This morning, Libertarian hero Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) announced that he will join the motley GOP presidential field, marking his third run for the office. Offering further insight into his presidential sensibility, Paul told CNN host Wolf Blitzer today that he would do away with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), even at a time of unprecedented need.
Viewing the agency as unconstitutional, Paul questioned why federal funds should pay to protect citizens from natural disasters and concluded, “It’s a moral hazard to say that government is always going to take care of us when we do dumb things“:
BLITZER: On the whole issue of FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, do you want to see that agency ended?
PAUL: Well, if you want to live in a free society, if you want to pay attention to the constitution, why not? I think it’s bad economics. I think it’s bad morality. And it’s bad constitutional law. Why should people like myself, who had, not too long ago, a house on the Gulf Coast and it’s – it’s expensive there and it’s risky and it’s dangerous. Why should somebody from the central part of the United States rebuild my house? Why shouldn’t I have to buy my own insurance and protect about the potential dangers? I mean it’s – it’s a moral hazard to say that government is always going to take care of us when we do dumb things. I’m trying to get people to not to dumb things. Besides, it’s not authorized in the constitution.
BLITZER: And if there’s a disaster, like flooding or – or an earthquake or Hurricane Katrina, what’s wrong with asking fellow Americans to help their – their – their fellow citizens?
PAUL: Nothing. And I think Americans are very, very generous and they have traditionally. The big problem is Americans are getting poor and they’re not able to voluntarily come to the rescue.But to coerce people, to ask them to help, that is fine and dandy. But when you bankrupt our country and nobody has a job and then they say, well, FEMA needs to bail out everybody, then all we’re doing is compounding our problems.
Paul’s brand of morality is particularly callous given the numerous natural disasters destroying Americans’ homes and livelihoods across the country right now, from floods to tornadoes to wildfire fires. Gov. Nathan Deal (R-GA) requested FEMA to respond to the devastating tornadoes that tore across the southern states, leaving at least 290 dead. Gov. Haley Barbour (R-MS) is telling Mississippians that are victims of disaster-level flooding to register with FEMA to receive federal aid.
After wildfires tore across Paul’s own state of Texas, Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) pleaded for even more FEMA aid. Perry said that “the ‘severity and magnitude‘ of the fires was so great that FEMA should direct other federal agencies to step in and help run the fire-fighting effort in those counties.”
But apparently to Paul, Texans people are “dumb” and thus undeserving of assistance because they happen to be in the path of a natural disaster.