. John Q.

    I tend to agree with him as well, FEMA is just a big bureaucracy sucking the taxpayers dry for the most part. Funds would be better spent if most was allocated to the states and localities for most disaster preparation and recovery. Anymore FEMA is a political tool to make politicians/Presidents seem like they are doing something, and all for photo ops and political gain.

    August 28, 2011 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  12. Shawn

    So FEMA, which provides much needed assistance to people in natural disasters, should be cut. But notice Ron Paul hasn't asked for cuts to his free government healthcare, or ending government handouts to energy corporations. What a stand up guy with real principles! I'm amazed that even a few (very few) people take this guy seriously. He's a fraud.

    August 28, 2011 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  13. srichey

    Ron Paul is to politics what Matt Millen was to football.

    August 28, 2011 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  14. Jim McClarin

    A government big enough to take care of all our needs is big enough to take everything we've got.

    August 28, 2011 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  15. Bewildered in Georgia

    The nation doesn't need FEMA? Actually, what the nation doesn't need is Ron Paul....

    August 28, 2011 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  16. Marck J

    I bet all this republicans will say, big corporations should be in charge of FEMA and everything else.

    August 28, 2011 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  17. Tom Swick

    Ron Paul is genius. I have never really liked any presidents or politicians that have made their way into office. I can honestly say if Ron Paul could become president I would fully support him. I have studied Ron Paul and he is what America truly needs... People think what he says is sometimes crazy. Just search up the debt America has, and how we can never repay our debt with the current currency system we have. He is so right about doing away with the Federal Reserve, Fema, hell in my opinion even Homeland Security needs to go away... They are nothing more than an entity who were put in place to control the American people... The people need to realize that you are the power. These federal facilities are nothing unless we the people comply with their demands... We owe more money in debt than the whole country has in assets.. How can you ever repay debt, when you go into debt asking for money from the Federal Reserve to pay the previous debt. Think about it....

    August 28, 2011 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  18. Aaron

    Ron Paul, right again. My God Americans vote idiots into the white house and RP is the only one with a clue.

    August 28, 2011 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  19. Raph

    His point is that FEMA is ineffective, so why waste money on something that is barely working. He made a good point, people are able to rebuild without depinding on the government. Also, he has been a 12 term congressman ", doesn't that say something?

    August 28, 2011 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  20. Tom

    I agree with Ron completely. I work for the federal government and I can tell you that anything the government gets involved in will turn into a financial disaster. They have an inexhaustible source of money (our taxes and a printing press), and they act accordingly – they are horribly inefficient and wasteful! I don't think Ron believes that we, as a society, should not help one another (either through physical effort or through financial aid), but rather believes that the federal government should not be running the show. After all of the incredible waste I have seen during my career, I agree with him completely. Our government is truly, literally, running us into unrecoverable debt and is ruining America, and FEMA is just another component of this. THe same amount of money could provide MUCH more good if managed by a more efficient entitiy.

    August 28, 2011 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  21. Jacob M

    Why not 'just' redevelop FEMA into an organizational structure similar to that of the National Guard: state-level agencies which can be called up and coordinated by the federal executive branch, if needed. We'd also need to develop one or two small federal analogues – one for the coordination of state-level groups at the federal level and one to handle emergencies within the federal jurisdiction (such as the OKC bombing).

    August 28, 2011 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  22. Brett 4Liberty

    FEMA is a joke and Ron Paul is the only honest person running for President.

    Ron Paul 2012

    August 28, 2011 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  23. Donkey Party

    With most right-wingers being Anarchists these days, it would seem to be only a matter of time before they plummet the country into another Civil War. I for one can't wait. We liberals are just waiting patiently for an excuse to terminate their sub-human ilk legally. Right-wingers are infinitely more dangerous to American sovereignty than Al Queda or the Taliban will ever be.

    August 28, 2011 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  24. olepi

    I suppose Ron Paul is also against hospitals, heck back in 1900 we patched ourselves up. Idiot. No wonder he won't get more than the crank 3% vote.

    August 28, 2011 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  25. Gary

    We as Americans can do a better job at helping our fellow neighbors than anything organized by the Government. Ron Paul has realized. And a lot of people here have no clue what a right winged person really is. A Right wing person believes in Individual Freedom. There is no individual or corporate welfare. There is civil liberties. A non-intervention foreign policy, sound money. Many Tea Party Groups have been hijacked by "right wingers" but in reality are moral majority leftists who want to instill their views down the throats of the American People. I am a right winged person. I have my beliefs, but I do not instill my beliefs upon anyone else because I do not have that right. At the same time, no one has the right to instill their views on me.

    August 28, 2011 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
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