October 31, 2012
A congressman from Pennsylvania wants to add billions of dollars to an already astronomical national debt to fund FEMA and the federal government response to Hurricane Sandy.
Democrat Chaka Fattah plans to introduce a bill in the House of Representatives during a pro-forma session on Friday. Fattah said the money should not be an offset to planned spending cuts or new taxation. He said the government has always provided money for disaster relief.
The official government figure for the national debt is around $16 trillion, a figure that is wildly off the mark.
“The true present value of future obligations is $222 trillion,” writes Laurence Kotlikoff, professor of economics at Boston University. “This is $700,000 per person. This is $1.9 million per household. This is what you currently owe. Do you feel better?”
“The American people deserve, and insist on, the kind of first-rate recovery response that FEMA can provide,” Fattah said in a statement. “But we cannot do it on the cheap. Congress must step up and provide the federal resources this emergency requires.”
In other words, according to Mr. Fattah, the American people – and their children and grand children – deserve to be enslaved to a staggering national debt.
Fattah’s remark about the government and natural disasters is misleading. The federal government has not “always provided money for disaster relief,” as the congressman claims.
Prior to FDR in the 1930s, the federal government response to natural disasters was minimal. FDR’s socialist and interventionist government polices established the Reconstruction Finance Corporation to issue loans for disaster relief and the Bureau of Public Roads was given authority to provide funding for highways and bridges damaged by natural disasters.
In 1974, the Disaster Relief Act established the process of presidential disaster declarations and federal intervention. The federal effort was further enlarged and centralized under president Jimmy Carter after he issued an executive order in 1979 creating the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA.
As we noted yesterday in response to a New York Times op-ed celebrating FEMA and big government, during the Reagan administration FEMA acquired a new mandate under the auspices of Continuity of Government.
“The New York Times repeats the falsehood that FEMA is all about natural disasters when a closer examination of the ‘agency’ reveals what its true purpose is – not hurricane relief (which has consumed only a fraction of its budget) but the continuity of a secret government most Americans know little or nothing about,” we wrote.
We also documented the fact that FEMA has served as a cover for black op funding. A 1992 study by the Cox Newspapers Group found that during 1982-1992 FEMA’s budgets included only $243 million for disaster relief but $2.9 billion for black ops.
Rep. Fattah wants to make sure even more money is sent down this black hole. However, in all honesty, he probably is not aware of FEMA’s real role and buys into the myth that its primary purpose is disaster relief.