Neil Cavuto: Look, they might ultimately do a good job, but we thought it was a little early to do the back-slapping when a lot of their constituents were doing the finger-raising. On the phone with us now is Texas Congressman, Ron Paul. Congressman, I had your colleague from Pennsylvania saying, “Give FEMA another 14 million dollars right now even if you have to go into debt to pay for it”. What say you?
Ron Paul: I think that’s a bad idea. When is it going to stop, where is the limit? And, evidently, there are no limits, they’re already 18 million dollars in debt, and they’ll spend another 14 million dollars for a program that causes people to do dumb things. I mean, this is why people build on the beaches and on the coasts, because the market doesn’t provide insurance for them, but the government does. So people who don’t get to build nice houses on the beach, have to pay for the rebuilding of it. It’s a terrible program, and I’ve had this position for a long time, and I get many, many times more calls complaining about FEMA than I ever get complaining about my position on FEMA. So it’s never hurt me politically and the people aren’t even with this. But I have to say, though, that when the trouble hits, we have this program and I try to make these things work, but, quite frankly, they can’t work. They’re just going to help drive us into bankruptcy and all this will have to end.
Neil Cavuto: You know, – I know you risk it, and I admire you for that – you always look cruel when you say no to FEMA because you know a thing or two about FEMA’s track record. And, even now, I’m worried for people on the scene and folks in Stanton Island, New York beleaguered borough over there where they keep saying, “Help is on the way, help is on the way”. FEMA’s there, but water bottles aren’t there, basic creature comforts aren’t there, the basic supplies they needed were delayed. And if it weren’t for private funding efforts and the likes of Wal-Mart getting involved, as much as that retailer did after Katrina, there would be no help there. But now we’re getting word, Congressman, from FEMA administrator, Craig Fugate, that, “More than 210 million dollars has been approved for individuals to assist with housing and other disaster related needs”. The problem with that money seems to be that it’s not immediately dispersed, you can approve it, but it doesn’t mean it gets into the hands of those affected right away, it could be weeks or month, right?
Ron Paul: Yes, and that’s when their congressman will be called and that’s when we will get our calls and people would beg and plead. They’d been told that they paid their flood insurance, so they ask when are they going to get the relief. And it’s very, very difficult, it’s bureaucratic, it’s very, very slow, it’s very inefficient. And, you know, when the private companies have insurance, I think they do get the checks to the people much, much quicker. But FEMA is an obstacle, it gets in the way of local authority. For the first 200 years of our history, the federal government was never involved in natural disasters. And after Katrina, you think the people and the government and the politicians would wake up and say, “Maybe this isn’t the best way to do things”. But no, it continues in the same way, we never change our way. And none of this is going to end until we declare our bankruptcy and admit that we don’t have any money. And the congressman that casually said “14 billion dollars is no big deal”, well, where does he think it comes from, it comes from poor people. Because, if you borrow it, they’re indebted; if you don’t borrow it and you print it, they get the inflation, or you get the business cycle and they end up without their jobs. And they think it’s for free? They have to wake up and see that everything costs something, every time the government spends money, it is a cost and a tax and it comes back and, unfortunately, it hits the middle class more than anybody else, especially the low/middle income class who try to survive. They suffer the most with all these programs, even with this pretence that they’re going to take care of us forever.
Neil Cavuto: Well, you know, you always look cruel if you oppose it, but then you just say the track-record is such … it’s like these telephones and everything they do. You know their heart’s always in the right place, but if Haiti got a fraction of the money that was pledged to it after the earthquakes and disasters, it would look like Atlantis right now.
Ron Paul: That’s right. And it’s the same thing over and over again.
Ron Paul: Yes, yes, we got to think through this, folks, we got to think through this. Ron Paul, always a pleasure, sir, thank you.