Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Small Choices

I’d like to think that one of the things that makes America a little different than other countries is that when it comes to taking care of its citizens in dire need through natural disasters, we wouldn’t stop before helping to figure out where we’re going to get the money to pay for it. I thought we were big enough — both in terms of financial wherewithal and moral guidance — to get our priority straight: help others first.

Well, apparently that’s not the case any more.

The Washington Post reported this morning that FEMA will need more money than it currently has to deal with the storm’s aftermath and is already diverting funds from other recent disasters to deal with the hurricane, but Cantor’s comments suggest Republicans won’t authorize more funds without a fight.

Cantor took the position following the tornadoes that devastated Joplin, Missouri and elsewhere in the spring and summer, and after last week’s earthquake, the epicenter for which was in his district, but the hurricane’s level of destruction is far beyond that of those disasters. Still, Cantor told Fox News that while “we’re going to find the money,” “we’re just going to need to make sure that there are savings elsewhere to do so.”

Sure, we need to watch our budget, and adding the the deficit isn’t popular with some folks, but come on. I expect better from the people we’ve entrusted our nation to than this small-minded bean-counter mentality. It’s not good government; it’s short-sighted churlishness that smacks of political vengeance.

And it’s also highly likely that if Mr. Cantor’s district was washed away by floods or tornadoes, he’d be the first one standing there in the FEMA tent, banging his tiny little fist on the table demanding that they take care of his folks — especially his campaign donors — right away.