Columns / Discourse / November 7, 2012

Debating columnists: FEMA, Hurricane Sandy

Tragedies bring the best out of people. People forget about the differences and come together to help one another. We’ve seen it in events like 9/11, Haiti’s earthquake, Indonesia’s tsunami, Hurricane Katrina and most recently Sandy.

The blunt Republican Governor Christie and President Obama came together to help the people of New Jersey. Both of them have very different views, not to mention that Christie is a surrogate for the Romney campaign and was Romney’s first pick as candidate for vice president.

That’s the style of politics that we need more in this country. We need both parties to come together and get things done. The oddest thing about it is that Christie and Obama came together under conservative policies. Their policies constituted healthy federalism, pragmatic taxation and regulation. That’s why I praise both leaders for what they’ve done.

It’s policies like Democratic Governor Cuomo’s from New York. He asked the federal government to alleviate the Jones Act which is a protectionist law that allows only American ships to transport oil to American ports. The federal government listened to Cuomo and suspended the provisions to encourage all vessels to transport oil to American ports. The free-market triumphed over nationalist impulses. Cuomo also eased regulations concerning taxi cabs, docking taxes and registration proceedings at New York Harbor.

In addition, the Federal Emergency Management Agency stepped back from the crisis and provided money and resources to help private charities and businesses to conduct aid. Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, Comcast, Duracell and even health clubs are currently providing help to the hurricane’s victims. FEMA also scaled back their role. That’s why Christie praised President Obama for the handling of the crisis. They both skipped the “normal FEMA mumbo jumbo,” as Christie put it.

Last, but not least, there are those that unfortunately care about the next election. Some of those were unions like the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. It was reported that southern electrical companies that wanted to help out in New York were turned away because they were not members of a union. That is disappointing news.

There are clear lessons from Sandy.

Lesson number one: let’s put presidential politics and ideology aside. Christie should have used the president in this crisis because he is a great asset while Romney isn’t. Why are Republicans and political strategists criticizing Christie over this? Calm down. Governor Christie said during the crisis that he wasn’t a “bit concerned or interested” where Romney was at the time because Romney doesn’t have the resources needed to help New Jersey, and not because Christie doesn’t like Romney. Strategists are overanalyzing this situation. What happened was simple.

Lesson number two: the federal government, along with the states, bypassed inefficient regulations that slowed down aid to those ravaged by the storms. The clear problem is that red tape makes public service as slow as molasses. Obama and Christie got together along with Cuomo and put country first. The sad news is that Obama should’ve done that in the last four years instead of just with Sandy. Where have you been?

Lesson number three: there are clear indicators for success. A free-market system that promotes private organizations and businesses helps people. That’s what Sandy should teach the public. Private hands are more efficient that government run programs. Taking government out of the equation doesn’t mean that you think people shouldn’t get any help when they need it.

For those that believe that capitalism would allow people starve to death or allow them to be left out without any basic needs, look at Sandy. That’s not what happens in a free-market system. Private organizations and businesses step up and helped out. Yes, it is about profit, but there is compassion out there. That’s what Adam Smith believed.

Hands off, but it is our individual responsibility to help one another. That’s a successful roadmap.

Alex Uzarowicz
Alex Uzarowicz has been a weekly conservative political columnist for The Knox Student for three years. He also writes for The College Conservative. Alex will graduate in June 2013 with a degree in political science, after which he will head abroad to begin his Peace Corps service.

Tags:  Bush Federal Emergency Management Agency FEMA Hurricane Hurricane Sandy Katrina natural disaster obama romney

Bookmark and Share

Previous Post
Debating columnists: FEMA, Hurricane Sandy
Next Post
World Politics Corner: Ethics of ship breaking

You might also like

1 Comment

Nov 07, 2012

I’m not sure how FEMA’s reaction has a single thing to do with a free-market system. I don’t see how FEMA’s wonderful reaction means anything but that the Government has a critical role to play in these situations, and plays it well.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.