The Welfare State's Secret Weapon

How disaster relief, from the New Deal to Hurricane Sandy, has spurred positive views of government

The Welfare State's Secret Weapon 1

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The Red Cross and the U.S. Army led the relief effort after the San Francisco earthquake of 1906. The federal government and other sources, including individuals, local authorities, other states, and even other countries, provided a total of about $9-million in aid to the city.

The poll-trackers say Mitt Romney was doomed in any case, but some Republicans have blamed Hurricane Sandy. As parts of Queens, N.Y., and the Jersey Shore burned or were washed out to sea, Mr. Romney found himself in the position of having to explain some past comments about the worthiness of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. In June 2011 he had said on CNN, "Every time you have an occasion to take something from the federal government and send it back to the states, that's the right