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. Brian

    Ron Paul once again shows that telling the truth, even if it may be a poor move politically, is what is most important.

    History will eventually view him as correct on FEMA, just as he was correct on the wars, the banking system, corporate fascism, erosion of civil liberties, fraudulent mortgage lending and devaluation of the dollar.

    As I heard someone once say, "Ron Paul is the kind of guy who would tell you your girlfriend is ugly if she was indeed ugly."

    August 28, 2011 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  2. "The GOP biggest deception is getting the Poor and Middle class to believe they are out to help them"

    LOL...see this is the problem with the GOP, they talk about government needs to stay out of this and that, but here is the question: How do any of them think the States would fair if they had to take up the burden? I think you all know exactly where it would come from through State Taxes or you just wouldn't get the assistance you would need!! People need to realize the various things the Fed gives are paid via the entire nation. So if your state chose not to participate, you either are going to deal with it or live without and look at the various states that live without certain things!!! You basically, become a Nation of States that have and States that don’t!!! Sort of reminds me of the Civil War!!!

    August 28, 2011 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  3. kd

    Why does anyone still listen to this old fool?

    Just because he's against the 'War on Drugs' and because he was against the war in Iraq, it's not reason to give him a pass on his nutty, dangerous ideas. And, for the record, he wasn't against the war in Iraq on humanitarian grounds, or constitutional grounds.

    August 28, 2011 10:06 am at 10:06 am |

    I love seeing all these commenters who are ranting about Ron Paul's political platform....and call him amuses me because I can watch people shooting themselves in the foot as they speak...America is screwed because of all the people who can't live or make common sense decisions regarding their lives...These people are the same people who ask a columnist or their preacher for advice...

    August 28, 2011 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  5. Hec Jervae

    Ron Paul has these silly anachronistic notions about following the Constitution and trying to preserve liberty. Ron Paul says "less Big Brother" but the people say no, "more Big Brother!" Please, don't put up any roadblocks on the road to serfdom.

    August 28, 2011 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  6. Lala

    If FEMA were effective this wouldn't be an issue. But it is NOT, like most federal government agencies including Medicare and Social Security. FEMA was in Charleston, SC in 1989 after Hurricane Hugo and they didn't accomplish anything but throwing money at the problem. Of couse they give the money to corrupt local gov't agencies who don't get it to who needs it anyway.

    So, I am for defunding FEMA and letting the state take care of themselves. Since most residents of states most affected by Hurricanes have seen the lack of good FEMA does and how much more locals help each other, maybe you should LISTEN to those who have experience. But liberals never listen to those who know more, since they already believe they are them.

    August 28, 2011 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  7. Rod Ramjet

    keep saying, "I love FEMA," sheeple ... right up until they slam the gates of the "relocation centers" behind your duh-masses. Remember the Jews who kept yelling, "Heil Hitler!" - even as they were being loaded on the cattle cars? Hitler just laughed.

    [knock-knock] "Hello, sir/ma'am. I'm agent Hemlock from FEMA. I'm here to help. This area has been declared an emergency zone. Do you have any fire arms? Yeah, we're gonna need those. Oh, and your family is required to receive this experimental vaccination. Please bend over. Might wanna put some ice on that. And, by the way, we're gonna need you to evacuate your home. Please get on the busses in an orderly fashion; men on the black bus; women on the white bus; children on the yellow bus. And, of course, you will be shot if you refuse our 'help.'"

    August 28, 2011 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  8. Ron A


    You can have lifeboats. Paul is all for lifeboats. The question is where those boats should cone from. Federal Government? Or the private individual/liCal government.

    With the former you get boats with holes, with The latter you get boats that work.

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

    It is intresting to note that CNN finally deigns to mention Rep. Ron Paul (who just happens to be one of the top 3 GOP contenders according to the national polls), only to slant the story in a way which marginalizes his candidacy.

    The fact is that we have no use whatsoever for FEMA. It's own director has stated that they cannot be counted upon to render aid in any emergency – despite that being the reason for the Agencys existence. Besides they have such a sterling record of "assistance" in the past.

    August 28, 2011 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  10. Joe

    What Ron Paul is saying is that FEMA is not worth the money spent on it and I happen to agree with him. What he says is that if the federal government didn't take so much of everyone's money the people would have money in their own pockets and bank accounts to give to charity's such as the red cross and the salvation army that have superior response compared to FEMA and none of the red tape. Since when has a government agency been able to handle things better than the private sector? I can't think of one federal agency that we get a decent return for the money it costs to fund it.

    August 28, 2011 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  11. Jason

    This guy is right. The states or the people alone can do just fine without another big waste of money bureaucracy at the federal level.

    August 28, 2011 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  12. FIELD1stSGT

    He's about a retard. If not FEMA then most assuredly something else. And look at the expense of making changes. People have to understand after 30 years in the Army one has to expect the unexpected and it takes time to get people, equipment, supplies, medical, etc not to even mention the money to come later to help repair personal property to come. It even with an organization such as FEMA are unlike firemen who can respond at a moments notice, but even then usually the property is burned up by the time they get there. FEMA does fairly well under the circumstances. It is a neccessary expense.

