Should Congress offset disaster relief by cutting other spending? (Poll)

Just a month after a string of terrible tornadoes hit northern Alabama, the northwestern corner of Georgia and several other states across the South, all eyes were on Joplin, Mo., this past week after the deadliest single tornado to hit the U.S. in 60 years.

President Barack Obama, back from a trip to Europe, visited Joplin Sunday and pledged the federal government’s help in the city’s rebuilding. Congress is also on board with helping the city, but with a twist.

Appearing on “Face the Nation” Sunday, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said Congress would come through with funding for Joplin, but that House Republicans planned to offset the spending with cuts elsewhere in the budget. From CBS News:

“I know that America is just stunned by the scope of devastation and loss and the horrific tragedy that the people of Joplin and other places across the country really are experiencing this tornado season,” Cantor said.

But, he added, comparing the federal government to a family on a tight budget, the government would have to make cuts somewhere else to compensate for the expenditures.

“When a family is struck with tragedy — like the family of Joplin … let’s say if they had $10,000 set aside to do something else with, to buy a new car … and then they were struck with a sick member of the family or something, and needed to take that money to apply it to that, that’s what they would do, because families don’t have unlimited money.

“Neither does the federal government” have endless resources, he continued.

Should Congress offset disaster relief with other spending cuts?

  • No, emergencies are a different case. (118 Votes)
  • Yes, money is money. (76 Votes)

Total Voters: 194

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In practice, money is money and spending is spending — the purpose for a particular expenditure doesn’t change the laws of mathematics. But because Congress isn’t used to balancing its budget, Americans aren’t used to hearing members of Congress talking about offsetting any kind of spending, and certainly not disaster relief.

So, your question for this Monday morning: Is it appropriate for Congress to offset disaster spending with cuts elsewhere? Answer in the poll to the left and in the comments thread.

– By Kyle Wingfield

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83 comments Add your comment

carlosgvv

May 30th, 2011
10:59 am

Actually, the questiion is; Is it appropriate for Congress to offset disaster spending with cuts elsewhere so they can continue to give Big Business their tax cuts and other perks?

Bart Abel

May 30th, 2011
11:06 am

RE: “Is it appropriate for Congress to offset disaster spending with cuts elsewhere?”

A well run household, small business, and governmental entity creates and maintains an emergency fund to cover contingencies. If Eric Cantor and associates had done a good job of preparing the current budget, then they would have set aside funds for natural disasters. After all, we have several large scale disasters every year, and we know and expect that our government will provide disaster relief when and where needed. If we don’t have an adequate contingency fund for natural disasters already in place, then that doesn’t speak well of the party that wants to run the government like a business.

Also notice where Cantor is seeking to cut: investments in clean energy. They’re still fighting to maintain additional spending in oil subsidies, farm subsidies, wasteful defense spending, and elsewhere. Of course, there’s always the option of reinstating the Clinton tax rates on incomes above $250,000.

I still don’t believe that the “deficits don’t matter” crowd who turned surpluses into deficits and doubled the national debt actually care about balancing the budget. All the evidence suggests that Republicans are looking for excuses to cut spending in places they don’t like to pay for more spending in places they do like and to pay for even more tax cuts for corporations and the wealthiest among us.

Dabir Dalton

May 30th, 2011
11:23 am

Me thinks that “Personal Responsibility” should rule the day and the residents of these “Red” and “Conservative” states should live up to their beliefs and help themselves instead of reaching into the wallets and bank accounts of their fellow taxpayers.

Azazel

May 30th, 2011
11:26 am

yes, military and ag,oil, and ins.co subsideies

Road Scholar

May 30th, 2011
11:34 am

They should have already had a placeholder in the budget for FEMA and disaster relief. If they need more money, cut big business tax breaks, increase taxes back to the Clinton era rates, and abolish health care for congress!If they don’t want other Americans to get health care, why should they get it…for free?

ATF

May 30th, 2011
11:37 am

Governments should run surpluses to cover contingencies. Unfortunately, in the last 50-60 years, the only prior presidents who could run a surplus were Democrats. Republicans, oddly enough, seem prone to drive up national debt and crash the economy.

