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Posts Tagged ‘government intervention’

Government Stimulus, One Year Later

Monday, March 1st, 2010

Texas Straight Talk – A weekly column
Rep. Ron Paul (R) – TX 14

Last week marked the one year anniversary of the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, or the stimulus bill, passing into law. While the debate over its success has been focused on whether or not it is stimulating the economy and on various questionable uses of funds, in my estimation this legislation is accomplishing exactly what it was intended to accomplish – grow the government.

Those of us concerned about the ever increasing level of government debt gasped at the astonishing $787 billion cost estimates for this bill. True to form it has actually cost 10 percent more at $862 billion. We heard over and over that government could not sit around and do nothing while people lost their jobs and houses. The administration claimed that unemployment would not go above 8 percent if the stimulus bill passed. Now, a year later, the government estimates that unemployment is over 10 percent. The real number is closer to 20 percent. It appears that those promises were total fabrications in order to close the deal.

In any case, the American people know that more government spending obviously equals more government. If the goal was to strengthen the private sector, Congress would have allowed businesses and individuals to keep more of their own money through meaningful tax cuts. Outrageously, the administration claims that they did “cut taxes” by reducing withholding, and that they have stimulated the private economy by increasing the amount of money in every worker’s paycheck. What they fail to mention is they did not change the total amount of taxes due. This means that all that money not withheld from paychecks will add up to a big unpleasant surprise when returns are filed this year. Many tax preparers are already seeing shocked taxpayers having to come up with big checks to the government when they normally expect a refund. Stimulus, indeed!

The administration also claims that thousands of jobs have been created or saved by this massive spending bill, but these are just more government jobs, and counterproductive in the long run. Funding for the public sector necessarily comes at the expense of an overtaxed private economy. But, it makes sense that government would seek to expand its payroll since every new bureaucrat becomes a likely advocate for big government, when an increasing number of Americans are demanding the opposite. But the more the burden, the closer the government parasite comes to killing its host.

Rather than learning the lessons of the past year, the administration is moving full-speed ahead to do even more economic damage. With the stimulus bill set as a precedent and victory declared, another “jobs” bill is in the works. And, in order to address the unavoidable issues of our massive deficit, the administration has named a bi-partisan commission to find ways to decrease it. Tax increases on the middle class are notoriously back “on the table”, exposing that campaign promise as another instance of merely saying what the people wanted to hear. If the obvious solution to our spending problems was seriously put forth, that is, getting back to the constitutional limitations of government, I would be shocked. More likely, this will be a tactic to increase taxes and spending in a way that passes the political buck.

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The American Dream is being murdered

Sunday, December 20th, 2009

The representatives and senators who vote for this health control monstrosity need to be fired. We have allowed our employees (elected officials) to ignore the rules that we sent them to DC with (the Constitution). Have you read the rules that they are to follow lately?

Remember when we were told that if everyone had to buy car insurance the rates would go down? How much did your car insurance rates go down?

Our congress told the American people that if they controlled education then it would be better for all of us? How many local school districts are in major trouble now? Do children get a better education now? Why can’t seniors in high school pass the 8th grade exam that children were given 50 years ago?

Our congress told us that if they gave control of our currency to a private central bank (Federal Reserve) we would not have fluctuations in our monetary value. The American people were told that a private cental bank that controlled monetary policy would assure the people that their savings would not be diminished with inflation. We see how well that worked out and now we have foreclosures all over the place and the dollar is gone. Just take a dollar out and read it, it is a Federal Reserve Note, not a dollar issued by the United States. To top this off the Federal Reserve, along with Pelosi and Reid, don’t want to allow an audit of the Federal Reserve.

Our congress promised workers that they would take part of their paycheck (Social Security) and hold it for them to use in retirement and it would never be used for anything else. Now we all know that Social Security is going to be bankrupt soon.

We need senators and representatives who go to Washington to follow the Constitution and start removing some of the unconstitutional things our congress has done over the last several decades. Allowing our congress to run wild and spend money like they are rich with an unlimited credit card that never has to be repaid is killing our county. This is not a football game where each team works to regain control of the field.

They are taking away incentives by deciding what businesses should be allowed to fail, deciding what your children will be taught in school, deciding how much “money” you should be allowed to have in retirement, deciding that you are not allowed to replace a window in your house without a permit from the EPA (effective the first part of 2010), and so much more that I don’t have the space to print some of the things I have found. When a business fails then others have an opportunity to fill that void. The American Dream is being murdered.

