Thursday, September 22, 2011

Ron Paul


  • Born August 20, 1935 in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania
  • Current residence: Lake Jackson, Texas
  • Married 54 years to Carol (his high school sweetheart)
  • Has 5 children (including Senator Rand Paul--www.paul.senate.gov), 18 grandchildren, and 3 great grandchildren
  • Christian (read his statement of faith here: www.ronpaul2012.com/the-issues/statement-of-faith. )
  • Physician, obstetrician, has delivered over 4,000 babies.
  • Served in the United States Air Force from 1963-1965 and in the United States Air National Guard from 1965-1968. Achieved the rank of captain.
  • Republican U.S. Congressman of the House of Representatives for 12 terms.

One candidate boasts he will change Washington, and Washington will not change him. Ron Paul has proven that he fights for change in Washington, and Washington has not changed him. Another candidate promises to cut government spending no matter what, but leaves critical listeners guessing how and where. Ron Paul has given detailed outlines of his economic proposals since the 1980’s, and anyone can check out his books at any substantial library. Most of the candidates say they hate abortion. Ron Paul himself witnessed a late-term abortion, wrote a book condemning abortion (Abortion and Liberty), and proposed H.R. 300, a bill which would have stripped federal courts of jurisdiction over abortion and thereby overturned Roe vs. Wade. Many supporters of law and order ignore the tremendous breaches of law and order in our government today. Paul is a real law and order man, insisting that the government follow law and order to the jot and tittle of the Constitution.

The Economy

Sound Money
Paul is a vehement advocate of sound money and the gold standard. In The Case for Gold, Paul gives a complete history of the U.S. monetary system. He explains how paper money experiments throughout our history have failed, and how the gold standard, when adopted, resulted in prosperity and stability. He also holds the fractional banking system responsible for the “Boom, Bust” business cycle. His proposal in 1982 was as follows:

1. Repeal all federal legal tender laws. Freedom of contract and the right to have such contracts enforced, not abrogated, by the government is one of the fundamental pillars of a free society. (Paul, The Case for Gold, 179)
2. Define the Dollar. Paul recommends defining a dollar as a weight of gold of a certain fineness, .999 fine. The dollar should be 100% backed by whatever is promised. (Ibid. 181 and 182)
3. Open a new official American Coinage. Also, permit private mints to issue their own coins under their own trademarks. (Ibid. 181)
4. End the Fed. (Paul wrote an entire book by this title.) Federal Reserve notes would be retired and replaced with notes redeemable in gold or silver or some other commodity. These notes would be like travelers checks, not legal tender, and no one would be forced to accept them in payment. However, any institution that issued the notes and failed to redeem them would be subject to prosecution. The current circulating Federal Reserve notes could be made redeemable for gold once a dollar is defined as a weight of gold. Should the gold standard be instituted before the Fed ends, the system must function along classical gold standard lines. (Ibid. 181)
5. End the fractional reserve system that creates the business cycle. Notes must be backed 100% by gold, silver, corn, soybeans, or whatever is promised. (Ibid. 182)
6. Get rid of laws empowering the President to confiscate private gold in war time. (Ibid 183)
In The Case for Gold, Paul goes on to explain the reforms that would be needed in taxation and regulations, and the effects of such a change on real estate, agriculture, heavy industry, small business, exports, and banking.

Paul’s proposal in 2008 was:
Restore to Americans their right to use precious metals as a medium of exchange--a simple and reasonable initial step if we believe in freedom. It is essential that Americans be given the chance to escape from this system and protect themselves from possible financial ruin, by being able to use gold and silver if they so desire. If anyone would rather continue to transact in the depreciating dollar, he would be free to do so. But anyone who prefers a currency that holds its value and won’t become worthless before his eyes just because his government ran the printing press one too many times would have real options. (Paul, The Revolution, 151)

Minimum Wage
In The Case for Gold (156) Paul says:
It’s well to remember that working for $8 an hour is superior to having a wage of $16 an hour but no job. For a while the artificially high wage seems to be beneficial but the unemployment and the recession that eventually come make the program a dangerous one.
This statement is repeated nearly verbatim in Liberty Defined, page 121.

