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Ron Paul on Government Reform

Republican Representative (TX-14); previously Libertarian for President


If Congress doesn't earmark, the Executive Branch decides

SANTORUM: Congressman Paul is one of the most prolific earmarkers in the Congress today. I'm not criticizing; I'm just saying that's a fact.

PAUL: Earmarking is designating how the money's spent. If the Congress doesn't say the way the money should be spent, it goes to the executive branch, and that's the bad part. You don't want to give more power to the executive branch. Even if I'm president, I don't want more power over that funding. That should be with the people and with the Congress. But the reason we get into trouble with earmarking is the irresponsibility of Congress. Take your highway funds. We're supposed to pay a user fee; we should get our fair share back. But what do they do? They take the highway funds and they spend this money overseas. And then when the highways need building, then you have to go and fight the political system and maneuver and try to get some of your money back. If you say you're against earmarking, the answer is vote against the bill. That is what I do.

Source: CNN's 2012 GOP Debate on eve of Arizona Primary , Feb 22, 2012

Preach the gospel of liberty

Q: The presidency is often called the bully pulpit. How would you use the bully pulpit to try to shape American culture?

PAUL: I would continue to do what I'm doing now, preaching the gospel of liberty. I think that the most important ingredients in this country that made us great was our founders understood what liberty meant, and that is what we need. We have deserted that. We have drifted away. It involves our right to our life, right to our liberty. We ought to be able to keep the fruits of our labor. We ought to understand property rights. We ought to understand contract rights. We ought to understand what sound money is all about, and we ought to understand what national defense means. That means defending this country. That is the bully pulpit we need. We need to defend liberty.

Source: Meet the Press 2012 GOP New Hampshire debate , Jan 8, 2012

All spending should be designated by earmarks

RICK PERRY: [to Paul]: What frustrates me is that you go get the earmarks and then you vote against the bill? Now, I don't know what they call that in other places, but in Texas, we call that hypocrisy.

PAUL: I call it being a constitutionalist, because I believe we should earmark, or designate, every penny. You designate weapons systems. You designate money to go to spend $1 billion on an embassy in Iraq. That's an earmark, too. I say the Congress has more responsibility.

Source: WMUR 2012 GOP New Hampshire debate , Jan 7, 2012

Veto every single bill that violates the 10th amendment

Q: If you're elected president how do you plan to restore the 10th amendment, hold the federal government only to those enumerated powers in the Constitution and allow states to govern themselves?

PAUL: Well obviously, it would take more than one individual, but the responsibility of the president would be to veto every single bill that violates the 10th amendment. That would be the solution.

Q: Anything else?

PAUL: Well, government is too big in Washington. It's run away. If we want government, it is proper to do it at the local level. But there's no authority in the constitution to do so much what we're doing. There's no authority for [the federal government] to run our schools, no authority to control our economy, and no authority to control us as individuals on what we do with our personal lives!

Source: 2011 GOP Google debate in Orlando FL , Sep 22, 2011

Some Executive Orders are legal; but power has been abused

Q: Under what circumstances should a president sign an executive order?

PAUL: The executive orders have been grossly abused by all administrations for a lot of years. Some executive orders are legal. When the president executes proper function like moving troops and other things, yes, it's done with an executive order. But the executive order should never be used to legislate. That is what is so bad. I have made a promise that as president I would never use the executive order to legislate.

Source: 2011 GOP Tea Party debate in Tampa FL , Sep 12, 2011

I believe in market regulation, but not federal regulation

Q: You're known as the absolutist in the bunch, someone who has consistently opposed federal government from having any role that isn't explicitly laid out in the Constitution. So this makes people curious: Where do you draw the line? Does this include things like making cars safe, making medicine safe, air traffic control?

A: In theory, if you understood the free market in a free society, you don't need government to do that. We live in a society where we have been adapted to this, and you can't just drop it all at once, but you can transition away from it. On regulations, no, I don't believe in any of these federal regulations, but that doesn't mean I don't believe in regulations. The regulation of the marketplace takes care of it. So the marke would dictate it. You can't commit fraud. If you need detailed regulations, you can do it at the state level. But the federal government is not authorized to nitpick every little transaction. The way they use the interstate commerce clause is outrageous.

Source: 2011 GOP debate in Simi Valley CA at the Reagan Library , Sep 7, 2011

Everything government does is a mandate

Q: Do you advocate getting rid of the minimum wage? Would that create more jobs?

PAUL: Absolutely. And it would help the poor, the people who need a job. The minimum wage is a mandate. We're against mandates, so why should we have it? No, it would be very beneficial. But mandates, that's what the whole society is about. That's what we do all the time. That's what government does: mandate, mandate, mandate. And we talk so much about the ObamaCare mandate, which is very important, but what about Medicare? Isn't that a mandate? Everything we do is a mandate. So this is why you have to look at this at the cause of liberty. We don't need the government running our lives.

Source: 2011 GOP debate in Simi Valley CA at the Reagan Library , Sep 7, 2011

Don't use Executive Orders for controversial laws

Q: [to Paul]: Your campaign put out a statement accusing Gov. Perry of pushing for bailout money, supporting welfare for illegal immigrants, and trying to forcibly vaccinate 12-year-old girls against sexually transmitted diseases.?

PAUL: Forcing 12-year-old girls to take an inoculation to prevent STDs is not good medicine. It's not good social policy. But one of the worst parts about that was the way it was done. You know, the governorship in Texas traditionally is supposed to be a weak governorship. I didn't even know they could pass laws by writing an executive order. He did it with an executive order, passed it. The state was furious, and the legislature, overwhelmingly, 90%, repealed this. But I think it's the way it was passed, which was so bad. I think it's a bad piece of legislation. But I don't like the idea of executive orders. I, as president, will not use the executive order to write laws.

Source: 2011 GOP debate in Simi Valley CA at the Reagan Library , Sep 7, 2011

FEMA just conditioned people to build where they shouldn't

Q: Regarding FEMA: if you object to how it's run, your position is to remove it, take it away, abolish it. What happens in its absence?