So, we could cut spending or otherwise “make up” what these disasters cost by eliminating farm subsidies and eliminating tax advantages for big oil. We could also raise the taxes on those making more than $250,000, something that the majority of citizens, in poll after poll, have indicated they support.

Left wing management

May 30th, 2011
11:41 am

Bart: “I still don’t believe that the “deficits don’t matter” crowd who turned surpluses into deficits and doubled the national debt actually care about balancing the budget. All the evidence suggests that Republicans are looking for excuses to cut spending in places they don’t like to pay for more spending in places they do like and to pay for even more tax cuts for corporations and the wealthiest among us.”

That’s exactly right. They only care about deficit reduction as part of a long-term plan to turn everything over to markets, so insofar as world capital markets care about national budgets being sound on paper (and they do). But in the short term, their plan is to seize and hold on to power, so to that end “deficit reduction” serves both political ends, as a convenient cudgel to beat down their opposition, and ideological ends, as they further hollow out the general public-spiritedness of the culture, further ensuring that an ethos of mutual communal solidarity and belonging to a community is replaced with one of “every man for himself”.

John

May 30th, 2011
11:46 am

If House Majority Leader Eric Cantor wants to compare the government to a family on a tight budget, he should also mention about putting away savings for the unexpected. Wasn’t it President George W. Bush and the Republican led majority who felt the government didn’t need to save money for the unexpected so they lowered taxes meaning less revenue then got us into 2 unfunded wars (refused to raise taxes to pay for them) and into a recession.

John

May 30th, 2011
11:55 am

““When a family is struck with tragedy — like the family of Joplin … let’s say if they had $10,000 set aside to do something else with, to buy a new car … and then they were struck with a sick member of the family or something, and needed to take that money to apply it to that, that’s what they would do, because families don’t have unlimited money.”

And what if $10,000 is not enough to cover the treatment of the sick member of the family? Would Eric Cantor and the Republican establishment be so heartless and cruel to deny treatment to a sick member of the family? I know for myself, I would go into debt to make sure the family member get the needed treatment and then work off paying that debt while still maintaining my other necessary living expenses.

Bullwinkle

May 30th, 2011
11:57 am

Ah, the Republican mindset. Once again proving they are for the human being. But only until the human is born.

arnold

May 30th, 2011
1:35 pm

It’s the attitude of Eric Cantor and the rest of the Republicans that will create a solid vote for Obama and his coattails. There is no such thing as a compassionate conservative.

DannyX

May 30th, 2011
2:42 pm

What are the offset plans for the $500 million dollar Gov Deal (Republican) dredging project?

Toe Maine

May 30th, 2011
2:47 pm

Why don’t they stop spending $700 billion per year on the military, including the bucks wasted on three illegal & immoral wars?

Mongo

May 30th, 2011
3:04 pm

“What are the offset plans for the $500 million dollar Gov Deal (Republican) dredging project?”

Where do you want the Cons to make the offset? Would you prefer if they propose cutting that money out of the budget of the EPA or the CDC?

Why doesn’t the Senate pass a version that cuts the money out of any project in a Republican district? These Tea Party types want to cut the budget so bad, let’s cut stuff in their districts first so you can show everyone how it’s done..

Will

May 30th, 2011
3:14 pm

I am beginning to believe that Eric Cantor and the republicans are deliberately trying to throw away their gains in 2010 and also hand President Obama a stunning landslide re-election.

Republicans have no focus other than to preserve tax cuts for the rich, tax breaks for big business and to oppose any and all things proposed by our President.

Sure go ahead, make disaster relief for our citizens needs contingent on something. I bet that will pick up a boat load of votes in the swing state of Missouri.

No doubt democrats in the Senate will get a recorded vote on this very quickly.

Independent thinker

May 30th, 2011
3:17 pm

Yes lets start the offset process with the $250,000 Michelle Bachman’s husband and many others get in unnecessary farm subsidies then lets take from the subsidies of big oil and lets tax Big Pharma on the money they make selling to seniot citizens unnecessary drugs they sell at a huge markup so they can pay for TV advertising. Also lets cut the billions in earmarks for unnecessary local perks like the trolley line downtown Atlanta. Of course we would not to touch all those overseas military bases and unnecessary military spending.

yuzeyurbrane

May 30th, 2011
3:30 pm

Cantor is a disgrace to his Jewish roots. If a disaster hit some members of a family and you had a wealthy relative, like say the top 1% of Americans, they would be expected to give generously because it was just the right thing to do–not charity but righteousnous.

