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  • Morning Bell: Lessons from Hurricane Irene

    Without question, Hurricane Irene struck a major blow to the United States’ East Coast over the weekend. At least 24 people have died, hundreds of thousands remain without power across the mid-Atlantic, and the estimates of direct costs of damage are in the range of billions of dollars. Our thoughts are with those who have suffered at the hands of the storm and who are beginning the process of rebuilding.

    As the effects of the storm continue with “epic” flooding being reported in Vermont, pundits and politicians alike are already calculating its implications on government policy, with some calling for more funding for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which is currently suspending payments for some of its recovery efforts in order to pay for the weekend’s damage. There are, without a doubt, many lessons to be learned from the hurricane and how governments—local, state, and federal—should prepare for and respond to disaster. However, Hurricane Irene should not be used as an excuse to expand FEMA’s role in responding to natural disasters.

    Over the last several days, governors and mayors from North Carolina to New York have appeared on television and radio communicating with their constituents, warning them to take precautions in preparation for the worst. Fortunately, as bad as Hurricane Irene was, the absolute worst did not come, and all indications are that state and local governments took careful steps to ensure that their citizens were prepared.

    All told, seven states declared states of emergency. In New York City, where the hurricane appeared to be taking dead aim, Mayor Michael Bloomberg ordered an evacuation of more than 370,000 residents from the areas most prone to flooding. Meanwhile, Governor Andrew Cuomo ordered the city’s mass-transit system to be shut down. And in New Jersey, Governor Chris Christie, too, ordered mass evacuations of a million people from the state’s beaches and shoreline. All of those leaders acted in their constituents’ best interests and did the job that local governments are supposed to do.

    There are times, of course, when the federal government steps in to lend support–as in the case of major disasters that are of such severity and magnitude that effective response is beyond the capabilities of the state and the affected local governments. But in recent history, the United States has over-federalized disaster response in a way that threatens the resiliency of the nation’s communities, according to a new report from The Heritage Foundation:

    In the course of 16 years, the yearly average of FEMA declarations tripled from 43 under President George H. W. Bush to 89 under President Bill Clinton to 130 under President George W. Bush. In his two and a half years in office, President Obama has issued 360 declarations without the occurrence of one hurricane or large-scale earthquake. In the first six months of 2011, President Obama issued 144 declarations, which puts him on pace for 288 declarations for the year—by far the most in FEMA history. The current single-year record is President Clinton’s 157 declarations in 1996.

    The authors write that the federalization of routine disasters requires FEMA to become involved with a new disaster somewhere in the United States every 2.5 days. And that’s becoming a serious problem, because FEMA is perpetually in a response mode, leaving little time and few resources for catastrophic preparedness. Likewise, states have learned to beg Washington for help whenever a natural disaster strikes in the hope of receiving a FEMA declaration and the accompanying money. In short, states are becoming more dependent on the federal government, and FEMA is spreading itself too thin by responding to too many smaller incidents, thereby leaving it less prepared to handle the major disasters.

    In the case of Hurricane Irene, Heritage’s Matt Mayer writes that, “like Hurricane Dean a couple of years ago—when FEMA spent $50 million for a cloudy day in Houston—FEMA likely spent tens of millions preparing for Irene and will drop a lot more on declarations issued to states because of Irene.” And this leaves Washington with a choice: continue devoting more funds to FEMA’s ever-expanding role or scale back the agency, reserving federal funds for truly catastrophic events and other federal priorities.

    This past weekend, America was reminded that its state and local governments have the capabilities to prepare for and respond to natural disasters. Though FEMA certainly has a role to play when catastrophe strikes, the federal government is not a replacement for local response and crisis management.

    Quick Hits:

    Posted in Security [slideshow_deploy]

    66 Responses to Morning Bell: Lessons from Hurricane Irene

    1. Dr. Henry Sinopoli says:

      Unbelievable, 100 mile winds could not equal the blowhard lifer politicians in Washington.

