The ever magnanimous New York Representative, Peter King, says, “he’s willing to overlook the ‘hypocrisy’ of lawmakers who opposed aid for his state in the wake of Superstorm Sandy but might support funding for tornado-stricken Oklahoma.”
By “overlook” he means, make the accusation public in the media.
One republican Senator has been principled, however. According to the Washington Post, “Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) will insist that any federal aid to deal with the tornado in his home state must be offset by budget cuts.” This consistency is rather recent, back in 2007, Coburn had no trouble requesting aid for an Oklahoma ice storm.
In any case, there isn’t much chance of offsets being made because other Republican Senators insist balancing the budget does not matter:
“After GOP-on-GOP warfare dominated the congressional response to Hurricane Sandy, several top House and Senate Republicans were emphatic Tuesday that they won’t insist on corresponding budget cuts if Congress needs to move quickly on Oklahoma.”
We hear of disasters all over the world—a tsunami hammers Japan or a typhoon kills a thousand Filipinos and leaves many more homeless. The question is simple: should every American get assessed and charged a tax for disaster relief in those cases and in all other global disasters?
I’m not asking if Americans should help; I’m asking if Americans (or citizens of any other country) be forced to help? Should they be asked to send as much as they want through volunteer organizations or should they be told how much they owe based on a government’s decision?
So, if Americans aren’t fined for disasters in other countries, how does it become moral to fine them for disasters inside the United States? Whether by taxation or debt, every penny sent to places like New York or Oklahoma is money taken from all Americans. What makes people in Miami obligated to pay up for disasters in California and not in Merida, Mexico—when the town is geographically closer? Why should residents of Seattle be liable for a hurricane on the East Coast and not for a disaster in Southwestern Canada?
People are assuming without argument or thought that the civil government is a mandatory insurance pool. But that isn’t in the constitution. Society has genuine ways to alleviate disasters such as insurance, charity, and adaptation so that people who can’t afford disasters tend to prepare for them or move away from where they are likely. Throwing taxpayer money at these disasters weakens all the other responses.
In the meantime, there is competition between states. Why should states on the East Coast, who are losing residents and businesses that move to other states, have to also help pay for disasters that strike those other states? Why not allow each state to bear its own burden so that people can make better choices about where to live.
The most important point to remember is that our politicians are not charitable; they’re just pretentious:
“’We will work with the administration to make sure that they have the resources they need,’ Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio.) told reporters Tuesday morning. ‘We will help them rebuild,’ Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said.”
What is this “we”? It isn’t as if Boehner or Cantor or offering a dime of their personal stashes of money. They are saying, they will take money from other people even in a bad economy and use it in a way that they think is likely to win favor or at least protect them from criticism.