I Report (-: You Whine )-: Thee Magnificent!!! mmm, mmmm, mmmmm! Just sayin...

May 30th, 2011
3:50 pm

Time out.

Why aren’t the insurance companies option #1 here?

~~~~~

NEW YORK | A spokesman for Democratic New York Rep. Anthony Weiner says a lewd photograph sent from Weiner’s Twitter account was perpetrated by a hacker and is “a distraction” from the congressman’s “important work representing his constituents.”

The photo showed a man’s bulging underpants

ew

Bark, bark, lap dog media.

Drifter

May 30th, 2011
4:17 pm

The better questions is “Should the government ever spend more than it has?” and the answer is always “No”. If we had stuck to that simple economic principle, the economy would be thriving now.

Scott

May 30th, 2011
4:20 pm

This is unbelievable. The Republican are a disgrace to America, We can’t help out American in a time of need but we can afford to have a war overseas. Wake-up this Government is for the People not the Corporate Greed and Welfare. Lets look at the facts 8 years of republican to make america fail, then 2 years of democrats some improvement but not a lot, Then another year of republicans and we are going down hill again, not a good track record in my books, I bet you can figure out how I am going to Vote next time

T

May 30th, 2011
4:45 pm

The Republican Party, great cheerleaders when they are on the sidelines. But they are terrible when in charge. They have a tendancy to stand in a circle and shoot themselves. I thought these clowns ran in the 2010 election on getting jobs and getting the economy back. I have yet to hear one piece of legislation that even mentions that. How about we take .5% of the Bush tax cuts away or cut military spending or big oil breaks by .5%. I hear the crickets. People need to wake up and see the Republican Party is for and only the rich, no matter how much tools like Wingnut spin it.

MrLiberty

May 30th, 2011
5:12 pm

Every dollar stolen from taxpayers to give to someone in a flood ravaged state or a tornado ravaged state reduces the ability of someone who was unaffected to prepare themselves for potential future tragedy. Government has NO money. It must steal from one group to give to another.

A recent story showed that many of the folks hit by the recent tornados had NO insurance coverage. What the hell is that about??? Where I live tornados are only a remote possibility but I made certain that the insurace we have covers us in case one comes along.

So long as we continue to steal from one group to bail out another we only encourage this kind of careless disregard to the possibilities that come from living in tornado alley, a potential flood area, etc. If you cannot afford the insurance, then either you should not live there or you should take your lumps on your own when they come along and not expect that the government will steal on your behalf.

Charity is fine, but god does help those who help themselves, and if you don’t take the appropriate precautions and purchase the needed insurance, you have only your own self to blame when you are wiped out.

It is never the responsibility of the federal government to bail people out. Stealing from one group to help another doesn’t make the country richer, more humane, more compassionate or whatever good feeling you want to assign. All it does is establish the precident that it is ok for government to steal to make everyone feel good. Realizing that you must rely on charity – the voluntary contributions of others – is a far more appropriate way to get everyone to take the responsibility they need to take when times are good so they will be prepared when times get bad.

tar and feathers party

May 30th, 2011
5:37 pm

Why should the Feds pay for damage in Joplin, is that not what insurance is for? As for the city infra structure, should the State of Missouri not be the first payer to help? Every disaster is just another excuse for Washington to deficit spend some more. Mark my words, Obama’s foolish remarks on the West Bank will cost the American taxpayer 20 billion additional dollars to placate Israel and the pro Israel lobby. Perhaps aid for Joplin and additional military aid for Israel will even be in the same appropriations bill. The country is essentially bankrupt, living off borrowed funds, yet the special interests keep sticking their hands out for more. Meanwhile, programs that people have actually paid for, like social security, are on the chopping block. Outrageous.

redhousecat

May 30th, 2011
6:02 pm

I still think we should quit sending money to Israel merely to support their existence. That would direct our money back to our own country, for whatever reason. Since we feel the need to provide aid, I would rather it go to Americans than Israel.

