Eric Cantor, the Republican majority leader of the U.S. House of Representatives, wants a government that is weak, the weaker the better, and starving it of cash is the way to accomplish that. At least Cantor is consistent in his beliefs.
With Irene bearing down on his own 7th Congressional District in Virginia, Cantor argued that if the government intended to help East Coast victims of the hurricane, someone else had to lose out. Without an immediate decision about cuts to make them equal to expenditures for storm protection and relief, the Federal Emergency Management Agency should just go home. Cantor was not about to be to taken in by some hurricane.
FEMA, under the highly professional leadership of Craig Fugate, had a different plan.
FEMA is concerned with the safety of the entire citizenry. The key to helping people cope with an emergency not of their own doing is three-fold: preparation, response and recovery.
FEMA did not worry about short-term budget issues. Rather, the federal agency used its reach and resources to establish communications with first responders, with the American Red Cross and with state and local governments. It set out to make sure that U.S. residents were well served at this time of need.
A federal agency could not stop the hurricane, but it could and did provide services and save lives.
There is no question that what FEMA did during the hurricane will cost money, just like when the U.S. Department of Agriculture paid for the fire crews who came to Blaine County in 2007 to quench the Castle Rock Fire. That effort cost more than $15 million not counting restoration efforts.
Heroic efforts cost money, but they save lives, property and businesses. They allow quick recovery and long-term growth that eventually repays that money so similar efforts can be made elsewhere when they are needed.
This is the way softhearted and softheaded liberals act, according to Cantor. He sees no constitutional, "We the People." His world is dog-eat-dog, winner-take-all, survival of the fittest—and the weak be damned.
So why don't we get Congress back into session to decide whether this disaster should be funded by, say, money from children's food programs? Remember, under no circumstances are there to be any new taxes. And no help.
That would make Cantor very happy.