How long are we going to allow this corruption to go on? Just because every other country is doing socialism and communism does not mean that we should. What happened to State’s Rights? What happened to things that are not expressly authorized to congress in the Constitution are reseved to the States and the people?

Robyn Hamlin
Missouri

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Competition With the Government?

Monday, November 16th, 2009

Texas Straight Talk – A weekly column
Rep. Ron Paul (R) – TX 14

Last Saturday many concerned Americans watched in horror as the House passed the healthcare reform bill. If this bill makes it through the Senate, it would massively overhaul the way healthcare is delivered in this country. Today, obviously, we don’t have a perfect system, but this legislation takes all the mistakes we are making with healthcare and makes them worse. Most of what is wrong with healthcare stems from decades of government intervention and the resulting unintended consequences.

But the government’s prescription for the ills caused by intervention is always more intervention. We see this not only in healthcare policy, but also in foreign policy, in economic policy, and in monetary policy – basically, in all areas of public policy. It was even claimed that the House bill would increase competition in healthcare, and thereby improve the private sector’s business model for insurance.

It is fascinating that politicians would use the language of the free market in this way to justify more corporatism. This demonstrates a couple of things. One, that politicians truly do not understand the very basic tenets of a free market. By definition, a free market is free from government intervention. But once a little intervention is accepted as legitimate, politicians will blame the problems created by their intervention on the free market and present themselves as saviors that must intervene even more.

It also demonstrates that politicians know that Americans still believe the free market is a good thing. People know and understand that competition among businesses is better for the consumer than a monopoly. However, competition between a private business and a government or government-favored entity is not real competition.

In real competition, your competitor can go bankrupt if they do a bad job. Everyone knows a government program is forever, no matter how poorly it performs. In real competition, efficiency is necessary for survival. In government programs, waste is rewarded as budgets are often determined by how much money a department is able to consume in a year. In real competition, one business does not have regulatory or taxation authority over its competitors. In real competition, businesses get sued and punished for breaking contracts and defrauding people, and are kept accountable in this way. But just try to sue the government when you are unjustly harmed by it!

The reason real competition is a good thing is because good businesses get bad ones out of the consumer’s way. Can the government put someone out of business? Most certainly! But it will have the opposite effect: an otherwise good business will be replaced by a poorly performing government agency, or a government-favored monolithic business that behaves almost like a government agency.

If Washington really wanted to give consumers more choices they would remove legislative and regulatory barriers to competition across state lines for health insurers. They would remove barriers for new and innovative models of healthcare and tort reform. They wouldn’t have run so many church and charitable hospitals out of business. Washington is keenly interested in healthcare reform, but it is certainly not going to increase competition or to expand your options for healthcare.

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Healthcare Reform is Economic Malpractice

Tuesday, November 10th, 2009

Texas Straight Talk – A Weekly Column
Rep. Ron Paul (R) – TX 14

As Washington continues debating healthcare reform the rest of the country is primarily concerned about jobs and the economy. It is still uncertain what policies will be implemented, but I am certain about one thing: It will only further devastate our economy and our dollar.

The leadership has come up with a proposal they are confident will be what they consider fiscally responsible, only to have it scored as nearly twice as expensive by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. Estimates of past healthcare spending programs have been off by as much as 100 percent so there is no telling what the actual cost will be.

The past century should have taught us one thing: that government intervention is expensive. Government programs lend themselves so easily to waste, fraud and abuse. Combine that with overall inefficiency and it all adds up to a hefty price tag for the taxpayer, with not much leftover for actual services. An outright takeover of an entire sector of the economy, especially one as important as healthcare, is something that we just cannot afford for the government to do right now. Not to mention the fact that it is completely unconstitutional. But Washington insists on torturing the numbers and tinkering around the edges rather than facing this truth.

If healthcare reform does indeed pass, we should not be under the illusion that it will be free. The money to pay for it will have to come from somewhere. They say they will get the money from cutting waste, fraud and abuse, but all of that is seemingly intrinsic to government programs. Since they want to expand the government’s reach we have to assume we will be trading waste, fraud and abuse for waste, fraud and abuse with a bigger budget. The powers that be have insisted the money won’t come from higher taxes, it won’t come from rationing of care, and it won’t come from higher premiums. This can only then put more pressure on the Fed to print the money out of thin air. We already have a weakening dollar. They are accelerating everything that weakened it in the past. Adding this new, monumental pressure could very well be the straw that will break the dollar’s back.

