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.