PAUL: Well, what happened before 1979? We didn't have FEMA. FEMA just conditioned people to build where they shouldn't be building. We lose the market effect of that. But, yeah, my position is, we should have never had it. There's a much better way of doing it. I mean, this whole idea that the federal government can deal with weather and anything in the world, just got to throw a government there? FEMA's broke. They're $20 billion in debt. But I'm not for saying tomorrow close it down. A lot of people pay the insurance. I work real hard to make it work, and I did that in my district, too. But I'll tell you how we should do it. We're spending $20 billion a year for air conditioning in Afghanistan and Iraq. Cut that $20 billion out, bring in--take $10 off the debt, and put $10 into FEMA or whoever else needs it.

Source: 2011 GOP debate in Simi Valley CA at the Reagan Library , Sep 7, 2011

Government investment in ANY business is malinvestment

Q: The federal government now assists many industries--green jobs, the auto industry, R&D--all get subsidies. Given the current state of the economy, what standards do you have for government assistance to private enterprise?

PAUL: There shouldn't be any government assistance to private enterprise. It's not morally correct; it's illegal; it's bad economics. It's not part of the constitution. If you allow an economy to thrive, they'll decide how R&D works or where they invest their monies. But when the politicians get in and direct things, you get malinvestment. They do dumb things. They might build too many houses. And they might not direct their research to the right places. So no, it's a fallacy to think that government and politicians and bureaucrats are smart enough to manage the economy, so it shouldn't happen.

CAIN: The government should not be selecting winners and losers. The free market will figure it out.

Source: 2011 GOP primary debate in Manchester NH , Jun 13, 2011

Enough bipartisanship; gridlock can be the friend of liberty

People often say that what this country needs is for people in Washington to stop fighting and just get the job done. To achieve that, we need more "bipartisanship." I don't agree. If two parties with sets of bad ideas cooperate, the result is not good policy but policy that is extremely bad. What we really need are correct economic and political ideas, regardless of the party that pushes them. There has been no real opposition to the steady increase in the size and scope of government. Democrats are largely and openly for government expansion, and if we were to judge the Republicans by their actions and not their rhetoric, we would come to pretty much the same conclusion about them. When the ideas of both parties are bad, there is really only one hope: that they will continue fighting and not pass any new legislation. Gridlock can be the friend of liberty. Philosophical differences are healthy because they lead to the clarification of principles.
Source: Liberty Defined, by Rep. Ron Paul, p. 20-22 , Apr 19, 2011

Tax-funded elections are worse than campaign finance reform

The $2400 campaign donation limit per person in federal elections makes no sense. How could it be that the right to support a candidate is arbitrarily limited to a dollar amount? And why that dollar amount? Yes, it is correct that the amount of money being spent on elections is obscene, but it's understandable to me, since much is to be gained by financially participating in the process. The real obscenity is the size of government. Campaign laws simply won't solve the problem. Even if stricter laws were passed, the stakes are so great that the financing would just go underground (or under the table.) As bad as the process is, there is an even worse solution offered: taxpayer-financed elections. Talk about abusing rights! Can one imagine the eruption of the Tea Party's anger if those who are disgusted and angry have to pay out of pocket for the campaign of two individuals they find grossly offensive?
Source: Liberty Defined, by Rep. Ron Paul, p. 30-31 , Apr 19, 2011

People shouldn't be able to vote to take away others' rights

No system of government is a good one once the government grows too big and powerful. The trouble with democracy is the dynamic it sets in place that gradually changes a small government into a big one. It was precisely to prevent that from happening tha the founding generation in the US borrowed the idea of a republic from Rome. Not everything was to be subjected to mob rule; voting was in place to rotate the management of a small government that operated under strict rules. Today that has changed, and not for the better. As much as I defend the freedoms of everyone, those freedoms should be limited in the following sense: People should not be able to vote to take away the rights of others. And yet this is what the slogan democracy has come to mean domestically. It doesn't mean that people prevail over the government; it means that the government prevails over the people by claiming the blessing of mass opinion. This form of government has no limit. Tyranny is not ruled out. Nothing is ruled out.
Source: Liberty Defined, by Rep. Ron Paul, p. 63-64 , Apr 19, 2011

Government "insurance" is really just a transfer payment

The government's definition of insurance is grossly misleading. Social Security is not, properly considered, insurance. Government-provided health benefits are not insurance either. And even such institutions as tax-funded flood insurance are not really insurance. All these programs are more accurately considered transfer payments. The rhetoric about insurance is just a cover to give these institutions legitimacy, effectively fooling people as to their true nature. In fact, the term "government insurance" is an oxymoron--a total contradiction. It comes from the deliberate twisting of language by those who know better, and economic ignorance on the part of others. Many believe--at least they want to believe--the government is quite capable of "insuring" all of us against risks: economic, personal and foreign. When government provides "free" benefits or services, people prefer not to admit they are actually receiving a subsidy or welfare. People feel good that they can "pay their own way."
Source: Liberty Defined, by Rep. Ron Paul, p.161 , Apr 19, 2011

I vote for term limits, but they won't solve anything

Some argue for term limits. Though I have voted for and supported term limits, I have never held the belief that they would solve much of anything. Besides, strict term limits would require an amendment to the Constitution, and that's not going to happen. Term limits, whether voluntary or mandated, provide no guarantee that the replacements will do a better job. In fact, it could go the other way and create incentives for new politicians to take as much as they can, hand out as much as they can, while they are able. With voluntary term limits now less popular than ever, the principled members stick to their promises and those less principled ignore their pledges to serve a certain length of time. The only option we have under today's conditions of runaway government is to send to Washington only representatives who will have the character to resist the temptation to blend in with the crowd.
Source: Liberty Defined, by Rep. Ron Paul, p.179-180 , Apr 19, 2011

Paper money makes Congress believe it has no spending limit

Most members of Congress are not automatically hostile to gold or even to the abolition of the Fed. Their attitude is more one of surprise that anybody would even consider it. At the same time, I've never heard a member express support for paper money on grounds that it facilitates the expansion of the state. Most don't see the connection at all.

