Saturday, May 8, 2010

Pockets Inside-Out

Buckle up...FEMA's broke.

With a flooded Tennessee becoming the latest disaster to strike the United States, the Federal Emergency Management Agency is confronting its own emergency as its relief funds run perilously low.
Last month, FEMA Director W. Craig Fugate wrote a letter to Congress warning that its relief fund had fallen to $693 million as of April 7 but the agency owed $645 million to 47 states for past disasters. That doesn't include the $1.7 billion settlement the agency owes to the Gulf Coast state and city governments for Hurricane Katrina.

We've broken the back of FEMA.  Every time the wind blows, local and state governments are screaming for federal dollars.  I see it in Arkansas constantly...every little thing is a "federal disaster".   While a tornado, flood, or ice storm may qualify as a disaster locally, we should handle it ourselves until the point where we absolutely can't...THEN we can pick up the phone and call FEMA.

Too late now.  The money's gone, and the coffers won't be replenished anytime soon. 


  1. You're right, lady red. That should be how we do everything - handle it ourselves until it is impossible.

    And yet now, it's all about how to make it easier for people. Don't get me wrong, I see the need for relief. But we take relief too far - it's not relief anymore.

  2. The original concept for FEMA and their cooperating agencies was to be augmentation to local responders in severe emergencies. Response based upon request, in fact. Theory was the locals had their hands full and could use the augmentation.

    This has morphed in to full responsibility for any and all catastrophes, with no local participation required. Demographics make a difference, too. Witness fookin' Katrina.

  3. Another thing...when FEMA has no money and cannot issue financially committed and subsequently obligated tasking orders...ain't nobody coming. Period.

    There's a little law about that called the federal Anti-Deficiency Act. Supporting agencies are "contractors" to FEMA in the context of this law. See: 48 CFR Link here.