      Regardless of the tremendous cost, tragedy of lives lost…the hurricane is gone. The lifer politicians will remain to rape, pillage and plunder the American public.

      • Tim Chandler says:

        Overstated. I don't know how many examples I could give you of "lifer" politicians that did a heck of a lot more than I see common citizens do in a lifetime. I'm sick and tired of people and their pessimism about "politicians." I'd bet you don't have the first clue about what a politician is. Being an elected official doesn't qualify! I'm a concerned citizen trying to make a difference in this country and the ONLY way of doing that is trying to be a better politician than the ones before. This involves more work, more honestly and more willpower than the men and women who came before. Raise the bar, don't judge like an outsider… regardless of your obviously overpaid for degree.

    2. John Stewart says:

      I think FEMA has to redefine what it calls a disaster. The Federal Government has to stop trying to be all things to all people. Defense and aid are one thing, bail outs are a completely different situation. People that live in hazardous areas cannot expect to be aided in perpetuity.

      • ::Sam says:

        I agree FEMA has gone far beyond it's ability to be effective. They have no trouble spending money, but not in areas that really benefit those in need.. But the worst part of this issue is the dependence of individuals on the Federal government to pay the bill for what ever the need. History tells us that the first sign of demise of a great power is it;s people depending on government to supply their every need. Look at Greece for another good example. John's comment "those that live in hazardous areas cannot expect to be aided in perpetuity" is right on. Storms will come and people need to be prepared. The first action of preparation is where they choose to build.

    3. Turner says:

      What would funding a bigger FEMA do if disasters escalate? This could swamp Obamacare. Does it shift the responsibility for obtaining insurance onto Federal bailouts by FEMA? These people are looking for any opportunity to entitle themselves to us!

      • Ed Pantaloni says:

        Its all about re-election.
        Mr O will go all out to get his approval numbers up.
        If not, his numbers will go down.

        Ed Pantaloni

    4. Mary says:

      People need to realize you can't fight 'Mother Nature'. Be happy to be alive- and, go where it makes safer sense to live. Not in the lowland, flood-plain areas- or, on fault lines, etc. God is Good- but, don't ignore Him.

    5. Tony Bunn says:

      I agree that state and local governments did a great job with Irene. I'm particularly grateful for the role played by Gov. Christie here in NJ. However, we can not downplay FEMAs role. They are the insurance policy that when properly used, like the case this weekend as opposed to the calamity of Katrina, is absolutely essential as a backup and support vehicle to state and local governments.

      • Geo says:

        If this is correct then why was the Missouri tornado's ignored by this administration? Could it be because it's a red state?

    6. texan321 says:

      Ron Paul is correct – we need to do away with FEMA. FEMA was formed in 1978…did we have any natural disasters before then? Sure we need… what happened then. The People took care of them selves – not the federal government.

      • Bonnie says:

        I agree. People need to prepare for themselves and get out of the way. FEMA cannot hold back the rising water and cannot stop the trees from falling or make sure that electricity does not go down. When Mother Nature is threatening she will have her way and FEMA cannot stop her. We need to get out of the way.

    7. Heather says:

      Local government did exactly what local government is supposed to do–take the lead in a local emergency. May we all hope local government in Louisiana has learned the lesson. BTW, that was quite a post-storm presser from Gov. Christie.

    8. David says:

      The instant any bureaucracy is formed, it immediately forgets its mandate and
      becomes interested in only its perpetuation and growth. Nothing else matters,
      least of all, the original purpose.

    9. Shelley says:


    10. Lloyd Scallan says:

      The biggest lessons to be learned from Hurrican Irene is the national news media, including FNC, doing everything in it's power to help Obama, and this Congress, to justify their already announced billions of dollars spending spree. With 24/7 coverage of a storm that was little more than a heavy squall, the media is giving Obama all the excuse he needs to continue to spend us into oblivenion. Living here in the New Orleans area I know a little about hurricanes. So I'm not suggesting people are not suffering and the federal governent should not respond to the death and distruction. But for the sake of this nation's future, the media (including FNC) cannot continue to t-up the ball for Obama to hit it out of the park. As in the case of the BP oil spill, this Obama administration will use this "crises" to it's full advantage.