What the Fed and paper money have done for Congress is lead legislators to believe that there are no limits on what they can spend, on what they can propose, and what they can accomplish. They really do behave like college student on spring break who are using their parents' credit card with no limit. But they would hit the roof is the card were ever declined.

The point is, unless one has a strong love of liberty, ignorance regarding money is not something that most members of Congress regret. This ignorance is what allows conservatives and liberals alike to spend, borrow, tax, and inflate to finance their various programs, both foreign and domestic.

Source: End the Fed, by Rep. Ron Paul, p.114-115 , Sep 29, 2010

Introduced Federal Reserve Transparency Act with Sen.Sanders

When Fed Chair Ben Bernanke refuses to give us information about the trillions of dollars of credit that he recently passed out in the bailout process because that would be "counterproductive," he is really saying, "It's none of your business."

He may well be protected by the law, but he is in defiance of the Constitution. The courts, under today's circumstances, will never rule that the Federal Reserve Bank chairman must reveal the information that the Congress or the people seek.

One thing I have noticed in studying the issue is that the more power the Fed has gained, the greater the secrecy they demand. Transparency is currently a hot issue in Congress because the people have awoken and have sent a message. This is not a conservative or liberal issue; it's not a Republican or Democratic issue. It is pervasive, across the political spectrum.

I introduced a Federal Reserve audit bill the Federal Reserve Transparency Act, HR 1207, which Bernie Sanders introduced in the Senate.

Source: End the Fed, by Rep. Ron Paul, p.174-175 , Sep 29, 2010

The “living Constitution” is the death of democracy

A living Constitution is just the thing any government would be delighted to have, for whenever people complain that their constitution has been violated, the government can trot out its judges to inform the people that they’ve simply misunderstood: the Constitution, you see, has merely evolved with the times.

Those who would give us a ‘living’ constitution are actually giving us a dead constitution, since such a thing is completely unable to protect us against encroachments of government power.

Source: The Revolution: A Manifesto, by Ron Paul, p. 49 , Apr 1, 2008

Constitution defines much smaller government

It shouldn’t be that difficult to figure out what we should be doing, because we have a lot of problems. We have fiscal problems, we have foreign policy, we have deficit problems. And where do they come from? It’s because we don’t follow the rule of law, we don’t follow the constitution. If we knew and understood and read article 1 section 8, believe me, this government would be much smaller, we would have a lot less taxes, and we could repeal the 16th Amendment and get rid of the income tax.

Somewhere along the way though, we have drifted away from the constitution, and we as conservatives, especially conservatives running the Republican party, we have drifted a long way from the positions that we used to hold about limited government. We’re going in the wrong direction, and if we continue to do what we are doing, we’re going to have a financial crisis, because you can’t continue to spend too much.

Source: Speeches to 2008 Conservative Political Action Conference , Feb 7, 2008

Received the most campaign contributions from the military

One thing that is very conservative and very Constitutional--if we had followed this, we would have stayed out of a lot of trouble since World War II. You cannot be a conservative and believe that we can go to war under the direction of a single person, without Congressional approval and without a declaration of war. That’s what we should always have. Because I am not anxious to go to war unless it’s necessary, and dictated by the people through the Congress. People say, “Oh, that means you’re weak on the military; that means you’re weak on the troops.” We did some statistical studies about where the money comes into the campaign, and I know that you recognize that we can, and have, raised a lot of money. But if you look at where it comes from and where the active military personnel send their money. We in the last quarter received more money from the military--active-duty personnel--than ALL the other Republicans and Democrat candidates put together!
Source: Speeches to 2008 Conservative Political Action Conference , Feb 7, 2008

Dismantle agencies that have no Constitutional role

Q: You said this. “Abolish the FBI and the CIA and dismantle every other agency except the Justice and Defense Departments.” And then you went on: “If elected president, Paul says he would abolish public schools, welfare, Social Security and farm subsidies.”

A: OK, you may have picked that up 20 or 30 years ago, it’s not part of my platform. As a matter of fact, I’m the only one that really has an interim program. Technically, a lot of those functions aren’t constitutional. But the point is I’m not against the FBI investigation in doing a proper role, but I’m against the FBI spying on people like Martin Luther King. I’m against the CIA fighting secret wars and overthrowing governments.

Q: Would you abolish them?

A: I would not abolish all their functions. But let’s go with the CIA. They’re involved in torture. I would abolish that, yes. But I wouldn’t abolish their requirement to accumulate intelligence for national defense purposes. That’s quite different.

Source: Meet the Press: 2007 “Meet the Candidates” series , Dec 23, 2007

Supports compulsory term limits, not voluntary for himself

Q: You ran on term limits. “I think we should have term limits for our elected leaders.” You’ve been in Congress 18 years.

A: But I never ran on voluntary term limits. There’s a big difference. I didn’t sign a pledge for a voluntary term limit. Matter of fact, some of the best people that I worked with, who were the most principled, came in on voluntary term limits. Some of them broke their promises, and some didn’t, and they were very good people. So some of the good people left. I didn’t run on that. I support term limits. We had 16 votes on term limits, and I voted yes for them. But voluntary term limits is a lot different than compulsory term limits.

Q: But if you believe in the philosophy of term limits, why wouldn’t you voluntarily [limit your own term]?

A: Philosophy is the solution. What the role of government ought to be, so if you have a turnover and the same people come in and they believe in big government, nothing good is going to come of it.

Source: Meet the Press: 2007 “Meet the Candidates” series , Dec 23, 2007

DC voting representation should be determined by Amendment

Q: Do you support giving the District of Columbia voting representation?

A: It’s very clear, under the Constitution, that we couldn’t give the vote to the residents of DC without an amendment to the Constitution. And it should be pursued in that manner.

Source: 2007 GOP Presidential Forum at Morgan State University , Sep 27, 2007

No federal voter ID card; but state ID cards ok

Q: Are you concerned that some eligible voters will be denied the right to vote simply because they don’t have a driver’s license?

A: I think the states have the prerogative & obligation to identify the voters and they should. But the reason I get worried about when we start talking about it nationally is, you know, they might want to use the Real ID. They might want to think it’s a good excuse to have a national ID card to vote, and I am positively opposed to any move toward the national ID card.

