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. Andy

    I agree with Ron Paul...why should I pay for someone else's home to be rebuilt or whatever... If you choose to live in an area prone to this kinds of disasters then that's your problem...Someone here said that "This is the United States of America and that we take care of each other" well sure, but you shouldn't force me to help you. Same goes to aid for foreign nations...why must we be taxed to help out others...we might personally not want to help...or help groups we might not want to help. It's all about personal liberty and personal responsibility.

    August 28, 2011 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  2. Two and They're Through

    Government isn't the problem. Government by Republicans is.

    August 28, 2011 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  3. Young Liberty

    AND of course leaving ti to CNN to post an article that demonizes Paul because of his stance on FEMA....He wan't to end our wars and foreign invasions too....but let's concentrate on his stance on FEMA...thats mature. Maybe if we ended our wars and saved some money, we could actually make FEMA a little more effecient.....or get rid of it and teach people to be responsible for their own destiny...we don't need to stock up on water and suplies...the Federal Government will take care of us..right?

    August 28, 2011 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  4. NarayanaS

    I do not understand this argument the federal Govt. is not needed, and the local governments can take care of everything. I am from Alabama, can some please Libertarian explain, which duties the present state Govt. is doing better and do even better if the federal Govt is not there? For every one dollar we contribute to Feds, we get 1.50$ back, and even with that my state is in sorry condition. Roads, schools, health, environment, water ways, transportation, etc are in terrible shape, placing us at the bottom of the pile. Many of the people in this blog complain that Fed is bad; even with its helping dole my state is in terrible state, just imagine without. Same is the case with Louisiana, Mississippi, Carolinas etc. We all remember what happened in Katrina time, when FEMA did not react in time. What a mess, things got better for poor people only after Federal Govt stepped in.

    August 28, 2011 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  5. gg

    The problems with FEMA began when Bush appointed his campaign manager (!) Joe Alpaugh as his first FEMA director. The corruption and incompetence of the Bush regime will haunt American for years.

    August 28, 2011 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  6. Grunt

    My fellow Republicans,

    Its time to rid ourselves of the libertarian noose around our necks. This is yet another example of the absolute craziness of these holier than all freakatarians. Ron Paul and his ilk would bring home all troops, end all military involvement overseas and in doing so create 25 – 30% underemployment overnight. They would also do away with FEMA and leave citizens stranded and left to rebuild by themselves.

    These folks are freaks. There is no kind way to say it. Unless the GOP wants to be forever diminished as a party of freaks, cut the noose. It's quite alright to sip tea, but do be somewhat discriminatory about with whom you sip.

    August 28, 2011 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  7. jdunc

    Ron Paul is consistent. Any government entity is subject to criticism or is not needed. Government is ALWAYS the problem. Of course, most of us feel that there is a need to have a government that serves our needs in time of crisis, protects us from the bad guys, and has regulations that protects us from each other at times. When government is run by the bad guys, those that would profit off our tax dollars, then government is truly bad. Right now we are in a debate about whether government should be unduly influenced by large, international corporations, or should we be protected from them. Which side of that question is Ron Paul on?

    August 28, 2011 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  8. Mark

    Gavin: You say that private insurance is better than FEMA, but FEMA isn't insurance. Anyone in the Katrina zone could have gone out an bought flood insurance (don't tell me it isn't affordable). The rates are much more affordable because the U.S. has flood zones and many more people are required to get flood insurance if they have a mortgage. And if you don't have a mortgage, then you should be able to buy flood insurance. Anyway, try living in Calif where earthquake insurance is very costly and the deductibles run 10% of the cost of the entire house!

    August 28, 2011 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  9. Ron

    And what do these 7,600 useless government employees do when there is not a disaster??? Apparently nothing. No planning, no organization. Sit and wait? How could you even use that many DURING a disaster. They are a joke and need to go!

    August 28, 2011 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  10. LogicalSkepticism

    How would it be possible for a taxpayer funded disaster relief organization to be constitutional at the state or local level if it was unconstitutional at the federal level? After all, the federal government is simply the Union of all 50 states combined, so how could an individual state have MORE rights under the constitution than the entire Union? It makes no real sense, which is a general hallmark of libertarian political theory.

    August 28, 2011 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  11. dizzylucy

    While I agree that it has not always been efficient, I disagree that FEMA should be eliminated completely. Improved? Yes. Eliminated? No.
    Cutting is not always the answer, but if that's all that some have to offer, let's start with Congress' paychecks and other costs. Let them volunteer their time as public servants!

