This evening, the U.S. Senate voted on a series of amendments to H.R.152, the Sandy Supplemental Appropriations Bill, to fund disaster relief for victims of Hurricane Sandy. The bill passed, with a vote of 62-36.
Following the vote, Sen. Paul issued the following statement.
When Hurricane Sandy struck the eastern coast of the U.S., I agreed that we needed to assist those in the affected areas. However, this bill lacked any fiscal restraint or responsibility. The bill was completely unpaid for, adding billions to the debt with money being used for programs known to fund cultural festivals and public art exhibits. In addition, of the $60 billion in total disaster funding provided, only a small fraction will be spent this year; more than half will be spent after 2015. Furthermore, while the cost of this bill will never be offset, the government will still just have spent every dollar of this year’s tax hike. We can help those in need, but we should do so providing them with only the resources they need today and prioritizing this funding by reducing spending elsewhere.Note the tone of this statement. There is nothing here for a libertarian or true conservative to applaud. Rand does not question at all whether government should have a role in disaster relief, rather he is just questioning the budgetary structure and size of such payments.
A libertarian, or true conservative, would question government's role in disaster relief, itself. Isn't government disaster relief just creating moral hazard, encouraging people to build houses in harm's way, knowing that should disaster strike the government will be there to bailout those exposing themselves to the risk? And as far as those truly caught in unexpected disaster, why shouldn't the private sector handle it? It is an insult to the American people when government officials like President Obama and Senator Paul call for government disaster relief, which implies that Americans are not charitable enough to give on their own and must be forced to do so with a tax-taking gun pointed at them.