Tuesday, October 30, 2012

All In This Together

MSNBC is currently making a big deal out of the fact that Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey has spared no praise for President Obama in his handling of Hurricane Sandy.  People like Christie for that reason; you can count on him to not be afraid to say what is obvious, regardless of possible political outcome.

I would hope that in a similar circumstance, Romney would act in much the same way.  But this is not what you might call "the takeaway" in all this.

The difference between the two is not what they might do in the midst of a disaster.  The critical factor is the groundwork that gets laid -- or destroyed -- prior to a disaster.

Romney and his cut taxes/cut the deficit bunch, Paul Ryan among the ringleaders, would leave us with slashed resources and a decentralized, disorganized disaster relief plan, made worse by privatization (for profit).  First you give over authority to the states.  Then you cut the Federal budget.  Then you cut the Federal staff.  Much as we have been forced to do in the Bush years with Medicaid and education.  The states, already struggling, would never get the same amount of aid if they had to individually create their own disaster relief program.

This morning, I heard one of the owners of the Coast Guard House in Rhode Island give kudos to the Weather Channel for calling this storm so accurately.

Wrong.  It was NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration that does the research and provides the incredible and incredibly accurate storm data to the country. Weather Channel and other news centers feed off this free information, paid for by our tax dollars.

These are examples of things entrepreneurs did not build.  Without good centralized emergency management (FEMA) and good national weather forecasting (NOAA), Hurricane Sandy would have left many states fending off floods and blizzards much as the Bush administration left New Orleans during and in the aftermath of Katrina.

So, yes, Governor Christie, President Obama gave you the support you needed.  One could hope that Romney would do the same.  But only if he had the federal funding and well staffed federal programs that we are currently having to fight tooth-and-nail to preserve in the egocentric and short-sighted Congress.

There are some things we just can't do alone.

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