As Sandy bears down with a potentially life-threatening storm, we flash back to the 2011 primaries when Mitt Romney called the debt resulting from disaster relief ‘immoral’ and wanted to privatize it. Asked about federal spending on disaster relief in the context of the tornadoes and flooding hitting many states at the time, Romney claimed we can’t keep spending money on disaster relief and putting our children in debt.
Watch here from Think Progress in June of 2011:
Transcript from Think Progress:
ROMNEY: Every time you have an occasion to take something from the federal government and send it back to the states, that’s the right direction. And if you can go even further and send it back to the private sector, that’s even better. […] We cannot — we cannot afford to do those things without jeopardizing the future for our kids. It is simply immoral, in my view, for us to continue to rack up larger and larger debts and pass them on to our kids, knowing full well that we’ll all be dead and gone before it’s paid off. It makes no sense at all.
Mitt Romney also said the Federal Emergency Management Agency should be privatized — you know, so it would be for profit, which has proven to be a disastrous idea in and of itself. See, corporations whose only responsibility is to make a profit tend to not want to pay up when disaster strikes. It’s expensive to pay up, so they try to find ways to duck and dodge doing so.
If Romney had his way, those same folks who ignored Katrina victims would be in charge of preparing for disaster.
Romney justifies this by blaming the deficit that George W Bush drove up with policies that Mitt Romney wants to continue. Romney wants to give the wealthy more tax cuts than Bush did but he can’t pay for them — just like Bush. And then there were Bush’s two unfunded wars and Medicare Part D. That kind of deficit is okay with Republicans. But what is not okay is when we spend federal money to save American lives.
House Republicans have left life-saving disaster relief tied up over their extremism as well, prompting Republican Senator Marco Rubio to condemn the House Republicans, “Rubio said disaster relief projects should be funded and not ‘held hostage over political wrangling.’ Funding disaster relief, he said, is a ‘legitimate and proper’ role of the federal government.”
According to Mitt Romney, funding for disaster relief is not a proper role for the federal government he seeks to lead. What he doesn’t tell you is that when they privatize, the company still gets paid from tax payer money. It ends up costing more money but offering less accountability to the people. Who does it benefit? The folks who own for profit disaster relief companies, like Republican Jeb Bush.
Oh, wait, that was primary Mitt. Primary Mitt is gone now, having succumbed to a visceral hatred of his “values”. Today’s Mitt will no doubt deny having ever said this. Please proceed to erase what you just saw from your mind. Etch-a-sketch will be pro-life for disaster victims and outraged at you for daring to bring up when he wasn’t in 5…4…3…2…
Somehow the notion that we might not have so many children to put in debt if we didn’t spend money on disaster relief failed to trickle down.
Ms. Jones is the editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.