On August 8, President Barack Obama’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) issued a disaster declaration for flooding in Utah. With that declaration, FEMA hit 158 declarations in 2011 and in so doing surpassed the 15-year record of 157 declarations, set in 1996 by President Bill Clinton’s FEMA, led by James Lee Witt. At this pace, FEMA will end the year with roughly 288 declarations, or almost twice the previous record.
When FEMA issues a declaration, costs shift from the state where the declaration occurred to the federal government—which really means the states where the disaster did not occur are paying for it.
During his term, President Obama’s FEMA has issued 375 declarations, or one declaration every 2.48 days. As a reference point, in just over 2.5 years, President Obama’s FEMA has issued more declarations than President Dwight Eisenhower’s in two terms (106), President Richard Nixon’s in two terms (212), and President Ronald Reagan’s in two terms (225). Obama’s yearly average now stands at almost 150 declarations per year, which is more than 20 declarations more per year than President George W. Bush had and more than 1.5 times more than Clinton averaged in his two terms. President Obama’s FEMA has issued more declarations at this point in his presidency than any other president in U.S. history.
Keep in mind: During Obama’s time in office, not one hurricane has struck the United States, and not one earthquake of a 7 or higher reading on the Richter scale has occurred. As we have pointed out many times, the U.S. is federalizing more and more natural disasters that were handled by states and localities from 1787 to 1992. The federalization trend since 1993 gets larger with each presidential Administration.
This trend must end.