Source: 2007 GOP Presidential Forum at Morgan State University , Sep 27, 2007

Constitution was written to restrain the federal government

The most important promise a president makes is his promise to obey the Constitution. In realizing this, we know that the Constitution was written in order to restrain the federal government, but was meant to retain the rights and privileges & obligations to the states and to the people. Today, we have drifted a long way from that, and now we have jurisdictional fights over what we ought to do.

A free country is designed for individuals to deal with a subject of virtue and excellence. Once we defer to the government to get involved in worrying about our virtue and our excellence and perfect, fair economies, it is done at the sacrifice of liberty. If we do that and we sacrifice that liberty and the job of virtue and excellence is taken over by the government, you can only do that through tyranny.

Source: 2007 GOP Values Voter Presidential Debate , Sep 17, 2007

We are drifting rather rapidly into a totalitarian state

Right now, we are drifting rather rapidly into a totalitarian state. We have been too willing to sacrifice our liberties for this so-called sense of security. We need more faith that the right of habeas corpus should be protected, and we have to understand the National I.D. Card is not going to work. That only registers and regulates the American people, and we don’t need secret prisons. We don’t need torture. We need American values and traditions. We need to believe in ourselves.

And I would like to reiterate the true doctrine of war written by Christianity, the doctrine of just war, is that you do it only under certain circumstances. You don’t do it for UN resolutions. You don’t do it for weapons that don’t exist. You need to do it with a moral justification. If we would have declared a war, we wouldn’t be debating the war now. It would be over, and we’d all be a lot better off, and we would have 5,000 Americans still alive, and 30,000 uninjured!

Source: 2007 GOP Values Voter Presidential Debate , Sep 17, 2007

Disallow lawsuits that stop public officials invoking God

Q: Would you support the Constitution Restoration Act that prevents federal courts from hearing lawsuits brought to stop public officials from acknowledging God in such ways as the Pledge of Allegiance, public display of the Ten Commandments, & public prayer?HUNTER: At the first Constitutional Convention in 1787, they began each session with a prayer with the supplication to God.
Source: [Xref Hunter] 2007 GOP Values Voter Presidential Debate , Sep 17, 2007

End government secrecy; restore openness of information

Q: What will you restore to the Oval Office?

A: I would restore openness to government. I do not think in this country we should have secrecy of government. The purpose of government is to provide privacy for the people. I would never use executive privilege to deny information to the Congress, with the full realization that you protect security information, but in the very general sense, we should be very, very open. We want a transparent government. Currently I believe we could improve on that.

Source: 2007 GOP Iowa Straw Poll debate , Aug 5, 2007

With neocon philosophy, Cheney is more powerful than Bush

Q: What authority would you delegate to the office of vice president? And should those authorities be more clearly defined through a constitutional amendment?

A: I certainly wouldn’t support an amendment to change the role of the vice president. But there’s no way to know exactly what goes on, but if you take perceptions from Washington, most people there behind the scenes think the vice president is more powerful than the president. Philosophically, I think this is the case. It’s obvious that he represents a neoconservative viewpoint. And my objection is that that has been the rejection of the Republican Party platform and traditional conservatism. And I think this is where we have gone astray. We have drifted from our fundamental premises and the conservative values that this party used to get.

Source: 2007 GOP Iowa Straw Poll debate , Aug 5, 2007

Signing statements erode constitutional balance

Recently, the General Accounting Office studied nineteen instances where the President issued so-called “signing statements.” In such statements, the President essentially begins the process of interpreting legislation--up to and including declaring provisions unconstitutional--hence often refusing to enforce them. The GAO study found that in nearly 1/3 of the cases studied, the administration failed to enforce the law as enacted. This approach is especially worrisome for several reasons.
Source: Weekly column, “Texas Straight Talk” , Jul 9, 2007

Conservatives support big government war policies

War, and the threat of war, are big government’s best friend. Liberals support big government social programs, and conservatives support big government war policies, thus satisfying two major special interest groups. And when push comes to shove, the two groups cooperate & support big government across the board--always at the expense of personal liberty. Both sides pay lip service to freedom, but neither stands against the welfare/warfare state and its promises of unlimited entitlements & endless war.
Source: A Foreign Policy of Freedom, by Ron Paul, p.365 , Jun 15, 2007

Close departments of Energy, Education & Homeland Security

Q: [To Gov. Thompson] Tell me three federal programs you consider wasteful and would eliminate.

THOMPSON: There are several programs that need to be cut in Washington, several of those in my former department. I would first make every agency come in with a budget at 95% of last year’s budget and one at 100%. And you will be able to use that exercise in order to reduce budgets all across the line.

Q: I didn’t hear three programs. Can you tell me one?

THOMPSON: The first one I would eliminate is a program in the Department of Health and Human Services in CDC that deals with the stockpile. The stockpile does a great job, but there are some inefficiencies there.

Q: [To Paul] Can you do better than that?

PAUL: I’d start with the departments--the Department of Education, the Department of Energy, Department of Homeland Security. There’s a lot of things that we can cut, but we can’t cut anything until we change our philosophy about what government should do.

Source: [X-ref Thompson] 2007 Republican Debate in South Carolina , May 15, 2007

Judges have become legislators by de-emphasizing juries

The de-emphasis of the jury was crucial in the expansive powers of the omnipresent state. Judging the moral intent and the constitutionality of the law is no longer even a consideration for the jury. Today the judge instructs the jury to consider only the facts of the case, and then the judge becomes the sole arbiter of the evidence admissible in court. The jury system today has become progressively weak over the past ninety years. Our judiciary bodies have become legislative bodies.
Source: Freedom Under Siege, by Ron Paul, p. 24-25 , Dec 31, 1987

Our government routinely lies to us

When political oppression is accompanied by serious economic problems, the people will frequently, after years of suffering, overthrow the tyrants. But a wealthy nation, grown soft on the prosperity produced by a previously free generation, tends to vote for that individual who promises the biggest piece of the pie to his constituents. Ironically the prosperity that comes from a free society is the fuel that feeds the fire which brings on the demise of that society. Materially we are much better off today than people were in 1776, but our philosophy of freedom is in much worse shape.

