Ron Paul thinks "we should be like 1900" and return to the era before there was government assistance to help rebuild cities devastated by natural disasters. This seems to be a common theme among Republicans these days -- the idea that there should be no disaster assistance to cities devastated by disaster. Like Joplin, MO. Or cities directly in the path of Hurricane Irene.
In 1900, a hurricane made landfall in the city of Galveston, Texas, a city inside Ron Paul's current Congressional district. The death toll was between 6,000 to 12,000 people and is regarded to be the deadliest hurricane in U.S. history.
Here's a first-hand history from Isaac M. Cline about the aftermath of the 1900 hurricane:
The grain elevators which were full of grain suffered the smallest damage. Ships have resumed loading and work is being rushed day and night. The railroad bridges across the bay were washed away, but one of these has been repaired and direct rail communication with the outside world was established within eleven days after the disaster. Repairs and extensions of wharves are now being pushed forward with great rapidity. Notwithstanding the fact that the streets are not yet clean and dead bodies are being discovered daily among the drifted debris, the people appear to have confidence in the place and are determined to rebuild and reestablish themselves here. Galveston being one of the richest cities of its size in the United States, there is no question but that business will soon regain its normal condition and the city will grow and prosper as she did before the disaster. Cotton is now coming in by rail from different parts of the State and by barge from Houston. The wheels of commerce are already moving in a manner which gives assurance for the future. Improvements will be made stronger and more judiciously; for the past twenty-five years they have been made with the hurricane of 1875 in mind, but no one ever dreamed that the water would reach the height observed in the present case. The railroad bridges are to be built ten feet higher than they were before. The engineer of the Southern Pacific Company has informed me that they will construct their wharves so that they will withstand even such a hurricane as the one we have just experienced.
Well, let's just be clear here. Ron Paul is less interested in cities getting federal aid than he is in *poor* cities getting federal aid. And it's the poor cities that suffer most. From a Guardian article in 2009:
The question is: what is it that determines the likelihood that you will lose your life, or your limbs, or your livelihood, or your home?
The answer is simple enough. To be at the greatest risk, you have to be poor, and live in a country with corrupt, dishonest or ineffective government.
The odds are quite high that you already do so. This is because more than half the world lives in cities. By 2010, 73% of the world's urban dwellers will be in the developing world and many of them will be in unregulated housing. There are a billion people already living in shanty towns and slums, and this figure is rising by 25 million a year.
I wonder how many of the people who died in 1900 were poor. I wonder whether an organized rescue response from the federal government might have saved them. But mostly, I wonder why anyone listens to Ron Paul.
[h/t Think Progress]