    August 28, 2011 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  12. Jim

    @Young Liberty,
    According to Ron Paul, we don't need FEMA, we don't need the Department of Education, we need religion in Goverment, and we need to ignore the poor. Not the man I want in charge of our country. As for making FEMA more efficient, it has nothing to do with either war. I want the wars stopped too, but I don't think for one minute that funneling the billions per month we spend on those wars into FEMA will make it more efficient, just more bloated.

    August 28, 2011 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  13. Captain America

    I have to laugh at RP's comment and the people who say that FEMA is not constitutional. PLEASE! The constitution is a FRAMEWORK written hundreds of years ago. IF you don't like it you don't like it – blanket statements like unconstiutional mean nothing and show ignorance. It's similar to "Obama's policies have failed" – which policy exactly? Really.

    August 28, 2011 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  14. Gary

    Ron Paul is a misguided idealogue. His son is a complete idiot.

    August 28, 2011 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  15. aurora

    He's right.....and we really don't need the post office either. I am so sick of getting 2 actual letters and 20 advertisements! What a waste of trees! States can handle their own disasters with out Big Brother! Go Ron Paul and sorry about the only time you get press attention is when the want to make you look ridiculous! I believe in you though I really don't think you will be elected President, you are doing fantastic work right where you are!

    August 28, 2011 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  16. Justin Observation

    He's too intelligent for the average voter. FEMA has billions of dollars and massive resources and they couldn't handle Katrina. If states had that money they could respond faster and more efficiently. FEMA would be better off being the Federal Emergency Money Allocation department or simply non-existent.

    August 28, 2011 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  17. Cass

    Sure, b/c no one ever needs a helping hand. Oh please. My family went through Hurricane Andrew in a house that we paid to make safe in every way possible and with hurricane and floor insurance. Even with that, we would've starved if the government hadn't helped, and that's even though they took their sweet time getting there. None of us could've expected weeks without power. We had prepared for day, as we were told to do. Sometimes, disasters happen. You can't plan for everything. That's not how the world works.

    August 28, 2011 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  18. Serge

    Ron Paul is right, these people sit on their butts most of the time not doing anything that is useful for us. At the end of the day it is us who does all the work to fix things up, and our local governments. This federal agency is really just a money sucking bug that we don't need.

    August 28, 2011 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  19. Two and They're Through

    Republicans believe that corporations are people but that We The People are a monster.

    August 28, 2011 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  20. LH

    Everyone wants to do away with every agency, Then when you need them, they are not there. and then most people blame the Govt for not being there. Is better to have and not need, then to need and not have? Its like insurance, its just in case, but doesnt drop you or refuse to pay when something happens. What if the earthquake had been devestating? Who would have been there? What we are dealing with is a lot of "what ifs"? What about folks in states that had no history of flooding, and the next thing you know its flooded, but insurance wont help. WHen is the last time any of you been to New Orleans and went outside Bourbon street or the French Quarter? Hey its all good, until we are personally affected and then we want to cry about not receivng help or something not being done.

    August 28, 2011 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  21. tigg

    You know what I can't figure out? I can't figure out why all these Republicans who hate government so much are so desperate to help lead it. It's like letting inmates run the prisons. If you hate the US government so much, please kindly exit and let the rest of us run the place, thank you.

    August 28, 2011 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  22. Linda

    thank you Ron Paul- if I had your money I wouldn't care about help from the feds- these idiots, the Republicans and Tea Party
    are out to destroy every good thing about America! How can anyone even think of voting for any of them? They will destroy our environment, let fossil fuels destroy the planet, while still giving oil companies huge tax breaks. They want to take away all protection for old people and poor people – but they take their FREE ( we pay for it) health care and cushy retirements! How about cutting that? Why do they want to run a government that they say makes no sense? They make no sense, ever!

    August 28, 2011 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  23. 66Biker

    Are all Texas politicians idiots? Every time I hear one speak I can't help but wonder how they ever got elected in the first place.

    August 28, 2011 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  24. Frank M

    Captain America is apparently unfamiliar with the Tenth Amendment to the US Constitution.:

    "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

    August 28, 2011 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  25. LogicalSkepticism

    Ron Paul is simply making the old "states rights" argument that the South used during the Civil War era. It's an attempt at cherry picking which federal laws you have to follow as a member of the overall Union. In other words, if you disagree with the rules passed by the democratically elected majority at the federal level, then you have the "right" to ignore those rules at the state or local level. At it's heart, it's an anti-constitutional position. It's an argument against the legitimacy of the federal Union.

    August 28, 2011 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
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