Maryann Tobin

While millions of Americans are bracing for damage and power outages from the wrath of Hurricane Sandy, they should know that this may be the last time they get help from FEMA. Mitt Romney does not support federal aid for disaster relief and wants to get rid of it.

During the 2012 presidential primary debates, Romney said if he were elected, he would leave disaster relief to the states, or better yet, “send it back to the private sector.”

According to Romney, FEMA is not worth spending federal dollars on and it should be cut from the budget.

Romney referred to federal disaster relief as “one of the things we’re doing that we don’t have to do.”

With so many states cash-strapped, disaster victims may have to rely on private companies for help. However, as any Florida resident can tell you, in the wake of a storm, price gouging is both common and seemingly permitted.

It is conceivable that if Romney is elected, without FEMA, food, water and basic medical supplies following a disaster might only be available to victims with enough cash to buy them at absorbent prices from sleazy re-sellers, who Romney would likely label business entrepreneurs.

While shrinking the federal government might sound like a clever campaign slogan, there are realities attached to it. There are some things worth paying for that require the federal government. Disaster relief for Americans is one of them.

It is admittedly easier for someone who has been through a natural disaster to relate to the struggles of surviving and rebuilding. It can be physically, emotionally, and financially draining. Not everyone has Romney’s millions or an extra house to run to when nature takes one away.

People rely more on their government than they realize. There are countless state programs that are federally funded that provide services which would be sorely missed with smaller government. Disaster relief is just one of them.

America is the richest nation on earth. The thought that having the Pentagon spend $800 on a hammer is money well spent but that helping citizens with disaster relief is not worth a dime says a lot about Romney, the man who suggested it.

The devil is always in the details. Things that sound like a good idea on the surface are often hiding moral and ethical bankruptcy. America is becoming a more selfish nation. The cravings of individuals seem to be drowning out the voices of the many.

Americans used to think helping their neighbors was the right thing to do no matter what it cost. Now there are too many Americans who think the role of government should be limited to defense spending to keep America safe from terrorists. What they don’t realize is that more Americans can be killed in a natural disaster than with an IED.

Why is one kind of American death worth defending against but the other is not?

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