The Republican Party is once again pushing diligently to offset any increase in FEMA expenditures used to help those Americans struck by tragedy with spending cuts in other vital programs. Rather than doing this, the clear and obvious compromise is to call out Republicans on their bluff and give them the spending cuts which they so desperately desire by diverting the money spent on the welfare handouts to the oil companies.
Remember those oil company subsidies, so hotly debated in the spring, yet barely a whisper since?
Oil companies have continued to make record profits all throughout the disastrous calamities which have befallen the nation over the past several years. Yet subsidies to the oil sector of private business still continue and are scheduled to continue at a cost to the U.S. taxpayer of approximately $20 billion over the next 10 years. Meanwhile, despite the Republican Party’s continued refusal to remove these subsidies, other much needed funding is being slashed by the GOP in areas such as education, Medicare, Medicaid, and other programs designed to help those still struggle after the economic fall caused by Wall Street and Corporate America.
The GOP response to disasters boggles the imagination. Republican House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia has called for FEMA spending helping those affected by Hurricane Irene to require a like amount of spending cuts elsewhere in the budget, most likely from programs which help the ever increasing number of poor within the country to merely survive.
To the extreme, Ron Paul (R-TX) has stated that FEMA should be dismantled and the local areas affected by Hurricane Irene should fend for themselves. Conversely of course, Paul has not loudly voiced this opinion whenever his district of the Galveston area of Texas has been struck by Hurricanes, which, as it so happens, occurs fairly frequently.
No thanks Mr. Paul; we already saw what happened when, under a GOP administration, FEMA became virtually non-existent in effectiveness, resulting in over 1,800 deaths in the Gulf Coast region. With an effective FEMA in place however, the death toll could have been reduced to hundreds, or even tens.
To use oil company subsidies for FEMA response would serve a form of poetic justice, as fossil fuels are a major source of Carbon Dioxide released into the air. In turn, the increased CO2 traps an increased amount of energy in Earth’s weather system and consequently has the potential to increase the severity of storms. This affect is not confined to hurricanes and tropical storms affecting the East Coast and the Gulf Coast; the increased energy also increases the severity of storms and resulting flooding in other parts of the country and the world, even in GOP-friendly Iowa.
Hopefully the Republican Party will, for once, place the needs of entire nation above the selfish interests of the party. However, in the end the GOP will most likely never support such a proposal because this latest round of its illusionary desire for deficit reduction is merely yet another example of political brinkmanship targeted to destroy any effort to help lift the nation out of its current state of hardship.