    August 28, 2011 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  13. Betty

    Oh Gosh dont tell me Ron Paul is from Texas .Hes a idiot .Now hes being like Obama .The ole WHATS IN IT FOR ME ?Help me get ron paul out of office next election ./Hes not worth his salt .God Help us all with this idiot .Vote him out .

    August 28, 2011 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  14. New Age Independent

    Naturally, Liberals here don't really give this a second thought. It's just another mindless ignorant opportunity to bash a Republican. The problem is here that Paul isnt completely wrong with regards to FEMA. It's been drowned in bureaucracy and is simply not well run. Obama made FEMA into a campaign point and simply hasn't followed through. I think we need FEMA, just not the one that exists today. It needs a real businessman's touch to make it efficient and proactive. It doubt it never happen in this administration.

    August 28, 2011 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  15. Wise1Speak


    (1.) – Ron Paul claimed Galveston rebuilt after September-1900 hurricane. What the hypocrite did not say was that it took Galveston "six decades" of blood, sweat, and pain to get back on the map. And even then Galveston never fully recovered to its once pristine status.

    (2.) – And what is it with these Tea Party Republican representatives that want to eliminate everything that helps the average hardworking middle-class American. U.S. agencies like FEMA, EPA, FDA, SSA, TSA, and VA have been the great equalizer and protector for middle-class Americans and people better start thinking about that fact!

    August 28, 2011 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  16. Dirk Waldon

    Ron Paul and TEX-ASS sucks! And this great Nation doesn't need NEITHER of the two. Period.

    August 28, 2011 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  17. Brian

    FEMA is a joke, just like most of the federal government is. Their history on mismanaged funds and poorly run disasters is an absolute fact, and a downright embarrassment. So many of you status quo thinkers don't mind turning a blind eye to a federal program, but if FEMA was a private business they would be bankrupt and non-existent. FEMA is undoubtedly one of the least effective federal institutions there is, not to mention a blackhole for tax payer money.

    The country existed, and recovered, for a very long time before FEMA came about. It's just a matter of how you view the role of government. Some of you believe the federal government is the answer to everything, but that's not how our system was intended to be, and that's not how it's always been.

    If we give the federal government an inch, it will take a mile. It's time we start realizing that and get the government out of our lives!

    August 28, 2011 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  18. hannah

    I guess we could get rid of all of the police in this country as well, as the wealthy have their own security in gated communities and then we could all take personal responsibility for ourselves, make sure the guns are loaded and watch out for ourselves; the middle class and below that is. Palin says she want to take our country back; that is so true she wants to take it back to the 1700's.

    August 28, 2011 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  19. guest

    We obviously still need mental hospitals.

    August 28, 2011 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  20. GOP all Nuts

    Does GOP have any credible candidate left? Ask the Hurricane Katrina survivors how they lived their lives after loosing their homes, If not for FEMA trailers they will have been on the streets. A very good friend of mine who just moved from New Orleans has very nice stories and pictures to tell about how they managed to put their life together while living in the FEMA trailer.FEMA may not be perfect but it is trying. What we do need to get rid of is ppl like these from the congress. I really question the need for having so many congressmen? Cut down the strength of Congres by half and that will result in lot of savings in direct salaries and benefits not only from the congressmen/women but also from the enormous staff they maintain. What do you think Mr. Paul? Let's cut big Gov, right?

    August 28, 2011 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  21. Mike

    I agree with Ron Paul. It would be better if the state governments were given command and control of the situation instead of FEMA. I'm sure funds and donations would be better utilized by people who know the area than those who are not familiar with it.

    August 28, 2011 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  22. Alina77

    McCain's brother called 911 because he stuck in the traffic ( I guess he was for the first time on his own), Romney joked with unemployed people that he is kind of unemployed too. If Ron Poul (would be a President right now ) , he would tell to all of those people that have broken from the trees houses to staff those holes with their fat asses. THAT'S HOW OUR OF TOUCH THESE GUYS ARE, and more you say against Government staff like this more popular you become. I guess you people deserving it.

    August 28, 2011 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  23. Thaddeus

    This guy is nut, along with the rest of the Republican party. I cant understand why people still vote for these clowns. The Republican party wants to tear-down America's safe-guards that have taken 300 plus years to create. We need to do something about people who think like this, and vote them out of office before it is to late!

    August 28, 2011 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  24. Lucius

    Wow! You guys are really threatened by Ron Paul, aren't you? To use that headline at this time.... Good job Ron Paul!

    August 28, 2011 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  25. Johan Bouwer

    Fema is not a disaster relief agency, it is a people control agency. Any MSM organization dare to speak up on these Fema camp(s) issue?

    August 28, 2011 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
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