Foreign Aid, Welfare, and Health Care
Paul declares, “The right to life and liberty in no way implies one’s right to someone else’s property domestically or internationally.” (Liberty Defined, 121)

Foreign Aid:
I believe Paul’s position on foreign aid is well defined in the following quotation:
There’s nothing wrong with foreign aid per se, as when rich countries help others in poorer countries who may be suffering from a natural disaster. But it has to be private. The odds then are much better that the funds will be put to more constructive use than they are when it’s a government transfer. (Ibid. 121)

Welfare & Entitlements:
Ron Paul explains that there are three approaches that can be taken to “legal plunder:”
  1. The few plunder the many
  2. Everybody plunders everybody
  3. Nobody plunders anybody (3 approaches by Frederic Bastiat)
He goes on to say:
We presently follow option number two: everyone seeks to use government to enrich himself at his neighbor’s expense…Now here’s a radical idea: what if we pursued option number three and decided to stop robbing one another?…By “legal plunder” Bastiat meant any use of government that enriched one group of people at the expense of another, and which would be illegal if private individuals tried to carry it out themselves. He was not speaking only or even primarily about programs that are supposed to help the poor. Bastiat was a keen enough observer of the human condition to realize that people of all classes are happy to use the machinery of state, if they can get away with it, to benefit themselves instead of earning their way in the world honestly. The rich are more than happy to secure for themselves a share of the loot--for example, in the form of subsidized low-interest loans (as with the Export-Import Bank), bailouts when their risky loans go sour, or regulatory schemes that hurt their smaller competitors or make it harder for new ones to enter the industry…This simple idea, that government should stay out of the looting business and leave people to their own pursuits, has had great moral appeal throughout U.S. history. (Paul, The Revolution, 69-71)

Government Health Care, Medicare, and Medicaid
Since Paul himself is a physician, he gives a first hand examination of the effect of government intervention in health care:
I entered the medical field when government involvement was low and third-party payments were mostly for hospital care and emergencies, not for first-dollar expenses. For the most part charges were always the minimum. With managed care and the first-dollar payment, the charges are always the maximum because there is no incentive for either the patients or the providers to keep charges down. Third-party payments encourage abuse, which prompts price controls. All price controls lead to shortages. Today, we have high costs, controls, and a lot of unhappy people. More government only means the problems will get worse…Corporations, unions, and governments stand between patients and doctors regardless of motivation. The quality and cost of medical care can never be improved by forcing on the American people greater debt-financed involvement in medical care. Medicare and Medicaid are already bankrupt. Creating a new trillion-dollar system will only hasten the day of reckoning. (Liberty Defined, 192 and 197)
Entitlements in general & Social Security
Perhaps my favorite Ron Paul selection, this excerpt is from pages 159, 160 and 161 of The Revolution: A Manifesto:
More and more intelligent Americans are waking up to the reality of our situation every day. Now we can face the problem like adults and transition our way out of a financially impossible situation gradually and with foresight, with due care for those who have been taught to rely on government assistance. In the short run, this approach would continue the major federal programs on which Americans have been taught to be dependent, but in accordance with our Constitution it would eventually leave states, localities, and extended families to devise workable solutions for themselves. Or we can wait for the inevitable collapse and try to sort things out in the midst of unprecedented economic chaos. I know which option I prefer. No one who has learned to be dependent on these programs needs to be thrown into the street. But in the long run these programs are insolvent. If we do not begin a transition process funded by savings from our bloated overseas presence, everyone will be out in the street because the programs will simply collapse. Americans were given an implied contract when they began paying into Social Security, so we would not want to strip away from them the resources they understandably anticipated receiving upon retirement…I have long favored giving young people the right to opt out of Social Security, since such an option follows naturally from my belief in individual liberty. But since current Social Security recipients are being supported by tax receipts from current workers, how would those people be cared for if young people began opting out? The transition period should be funded by curtailing our overseas expenditures, which are not only out of control but have also compromised our real security interests by spreading our forces so thin.

