Huffpost Politics

Ron Paul: Tornado Victims Should Not Get Federal Aid

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Ron Paul has a message for victims of the tornadoes that killed dozens of people in the South and Midwest: buy insurance.

"There is no such thing as federal money," he said Sunday on CNN’s 'State of the Union.' "Federal money is just what they steal from the states and steal from you and me. The people who live in tornado alley, just as I live in hurricane alley, they should have insurance."

The libertarian-leaning presidential candidate went on to reiterate his opposition to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and suggest the National Guard play a key role in the aftermath of natural disasters.

"To say that any accident that happens in the country, send in FEMA, send in the money, the government has all this money--it is totally out of control and it's not efficient," he said.

Paul railed against FEMA last year after wildfires ravaged his home state, Texas, destroying 4,000 homes and killing ten people. He wrote a column in the Houston Chronicle arguing for elimination of the agency, calling it "symptomatic of a blind belief in big government’s ability to do anything and everything for anyone and everyone." Here's an excerpt:

Victims of disasters should get any and all help possible, and there is virtually no limit to the generosity and compassion of good American people after devastation hits. One only need to remember the outpouring after Katrina to know this is true. FEMA, however, did more to get in the way of relief than to actually provide and facilitate it.

The examples are numerous. When the call was put out for volunteer firefighters, they volunteered by the thousands. It was FEMA, for reasons of control and bureaucratic ineptitude, who made sure they were not, in fact allowed to actually help. When a group of firefighters arrived from Houston, instead of being put immediately on the job, they were told to sit around and wait. After waiting for two days doing nothing, they were simply sent home. One thousand volunteer firefighters were sent to Atlanta to undergo sexual harassment training while fires actively raged in the city. The ones that remained through this stupidity were sent to escort the president around or to distribute fliers instead of putting out fires. Computer engineer Jack Harrison was told his skills were needed to rebuild technological infrastructure. After being given the runaround for about two weeks, he was misallocated as head of security on the cruise ship FEMA had leased, when he should have been using his skills to help. All manner of help was turned away or mismanaged by FEMA while people suffered and waited. Even the Red Cross had its hands tied by FEMA.

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