Our government routinely lies to us. The luxuries of the current generation are financed by the sweat and blood of the next. Yet flowery slogans are used to describe the wonderful prosperity we enjoy, with few realizing the seriousness of the indebtness incurred in the process. In the midst of a market glut, more and more people each year get pushed into the poverty class.

Source: Freedom Under Siege, by Ron Paul, p. 4-6 , Dec 31, 1987

Federal abuses today worse than King’s in 1776 revolution

The convictions of our Founding Fathers were strong enough for them to take on the British, while today the abuse of power by our own government, although far worse than that of the King, prompts little action. The patriotic citizens of colonial days brought about a major revolution with a positive change in favor of individual freedom.

Today’s oppression is entrenched and a great threat, but it is nevertheless tolerated by most Americans. The numbers of those who are resentful of government’s abuse are growing, and this is a positive sign.

Today’s simmering economic, social and political problems will eventually boil over. Big government advocates will spare no abuse, no resources, not cost, no tricks, no force in order to maintain the status quo of state power.

Statism itself will be at stake and those in power will feel threatened. They will easily win unless the determination of those who love freedom is superior to the desires of those in charge to cling to their power.

Source: Freedom Under Siege, by Ron Paul, p.154-155 , Dec 31, 1987

Politicians dislike gold standard--it disallows dishonesty

One of the standard objections against a gold standard is that while it may have worked in the 19th century, it would not work today, for government has grown much larger. There is an element of truth in such an argument, for the gold standard is not compatible with a government that continually incurs deficits and lives beyond its means.

Because gold is honest money, it is disliked by dishonest men. Politicians have learned how to buy votes with the people's money. They promise to vote for all sorts of programs, if elected, and they expect to pay for those programs through deficits and through the creation of money out of thin air, not higher taxes. Under a gold standard, such irresponsibility would immediately result in high interest rates and subsequent unemployment. But through the magic of the Federal Reserve, these effects can be postponed for awhile, allowing the politicians sufficient time to blame everyone else for the economic problems they have caused

Source: The Case for Gold, by Ron Paul, p.183 , Jul 1, 1982

Spending without taxation causes inflation

The political pressure to inflate is the main reason for continued expansion of the money supply. Monetization of federal debt, with the Federal Reserve turning government bonds into money, is a convenient and politically easy way to pay the bills run up by Congress, without resorting to a tax rate that would literally provoke revolt.

Everyone in Congress talks about a balanced budget, but few consistently vote for one. Each Member always hopes that it will be the other man’s projects that will be cut, not his own. [Each Member] knows that the money for pork-barrel spending bills would either have to be taxed or printed up.

Liberals we expect to be big spenders, but it’s disheartening to see conservatives who should know better voting for business and farm subsidies. Without a far-reaching change of attitude, the budget won’t be balanced, the printing press will continue to run, the dollar will be further debased, and prices--as a consequence--will continue to rise relentlessly.

Source: Gold, Peace, and Prosperity, by Ron Paul, p. 33-34 , Dec 31, 1981


Ron Paul on Voting+Sponsorships

Put 65 projects into 2006 bills, worth $4B to his district

Q: You talk about opposing big government, but you seem to have a different attitude about your own congressional district. In 2006, your district received more than $4 billion: 65 earmark-targeted projects that you have put into congressional bills for your district.

A: You got it completely wrong. I’ve never voted for an earmark in my life.

Q: No, but you put them in the bill.

A: I put it in because I represent people who are asking for some of their money back.

Q: If you put it in the bill, and then you know it’s going to pass Congress and so you don’t refuse the money.

A: Well, no, of course not. It’s like taking a tax credit. I’m against the taxes but I take all my tax credits. I want to get the money back for the people.

Q: If you were true to your philosophy, you would say no pork spending in my district.

A: No, no, that’s not it. They steal our money, that’s like saying that people shouldn’t take Social Security money. I’m trying to save the system, make the system work

Source: Meet the Press: 2007 “Meet the Candidates” series , Dec 23, 2007

No on all earmarks, even those he proposes for his district

Q: The Wall Street Journal says you load up Bills with special projects for your district.

A: How many of them ever got passed? But the whole point is, we have a right [to our money back from taxes].

Q: They pass. You vote against them, but you take the money.

A: They take our money from us, and the Congress has the authority to appropriate, not the executive branch. And I’m saying that I represent my people. They have a request, it’s like taking a tax credit. The whole process is corrupt so that I vote against everything. I vote against it, so I don’t endorse the system.

Q: But when it passes overwhelmingly, you take the money back home.

A: I don’t take it. That’s the system.

Q: Well, when you stop taking earmarks or putting earmarks in the spending bills, then I think you’ll be consistent.

A: I’m trying to change that system. To turn it around and say I’m supporting this system, I find it rather ironic and entertaining.

Source: Meet the Press: 2007 “Meet the Candidates” series , Dec 23, 2007

Voted NO on Senate pay raise.

Congressional Summary:
    Makes appropriations to the Senate for FY2010 for:
  1. expense allowances;
  2. representation allowances for the Majority and Minority Leaders;
  3. salaries of specified officers, employees, and committees (including the Committee on Appropriations);
  4. agency contributions for employee benefits;
  5. inquiries and investigations;
  6. the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control;
  7. the Offices of the Secretary and of the Sergeant at Arms and Doorkeeper of the Senate;
  8. miscellaneous items;
  9. the Senators' Official Personnel and Office Expense Account; and
  10. official mail costs.
Amends the Legislative Branch Appropriation Act of 1968 to increase by $50,000 the gross compensation paid all employees in the office of a Senator. Increases by $96,000 per year the aggregate amount authorized for the offices of the Majority and Minority Whip.

Proponent's argument to vote Yes:Rep. WASSERMAN SCHULTZ (D, FL-20): We, as Members of Congress, have responsibility not just for the institution, but for the staff that work for this institution, and to preserve the facilities that help support this institution. We have endeavored to do that responsibly, and I believe we have accomplished that goal.

