Republican presidential candidate Rep. Ron Paul (Texas) continued his criticisms of FEMA, claiming the agency’s approach is “deeply flawed.”

“It’s a system of bureaucratic centralized economic planning that is a policy that is deeply flawed,” Paul said Sunday on Fox News. He argued that FEMA had “one of the worst reputations for a bureaucracy ever.”

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“I want to transition us out of this dependency,” Paul said, arguing that people needed to abandon the idea that “FEMA will take care of us and everything will be OK.”

While the administration is relying on FEMA to handle the response to Hurricane Irene, which is barreling up the Eastern Seaboard, Paul has strongly criticized the agency, saying he has little faith in its ability to respond to disasters and believes it did more to hinder recovery efforts than to help them.

Paul stressed that FEMA was in “big trouble financially,” noting that its flood-relief program was “$20 billion in debt” and cast doubt that additional emergency funds could be found for FEMA.

“Where would the money come from? … You try to make these programs work the best you can, but you can’t just keep saying they need money,” he said. “We are out of money.”


He suggested that if President Obama wanted to increase funding for FEMA he would need to look to curtail U.S. involvement in Libya. The president could “save a billion dollars from the overseas warmongering,” Paul said.

Paul criticized FEMA’s flood insurance program, which allows property owners to purchase insurance from FEMA for homes private insurers are not willing to back.

“The whole idea of FEMA is a gross distortion of insurance,” Paul said. “It’s so far removed from the market and what insurance should be about.”

With the East Coast dealing with the impact of Hurricane Irene, Paul has been vocal in his concerns about FEMA.  “FEMA is not a good friend to most people in Texas because all they do is come in and tell you what [you can] do and can’t do. You can’t get into your houses and they hinder the local people and they hinder volunteers from going in,” Paul said while campaigning Saturday. “There is no magic about FEMA.”

In his Sunday interview on Fox News, Paul also addressed concerns that he has little realistic chance of winning the Republican nomination.

“I’m in it to win it,” he insisted.

Paul also clarified his criticism of the U.S. role in NATO’s campaign against the Gadhafi regime in Libya. He supported Gadhafi’s downfall, but took issue with U.S. involvement. “I think it’s a good thing, it’s the way we did it,” he said.

Paul also expressed worries about how the situation in Libya would unfold. He said he had “no idea what will come out of Libya. I’m very skeptical.”

“We’ve already said troops are needed now to maintain order. We don’t know what the rebels represent and we know al Qaeda is already there.”

The “unintended consequences of our foreign policy are so overwhelming,” Paul said.

Paul also downplayed Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke’s speech Friday in Jackson Hole, Wyo. Bernanke was “continuously quantitatively easing,” Paul said, adding that the chairman’s remarks were “not a big change in things.”

The congressman said he saw little change in the Fed’s policies. Bernanke still needs to “quit monetizing debt,” Paul said.