If you cut the funding, the disasters will stop

Hey, here’s an idea – let’s cut the budgets of disaster relief agencies. Disasters don’t happen, so why budget money to relieve them?

Numerous federal agencies targeted for major budget cuts or even elimination by the Trump administration are playing important roles in helping people recover from Hurricane Harvey along the Gulf Coast. Many agencies in the budget crosshairs also are closely monitoring the path and intensity of Hurricane Irma and making preparations if the storm strikes the United States.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency, Environmental Protection Agency, and other agencies have been responding to Harvey and could be sending staff to Florida later this week if Irma strikes the state. These same employees, as they provide vital services to storm-damaged areas, understand their jobs are in jeopardy based on President Donald Trump’s budget priorities.

The story is dated September 5, when Irma was looming as opposed to settled in.

The Environmental Protection Agency is responding to Harvey’s impact on industrial facilities and toxic dumps, including Superfund sites. The agency has 143 personnel working on response efforts to Harvey. Trump’s 2018 budget plan for the EPA, however, calls for cutting the Superfund cleanup program by approximately 25 percent. Overall, the president’s FY18 budget request would cut the EPA’s budget by 31 percent and eliminate 3,200 staff and over 50 programs.

“The damaging cuts proposed make clear that the administration is willing to put Americans at risk by shortchanging investments in disaster preparedness,” Rachel Cleetus, lead economist and climate policy manager at the Union of Concerned Scientists, wrote in a blog post.

Oh well. Rich people will get big tax cuts, so that makes it all worthwhile, right?

The proposed budget also would make steep cuts to FEMA’s Pre-Disaster Mitigation Grant Program, which helps communities become better prepared before disaster strikes instead of focusing only on post-disaster recovery efforts. Furthermore, about $190 million would be cut from FEMA’s Flood Hazard Mapping and Risk Analysis Program.

Let’s just cut everything. Cut cut cut cut cut. Give all the money to rich people, and they’ll fix things when the hurricanes come ashore.

The Trump administration wants to slash the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) budget by 16 percent. Several NOAA programs are developing advanced modeling to make storm forecasts more accurate and reliable. But the administration requested a $5 million funding cut for these modeling programs. The agency’s climate research arm — the Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research — would face a 32 percent budget cut, the largest of any NOAA agency.

“At a time when storms are getting more destructive, floods more devastating and people and property more vulnerable, accurate weather forecasting is more critical than ever — which is why the Trump administration’s brazen proposal to slash funding for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s most important forecasting and storm prediction programs has set off alarms,” Scott Weaver, a senior climate scientist at the Environmental Defense Fund, wrote in response to the administration’s proposed NOAA budget cuts.

Yes but tax cuts for rich people. Let’s keep a clear head about this.

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