” The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is the lead federal agency for disaster preparedness, response, and relief. FEMA’s budget fluctuates from year to year, but spending has trended sharply upwards in recent decades. The agency spent $22 billion in fiscal 2013 and $10 billion in fiscal 2014. The main activity of FEMA is distributing aid to individuals and state and local governments after natural disasters, such as hurricanes, floods, and earthquakes. In addition, the agency provides ongoing grants to the states for disaster preparedness, and it operates the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).
FEMA’s response to some major disasters has been slow, disorganized, and profligate. The agency’s actions have sometimes been harmful, such as when it has blocked the relief efforts of other organizations. FEMA’s dismal response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005 dramatized the agency’s bureaucratic dysfunction. FEMA’s grants for disaster preparedness are known for wastefulness. As for the NFIP, its insurance subsidies are spurring development in flood-prone areas, which in turn is increasing the damage caused by floods. The NFIP also encourages an expansion of federal regulatory control over local land-use planning.
Federalism is supposed to undergird America’s system of handling disasters, particularly natural disasters. State, local, and private organizations should play the dominant role. Looking at American history, many disasters have generated large outpourings of aid by individuals, businesses, and charitable groups.
Today, however, growing federal intervention is undermining the role of private institutions and the states in handling disasters. Policymakers should reverse course and begin cutting FEMA. Ultimately, the agency should be closed down by ending aid programs for disaster preparedness and relief and privatizing flood insurance. “
Tag Archive: Cato Study
” With the election only weeks away, pundits are visualizing how a Republican-controlled Senate would impact future policy decisions. Today’s Washington Post highlights the supposed plight of federal workers under a Republican Congress.
The piece discusses House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan’s budget proposal:
Under the Ryan budget, the contribution of most federal employees toward their retirement plan would increase by 5.5 percentage points with no increase in benefits — effectively a pay cut. Ryan emphasizes a “defined-contribution system” that centers on employee payments to their retirement program instead of the current system, which includes pensions from the U.S. government. He estimated his plan would save the government $125 billion over 10 years.
That $125 billion in savings, however, would come from the pockets of federal employees.
The piece continues in a similar vein discussing Republican-supported legislation that would make it easier for federal employees to be disciplined, fired, and restricted in their conference expenditures–all reasonable proposals. It cites federal employee union officials on the difficulties these policies would place on federal workers.
But the piece fails to mention the elephant in the room: federal employees are compensated more generously than their private-sector counterparts.
Using data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the average wage for a federal civilian employee in 2013 was $81,076, compared to the average wage of $55,424 for private-sector employees. “
” For much of its history, the United States had a notably decentralized government structure. Since the 1930s, the national government has undertaken new efforts to regulate the economy and society and to redistribute resources. Those new efforts have implied a greater centralization of authority in Washington. In the past the public often supported such centralization. Public opinion about federalism has changed. Voters are more supportive of decentralized policymaking on many issues where they previously supported a stronger national role. This shift in the public mood is consistent with other polling data that indicates profound distrust in the capacity of the federal government to act on behalf of the public good. On some issues, like national defense, much of the public continues to support national primacy. Such issues are often assigned to Washington by the Constitution. In contrast, much polling finds that many citizens believe state and local governments are likely to perform better than Washington. Americans support a more decentralized federalism than in the past both on particular issues and as a general matter of institutional confidence. “
The study is filled with topical data on the public’s shift away from supporting the overweening Leviathan state including this very telling nugget of information on attitudes towards healthcare …
As the above graph demonstrates , there remains one segment of society that is out of touch with the mainstream on who should decide the issue of healthcare and it’s not the Right . The results are the same or very similar on a wide range of issues , all indicating a strong support of state’s rights with the single exception of education policy .
The other single factor that remains steady is the Democrat’s desire for federal control over ALL issues . Once a statist , always a statist .
Read the entire study at Cato