Foreign creditors are already nervous about continuing to invest in the US because of our skyrocketing debt. The explosion of debt that is certain to accompany the enactment of this national health care bill can only add to that nervousness.

Ironically, enactment of the health care bill could help the cause of liberty by hastening the day when Congress is forced by economic circumstances to stop increasing the welfare-warfare state and return to the Constitution.

There are many problems with our current healthcare system, to be sure. There are many tragic stories to be told. However, we need to look at the root of our problems in order to address them properly. More government intervention and bureaucracy injected into healthcare will take a flawed system and make immeasurably worse.

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Government Solutions Lack Understanding

Tuesday, September 8th, 2009

Texas Straight Talk – A weekly column
Rep. Ron Paul (R) – TX 14

Things seem to be unraveling quickly for the new administration. The latest unemployment numbers are worse than the last reports. For all the billions of dollars spent and committed to fixing our economic problems, the situation is only getting worse. This was to be expected by those who understand the root causes of the problems. Throwing money around and creating more government programs is both simplistic and damaging to the economy. Of course, the administration claims that we would have been much worse off without these efforts. You can’t improve this situation by adding to our mountain of public debt for the benefit of big banks and other special interests. The American people know this. When will Washington learn?

In addition, the president’s plans for healthcare reform – or health insurance reform – are becoming more and more unpopular as details are examined. But because of all the alarmist rhetoric, politicians in Washington feel obligated to pass something, even if it doesn’t help. Rarely are liberty and prosperity at greater risk than when politicians feel they must “do something”. It is frightening to watch Washington toy with our healthcare purely for political reasons.

However, the saddest shortcoming of this administration is its utter failure to pursue a more peaceful foreign policy. Just last week up to 90 people, apparently mostly civilians, were killed in Afghanistan in an airstrike, and the violence is only getting worse. The administration is mulling over how many more troops they will send as part of their “Afghan Surge” with advisors getting it exactly backwards. They qualify sending fewer troops as “high-risk” and sending more troops as “low-risk”. This is not the perception at all if you were to ask the families of those being sent over. The best answer would be to stop risking any of our troops for the sake of what is, for all intents and purposes, a violent occupation, helping no one.

But all of these problems and their wrong-headed solutions come from one greater problem – which is not understanding the reasons that we are here. The economy is in bad shape because of too much government intervention producing a myriad of unintended consequences and perverse incentives. Healthcare is broken because the doctor-patient relationship has been broken down by hyper regulation and too much government interference. Afghanistan is a mess because they ignored the mission approved by Congress – to seek out those who attacked us on 9/11. They have instead gotten sidetracked with nebulous interventionist tasks such as promoting democracy and nation building. Eight years later, there is no real progress. The Soviets bankrupted themselves fighting in the mountains and caves of Afghanistan and we’re about to do the same. If we would just look to history it would be self-evident that there is nothing left to win in Afghanistan, and everything to lose.

Most of all, we need to understand that we don’t understand Afghan culture and politics, and for that reason alone, intervening in their affairs is unlikely to produce positive results. The best thing we could possibly do now is to bring our troops home, from Afghanistan, from Iraq, from Japan, from Germany, from all occupied countries, and concentrate on mending badly damaged relationships around the world. Free and honest trade has always been the best way to do that, without fail. Not understanding the benefits of peace, freedom, and nonintervention will always bring about catastrophe.

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The Free Market as Regulator

Thursday, August 20th, 2009

Texas Straight Talk – A weekly column
Rep. Ron Paul (R) – TX 14

Since the bailouts last fall, lawmakers have been behaving as quasi-owners of the bailed-out banks and businesses, leading to calls for increased regulation of executive compensation and other wasteful expenditures. We have heard much about bonuses and executive pay packages that sound more like lottery winnings than an honest salary.

