In Sandy's wake, with so many Americans gladly accepting aid from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, again comes the controversy over what Americans want and need from the federal government.
"It shouldn't take a once-in-a-generation hurricane for Americans to admit they need the government occasionally, but that's apparently where we are," Rolling Stone contributing editor Matt Taibbi wrote on his blog today.
Taibbi goes on to say that while most Americans would agree that they want the government to stay out of their personal lives, Americans also need to concede that government assistance in times of crisis is both necessary and desirable.
The federal government's swift reaction to Sandy has caused Americans from both sides of the aisle to praise Obama and FEMA. New Jersey governor Chris Christie, for example, a Republican who in the past has been outspoken in his disapproval of President Obama's policies and actions, has said that President Obama "deserves great credit" for his handling of Hurricane Sandy.
Around when Sandy hit, Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman took the opportunity to remind Americans of Romney's stance on federal aid, specifically Romney's "pathological" plan to "kill" FEMA. FEMA will soon face budget cuts regardless of who wins the presidential election, with Obama planning to cut funding to FEMA by 3 percent, Romney by around 40 percent.
Since Sandy, Romney had been dodging and ignoring questions about his stance on FEMA funding. Just today, only finally coming out with a statement on the matter Wednesday, saying that he "will ensure FEMA has the funding it needs to fulfill its mission."
After the destruction Sandy caused, Americans might start thinking about federal aid in a new way. Taibbi says that the same Americans who complain about people who misuse welfare and unemployment services expect federal aid when they are personally effected by disaster. Hopefully, Taibbi says, this experience will change the way Americans think about government aid.