Forgive the lengthiness of the quotation. As I stated, it is one of my favorites, and it leads us directly to…

Foreign Policy
Is our current foreign policy a good one? Paul answers with a resounding “No!”
First of all, we should abide by the Constitution, Paul claims, and issue a declaration of war before going to war. To illustrate his point, as the war in Iraq approached, Paul proposed that Congress officially declare war against Iraq, making clear that he intended to oppose his own measure.(1)
Second, Paul claims that we just can’t afford to keep troops in 130 countries, “We do no one any good by bankrupting ourselves.”(2) Paul believes that we are spending too much on the military, and backs his position with figures: In 2009, world military expenditures were $1.531 trillion, and 46% of that was spent by the U.S. The next highest expense was by China-- 6.6%.(3) Paul presents these monetary figures, but is careful to point that the cost in human life is the most serious expenditure.
Third, Paul does not advocate fighting third world nations such as Iraq that, in his opinion, pose no realistic threat to the United States.(4) Such policies, he argues, simply create unintended “blowback.”(5) Groups such as al Qaeda are now able to inspire more people with tangible reasons to fight the U.S., as troops occupy their homeland and civilian casualties are listed as collateral damage; al Qaeda recruitment increases. Paul claims that before the U.S. invasion of Iraq, there had never been a suicide terrorist attack in that country.(6) In essence, Paul says that our current foreign policy is increasing terrorism, bankrupting, and un-securing us, and leading to international chaos and domestic impoverishment.(7)
Fourth, When will the war on terror end? As with every war, the American people have given up some freedoms to help the war effort. At the close of each war, the people have always regained their rights. Today, due to the Patriot Act, the government is free to monitor your emails and phone calls. The Military Commissions Act of 2006 suspends habeas corpus--the President may label anyone (including an American citizen) an enemy combatant, and hold the individual in custody indefinitely.(8) Torture is used to try to squeeze information out these individuals, without trial. Dr. Paul warns that claims that these powers will be exercised only against the bad guys are not worth listening to.(9) If wars are undeclared and open-ended, when will extraordinary (wartime) powers lapse? Paul quotes Benjamin Franklin, who said, “They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
Finally, Paul asks that we protect the United States, not overseas. Our forces are stretched much too thin. Protect our own borders, not borders in the Middle East. Change the current foreign policy to a foreign policy in the best interest of the United States.(10)

The Draft
Here Representative Paul quotes Ronald Reagan, who in 1979 said:
[Military conscription] rests on the assumption that your kids belong to the state…That assumption isn’t a new one. The Nazis thought it was a great idea.(11)
Executive Orders
Perhaps the only discrepancy in Paul’s statements, in a recent debate Paul stated that he would never use executive orders to legislate.(12) In Liberty Defined, Paul wrote that he would issue an executive order…an executive order to disannul previous orders.

1The Revolution, 54
2The Revolution, 14
3 Liberty Defined, 257
4 Liberty Defined, 175; The Revolution, 24
5 The Revolution, 16, 19, 20, 21
6 The Revolution, 21
7 The Revolution , 36, 38, 39
8 Liberty Defined, 291
9 Liberty Defined, 258; The Revolution, 122
10 The Revolution, 18, 37; Iowa Straw Poll
11 The Revolution, 55


Social Issues
Abortion
As an obstetrician who has delivered over 4,000 babies, Ron Paul consistently stands for life, giving convincing arguments and dramatically recounting his experience accidentally walking in on an abortion performed by one of his instructors (Paul, The Revolution, 58) .
In an October 27, 1999 speech to Congress, Paul said:
I am strongly pro-life. I think one of the most disastrous rulings of this century was Roe versus Wade. I do believe in the slippery slope theory. I believe that if people are careless and casual about life at the beginning of life, we will be careless and casual about life at the end. Abortion leads to euthanasia. I believe that.
Paul recommends that instead of waiting indefinitely for Supreme Court justices who will reverse Roe vs. Wade, Congress should, in accordance with Article III, Section 2, of the Constitution, strip the federal courts of jurisdiction over abortion, thereby overturning the obviously unconstitutional Roe. At that point, the issue would revert to the states, where it constitutionally belongs, since no appeal to federal courts on the matter could be heard.

