Galveston, 1900. Image credit NOAA
Ron Paul doesn't think much of FEMA, calling it " a great contribution to deficit financing." He doesn't think the Federal government has a role to play in cleaning up after hurricanes. He tells NBC:
We should be like 1900; we should be like 1940, 1950, 1960," Paul said. "I live on the Gulf Coast; we deal with hurricanes all the time. Galveston is in my district..... "
In fact, the 1900 Galveston hurricane caused the greatest loss of life from a natural disaster in US history, between 6,000 and 10,000 dead, and the US government was deeply involved through the whole thing, including its reconstruction after, as the city was raised on stilts and rebuilt at taxpayers' expense, at cost so high that it never really recovered.
As noted in Galveston on Stilts:
Rather than retreating from the shifting sands to points higher elsewhere, the city instead decided to fence itself off from future disasters with a seawall; raised everything inside -- houses, churches, offices, trees, gardens -- by as much as 17 feet; and then flooded the revealed negative stratum with silt. It was a "plan that even in an era of engineering daring stood out for its size, cost, and audacity."
The Galveston County Daily News notes that everyone contributed, including the Feds, but that Galveston never fully recovered, and Houston replaced it as a center of commerce:
While Galveston received financial help from the county, state and federal governments, a large portion of the burden had to be carried by the city itself, at the expense of other projects.
[Author David] McComb sums it up about as well as it can be:
"Human technology made it possible - for the city of Galveston to remain on such unstable land. The city did not flourish. Houston - left the island city far behind. Galveston simply survived.
Paul says "we should be like 1900", and have taxpayers fund a hugely expensive techno-project to raise a whole town up in the air, and watch all the ships go right by it to Houston. That just makes so much sense, Ron.
More on the Galveston Hurricane
Galveston on Stilts