    11. Lee says:

      You can't blame FEMA for their responses; they're "damned if they do, and damned if they don't" respond. Like malpractice insurance that is carried by many, at great expense, to protect against potential law suits, FEMA responds to avoid political repercussions.

    12. Jeanne Stotler says:

      There was no such thing as FEMA when I lived in Florida and we were all told to prepare for storms at the beging of hurricane season. We had about ten clean milk jugs with the lids, a box of food that would require little preperation, coleman stove,a can with gas, a hand operated can opener, a perculator for coffee, another box with blankets, extra pillows , clothes, games, flashlights etc. These were kept where we could get them if we needed to evacuate and easy to get to if we stayed in our home. Thank good we never had to leave, but we did spend some time without elec and used some of the above. When we knew a storm was coming we frooze water in the milk jugs, this kept frig cold as well as gave us drinking water, a filled bath tub was used for washing ourselves and for flushing the toilet. Fema is taking away people’s initiative, making us more reliable on the Nanny gov’t. to meet our needs, we need to be responsible for ourselves and state and local gov’ts. need to be in charge. Get rid of excess gov’t.

      • Wes Evans says:

        My experience is much the same and I think you are right about the citizens of this country becoming too relient on the federal government to do for them what they should do for themselves. Such dependency may benifit a segment of the political class but it is destructive for the republic.

    13. Gammy Sparkles says:

      Good article and good points! We need some sanity and proof of the over-kill of this administration as the election nears! The public simply must understand the problems in stats and numbers! We have to be more armed with information, and better prepared to debate – Gammy Sparkles

    14. Clearhead says:

      PLEASE " mother" , I'd rather do it myself.

    15. MJF in CT says:

      As we can see, FEMA is way over used. FEMA shouldn't even be involved unless all local resources have been or will be exhausted. I live in CT and we have weathered several hurricanes since 1948. I don't see why a taxpayer in Iowa needs to be on the hook for something that we here in CT should be able to handle. Sure this puts a strain on the local governments but that is the way it is SUPPOSED to work.

    16. RogCol says:

      "Never let a good crisis go to waste", Rahm Emanual. This will be another opportunity to "create or save" more jobs with a fake stimulus handout. Where are the insurance companies that should cover the costs of this event? We know that the weak kneed Republicans will not hinder anything that is put forward by PBHO to end the downward trend in his poll ratings. I've seen worse around here with a good 5" rain and associated winds. No Federal help provided.

    17. Bob Davis says:

      State and local governments are to be commended on how well they responded to Hurricane Irene.

    18. John says:

      Eliminate FEMA. Just another federal bureaucracy that we can do without.

    19. BCS' BUG says:

      Excellent point about the increased declarations under Obama — another way for the government to take care of the people "from the cradle to the grave". Fits right into his plan!

    20. Slick says:

      What has happened to the spirit of the American people where communities, counties, and States take care of themselves except in extreme emergencies? I'll tell you . . . . . government has increasingly passed out "free money" for every little thing that goes wrong to the point where these same entities no longer retain a contingency fund so they can help themselves! Sounds a lot like Social Security and Medicare, doesn't it?

      I am proud to say that I am from the middle part of the country where we still take pride in family taking care of family, neighbors helping neighbors, and very little government "charity" is found here SO FAR. Sadly I have to report that as future generations take control that "can do" spirit may disappear because they are raised with the idea that the government is the answer to every one of their problems. The children are indoctrinated from Pre-School on and become little marching soldiers of the progressive movement, and they are not taught that the price of their compliance may be the forfeiture of their freedom.

