The late May, 2015 Texas floods prompted Texas Senator Ted Cruz to tell flood victims that “federal help was on the way.” Cruz’s comments prompted the New Jersey Star-Ledger’s editorial, Ted Cruz, breaking new ground on hypocrisy. The Star-Ledger wrote:
"Democrats and Republicans in the congressional delegation," [Cruz] told the victims of Texas floods Wednesday, "will stand as one in support of the federal government meeting its statutory obligations to provide the relief to help Texans who are hurting."
Sound familiar? Probably not.
Here's what he said after voting "no" on Sandy relief:
"This bill is symptomatic of a larger problem in Washington – an addiction to spending money we do not have. The Senate should not be in the business of exploiting victims of natural disasters to fund pork projects."
I think that the Star-Ledger is breaking new ground on sloppy journalism. First, Cruz isn’t even mentioned in the article the Star-Ledger links to. Second, as the second quote clearly indicates, Cruz does not oppose federal disaster aid. He’s against non-disaster spending tacked on to the disaster aid, also known as “pork projects.” In fact, Cruz believed federal aid for Superstorm Sandy victims to be an “appropriate response” by Congress. He voted against the emergency Sandy aid bill not because he was against Sandy aid, but because most of it wasn’t emergency related. To repeat the very quote the Star-Ledger cites, “The United States Senate should not be in the business of exploiting victims of natural disasters to fund pork projects that further expand our debt,” Cruz explained.
You’d think Cruz’s stand against the porksters’ exploitation of Sandy disaster victims, and in defense of U.S. taxpayers, would be uncontroversial. But apparently not at the Star-Ledger.
But the Star-Ledger does raise a broader moral question: Is it hypocritical to cash in on benefits of government welfare programs one is critical of, or opposes? I addressed this question with these comments:
There is nothing hypocritical about Cruz’s stand. Texas taxpayers helped foot the bill for disaster relief all over the country. That being the case, they have a right to expect to benefit from the federal disaster relief program.
Texas taxpayers were forced into this program, in the same way that victims of street crime are forced. Texas’s disaster victims have a moral right to whatever disaster funds the law allows for the same reason they’d have a right to get their money back from a street criminal who robbed them at gunpoint. It follows that Cruz is morally right to fight for his constituents as long as this program exists.
If anything, the Star-Ledger’s criticism of Cruz for standing up for his constituents right to their disaster relief reimbursement shows the Star-Ledger’s moral bankruptcy and, more broadly, the evil genius of the Welfare State. The Welfare State forces people into myriad government programs, then uses the people’s forced participation in the programs—by way of cashing in on the promised benefits their own forced taxation paid for—to morally bludgeon critics into silence. To claim a moral argument to silence opposition to the welfare state programs by means of their own money: What can be more ingenious, and more evil, than that?
Kudos to Cruz for criticizing the federal disaster relief pork barrel (if not the propriety of the program itself), while simultaneously fighting for his constituents’ interests. He is being morally consistent. The hypocrites are on the Left, where voices like the Star-Ledger condemn people for cashing in on the promised benefits of the very programs the Star-Ledger supports and that the people were forced into, simply because the beneficiaries happen to be dissenters.
So much for the Left’s respect for the spirit of the First Amendment, common moral decency, and intellectual honesty. Unfortunately, the Star-Ledger didn’t break new ground, as the Left’s moral schizophrenia is nothing new.
While Cruz supports the propriety of the federal government seizing taxpayer money to fund “disaster relief,” his efforts to reign in the size of these spending bills is welcome.
However, we’ll see how Cruz handles the inevitable federal disaster aid bill for the Texas flood victims when it comes up in Congress. If it’s another pork-laden monstrosity, and Cruz doesn’t vote against it, that would be hypocritical.
The Federal Disaster Aid Dilemma