Opponent's argument to vote No:Rep. SCALISE (R, LA-1): It's a sad day when someone attempts to cut spending in a bill that grows government by the size of 7%, and it's not allowed to be debated on this House floor. Some of their Members actually used the term "nonsense" and "foolishness" when describing our amendments to cut spending; they call that a delaying tactic. Well, I think Americans all across this country want more of those types of delaying tactics to slow down this runaway train of massive Federal spending. Every dollar we spend from today all the way through the end of this year is borrowed money. We don't have that money. We need to control what we're spending.

Reference: Legislative Branch Appropriations Act; Bill HR2918&S1294 ; vote number 2009-H413 on Jun 19, 2009

Voted NO on requiring lobbyist disclosure of bundled donations.

Amends the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 to require a registered lobbyist who bundles contributions totaling over $5,000 to one covered recipient in one quarter to:
  1. file a quarterly report with Congress; and
  2. notify the recipient.
"Covered recipient" includes federal candidates, political party committees, or leadership PACs [but not regular PACs].

Proponents support voting YES because:

This measure will more effectively regulate, but does not ban, the practice of registered lobbyists bundling together large numbers of campaign contributions. This is a practice that has already taken root in Presidential campaigns. "Bundling" contributions which the lobbyist physically receives and forwards to the candidate, or which are credited to the lobbyist through a specific tracking system put in place by the candidate. This bill requires quarterly reporting on bundled contributions.

We ultimately need to move to assist the public financing of campaigns, as soon as we can. But until we do, the legislation today represents an extremely important step forward.

Opponents support voting NO because:

This legislation does not require that bundled contributions to political action committees, often referred to as PACs, be disclosed. Why are PACs omitted from the disclosure requirements in this legislation?

If we are requiring the disclosure of bundled contributions to political party committees, those same disclosure rules should also apply to contributions to PACs. Party committees represent all members of that party affiliation. PACs, on the other hand, represent more narrow, special interests. Why should the former be exposed to more sunshine, but not the latter?

The fact that PACs give more money to Democrats is not the only answer. Time and again the majority party picks favorites, when what the American people want is more honesty and more accountability.

Reference: Honest Leadership and Open Government Act; Bill H R 2316 ; vote number 2007-423 on May 24, 2007

Voted NO on granting Washington DC an Electoral vote & vote in Congress.

Bill to provide for the treatment of the District of Columbia as a Congressional district for representation in the House of Representatives, and in the Electoral College. Increases membership of the House from 435 to 437 Members beginning with the 110th Congress. [Political note: D.C. currently has a non-voting delegate to the US House. Residents of D.C. overwhelmingly vote Democratic, so the result of this bill would be an additional Democratic vote in the House and for President].

Proponents support voting YES because:

This bill corrects a 200-year-old oversight by restoring to the citizens of the District of Columbia the right to elect a Member of the House of Representatives who has the same voting rights as all other Members.

Residents of D.C. serve in the military. They pay Federal taxes each year. Yet they are denied the basic right of full representation in the House of Representatives.

The District of Columbia was created to prevent any State from unduly influencing the operations of the Federal Government. However, there is simply no evidence that the Framers of the Constitution thought it was necessary to keep D.C. residents from being represented in the House by a voting Member.

Opponents support voting NO because:

The proponents of this bill in 1978 believed that the way to allow D.C. representation was to ratify a constitutional amendment. The Founders of the country had the debate at that time: Should we give D.C. a Representative? They said no. So if you want to fix it, you do it by making a constitutional amendment.

Alternatively, we simply could have solved the D.C. representation problem by retroceding, by giving back part of D.C. to Maryland. There is precedent for this. In 1846, Congress took that perfectly legal step of returning present-day Arlington to the State of Virginia.

Reference: District of Columbia House Voting Rights Act; Bill H R 1905 ; vote number 2007-231 on Apr 19, 2007

Voted YES on protecting whistleblowers from employer recrimination.

Expands the types of whistleblower disclosures protected from personnel reprisals for federal employees, particularly on national security issues.

Proponents support voting YES because:

This bill would strengthen one of our most important weapons against waste, fraud and abuse, and that is Federal whistleblower protections. Federal employees are on the inside and offer accountability. They can see where there is waste going on or if there is corruption going on.

One of the most important provisions protects national security whistleblowers. There are a lot of Federal officials who knew the intelligence on Iraq was wrong. But none of these officials could come forward. If they did, they could have been stripped of their security clearances, or they could have been fired. Nobody blew the whistle on the phony intelligence that got us into the Iraq war.

Opponents support voting NO because:

It is important that personnel within the intelligence community have appropriate opportunities to bring matters to Congress so long as the mechanisms to do so safeguard highly sensitive classified information and programs. The bill before us suffers from a number of problems:

  1. The bill would conflict with the provisions of the existing Intelligence Community Whistleblower Protection Act of 1998, which protecting sensitive national security information from unauthorized disclosure to persons not entitled to receive it.
  2. The bill violates the rules of the House by encouraging intelligence community personnel to report highly sensitive intelligence matters to committees other than the Intelligence Committees. The real issue is one of protecting highly classified intelligence programs and ensuring that any oversight is conducted by Members with the appropriate experiences, expertise, and clearances.
  3. This bill would make every claim of a self-described whistleblower, whether meritorious or not, subject to extended and protracted litigation.
Reference: Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act; Bill H R 985 ; vote number 2007-153 on Mar 14, 2007

Voted YES on requiring photo ID for voting in federal elections.

Requires that to vote in federal elections, an individual present a government-issued, current, and valid photo identification. After 2010, that ID must require providing proof of US citizenship as a condition for issuance. An individual who does not present such an ID is permitted to cast a provisional ballot, and then present the required ID within 48 hours. Exempts from this requirement the absentee ballot of any eligible overseas military voter on active duty overseas.

Proponents support voting YES because:

The election system is the bedrock that our Republic is built on and its security and oversight is of paramount concern. Only US citizens have the right to vote in Federal elections, but our current system does not give State election officials the tools they need to ensure that this requirement is being met.

