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NYT Editorial aimed at Mitt: "A Big Storm Requires Big Government"
Most Americans have never heard of the National Response Coordination Center, but they’re lucky it exists on days of lethal winds and flood tides. The center is the war room of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, where officials gather to decide where rescuers should go, where drinking water should be shipped, and how to assist hospitals that have to evacuate.
Disaster coordination is one of the most vital functions of “big government,” which is why Mitt Romney wants to eliminate it. At a Republican primary debate last year, Mr. Romney was asked whether emergency management was a function that should be returned to the states. He not only agreed, he went further.
“Absolutely,” he said. “Every time you have an occasion to take something from the federal government and send it back to the states, that’s the right direction. And if you can go even further and send it back to the private sector, that’s even better.” Mr. Romney not only believes that states acting independently can handle the response to a vast East Coast storm better than Washington, but that profit-making companies can do an even better job. He said it was “immoral” for the federal government to do all these things if it means increasing the debt.
It’s an absurd notion, but it’s fully in line with decades of Republican resistance to federal emergency planning. FEMA, created by President Jimmy Carter, was elevated to cabinet rank in the Bill Clinton administration, but was then demoted by President George W. Bush, who neglected it, subsumed it into the Department of Homeland Security, and placed it in the control of political hacks. The disaster of Hurricane Katrina was just waiting to happen.
If I lived where a hurricane struck, I sure wouldn't want to rely on the private sector to help me out. Insurance companies are notorious for doing everything they can to avoid paying those who are lucky enough to be insured. See below:
Hurricane insurance is a little tricky. Private homeowners insurance does not cover flood damage, but it should cover any damage caused by hurricane winds. Even so, many homeowner policies have special deductibles for hurricane damage that are separate from the general deductible for other damages. While the general deductible is likely set at a dollar amount, the deductible for hurricane damage is often set as a percent of the hurricane costs. It's usually around 3 percent, says Ernst Csiszar, a professor of finance at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, although it can run as high as 5 percent of the damage costs.
Any hurricane damage from water, not wind and rain, is covered by flood insurance, which must be purchased separately through the federally run National Flood Insurance Program.