By Eugene Robinson
Posted on Oct 29, 2012
Back when he was being “severely conservative,” Mitt Romney suggested that responsibility for disaster relief should be taken from the big, bad federal government and given to the states, or perhaps even privatized. Hurricane Sandy would like to know if he’d care to reconsider.
The absurd—and dangerous—policy prescription came in a GOP primary debate in June. Moderator John King said he had recently visited communities affected by severe weather, and noted that the Federal Emergency Management Agency “is about to run out of money.”
“There are some people … who say, you know, maybe we’re learning a lesson here that the states should take on more of this role,” King said. “How do you deal with something like that?”
Romney replied: “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 further and send it back to the private sector, that’s even better.”
Romney went on to express the general principle that, given the crushing national debt, “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?’”
King gave him a chance to back off: “Including disaster relief, though?”
Romney didn’t blink. “We cannot—we cannot afford to do those things without jeopardizing the future for our kids,” he said, adding that “it is simply immoral … to rack up larger and larger debts and pass them on to our kids.”
Now, with an unprecedented and monstrous storm bashing the East Coast, this glib exercise in ideological purity is newly relevant. Was Romney really saying that the federal government should abdicate the task of responding to natural disasters such as the one now taking place? Yes, he was. Did he really mean it? Well, with Romney, that’s always another question.
Continue reading at: http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/sandy_teaches_a_lesson_20121029/