This bill is designed to increase participation by ensuring that each legitimate vote will be counted and not be diluted by fraud. There are many elections in this country every cycle that are decided by just a handful of votes. How can we be certain that these elections, without measures to certify the identity of voters, are not being decided by fraudulent votes?

Opponents support voting NO because:

There is something we can all agree on: only Americans get to vote, and they only get to vote once. But what we are talking about in this bill is disenfranchising many of those Americans. It is already a felony for a non-American to vote. We had hearings and what we found out was that the issue of illegal aliens voting basically does not occur.

The impact of this will disproportionately affect poor people and African Americans, because many are too poor to have a car and they do not have a license. We have no evidence there is a problem. We have ample evidence that this will disenfranchise many Americans. This is the measure to disenfranchise African Americans, Native Americans. It is wrong and we will not stand for it.

Reference: Federal Election Integrity Act; Bill H R 4844 ; vote number 2006-459 on Sep 20, 2006

Voted NO on restricting independent grassroots political committees.

A "527 organization" is a political committee which spends money raised independently of any candidate's campaign committee, in support or opposition of a candidate or in support or opposition of an issue. Well-known examples include MoveOn.org (anti-Bush) and Swift Boat Veterans for Truth (anti-Kerry). Voting YES would regulate 527s as normal political committees, which would greatly restrict their funding, and hence would shift power to candidate committees and party committees. The bill's opponents say:
  • This legislation singles out 527 organizations in an effort to undermine their fundraising and is a direct assault on free speech.
  • This bill would obstruct the efforts of grassroots organizations while doing nothing to address the culture of corruption in Congress.
  • H.R. 513 is an unbalanced measure that favors corporate trade associations over independent advocates. Corporate interests could continue spending unlimited and undisclosed dollars for political purposes while independent organizations would be subject to contribution limits and source restrictions.
  • H.R. 513 also removes all limits on national and state party spending for Congressional candidates in primary or general elections--an unmasked attack on the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act and clear evidence that the true intention in advancing H.R. 513 is not reform, but partisan advantage in political fundraising.
    Reference: Federal Election Campaign Act amendment "527 Reform Act"; Bill H.R.513 ; vote number 2006-088 on Apr 5, 2006

    Voted NO on prohibiting lawsuits about obesity against food providers.

    The Personal Responsibility in Food Consumption Act ("The Cheesburger Bill") would prevent civil liability actions against food manufacturers, marketers, distributors, advertisers, sellers, and trade associations for claims relating to a person's weight gain, obesity, or any health condition associated with weight gain or obesity. A YES vote would:
    Reference: The Cheesburger Bill; Bill HR 554 ; vote number 2005-533 on Oct 19, 2005

    Voted YES on limiting attorney's fees in class action lawsuits.

    Class Action Fairness Act of 2005: Amends the Federal judicial code to specify the calculation of contingent and other attorney's fees in proposed class action settlements that provide for the award of coupons to class members. Allows class members to refuse compliance with settlement agreements or consent decrees absent notice. Prohibits a Federal district court from approving:
    1. a proposed coupon settlement absent a finding that the settlement is fair, reasonable, and adequate;
    2. a proposed settlement involving payments to class counsel that would result in a net monetary loss to class members, absent a finding that the loss is substantially outweighed by nonmonetary benefits; or
    3. a proposed settlement that provides greater sums to some class members solely because they are closer geographically to the court.
    Reference: Bill sponsored by Sen. Chuck Grassley [R, IA]; Bill S.5 ; vote number 2005-038 on Feb 17, 2005

    Voted YES on restricting frivolous lawsuits.

    Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act of 2004: Amends the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure to:
    1. require courts to impose sanctions on attorneys, law firms, or parties who file frivolous lawsuits (currently, sanctions are discretionary);
    2. disallow the withdrawal or correction of pleadings to avoid sanctions;
    3. require courts to award parties prevailing on motions reasonable expenses and attorney's fees, if warranted;
    4. authorize courts to impose sanctions that include reimbursement of a party's reasonable litigation costs in connection with frivolous lawsuits; and
    5. make the discovery phase of litigation subject to sanctions.
    Reference: Bill sponsored by Rep Lamar Smith [R, TX-21]; Bill H.R.4571 ; vote number 2004-450 on Sep 14, 2004

    Voted NO on campaign finance reform banning soft-money contributions.

    Shays-Meehan Campaign Finance Overhaul: Vote to pass a bill that would ban soft money contributions to national political parties but permit up to $10,000 in soft money contributions to state and local parties to help with voter registration and get-out-the-vote drives. The bill would stop issue ads from targeting specific candidates within 30 days of the primary or 60 days of the general election. Additionally, the bill would raise the individual contribution limit from $1,000 to $2,000 per election for House and Senate candidates, both of which would be indexed for inflation.
    Reference: Bill sponsored by Shays, R-CT, and Meehan D-MA; Bill HR 2356 ; vote number 2002-34 on Feb 14, 2002

    Voted NO on banning soft money and issue ads.

    Campaign Finance Reform Act to ban "soft money" and impose restrictions on issue advocacy campaigning.
    Reference: Bill sponsored by Shays, R-CT; Bill HR 417 ; vote number 1999-422 on Sep 14, 1999

    Limit federal power, per the 10th Amendment.

    Paul adopted the Republican Liberty Caucus Position Statement:

      BE IT RESOLVED that the Republican Liberty Caucus endorses the following [among its] principles:
    1. The power of the federal government should be limited, as per the tenth amendment to the US Constitution.
    2. The US Department of Commerce should be abolished, per the tenth amendment of the US Constitution.
    3. The National Endowment for the Arts should be abolished, per the tenth amendment of the US Constitution.
    4. The National Endowment for the Humanities should be abolished, per the tenth amendment of the US Constitution.
    5. The US Department of Housing and Urban Development should be abolished, per the tenth amendment of the US Constitution.
    6. Subsidies to agricultural and other businesses should be eliminated.
    7. Corporate taxes should be eliminated simultaneously and proportionally with the elimination of subsidies to businesses.
    8. Recommendations by the Grace Commission and the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW) should be reviewed and implemented, where possible, beginning immediately.
    9. Privatization of government assets, management and services should be implemented for cost-effectiveness wherever applicable.
    Source: Republican Liberty Caucus Position Statement 00-RLC1 on Dec 8, 2000

    Unlimited campaign contributions; with full disclosure.