      And isn't that exactly what the government has accomplished with individuals? Few people make a point of saving their own money for the future because they are COUNTING on Uncle Sam to be there to pick up the tab. It's the "you owe me" attitude that has gotten us where we are today!!! And now the United States teeters on the edge of bankruptcy. . . . do you think that ANYONE in China, or any other country in the world for that matter, cares one whit what happens the individual Americans because they were too foolish to plan for their future??

      HELLO????? Are you out there just as frustrated as I am, or am I swimming upstream all alone?

      • jon says:

        I am from Texas, and have to wonder about those elite people that live in Vermont, Conn., R/I, etc. been there for 230 years, with all the money you little tiny states take from us in the South and West can't even prepare for as a man up there said; ( it has always been a babbling brook,) who would have ever prepared, I'l tell you who we in Texas and the rest of the country would have known, you people are wimps, toughen up, quit depending on the rest of us out here for you to live your liberal wimpy lives!
        As a Texan, understand the storm, understand being prepared, but those states that got hit with just backwater flooding, as I call it. Get rid of your EPA, build dams, bring yourselves into this century, were tired of you Liberals, that don't know water runs downhill. Babbling Fools, in Babbling Brooks!

    21. Stephanie says:

      I suspect that part of the problem is that the news agencies, desperate to have the public glued to their reports 24-7, makes every story a crisis. The people are kept in a "flght or flight" mode all the time, and the politicians leap to the microphones and agree that we are in for "the storm of the century." There was a time when people knew that nature could cause some mighty damage, but no one expected the government to either prevent it or solve it. The mentality that followed Hurricane Katrina has made it all much worse.

    22. azwayne says:

      Another incompetent, inefficient government agency and program that needs sut down, unfunded, the states and local communities take care of themselves, except lazy ass new orleans.

    23. j f montgomery says:

      ah, another crisis, another opportunity for the politicians to appear to be handing out goodies.
      growth of a few more government entities and we will all be dependent upon the government for
      large thunderstorms and/or snow storms.
      gee whiz

    24. Tim Farnham says:

      Having the government force property owners to abondond their property seems to me to be constitutally illegal. I am surprisede that no one is suing their government for requiring them to leave their property because of an expected storm. It may be sound advice that they leave for their own protection and that of others, but requiring them to do so is questionable. I do hope someone will sue and get the law settled on this practice.

    25. sue says:

      I am LDS and we are taught to prepare for emergencies. We have 72 hour emergency kits, know what to do if we have to evaculate, have a year's supply of food for any kind of emergency and as a church we respond to all disasters with free supplies and free service- all over the world. This is how our grandparents lived, and how communities should live. I don't have to raid the supermarket in an emergency like this one. I have enough in my house and enough to take someplace. There are plenty of books written on the subject and it would be good for everyone to read one and get prepared as these disasters are increasing and not decreasing at the moment.

    26. gary sheldon says:

      It is the ultimate role of a dictator and his regime to make the most of EVERY disater. The statist can then become your saviour because he/ it cares about you and can assure him/ itself of your vote in the next election extraveganza or "show".

    27. Linda says:

      Just another way for more governmental control……….and how comforting it was to see that Obama had it all in hand!!

    28. The Farmer says:

      FEMA and the Homeland Departments are both foolish efforts of the simple. We already had The Dept. of Interior and the Cost Guard where any of the Constitutional responsibilities of the Fed's should have been handled.
      Folks single term limit (6 or 8 yrs.) could bring everything back to sanity within 2-3 election cycles.

    29. toledofan says:

      The entirety of this hurricane was an example of not only over blown government but of the medias attempt to sensationalize the disaster. I think that FEMA has gotten so out of shape it's almost like the buearacrats are stepping over each other trying to do everybodies job, I mean when the govenor of New Jersey came out and talked, it wasn't 10 minutes later that somebody from FEMA was saying the same thing, and the media I mean how many times can you talk about the surf, the winds, and show pictures of downed trees and OMG flooding. It was like they were just trying so hard to make this into a full blown disaster and it wasn't. Then the topper was Obama has to cut his vacation short and leave and he's going back to Washington to be briefed and he's been being updated and blah, blah, blah. Thank God for football, baseball and golf, at least there was something fun to watch for a while.

