As Americans in Hawaii and all along the Pacific coastline flee for higher ground as earthquake-triggered tsunami waves bare down on their beaches, the Huffington Post is coincidentally warning readers that Republican budget cuts could hinder U.S. emergency responses to natural disasters in the future:
Tucked into the House Republican continuing resolution are provisions cutting the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, including the National Weather Service, as well as humanitarian and foreign aid.
Presented as part of a larger deficit reduction package, each cut could be pitched as tough-choice, belt-tightening on behalf of the GOP. But advocates for protecting those funds pointed to the crisis in Japan as evidence that without the money, disaster preparedness and relief would suffer.
"These are very closely related," National Weather Service Employees Organization President Dan Sobien told The Huffington Post with respect to the budget cuts and the tsunami. "The National Weather Service has the responsibility of warning about tsunami's also. It is true that there is no plan to not fund the tsunami buoys. Everyone knows you just can't do that. Still if those [House] cuts go through there will be furloughs at both of the tsunami warning centers that protect the whole country and, in fact, the whole world."
Translation: if the GOP gets its way, the "whole country and, in fact, the whole world" will be swept away by tsunamis we apparently never saw coming because warning centers were understaffed.
And should people survive this hypothetical global catastrophe, HuffPo further warns that Republicans also want to cut back on spending for global disaster aid, refugee assistance and global food relief.
Oh, the humanity.