Former Congressman Barney Frank (D-MA) decided to make an odd segue from discussing the tragic bombing in Boston on CNN this morning into a discussion of fiscal policy that more or less reduced the bombing itself to a political prop.
The segment began when the CNN anchor asked Frank, “We are talking about recovery here all morning, as this city, as this state tries to bounce back from this, and someone brought up an interesting point that, in some ways, the recovery is based on the response. The response yesterday was so remarkable. They stopped the marathon mid-point and calmly moved some 5,000 people from the racecourse. There were moments of chaos right there, but they were able to clear the scene fairly well. What are your impressions of the response in Boston so far?”
Fran responded (emphasis added):
“I’m glad you raised that, because it gives me a chance to make a point I’ve felt strongly about. In this terrible situation, let’s be very grateful that we had a well-funded, functioning government. It is very fashionable in America, and has been for some time to criticize government, belittle public employees, talk about their pensions, talk about what people think of their expensive health care. Here we saw government in two ways perform very well. First of all, the city government in charge performed efficiently and rapidly and bravely. Secondly…as you’ve shown on the program, you don’t know when it’s state and when it’s federal and when it’s the city. The police commissioner on the screen would be ahead of the FBI, and then the governor. And that also goes for the recovery. Again, I never was as a member of Congress one of the cheerleaders for less government, lower taxes. No tax cut would have helped us deal with this or will help us recover. This is very expensive. You have adequately described thousands and thousands of people examining every parcel…providing medical care. What I’m asking people is, whether you have private health insurance or not, whether you can afford this or not, maybe the government’s going to have to pay for it. This is an example of why we need, if we’re going to be a civilized society, to put some of our resources into a common pool.”
Frank went on, “On the whole, I would say this is a terrible day for our society, but a day when I hope people will understand the centrality of having a government in place.” He also criticized people who might try to argue for “saving pennies” in the future, implying strongly that such people would favor no public response to disasters like this.
Watch the segment below:
H/t: Weekly Standard