Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Learning from Sandy

By Dale Bowling

Remember that political ad during the last election where the call comes in at 3am stating America is under siege and the question is who has the policies and skills to lead us out of that crisis?

Hurricane Sandy is that call. So who has the policies and the skills to protect America?

Two separate issues loom: disaster prevention and disaster relief.

Environmental scientists have said for years that natural disasters, especially hurricanes, droughts and floods will increase in number and severity due to climate change. 2012 will stand as the poster child for the effects of climate change on America for years to come.

Fix climate change and we can reduce the frequency and intensity of these disasters.

Democrats for their part have championed comprehensive climate change legislation (remember Cap and Trade?), have passed into law greater fuel efficiency standards for cars, pushed for tighter emission standards on cars and power plants and have supported clean energy projects to keep greenhouse gases from entering the atmosphere.

Republicans have stuffed their fingers in their ears and sang the Star-Spangled Banner really loudly.

As far as disaster relief, Democrats have had to fight repeatedly just to keep the level of preparedness the Nation has now.

Republicans have argued that disaster relief should be turned over to the states as much as possible, or even better yet privatized. They have used the threat of cutting federal disaster relief funding to attempt to eliminate some green manufacturing programs and have actually cut some disaster relief in order to preserve military spending levels.

Federal funding for disaster relief is a lot like funding for embassy security (another victim of the Republican chopping block): you don't need it - until you need it.

When Republicans make disaster relief a pawn in its game to checkmate Big Government, America is the one who loses.

Democrats will protect federal funding for disaster relief and prmote environmental legislation to prevent these problems from getting that 3am call in the first place.


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