Friday, November 02, 2012


Privatize FEMA?

During the Republican Primary Debates, some of the candidates proposed abolishing the Federal Emergency Management Agency and letting private contractors deal with emergency relief from fires, earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, and other disasters.  The excuse provided for such a change was that the federal government is just too big to deal with such disasters effectively.  Basically, it is the current "small government" idealism that the Republican Party has embraced.  Some of you youngsters may take this "excuse" as a valid reason and evidence that the GOP really and truly stands for small government.

Being an Old Democrat (of 89 years) I can claim to have heard this argument all my life.  Before the days of such idealists as Howard Jarvis and Grover Norquist the reason was based on economics.  Government should perform those functions that can not be done in a way that makes a profit for investors.  Any function that can make a profit for investors and entrepreneurs should be done by private business.

It is clear that disaster relief can be operated as a profitable business.  The relief firms provide relief to persons and organizations who can pay them.  Those that can't pay get no help.  This is a simple principle, one that is easy to explain and understand.  Application of this principle allows both relief companies and insurance companies to prosper.  You as a voter can choose to support or oppose candidates who express and advocate this principle.
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