The War on Drugs
Ron Paul opposes the War on Drugs, pointing out that when Prohibition (which he does not favor) was enacted, an amendment was required to authorize Prohibition, while the entire drug war is an arbitrary prohibition in violation of the Constitution.
Why wouldn't Paul support an amendment against drugs? He believes Prohibition failed and states,
Government should not compel or prohibit any personal activity when that activity poses danger to that individual alone. Drinking and smoking marijuana is one thing, but driving recklessly under the influence is quite another. When an individual threatens the lives of others, there is a role of government to restrain that violence.(Paul, Liberty Defined, 229)
On November 20, 2008, Ron Paul said in a New York Times/Freakonomics interview:
The federal war on drugs has proven costly and ineffective, while creating terrible violent crime. But if you question policy, you are accused of being pro-drug. That is preposterous. As a physician, father, and grandfather, I abhor drugs. I just know that there is a better way—through local laws, communities, churches, and families—to combat the very serious problem of drug abuse than a massive federal-government bureaucracy.
Marriage
While Paul himself defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman, he believes people have a first amendment right to say what ever they want, as long as they don’t force their definition on anyone else. That is the gist of his article on marriage in Liberty Defined. Paul’s article in Liberty Defined is rather idealistic: if only marriage were a private issue, we wouldn’t have to have such a heated debate about it. But as it is, marriage is a government issue, and Paul insists that marriage be left to the states. Paul voted against the Federal Marriage Amendment, which would have amended the Constitution, limiting marriage to a union between a man and a woman. In 2004, Paul spoke in support of the Defense of Marriage Act which allows a state to decline to recognize homosexual marriages performed in other states, and prohibits the U.S. government from recognizing same-sex marriages. Paul also co-sponsored the Marriage Protection Act, which would have barred federal judges from hearing cases pertaining to the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act. In The Revolution, page 66, Paul explains that no social policies should be imposed on your neighborhood by the federal government. Power to “the good guys” is power to “the bad guys” next election. Paul says that the argument that we can’t allow states to make decisions since some will make wrong ones is flawed; in fact, he says, it’s a very good argument for world government.

Hate Crimes
Dr. Paul is against laws making certain offenses “hate crimes.” Hate Crime laws basically allow the government to be a “thought police,” Paul explains in Liberty Defined (148). Such laws require lesser penalties, for example, when crimes are committed against “straight” people than when crimes are committed against homosexuals. (Ibid., 224) This goes against the fundamentals of equal protection under the law, and eventually could lead to an encroachment upon freedom of speech--a person could be indicted for simply speaking against homosexuality.
Freedom of Association
Ron Paul believes in Freedom of Association. Employers and all people should be allowed to discriminate, hire whom they please, and choose with whom they associate.

Education
“If I truly opposed learning and knowledge, I would propose tripling its [The Department of Education’s] budget.” (Paul, The Revolution, 162)
Paul favors ending the Department of Education and leaving the responsibilities of education to states and localities. He argues that it is impossible for bureaucrats in Washington, D.C. to adeptly decide what is best for everyone in every school. The school board and/or the voters of each district should choose whether or not there will be prayer in their school and what textbooks should be used, and home school parents shouldn’t have to pay for public schools (The Revolution, 133). Paul argues there would be much more efficiency without the Department of Education. One study Paul cites shows that there were 6,000 bureaucrats in the central administration offices of New York City public schools, while the Catholic schools of that city, which educated 1/5 of the city’s children only had 26 bureaucrats (The Revolution, 76).
Taxes
Income tax, Paul says, should be eliminated and replaced, not with sales tax, but with nothing. In 2008 he reported that such a “drastic” action would cut government revenue by 40%. Taking 40% off the budget of 2007 would take us way back to the budget of…1997! (The Revolution, 79) Paul favors a minimalist approach to government and taxes (Liberty Defined,283).

Conclusion

The more knowledge you have, the more informed a voter you are, the better. Check out Liberty Defined, The Revolution: A Manifesto, and The Case for Gold at your local public or university library. Watch the presidential debates, and meet the candidates.
Your writer--a seventeen year-old, barely old enough to vote in the straw poll, caucuses and election**--bemoans the fact that her parents’ generation has ignored Dr. Paul for the past 30 years, and instead of following his advice has passed on to her the beautiful inheritance of $14.7 trillion in debt(1), inflation and rising prices, government health care(2), and mandatory(3)investment of retirement savings in the Social Security System which we are assured will retain solvency until 2038(4). In her opinion, Paul is the best friend of young people and of their chances of living a prosperous, productive, lawful, and successful life of liberty.
Our nation is currently going 100 mph in the direction of bigger government--a government that watches over every part of our lives, makes our decisions for us, and cares for us. As Dr. Paul himself stated, “The choice we now face: further steps toward authoritarianism or a renewed effort in promoting the cause of liberty. There is no third option.” I am not voting for anarchy, where every man does what is right in his own eyes, I am voting for a Republic, where law and order rules and the Constitution is not a blank piece of paper whose contents can be interpreted to suite every whim or simply termed outdated. I am voting for liberty, lawful liberty--liberty that is being encroached upon more and more. Many candidates are beginning to realize the tremendous burdens being placed on the backs of young Americans. They know we are crying out for change and liberty. Perry and Bachmann have recently spoken out for us on broadcasts throughout the nation. But there is one man who has stood up for us and for liberty through thick and thin; one man who has cried out incessantly for me since before I had a voice, before I was born. The media has oft forgotten to turn on his microphone, but this one man has never relented. This man is Ron Paul, and I am voting for Ron Paul. Chains are being forged for me, for you, every day--chains of debt, chains of utter dependence on government. Why do we stand here idle? Suffer not yourselves to be betrayed with the kiss of promised peace and safety at the expense of liberty, for it only leads to the sudden destruction of all the precious rights our fathers paid for on the battlefields with their own blood. Are entitlements, taxes, or government health care so dear, or is our current economic system so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death!(5)

