Privatizing Disaster Relief

Last night, CNN’s John King moderated a Presidential Debate at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire between seven Republican hopefuls. All of the candidates argued to reduce the role of the Federal Government, and John King tried to determine how far the candidates were willing to go in that regard.

In the case of Governor Mitt Romney (R-MA), the answer is quite far: He wants to privatize the Federal Emergency Management Agency or at least remove it from the Federal Department of Homeland Security and leave each state on its own to fend for itself in the case of a natural or man-made disaster.

KING: What else [is the Federal Government too involved in], Governor Romney? You’ve been a chief executive of a state. I was just in Joplin, Missouri. I’ve been in Mississippi and Louisiana and Tennessee and other communities dealing with whether it’s the tornadoes, the flooding, and worse. FEMA is about to run out of money, and there are some people who say do it on a case-by-case basis and some people who say, you know, maybe we’re learning a lesson here that the states should take on more of this role. How do you deal with something like that?

ROMNEY: Absolutely. 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.

Instead of thinking in the federal budget, what we should cut — we should ask ourselves the opposite question. What should we keep? We should take all of what we’re doing at the federal level and say, what are the things we’re doing that we don’t have to do? And those things we’ve got to stop doing, because we’re borrowing $1.6 trillion more this year than we’re taking in. We cannot…

KING: Including disaster relief, though?

ROMNEY: We cannot — we cannot afford to do those things without jeopardizing the future for 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.

There’s Pawlenty of Time to Wait Before Cutting Social Security

Last night Gov. Tim Pawlenty (MN), Rep. Ron Paul (TX), Gov. Gary Johnson (NM), Sen. Rick Santorum (PA) and the CEO of Godfather Pizza Herman Cain (GA) officially launched the 2012 race for the White House at the first Republican Presidential Primary debate of this cycle. The GOP debate was organized by Fox News at the Peace Center in Greenville, South Carolina.

After the debate, Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty was interviewed by Fox News anchor Sean Hannity.

HANNITY: How would you balance the budget for the federal government and begin the process of paying off $14 trillion plus in debt which is going to be higher soon?

PAWLENTY: There are many things we have to do. I governed a very liberal state. I had the first government shutdown in 150 years. I set a record for vetoes. I un-allotted more money using executive authority in my eight years than all the other 140-some odd years of governors combined. You’ve got to draw lines in the sand. It does lead substantially to reforming entitlement programs. We have to look the people in the eye, tell them what we are going to do.

And it includes this — we have to raise the retirement age for Social Security for new entrants into the program. Don’t scare the people who are already on the program. Anybody who is not yet contributing to Social Security. So, people coming into the workforce at age 16, 17, 18, that retirement age will raise gradually over time.

Pawlenty claims he will not raise the retirement age of people who are already in the Social Security system. He will only adjust the retirement age of teenagers up to 18 years old who have not yet entered the workforce (and coincidentally are too young to vote in 2012). An 18-year old in 2013 would not qualify for a full retirement pension until 2062. Thus, the change which Gov. Pawlenty is advocating will only begin to affect the deficit half a century from now.

So is Pawlenty being honest about what he is going to cut, or is balancing the deficit not really a priority for him?

Jews for Sarah Director debates Former NJDC Director Ira Forman

In the aftermath of Sarah Palin‘s “blood libel” remark, Rabbi Mark S. Golub moderated a debate on Shalom TV between:

They discussed former Alaska Governor and possible Republican presidential candidate Sarah and her standing in the Jewish community.