    30. Lodewyk says:

      Will private residences and condos, which have been destroyed on the Outer Banks and other highly vulnerable sites,be rebuilt only to be destroyed again? Soon insurance will be totally unaffordable.
      Rebuild guest houses and hotels and restaurants and let them self insure. A risk worth taking??

    31. delroydyer says:

      I lived through Hurrican Ivan in 2004. Ivan literally destroyed Grenada and they had to send all of their children to neighbouring Caribbean islands like St. Vincent while they fixed almost all of their schools. Hospitals needed to be closed and much more. That was real damage. The panic spread about Irene was just plain pathetic from my point of view. But without that sort of hyped up paranoia, no federal money would go to the states, and they can't have that. They need to suck off the federal teat. Time for FEMA to revert to its original mandate and begin preparedness plans for actual federal emergencies.

    32. Casey Carlton says:

      As weak as FEMA's record is, one wonders why we still have it.

    33. Jack Treinen says:

      This a mosrt interesing and informative article that correctly identifies how excess government comes about. itshows how government agencies in order to justify they existence must continually expend to look good and to cover their buts from criticism. to me the comments are good and show how thinking people feel about government agencies. they only expand and never contract.
      I worked at the Fernald Materials plant under the AEC and we had to find ways to spend aour budgets each year or suffer with reduces budgets the next year. I remember one case we budget for a piece of equipment we thought waoud be nice to have. The equipment was purchased and twenty years later when the Fernald plant clused down that piece of equipment was found in it's orginal crate unopened, pure waste.

    34. flajim says:

      Following the great San Francisco 'quake of a century ago, the only federal assistance came in the form of a few blankets and tents handed out by local Army units. The outpouring from Americans across the country was incredible, however, with today's equivalent of billions of dollars in aid provided. Americans still are the most generous people in the world.

      Living in Fla, the first thing I did while my wife from NY was acclimating to the weather was to introduce her to hurricane preparedness, as Jeanne Stotler, above, referred to. People need to use common sense and stop whining for a handout every time they face some reverse in life.

      Irene was overblown (no pun intended) from the beginning during a slow news month and anyone who can read a weather map and knows the nature of hurricanes could have predicted the dire predictions would fail to transpire, as I did.

    35. Dean says:

      People who choose to live by the water, whether it is the ocean, a lake or river, are taking their own chances and are reponsible for their own safety and their own property. I should not have to pay for their stuptdity.

    36. Airman says:

      Exactly How are we supposed to get our Government representitives to turn their backs on FEMA.
      We can't get them the control any other oversutffed department or agency.

    37. Brad Fregger says:


      i probably should mention that I could never find my Easter Basket either … so if there is an easier way for me to share on Facebook, I need help finding it.

      Brad Fregger

      • Brad: From the email, there's a link to share on Facebook in the right column towards the bottom. It's under the title "Share Today's Morning Bell".

        On the blog itself, you can share on Facebook with the button towards the top to the right of the author's name and the date.

    38. Indy says:

      Just curious if any wind farms were impacted? I know there are plans to build a large one in NC, I have always wondered how much wind they can withstand. A Cat 1 storm is very common for the Mid-Atlantic but so are stronger storms such as Cat 3, has testing been done at those high windspeeds?

    39. Tucano Fulano says:

      Wind and rain came, and went – no news involved till bureaucrats try to horn in and puff themselves up to appear important (never have been) and so-called news organizations respond to Obama's pleas and threats to use up a couple more barrels of ink (and OUR airwaves) to hype matters, spinning Obama under the baby spot performing on his stage. OUT DAMN SPOT !

