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Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul yesterday raised eyebrows by calling for the abolition of the Federal Emergency Management Agency as the east coast prepared for the arrival of Hurricane Irene.
FEMA is an agency of the Department of Homeland Security that is responsible for coordinating responses to disasters whose impact is too great to be handled by local or state government.
“We should be like 1900. We should be like 1940, 1950, 1960,” he said at a campaign stop at Gilford, New Hampshire. “”I live on the Gulf Coast; we deal with hurricanes all the time. Galveston is in my district.”
“There’s no magic about FEMA,” he continued. “They’re a great contribution to deficit financing and quite frankly they don’t have a penny in the bank. We should be coordinated but coordinated voluntarily with the states. A state can decide. We don’t need somebody in Washington.”
Earlier this year, Paul made a similar observation during an interview with CNN. “Why should somebody from the central part of the United States rebuild my house?” he asked. “Why shouldn’t I have to buy my own insurance and protect about the potential dangers? Well, the reason we don’t have market insurance is it’s too expensive. Well, why is it expensive? Because it’s dangerous.
Well, so why should – why should we take money from somebody else who don’t get the chance to live on the Gulf and make them pay to rebuild my house?”
When Hurricane Ike struck Texas in 2008, Paul voted against a bill to provide billions of dollars in aid to the area, even though it would have benefited his own district.
Paul has long made a name for himself as a critic of what he sees as ‘big government.’ In the past, much of his ire has been directed at the Federal Reserve. He claims that the Fed’s policies have devalued the dollar by increasing inflation and he has repeatedly introduced legislation to either do away with the Fed entirely or else subject it to an outside audit.
Paul has also repeatedly expressed his support for parallel currencies (such as gold-backed notes or digital gold currency) that would be used alongside Federal Reserve Notes.
So far there has been little reaction to Paul’s comments from his fellow presidential hopefuls. More than likely, they see him as a fringe candidate who does not need to be taken seriously and so they have little reason to take to the airwaves to criticize him.