Mitt, Privatizing Disaster Response is Immoral, Pathological Even

Charlie Walker/CC BY 2.0

I've largely avoided public Romney-bashing—for a variety or reasons, including that I don't really think Obama is a hugely better candidate, on many if not all issues—but in the midst of Hurricane Sandy, Mitt's comments on the role of government in disaster response are particularly galling, showing one of the few very deep differences between his and the Obama campaign.

In the video above, highlighted by Huffington Post, Romney expresses that the federal government should get out of the disaster responses/assistance game, which instead is better left to the states, and apparently even better "send it back to the private sector."

Now, these comments were made in advance of the hurricane, but updated comments from the Romney campaign, in an amazing bit of tone-deafness, backed his previous remarks.

Mitt said:

We cannot afford to do those things [referring to disaster relief] without jeopardizing the future of our kids. It is simply immoral, in my view, for us to continue to rack up larger and larger debts and pass them on to our kids, knowing full well that we'll all be dead and gone before it's paid off. It makes no sense at all.

Actually, what makes no sense at all are Romney's views themselves. They aren't even internally consistent.

First, make no mistake that in some idealized world that Romney apparently wants to make real disaster response a commercial service, presumably that would be supplied on a ability-to-pay basis.

It is that which is immoral—not to mention entirely impractical when, as in the case of something as sprawling as the hurricane of the century, the effects are spread across multiple states. It is is exactly this sort of event for which a national-level response is entirely needed.

Second, to the utter disconnect between Romney's views on not racking up debt and passing off the paying that debt to future generations, and it all making no sense: I agree, it makes no sense to keep racking up debts and then expect future generations to pay.

But yet this is exactly what Mitt proposes in failing to respond as a national-level community to extreme weather disasters, in ignoring climate change, dismissing dealing with rising sea levels, in pushing for a fossil fuel-led energy policy, in not having a single-payer healthcare system.

It is putting off action now, albeit admittedly sometimes not inexpensive action, that will simply rack up more debt—financial, moral—and pushing it off on future generations. It's entirely short-sighted, blinded by a privatization-prioritized Randian ideology, to not see this. It's not even a conservative viewpoint—which would see that taking action now is the financially prudent, morally and ethically correct, and culturally preservative course to follow—rather it's just dementia bordering on a sort of social pathology, one that fails to recognize that humanity exists best in community, acts in community, and has throughout all of history.

Tags: Global Climate Change | Mitt Romney | Natural Disasters