    Paul adopted the Republican Liberty Caucus Position Statement:

      The Republican Liberty Caucus endorses the following [among its] principles:
    1. Election campaigns should not be subsidized by tax payers.
    2. No individual should be compelled to support a political candidate he or she does not support. Government should not empower trade unions to collect funds from their members for use as political contributions without their members’ expressed consent.
    3. All limits on campaign contributions should be eliminated.
    4. There should be full and timely public disclosure of all the sources and amounts of all campaign contributions upon their receipt.
    Source: Republican Liberty Caucus Position Statement 00-RLC7 on Dec 8, 2000

    Reduce the salary of Members of Congress.

    Paul co-sponsored Congressional Pay Cut Act

    Effective with respect to pay periods beginning after the date of the regularly scheduled general election for Federal office held in November 2012, the rate of basic pay for each Member of Congress shall be reduced by 5%, rounded to the nearest multiple of $100.

    This adjustment shall be in lieu of any adjustment which might otherwise take effect, in the rates of basic pay for Members of Congress.

    Source: H.R.204 11-HR204 on Jan 6, 2011

    No recess appointments without Congressional approval.

    Paul co-sponsored Resolution against Presidential appointments

    Congressional Summary: Resolution Disapproving of the President's appointment of four officers during a period when no recess of the Congress for a period of more than three days and expressing that those appointments were made in violation of the Constitution.

    Text of Resolution:

    OnTheIssues Notes:Pres. Obama attempted to appoint Elizabeth Warren to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in May 2011; House Republicans disapproved of Ms. Warren. House Speaker John Boehner disallowed the Senate's adjournment resolution, which meant the Senate was legally not adjourned and Pres. Obama could not make a "recess appointment" which would otherwise be allowed. This Resolution brings the issue to the fore again, for another set of Obama appointments for which House Republicans disapprove.

    Source: H.RES.509 12-HR509 on Jan 10, 2012

    Require all laws to cite Constitutional authorization.

    Paul signed Enumerated Powers Act

    A bill to require Congress to specify the source of authority under the United States Constitution for the enactment of laws.

    Each Act of Congress shall contain a concise explanation of the specific constitutional authority relied upon for the enactment of each portion of that Act. The failure to comply with this section shall give rise to a point of order in either House of Congress. The availability of this point of order does not affect any other available relief.

    Constitutional Authority for This Act: This Act proposes to establish new procedures by which legislation shall be considered by Congress and is enacted pursuant to the power granted Congress under article I, section 5, clause 2, of the United States Constitution establishing that each House may determine the rules of its proceedings.

    Source: S.1319&HR450 2009-S1319 on Jun 22, 2009

    Repeal automatic Congressional pay raises.

    Paul signed Stop the Congressional Pay Raise Act

    A bill to prevent Members of Congress from receiving any automatic pay adjustment in 2010.

    For purposes of the provision of law amended by section 704(a)(2)(B) of the Ethics Reform Act of 1989 (5 U.S.C. 5318 note), no adjustment under section 5303 of title 5, United States Code, shall be considered to have taken effect in fiscal year 2010 in the rates of pay under the General Schedule.

    Source: S.542&HR.156 2009-S542 on Jan 6, 2009

    2012 Governor, House and Senate candidates on Government Reform: Ron Paul on other issues:
    TX Gubernatorial:
    Annise Parker
    Julian Castro
    Mike Rawlings
    Rick Perry
    TX Senatorial:
    David Dewhurst
    John Cornyn
    Jon Roland
    Kay Bailey Hutchison
    Paul Sadler
    Ted Cruz

    Retiring to run for other office:

    Running for President:
    TX-14:Ron Paul(R)

    Running for Mayor:
    CA-51:Bob Filner(D)

    Running for Governor:
    IN-6:Mike Pence(R)
    WA-1:Jay Inslee(D)

    Running for Senate:
    AZ-6:Jeff Flake(R)
    CT-5:Chris Murphy(R)
    FL-14:Connie Mack(R)
    HI-2:Mazie Hirono(D)
    IN-2:Joe Donnelly(D)
    MO-2:Todd Akin(R)
    MT-0:Dennis Rehberg(R)
    ND-0:Rick Berg(D)
    NM-1:Martin Heinrich(D)
    NV-1:Shelley Berkley(D)
    NY-9:Bob Turner(R)
    WI-2:Tammy Baldwin(D)
    Lost Primary 2012:
    IL-16:Donald Manzullo(R)
    NJ-9:Steven Rothman(D)
    OH-2:Jean Schmidt(R)
    OH-9:Dennis Kucinich(D)
    PA-4:Jason Altmire(D)
    PA-17:Tim Holden(D)
    TX-16:Silvestre Reyes(D)

    Retiring 2012:
    AR-4:Mike Ross(D)
    AZ-8:Gabby Giffords(D)
    CA-2:Wally Herger(R)
    CA-6:Lynn Woolsey(D)
    CA-18:Dennis Cardoza(R)
    CA-24:Elton Gallegly(D)
    CA-26:David Dreier(R)
    CA-41:Jerry Lewis(R)
    IL-12:Jerry Costello(D)
    IL-15:Timothy Johnson(R)
    IN-5:Dan Burton(R)
    KY-4:Geoff Davis(R)
    MA-1:John Olver(D)
    MA-4:Barney Frank(D)
    MI-5:Dale Kildee(D)
    NC-9:Sue Myrick(R)
    NC-11:Heath Shuler(D)
    NC-13:Brad Miller(D)
    NY-5:Gary Ackerman(D)
    NY-10:Ed Towns(D)
    NY-22:Maurice Hinchey(D)
    OH-7:Steve Austria(R)
    OK-2:Dan Boren(D)
    PA-19:Todd Platts(R)
    TX-20:Charles Gonzalez(D)
    WA-6:Norm Dicks(D)
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