Ron Paul on Deficit Deceits: Endless Wars & Sacred Cows

         Business Insider’s Joe Weisenthal calls attention to the speech of US Rep. Ron Paul (R. Tex.) today on the House floor.

St. Paul, Minn.: Valdosta Southern Boxcar 7/16/11

           I’ve copied below its first six paragraphs from the Libertarian Congressman’s website.  I disagree with him completely on his final point on the need to shrink government.  (How about shrinking the free-riding corporations US military and social spending shield and whose power government must counterbalance?)

           But whatever your political persuasion, it’s hard not to cheer his first three points.  Indeed, I wish I’d said them – and as succinctly:

 Mr. Speaker, I rise to speak against HR 2560, the Cut, Cap, and Balance Act. This bill only serves to sanction the status quo by putting forth a $1 trillion budget deficit and authorizing a $2.4 trillion increase in the debt limit.

 When I say this bill sanctions the status quo, I mean it quite literally.

 First, it purports to eventually balance the budget without cutting military spending, Social Security, or Medicare. This is impossible. These three budget items already cost nearly $1 trillion apiece annually. This means we can cut every other area of federal spending to zero and still have a $3 trillion budget. Since annual federal tax revenues almost certainly will not exceed $2.5 trillion for several years, this Act cannot balance the budget under any plausible scenario.

 Second, it further entrenches the ludicrous beltway concept of discretionary vs. nondiscretionary spending. America faces a fiscal crisis, and we must seize the opportunity once and for all to slay Washington’s sacred cows– including defense contractors and entitlements. All spending must be deemed discretionary and reexamined by Congress each year. To allow otherwise is pure cowardice.

 Third, the Act applies the nonsensical narrative about a “Global War on Terror” to justify exceptions to its spending caps. Since this war is undeclared, has no definite enemies, no clear objectives, and no metric to determine victory, it is by definition endless. Congress will never balance the budget until we reject the concept of endless wars.

 Finally, and most egregiously, this Act ignores the real issue: total spending by government. As Milton Friedman famously argued, what we really need is a constitutional amendment to limit taxes and spending, not simply to balance the budget. What we need is a dramatically smaller federal government; if we achieve this a balanced budget will take care of itself.

2 Comments

  1. Pat Colt said:

    The very sad truth is that he is right on all counts. Our government in a thousand different ways has proven that, as constituted it cannot do very many things right at a reasonable cost.Defense spending is both bloated and ineffective. Regulatory roles have been poorly managed with some important exceptions, medicare has been a feeding trough for the medical industry. The problems are so large and so systemic that we will have to shrink the government first and then build back as needed but based on performance.

    It is simply impossible to expect a people who have witnessed the waste and incompetence exhibited by our government to pay more taxes. While some of us may be willing to do so it is not something that can be sold to the electorate.

    The overpowering role that money plays in all levels of political activity especially elections must be dealt withbefore progress can be made.

    July 20, 2011
    Reply
  2. Tom Welsh said:

    Government bureaucracy is slightly less efficient than private bureaucracies. Both suffer from a very simple fact. Those who do the practical work learn very practical, concrete and immediately relevant things. Those at the top learn very abstract, often theoretical and long term things. The routes for the transmission of this learning are blocked by schedules and job descriptions with accountability procedures which do not allow any time for the transmission of things learned. I can tell my foreman, who can tell his supervisor who can tell his manager but the rules of performance and accountability make no provision for this activity. Second, too many persons in the chain have ‘no clothes’ and the new learning could send shivers down their spines.Finally, especially in Politics, telling ‘the truth’ to power is very high risk. Too frequently the higher officer does not want to know too much if it could threaten her relationship with her superior and on it goes. The refusal to learn lies at the heart of the ineffective and inefficient behaviour. In my working life I found the underlying job challenge seemed to be – How do I keep my boss happy and me safe! On the boss’s side she made three kinds of appointment -appointing persons who decided that they were competent because the boss appointed them because the boss was competent . Second, persons who thought they were the embodiment of the Boss in her absence and assumed the same unquestioning silence and conformity.THird, the guessing mode appointee who spend all of her energy trying to guess what was wanted and became the victim of scams and fads from business school journals.
    Do not expect learning from large scale organisations, inefficiency is the rule and it suits all concerned.

    July 21, 2011
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