President Barack Obama has asked Congress to offer $60 billion in relief money for Hurricane Sandy victims to help rebuild destroyed areas. Some don’t agree with that plan, including Americans for Prosperity New Jersey State Director Steve Lonegan. He told NJ Today Managing Editor Mike Schneider that the federal government shouldn’t automatically provide financial relief after a natural disaster. He also said he disagrees with the idea of changing gun control laws right now after the deadly shooting in Newtown, Conn.
Lonegan isn’t sure a bailout package should be offered for Hurricane Sandy victims. “The role of the federal government in this kind of catastrophe is questionable,” he said. The $60 billion package would cost every citizen in the United States $200 to fund or $800 for a family of four, according to Lonegan. He said it amounts to more than $4,200 given out to every person in New Jersey.
“What happens, Mike, in a case like this is these people get around the table — politicians and emergency management people and others in every town. They come up with every possible thing they can come up with to justify getting funding,” Lonegan said.
He questions what part of the $60 billion is actually justifiable. “They need to drill down to every single line item and explain what it’s for before adding another $60 billion to the national debt, running up a massive budget deficit, pouring countless amounts of money into the pockets of politicians to create patronage jobs and spending programs,” Lonegan said.
While Lonegan said the federal government must rebuild and repair federal buildings, it shouldn’t necessarily step in to rebuild citizens’ homes. “If we’re going to look at somebody’s home being destroyed in a hurricane — and that is tragic for them to see their home being destroyed — but remember that every day around this country, somewhere somebody’s suffering a tragedy of equal or worse impact. And we don’t run and hand them a check,” he said. “The role of the federal government needs to be limited to the role of the federal government and not to become one of simply where politicians can pile on and fund everything in sight for political correctness.”
After the deadly shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., many are calling for changes to the nation’s gun control policies, but Lonegan believes now is not the appropriate time to change laws. “I think it’s an appropriate time to respect those who died so tragically,” he said.
He also added that he wishes the school principal was armed. “She might have stopped him, she might have slowed him down, she might have kept him off long enough for somebody to get there, but I can’t imagine how helpless they must have felt seeing this guy coming,” Lonegan said.