    40. mort_f says:

      If you think that this category 1 storm provoked an over-reaction, just wait until Nanny government 'acts' on a report by a NASA scientist that we are in immeinent danger of being hit by an asteroid. Just picture the beaurocracy that needs to be created to evacuate the entire planet. Any suggestions on where we need to be evacuated to?

      • Mary A says:

        Mort, you win the "Best Comment of the Month Award" LMAO
        please do not forward this info to FEMA, OBAMA & COMPANY or the MEDIA, including FOX

    41. VIC B says:

      As usual, Heritage is right on point. Can't quite blame the management and workers in FEMA because they are simply doing their jobs, if sometimes poorly. Let's don't overreact and wipe out FEMA because, as Heritage authors point out, some natural disasters require federal assistance such as Katrina, Andrew, Irene, and possibly earthquake X that separates parts of California from the mainland. Commenters on the media hype are also right on point. Even my dementia-stricken wife understood that there was too much exaggerated coverage by the media. LET'S KEEP FEDERAL GOVERNMENT AS SMALL AS POSSIBLE.

    42. James V. Burnette says:

      We have seen over and over throughout our history that community, local and State responses to disasters are far more effective than Federal responses. We always have responses from the people all over the country and from our many charity organizations, churches and businesses to help the people that find themselves affected by a natural disaster. In many cases all these donations of money, supplies, equipment and people that volunteer to help would far outweigh what the Federal government is offering and "wasting" if we just had a way to organize all the public efforts. Local governments and local banks could set up disaster funds where money contributions could be properly handled and distributed and local utility company personnel and police could help set up and coordinate all the people that come to help and coordinate all the supplies that seem to arrive from many places totally unexpected. A few education courses for the police, firefighters, utility engineer's, local officials and local banks would in most cases not require FEMA or Federal Government intervention.

    43. Frank says:

      FEMA is another cog in the wheel of big government & should probably be phased out. Don't insure people for living in flood zones when private insurance won't do it affordably for a good reason: risk is too high. Disaster help should be at the local & state level first, I don't think a one size fits all Federal program is a good idea. Too many people will be counting on the Fed who too often will fail the test or help in a very inefficient manner.

    44. paul says:

      one solution is to restrict building codes along the coast, rivers and lakes. Furthermore, do
      not insure properties situated near these areas. We have also to restrice development along
      earthquake zones and tornato -proned areas. these restricted codes will impact developments.
      However, it will reduce Fema's exposures too.

    45. Harry says:

      To Quote Heritage-the federal gov't is not a replacement for local state gov't -that is until Obama-now watch his smoke on this one!

    46. Rose Ann King says:

      I smell a rat. Fema should step in to help homeowners and local governments already "underwater" (sorry for the pun) because of maxed out home insurance. Those of us who have been through a disaster such as this and have paid for homeowners insurance know our first step is to contact our carrier (in my cast State Farm) Fema isn't going to help me or State Farm…because State Farm has agreed by contract to take the hit in damages for me. Sooooo question is: who takes the hit for State Farm? Yes, State Farm has insurance to help cover its insurance company's losses. Who owns that large bit of business in the USA…First name to come to mind is Warren Buffet. HUMMMM. maybe Good Ole Warren has learned to co-opt fema to come to the rescue, thereby saving his behind. Yea, he needs to pay more taxes… and get our of Obama's bedroom.

    47. Myron Remington says:

      Being involved in disaster recovery since hurricane Rita in 2005 as well as the Guatemala earthquake of 1976, I have formed an opinion supportive of the stand taken by Heritage.
      I would like to see state and local governments band together in mutual support agreements, totally supplanting the role of FEMA. Such agreements may include insurance contracts, at the participants' discretion, and involve as many entities as choose to participate.
      Charitable organizations such as UMCOR, Red Cross, and Catholic Charities could take a greater role. With the federal government out of the way, private charities could plan better and have greater freedom to support local needs.
      The savings in tax money no longer needed for federal disaster recovery would allow us, the taxpayers and supporters of charities, to divert more of our giving to private instead of federal agencies.
      The same concept extends to international disasters. There is no provision in our constitution to authorize federal governmental involvement in tsunamis or earthquakes. Keep the feds out of the way and allow private agencies to collect our contributions and support the people of our world.

