We read about the wonderful job our government does building schools, infrastructure, hospitals, and essential buildings in foreign countries.

It's commendable what a generous nation we are.

Sometimes, though, we as a nation should be doing more to help our own people here in the United States.

The devastation caused by last week's Superstorm, or "Sandy" as many refer to it, is a perfect example.

There were schools, fire houses, police stations, and other public facilities heavily damaged and possibly even destroyed.

There are many local efforts underway to help people in stricken areas. That's great. But why can't our federal government do more to provide assistance whenever major disaster strikes, whether it be a hurricane, tornado, earthquake, or any major calamity?

We find the money and resources to help foreign countries. Why can't we repair and even rebuild fire stations, police stations, and schools that are devastated by disasters? This could be done with a major grant to cover what insurance doesn't.

What's happening is that in communities where these public facilities are destroyed, so are many homes. Residents are left to put their personal lives together, yet must shoulder the enormous responsibility for restoring their public services.

President Obama made a token visit to New Jersey after the storm passed and promised assistance. He didn't say what kind of assistance would come. He didn't say when it would occur. It was merely a token, political visit.

Why can't this great nation keep some of the money it sends overseas to help our own residents? Why can't the rebuilding of fire stations and schools and other vital facilities occur through a fund the government has set aside for such tragic events?

One reason is that our government hasn't learned to establish funds and let them alone for their intended purposes. Whenever a designated fund attains a positive balance, politicians raid it.

Another reason is that our government has been so busy trying to "buy" friendship abroad that it is frustratingly ignoring the needs at home.

Certainly, the area in the path of last week's Superstorm has needs. So far, except for National Guard troops being dispatched, and private concerns offering assistance, other needs haven't been met.

Our government needs to concentrate more on domestic issues. It's proven in New Jersey and other hard-hit areas by the Superstorm that government aid is weak.

When disaster hits in a foreign country, we're the first to provide assistance. When it hits at home, such assistance is too slow.

By RON GOWER

rgower@tnonline.com