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30 Oct

Romney in primary: Federal disaster relief ‘immoral’

With Hurricane Sandy bearing down on the entire east coast, it’s worth remembering back to when Mitt Romney was in his severely conservative primary phase. He told CNN’s John King during the June 13, 2011 Republican presidential primary debate that federal disaster relief was “immoral” because deficit.

 Watch:

Here’s a transcript of the snip.

KING: What else, Governor Romney? You’ve been a chief executive of a state. I was just in Joplin, Missouri. I’ve been in Mississippi and Louisiana and Tennessee and other communities dealing with whether it’s the tornadoes, the flooding, and worse. FEMA is about to run out of money, and there are some people who say do it on a case-by-case basis and some people who say, you know, maybe we’re learning a lesson here that the states should take on more of this role. How do you deal with something like that?

ROMNEY: Absolutely. Every time you have an occasion to take something from the federal government and send it back to the states, that’s the right direction. And if you can go even further and send it back to the private sector, that’s even better.

Instead of thinking in the federal budget, what we should cut—we should ask ourselves the opposite question. What should we keep? We should take all of what we’re doing at the federal level and say, what are the things we’re doing that we don’t have to do? And those things we’ve got to stop doing, because we’re borrowing $1.6 trillion more this year than we’re taking in. We cannot…

KING: Including disaster relief, though?

ROMNEY: We cannot—we cannot afford to do those things without jeopardizing the future for our kids. It is simply immoral, in my view, for us to continue to rack up larger and larger debts and pass them on to our kids, knowing full well that we’ll all be dead and gone before it’s paid off. It makes no sense at all. [emphasis added]

Severely conservative Mitt also picked severely conservative Paul Ryan for his running mate, the guy who attempted to cut a new disaster aid fund that “budgets help for victims of hurricanes, tornadoes and floods before they occur.” Luckily for the entire east coast this week, party leadership nixed that idea.

But what happens with the next monster storm under Romney/Ryan? The Ryan budget, fully embraced by Romney, would make such deep cuts in federal funding that disaster relief would have to be passed on to states and localities. Romney,which is specifically what he is saying should happen in that clip. But funding for states and localities is also so sharply curtailed that they’ll be hard pressed to respond to disasters. Which, as he made clear at the debate, is exactly what will force his ultimate goal: privatizing disaster relief.

Huffington Post asked Romney about this issue on Sunday, and a campaign official basically reaffirmed Romney’s position that it’s all up to the states:

“Gov. Romney wants to ensure states, who are the first responders and are in the best position to aid impacted individuals and communities, have the resources and assistance they need to cope with natural disasters,” the Romney official said.

UPDATE Sunday, 10:04 p.m.–

A Romney official reaffirmed the former governor’s position Sunday evening in an email.

“Gov. Romney wants to ensure states, who are the first responders and are in the best position to aid impacted individuals and communities, have the resources and assistance they need to cope with natural disasters,” the Romney official said.

UPDATE II Monday, 9:10 a.m.–

The Washington Post’s Greg Sargent adds: “There’s another nugget here worth highlighting, though. In that appearance, Romney also suggested it would be ‘even better’ to send any and all responsibilities of the federal government ‘to the private sector,’ disaster response included. So: Romney essentially favored privatizing disaster response.”

4 Responses to “Romney in primary: Federal disaster relief ‘immoral’”

  1. 1
    riverrat Says:

    Too bad Mitt wasn’t already president because this disaster could have been worth a bundle of money to his friends who would have charged Time & Materials for people in need. Another missed opportunity for the 1%.

    “Sir, you are drowning. We can help. Do you have your credit card with you?”

  2. 2
    historybuff Says:

    “Let me warn you”

    “Let me warn you and let me warn the nation. Against the smold evasion that says”Of course we believe these things. We believe in social security. We believe in work for the unemployed. We believe in saving homes.Cross our hearts and hope to die,we believe in all these things.

    But we do not like the way the present administration is doing them.Just turn them over to us.We will do all of them.We will do more of them.We will do them better.And most important of all the doing of them will not cost anybody anything.”

    Franklin D. Roosevelt (1936)

  3. 3
    liberalnerve Says:

    So, all of you in the NE… This seem like a good idea right now?
    Do you think your states, whose infrastructure may be smashed by the storm should be responsible for digging out of the mess by themselves, with no help from the Federal government
    So the very rich can pay less in taxes
    And go to their second home someplace else?

  4. 4
    The McGlynn Says:

    Right on!

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