Many lawmakers voted in favor of these unconstitutional bailouts, believing that these corporations were too big to fail, and allowing them to go under would precipitate widespread economic disaster. This second wave of citizen outrage at the bailouts has left these lawmakers with a bit of egg on their face, and once again, they feel the need to “do something” to “fix” it. Shouldn’t there be a regulatory structure in place governing executive compensation? Politically, it seems quite feasible. People are outraged that the system has once again gutted the many to make a few at the top fantastically wealthy. But they are incorrectly demonizing the free market.

What we need to realize is that there WAS a regulatory structure in place that was attempting to stop bad management, including overpaying executives. That regulatory structure is the free market, and when poor management brought these companies to the point of bankruptcy, Congress circumvented the wisdom of the free market, and inserted its own judgment at our expense. And now because of that intervention, we will burdened with massive new regulations. We can be certain this effort will fail.

The free market is a naturally occurring phenomenon that can’t be eliminated by governments, not even totalitarian ones like the former Soviet Union. It can be regulated, over-taxed and manipulated until it is driven underground. Lately it has been wrongly accused of doing so many things it just doesn’t do, that are really the fault of crony corporatism and convoluted government policies that brought on the crisis. Too many people equate the free market with big business doing whatever it wants, but that is not the free market. Unconstitutional taxpayer funded bailouts are what allow giant corporations to run roughshod over the economy. The free market is what puts them out of business when they misbehave.

The free market is you and your neighbors working hard to produce what you produce, and exchanging goods and services voluntarily, in mutually agreeable arrangements. The free market is about respecting property rights and contracts. It is not about building up oligarchs and monopolies and confiscatory tax theft – these are creatures of government.

We must watch out when government comes up with interventionist solutions to interventionist problems. The root of our problems lie in interventionism. Trusting the free market is the solution.

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RON PAUL : Cap and Trade will lead to Capitol Flight.

Monday, June 29th, 2009

Texas Straight Talk – A Weekly Column
Rep. Ron Paul (R) – TX 14

In my last column, I joked that with public spending out of control and the piling on of the international bailout bill, economic collapse seems to be the goal of Congress. It is getting harder to joke about such a thing however, as the non-partisan General Accounting Office (GAO) has estimated that the administration’s health care plan would actually cost over a trillion dollars. This reality check may have given us a temporary reprieve on this particular disastrous policy, however an equally disastrous energy policy reared its ugly head on Capitol Hill last week.

The Cap and Trade Bill HR 2454 was voted on last Friday. Proponents claim this bill will help the environment, but what it really does is put another nail in the economy’s coffin. The idea is to establish a national level of carbon dioxide emissions, and sell pollution permits to industry as the Catholic Church used to sell indulgences to sinners. HR 2454 also gives federal bureaucrats new power to regulate a wide variety of household appliances, such as light bulbs and refrigerators, and further distorts the market by providing more of your tax money to auto companies.

The administration has pointed to Spain as a shining example of this type of progressive energy policy. Spain has been massively diverting capital from the private sector into politically favored environmental projects for the better part of a decade, and many in Washington apparently like what they see. However, under no circumstances should anyone serious about economic recovery emulate an economy that is now approaching 20 percent unemployment, where every green job created, eliminated 2.2 real jobs and cost around $800,000 each!

The real inconvenient truth is that the cost of government regulations, taxes, fees, red tape and bureaucracy is a considerable expense that has to be considered when companies decide where to do business and how many people they can afford to hire. Increasing governmental burden directly causes capital flight and job losses, as Spain has learned. In this global economy its easy enough for businesses to relocate to countries that are more politically friendly to economic growth. If our government continues to kick the economy while its down, it will be a long time before it gets back up. In fact, jobs are much more likely to go overseas, compounding our problems.

And for what? Contrary to claims repeated over and over, there is no consensus in the scientific community that global warming is getting worse or that it is manmade. In fact over 30,000 scientists signed a petition recently directly disputing the claims on which this policy is based. Legitimate environmental claims should instead be directed towards the public sector. The government, especially the military, is the most serious polluter in the country, and is exempt from most EPA regulations. Meanwhile Washington bureaucrats have classified the very air we exhale as a pollutant and have gone unchallenged in this incredible assertion. The logical consequence is that there will come a time when we will have to buy a government permit just to emit carbon dioxide into the atmosphere from our own lungs!

The events on Capitol Hill last week just demonstrate Washington’s audacity in manufacturing problems just so they can expand government power to solve them.

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