1) Natural disaster (tornado, hurricane,
flood, earthquake, fire,
heavy rainstorm, volcano)
kills multiple people.
Bush I) vows to survivors that the federal government will
with you every step of the way" in the rebuilding
3) One or two fiscal conservatives (Sen. Tom
Coburn [R-Oklahoma], Rep. Eric
Cantor [R-Virginia], Sen. Rand
Paul [R-Kentucky]) will suggest that a federal
blank check isn't the best way to respond to local disasters;
point out that annual federal emergency-declarations have grown
from 28 during the Reagan presidency to 44 under Bush I to 90 under
Clinton to 130 under Bush II and 153 under Obama; complain that
disaster bills get
laden with unseemly pork; observe that disaster relief
inevitably transfers money from low-risk states (like
Michigan) to high-risk states (like Florida),
and as a result of all this propose spending cuts to offset the cost of
the federal bailout.
4) They will be treated as
hideous idelogues by both the
press and office-holding
Republicans in the affected area.
5) The blank
check will arive.
6) After a respectful interval, rebuilding
locals will complain
that the federal money comes with bureaucratic strings and a
7) Natural disaster kills multiple
A critical element in this dreary and sometimes deadly
farce is the attempt by free-spending pragmatists to assert that
the only "ideology" on display here is that of people who dispute
the virtue of the blank check. Here's the Washington
E.J. Dionne, for example:
Although we resolved theRelated reading from me: "The
slavery debate, our nation seems in many ways to be regressing back
to the politics of that era. Disaster relief is not a slam dunk
anymore because an issue of basic decency has become entangled with
a renewed assault on federal power and a belief that cutting the
budget is the nation's single highest priority.
Sen. Tom Coburn (R., Okla.) is so philosophically consistent
that his office let it be known that he believed even assistance to
those suffering in his home state should be offset by budget cuts.
He later said he would not get in the way of relief, but it's
astonishing that emergency spending on behalf of innocent people
would be used as a vehicle for more austerity. [...]
May the people of Oklahoma get the help they need. Rigid
ideology is no substitute for generosity of spirit.
Simpletons: David Brooks, Thomas L. Friedman, and the banal
authoritarianism of do-something punditry," and "No
Labels, and the Ideology of Non-Ideology." And to quickly
fact-check E.J. Dionne's claim that "disaster relief is not a slam
dunk anymore," check out the Federal Emergency Management Agency's
last 60 disaster declarations.
Reason has a robust archive on disaster-response public
policy; click here
to get started.