A Senate panel got it half right on dealing with the Federal Emergency Management Agency:
“We propose to abolish FEMA and build a stronger, more capable structure within (the Department of Homeland Security),” the report said. “It will be an independent entity within DHS, but will draw on the resources of the department and will be led and staffed by capable, committed individuals.”
Abolish it? Yes. Reconstitute it? No. Federal disaster aid is a shell game that only enriches bureaucrats. Last year it was hurricane aid to Florida, Texas and Louisiana. The last month it’s been tornadoes in the Midwest. I’m not sure if Minnesota ever gets any federal disaster aid, but otherwise the money flows in from the states and back out to them.
The Constitution is a great thing to refer to in this situation. IT doesn’t make any provision for the federal government to “manage” local emergencies. The idea of federal management of local issues is, in fact, antithetical to the idea of federalism. The federal government has no business managing local problems.
If the federal government is to have a role, it should minimize bureacracy, keep federal management to a minimum and, to the greatest extent possible, occur automatically. The best solution – provide a safety net for the states in the form of loan guarantees so local taxpayers and voters can decide at the local level how much they want to be “helped” by the government and how much they simply want to help themselves.