Gosh, you know, I hate to sound ungenerous, but is anyone else put off by the sight of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie stomping up and down, pounding the floor and demanding, Where’s my $60 billion?
Now listen. The New York City and New Jersey area – that’s my hometown. I have relatives there who were severely affected by Hurricane Sandy. People have suffered tragedies from which they will never really recover. I want the area to get help as much as anyone.
And I think emergency disaster aid is a correct use of federal resources. Americans ride to the rescue of their brethren in other parts of the country when tragedy strikes, and the federal government, in addition to private charity, is a useful means of doing this
But requests for other’s people’s money – and lots of it – should be made with some sense of humility. Assuming an adult population in the United States of about 250 million, $60 billion means every man and woman in the nation will be spending $240 to help out New Jersey and the rest of the region that was devastated by the hurricane.
And that doesn’t include interest, since the government is out of money and we’ll have to pay the going rate in Beijing to borrow this.
But in the Gimme Culture that President Obama is nurturing with his vast new federal programs and outlays, people – even Republican people – think less and less like this. They just assume money is coming from somewhere to help them out, whether that means digging them out from a natural catastrophe, helping them go to college, or granting them years worth of unemployment benefits.
Is it really so callous to ask if New Jersey has a rainy day fund and, if not, why not?
What’s more, Dan Henninger writes in today’s Wall Street Journal that FEMA’s effort to assist New Jersey is actually funded until spring. The money which the House has not yet approved – but surely will – is to get New Jersey through the rest of 2013 and beyond.
Christie says hurricane relief should be beyond politics. But as he savages the unpopular House Republicans and Speaker John Boehner as shameful misanthropes who are “to blame for the continued suffering of these innocent victims,” it’s worth asking: who exactly is playing politics – the House GOP or the Republican governor running for reelection in a Bright Blue state?
Christie already has raised $2 million for his gubernatorial campaign. How about, if we’re setting politics aside, we start with that money as a down payment on the funding to come?
And after getting reelected, everyone knows where Christie thinks he’s headed. If the Gimme Culture one day actually pervades a Republican White House, then you’ll know it’s here to stay.