Hillbilly D

May 30th, 2011
6:10 pm

the red herring

May 30th, 2011
6:19 pm

oh wait ya’ll nasty republicans—you are just being heartless to expect people to carry insurance and do things the common sense way. of course those places (mo.,ala.,ga. etc) need some extra help and the government should step in for some of that—but they should cut in some other areas to do so (cowboy poetry festivals come to mind)—there is plenty of waste, bloat, and fraud in our federal government—we don’t need to soak the folks that actually pay some taxes. what say we quit giving all our borrowed china money to the arab nations and keep some at home for emergency. ooops there i go using common sense again…

MarkV

May 30th, 2011
6:28 pm

Describing the use of tax money as “stealing from one group to give to another” is not just distasteful – it is incredibly stupid.

the watch dog

May 30th, 2011
6:28 pm

Absolutely, money should be cut elsewhere. Since when does the government have to pay for every disaster, where is the rugged individualism that made the country strong. It is not the governments job to throw money at every disaster, how about neighbor helping neighbor, that is where the action is.
As it stans now, all the revenue that will come into the U.S. Teasury in 10 years will go to service the National Deficit. Will everyone send money to Washington for its fiscal disaster, end of story.

arnold

May 30th, 2011
6:32 pm

There is no such thing as a compassionate conservative.

the red herring

May 30th, 2011
7:17 pm

i suppose if you post something anti-democrat and some commons sense thinking you get censored. what else is there to expect from the ajc when they have both CT and JB?? thought maybe with wingfields column it would be different…

Fred

May 30th, 2011
7:18 pm

Heck yeah they should offset the money spent with cuts somewhere else. I say we take “disaster relief” funds from Foreign Aid and Corporate welfare.

How about we rebuild Joplin and Alabama BEFORE we rebuild Iraq or Afghanistan and CONTINUE to prop up Germany while they (Germany) stick it in our rear? How about the French repay us for the debts they owe us from WWII?

Just damn.

the red herring

May 30th, 2011
7:20 pm

sorry concerning the censorship comment—the original post showed up after i made the second.
at least i know when i screw up–some folks will vote for obama again.

TruthBe

May 30th, 2011
7:22 pm

First of all the corrupt democrats haven’t even summitted a required new buget since they controlled congress and the senate. Obama hasn’t had a buget plan yet. And the media gets anger with Cantor and the republicians for writing one since the democrats won’t do their jobs. This way the democrats can blame the republicians for the hard choices to cut the federal waste in the buget. You know union give aways for democrat supporters and likes. Also how come ALL of you liberal democrats don’t ask Obama and the democrats about the 920 million dollars Obama and Hillary gave to PLO, Hamas, Hezbollah, and the other muslim terrorist. Obama and Hillary gave 400 plus million dollars to PLO, Hamas, Hezbollah, and other muslim terrorist in 2010 and promised more in 2011. All thru the state dept. With no oversite by congress or the senate. This taxpayers money could have been to help the US Citizens that have been hurt from the storms and such. Where is the anger about that you juicedrinkers????????????

Jefferson

May 30th, 2011
7:22 pm

I say take the cuts from the sweetheart deal they are trying to hand George Purdue in Savannah. Give congress a voucher for their insurance instead of insurance and see how they like it.

Fred

May 30th, 2011
7:26 pm

“oh wait ya’ll nasty republicans—you are just being heartless to expect people to carry insurance and do things the common sense way.”

Are you stupid or a paid political hack redherring? Who do YOU think the first people are to BEG Gov’ts to declare someplace a “disaster area?” Why it’s the INSURANCE companies. It’s another form of Corporate welfare. See the insurance companies collect premiums but HATE to pay when it’s time. If an area is declared a “disaster area” then they don’t HAVE to pay. They get to steal money from taxpayers and have THEM pay while the insurance companies get to keep all the premuims.

Just damn.

Michael H. Smith

May 30th, 2011
7:27 pm

YES!

If we had a balanced budget and no $14 trillion deficit hanging over us, then my answer would be different.

War and disasters are the only reasons this country should have for deficit spending.

Fred

May 30th, 2011
7:29 pm