**To vote in the straw poll, caucuses, and election one must be 18 by November 16, 2012.
3 “Mandatory” is a disputed term, no one is forced to invest in Social Security. However, in the state of Iowa one may not drive (Iowa Code, section 321.182) or marry without a Social Security Number; and IRS code makes it impossible, or nearly so, to work without a SSN.
4 http://www.socialsecurity.gov/policy/docs/policybriefs/ ; http://www.ncsl.org/?TabId=16754 gives the year 2041. Your writer will in no case have reached retirement age by either date.
5 Patrick Henry’s “Liberty” Speech, March 23, 1775






Do Republicans Favor the Poor and Middle Class?

[Originally posted August 12, 2011]
As a member of the middle class, I firmly answer yes, the Republicans do. The Democrats also favor the poor and middle class, but in an entirely different way.
Instead of using the poor directly as an example, let us take a very obese child who can hardly walk. This child definitely needs help, correct? Yes, both sides agree.
Side 1 proposes to force the child to get up, leave behind the sack of potato chips, candies, and favorite goodies, and miss his favorite TV shows. The child must come pull weeds in the dreaded strawberry patch, push the lawn mower, clean the chicken coop, and participate in athletics. Instead of resting afterward, the child is engaged in academic activities until his fingers develop calluses from holding a pencil.
The leaders of Side 2 call the perpetrators of the Side 1 plan heartless, and introduce their own plan. “This poor child can hardly walk--have a little pity! We need to make life easier for him.” So Side 2 brings everything the child needs or wants to him, so he doesn’t have to get up; gives him a larger allowance, so he can buy new video games and avoid boredom; and passes the child in school just because “he tried,” not because he achieved.
Whose plan does the child prefer? Side 2’s plan, of course. What are the results? The child’s weight increases till he cannot walk, the child needs more care, his caretakers (Side 2 leaders) face financial challenges, and eventually the child dies from the problems caused by obesity.
If Side 1’s plan is followed, the child will complain; and his caretakers may have difficulty managing him as he throws tantrums and refuses to work. However, with a lot of love, persistence, and patience from the caretakers, the child will lose weight, become healthy and proud of his achievements, perhaps gain a merit scholarship, and become a success. His caretakers will also prosper with a weed-free strawberry patch and mown lawn.
To me, the difference between the two plans is basically the difference between the Democratic and Republican ways of favoring the poor. The Democrats would make it easier to be poor; the Republicans would make it easier not to be poor--to succeed. If you give a man a fish, he doesn’t have to work; he can just eat the fish and be happy. But that fish will soon be gone, and the man will die of starvation. If you give a man a fishing pole (To give him a fishing pole, create jobs by lowering taxes for the rich and corporations, so they will create jobs here, not overseas, and lower taxes so it will be easier for a man or woman to own a small business.), the man may be unhappy for the first hours as he works and works for a bite. Once the man learns how to fish, however, he will never starve. We need to end welfare. It is killing the self-respect, independence, and work ethic of many of our citizens. It is killing our country (Yes, the caretakers are in financial trouble). Our country can only be great if its people are great, and people cannot become great by living off the sweat of their neighbor’s brow.

Note: Those on Social Security are not living off the sweat of others’ brow, they paid into the Social Security system, and the government has a responsibility, a debt, to pay them back. I do not, however, believe that it is right for the government to continue to force young people to invest in a failing system. I believe we the people can provide for our retirement better than can the government; I want to be allowed to choose where to invest.