    48. L'Goucho says:

      I disagree with the fellow who said Government has no need to force folks to leave their property because in my area we have become so accustomed to someone telling us what to do we would be completely lost with out outside guidance. Yes it is a sad when we don't have enough gumption to know when to leave our own home when a storm is bearing down and in all probability expect the Government to pay for our new temporary residence.

    49. Bobbie says:

      Why isn't the power on yet?

      Stop the incompetence!!! Keep feds out when it comes to natural disasters. The feds won't move unless they're over paid, can exaggerate the situation and underestimate costs, because they can. The president assuring fema ready and waiting???!!!

      The more government sticks it's nose where it doesn't need to be, the more incompetence, corruption, costs and unheld accountabilities. Advisors starting at a category 3 with alerted acclamation! It was nothing compared to a category 3 hurricane yet the federal government won't say what they're doing? but everything they can and the power isn't on yet? no more fema! they're more harm then good! corruption is undeserving!!!!

    50. DanBritt says:

      I wonder how much money and resources would be left for an individual citizen or the State they live in, if we did not have to fund FEMA ? What a Federal monstrosity !

    51. Helping a neighbor says:

      FEMA should be disbanded completely the Feds should not be in the insurance business. Let the insurance companies do their job. People should get up and rebuild their own communities. When the feds get into the disaster, everybody quits working and set on their butt waiting for FEMA to come to the rescue. Get the hell off your dead ass and rebuild yourself. Tell big brother he is not needed!!!!!!

    52. Allen says:

      As a Vermonter I can tell you that I have experienced worse weather, and as much, if not more, flooding in my lifetime (47 years) so this "Epic" BS goes along with the current socialist in the Governor's seat. There was nothing so intense a little common sense wouldn't have helped. One woman was washed away while standing too close to a river watching the flooding. Should we count that as a life "taken" by Irene?

      The language being used is to set up a plea for "Emergency Funds" while the Obama clones in our Statehouse bleed the people dry and plan "Shumlincare" for our future. There were some areas that were hard hit, but better planning and more attention to our bridges and roads before this would have made a gigantic difference. I know of several places that had washed out in the spring and haven't been repaired, but just shored up.

      Now, Vermont will receive some of the money it's been sending to Washington to finally fix some of these problems. The only problem is that Washington already spent that money on studies of Asian call girl's safety habits, and thousands of other wasteful things.

    53. jim says:

      the numbers you have come up with for declarations from bush 1 through obama din't seem to line up with the numbers on fema's page??? where did you get this info from???

    54. karenkass says:

      But several roads are still blocked with fallen trees. http://bit.ly/n5PJuj

    55. cathy says:

      24 people have died due to hurricane Irene.
      40,000 people die every year in cars.
      shouldn't the government put an end to cars? that would save energy also.

    56. Bob Densic says:

      I'm sorry…. exactly WHERE in the Constitution is the federal government given the power to be involved in the matter of natural disasters? Maybe they didn't have fires, hurricanes, floods and famines in the time of our founding fathers. Or more likely, maybe they did, but recognized the federal government is one of limited powers.

      Come on everyone! (Included the author and those who agree at Heritage.) This isn't a matter of "how much" is spent on an unconstitutional agency… it is a matter of principle. I expect better from this organization.

    57. Robert, TX says:

      Then people can get new big-screen TV's and video games every 2.5 days. Personal responsibility! You want to build a $700,000 house on the coast – get insurance. Don't call us and we won't call you. Every hurricane that has hit Florida inflated the real estates values until …. Pop goes the bubble. FEMA/SBA loans are bad programs that do more harm than good. So, people in Kansas and Iowa get to pay for the irresponsiblity, and then we have to increase social security payments for the "cost of living."

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