TruthBe; Obama hasn’t had a buget plan yet.

Not too bright are you? The President doesn’t submit budgets or laws. Try reading the Constitution. It’s the job of the CONGRESS to do those things. In this case, the REPUBLICAN CONTROLLED Congress…………

Please educate yourself on the basic concepts of our Constitution and form of gov’t before you make your expected uninformed and snippy reply.

fair and imbalanced

May 30th, 2011
7:33 pm

Let the Tea Party pay for the aid..we don’t need no federal government in our lives! And no tax on moonshine..

fair and imbalanced

May 30th, 2011
7:38 pm

and Wingfield…that’s a German name, no?

Fred

May 30th, 2011
7:43 pm

Gee fair and imbalanced, are you further trying to divide America? Who the hell cares where someones ancestors came from.

fair and imbalanced

May 30th, 2011
7:51 pm

Fred…just wondering if they were here legally!

TruthBe

May 30th, 2011
7:56 pm

Fred, You jackass liberal I said the democrats that controlled the congress and the senate. And Obama didn’t put any pressure on the democrats in the senate or the congress to do their jobs. So why don’t you learn sometime about what is really going on. And what about the taxpayers money given away to the muslin brotherhood terrorist friends of Hillary and Obama. Where is your anger about that jack.

fair and imbalanced

May 30th, 2011
8:03 pm

right! and lets increase the tax breaks to the oil industry.

Johnny Angel

May 30th, 2011
8:05 pm

I think it would be real nice of Eric Cantor to give up his taxpayer pay and give it to those truly in need out in Joplin and elsewhere.

Michael H. Smith

May 30th, 2011
8:06 pm

Describing the use of tax money as “stealing from one group to give to another” is not just distasteful – it is incredibly stupid.

Ah, the diplomacy of Marxism is so charming.

Taking tax money from one group to give to another could be seen as, misappropriation of wealth.

Taking tax money from one group to give to another might be called, income redistribution.

Taking money from one group to give to another has often been called, redistribution of wealth.

Of course, in a more intellectually appealing manner of speaking as the kinder gentler version of stupidity has it parsed:

“From each according to their ability, to each according to their need.”

But when taking money from one group to give to another in defense and support of one whose life, liberty and pursuits of happiness are in jeopardy regardless of the oppressor, be it man or nature, it is the duty of any man(human) to assist with whatever means are at his or her disposal, as a matter of humanity. The obligatory duty of government is no less than the onus of man, as a mandate from natural law.

I Report (-: You Whine )-: Thee Magnificent!!! mmm, mmmm, mmmmm! Just sayin...

May 30th, 2011
8:07 pm

Sarah has all the angry liberals speaking gibberish, spraying foam all over the place and babbling pure nonsense, what I was wondering, is there anyone out there who can translate what these goofballs are trying to say?

Call me at 8675309, I pay pretty good.

Preciate it.

TruthBe

May 30th, 2011
8:11 pm

Where is the help from all of you liberal democrats? You can donate your own money to the people in need without the FORCE of the big brother government thugs. Democrats are loud in voice and silent in action.

MarkV

May 30th, 2011
8:20 pm

(MarkV: Describing the use of tax money as “stealing from one group to give to another” is not just distasteful – it is incredibly stupid.)

“Ah, the diplomacy of Marxism is so charming.”

Naturally, when you have no brain, when you do not realize how stupid is the referred statement, all you can come up with is the bogeyman. Marxism, redisribution of wealth. It is so much easier than asking yourself a question what that statement means.

Michael H. Smith

May 30th, 2011
8:27 pm

Just in case there are any rich Democrats who feel taxes should be raised or you don’t pay enough tax, you can always give up your tax loopholes, deductions, subsidies, offshore tax shelters or simply write out a fat check to the U.S. Treasury or IRS.

You can bet your farm subsidy the federal government will take it!

Michael H. Smith

May 30th, 2011
8:33 pm

Naturally, when you have no brain, when you do not realize how stupid is the referred statement, all you can come up with is the bogeyman. Marxism, redisribution of wealth. It is so much easier than asking yourself a question what that statement means.

Shame you have no brain. Your statement means you where being stupid by call someone stupid to defend what your intelligence could not do otherwise. Now in confirmation you only become a repeat offender.