The role of federal government — big government versus small government -- is not a new topic for political debate. But it has received renewed attention in recent days on the presidential campaign trail.
In the wake of Hurricane Irene, which is shaping up to be one of the costliest disasters in U.S. history, presidential candidate Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) wants to put an end to the federal agency responsible for disaster relief. (See: As Irene Costs Rise, FEMA Funds Run Dry: Who Pays for Disaster Relief?)
"The whole idea of FEMA is a gross distortion of insurance. It's so far removed from the market and what insurance should be about," Paul declared in an interview on Fox News. "It's a system of bureaucratic centralized economic planning that is a policy that is deeply flawed. They contribute to deficit financing and, quite frankly, they don't have a penny in the bank."
But will Paul's tough talk after a multi-billion dollar natural disaster resonate with anyone outside of his small and loyal following? Not likely.
And it might even give President Obama a boost in the polls, as The Daily Ticker's Aaron Task and Daniel Gross discuss in the accompanying video.
But what might help Obama, whose approval ratings have fallen to record lows near 40% in recent weeks, even more are comments by GOP presidential candidate and Texas Governor Rick Perry about Social Security.
In his book Fed Up!, Perry calls the entitlement program a "crumbling monument to the failure of the New Deal" and a "mythical notion of salvation."
More recently, he told a crowd in Iowa that Social Security is a "Ponzi Scheme" for the younger generation. "The idea that they're working and paying into Social Security today, that the current program is going to be there for them, is a lie," Perry said, reports CNN.
From those comments you might think Perry wants to outright end Social Security all together, but that's not really the case. "I think we need to have a national conversation about how we can save the Social Security program that people expect to have as a retirement program in this country," he told reporters.
What's potentially good news for Obama, regardless of where Perry falls on the program, is the fact the most people love their Social Security benefits and don't want the government to touch them. In a USA Today/Gallup Poll from the beginning of the year, 67% of Americans opposed cuts to the program.
Tell us what you think on the role of government! Do you agree with presidential candidate Rep. Ron Paul that FEMA should be eliminated? And do you side with presidential candidate and Texas Governor Rick Perry over reforming Social Security?