Civil Discourse Now

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What would happen in a hurricane if Romney were elected, FEMA neutered, and disaster relief privatized?

   Several times I saw the clip from the June, 2011, "debate" during which Mitt Romney was asked about what he would do, were he elected President, with FEMA. He said anytime funds go from the Fed to the States, that is good, but what would be best would be to privatize.

   Romney characterized 47% of people in this country, essentially, as leeches. What would a man like Romney do in a crisis such as Hurricane Sandy?

   The former Massachusetts Governor held a storm relief rally—and showed a video from his campaign as he and campaign workers accepted donations of canned goods and other items useful for people in need. That is nice. However, the consensus amongst disaster experts is people who want to help—should donate money, like to the Red Cross. Instead, several trucks will transport relatively small amounts of goods to the coast.

   What does that say about how well or poorly Romney understands disaster relief? He could have encouraged the people at the campaign rally—whoops, it was a storm relief event—to give money to the effort. Or here would have been a good PR shot: Romney’s sons, who never have served in the military, could have gone to New Jersey and offered to help in the relief.

   Worst, however, is the suggestion that such matters should be privatized.

   To whom would the work be given? Would Haliburton carry out the efforts? It probably would be a no-bid contract. That is what big donations to political campaigns are supposed to obtain.

   If not, would compassionate conservatives be tasked with the work—at a profit? After all, profit-driven competition is the dynamic of the theory of privatization.

   Some how I think we would be treated to a Donald Trump-type moment. Someone would appear on the TV and gruffly explain how these people "no matter how terrible their plight—and I understand how they feel—should have planned ahead. If they can’t afford to pay for services in their area, that is a shame. But they should have taken responsibility for their own lives and not depended on others. And I know—many were hit when we privatized Social Security. The good men who handled investments in that effort to advance our economy did the best they could. But they were held down by the after-effects of Obamacare. I also know many lost their savings in the latest bank busts. But we have taken steps to address any such future crises. Former directors of Goldman-Sachs and Citibank will head a team to discuss how we can totally eliminate regulations on banks. After all, regulations brought about the crisis."


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