Archive for Ron Paul

Ron Paul on the Hobby Lobby Decision

it__s_not_free_meme_by_nesukurosu-d5c7iqqRon Paul writes on the Hobby Lobby decision: 

Hobby Lobby Decision Creates Small Island of Freedom in Ocean of Statism

by Ron Paul

This week, supporters of religious freedom cheered the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Hobby Lobby case. The Court was correct to protect business owners from being forced to violate their religious beliefs by paying for contraceptives. However, the decision was very limited in scope and application.

The Court’s decision only applies to certain types of businesses, for example, “closely-held corporations” that have a “sincere” religious objection to paying for contraceptive coverage. Presumably, federal courts or bureaucrats will determine if a business’s religious objection to the mandate is “sincere” or not and therefore eligible for an opt-out from one Obamacare mandate.

Opponents of the Court’s decision are correct that a religious objection does not justify a special exemption from the Obamacare contraception mandate, but that is because all businesses should be exempt from all federal mandates. Federal laws imposing mandates on private businesses violate the business owners’ rights of property and contract.

Mandated benefits such as those in Obamacare also harm those employees who do not need or want them. Benefit packages resulting from negotiations between employers and employees are much more likely to satisfy both the employer and employee than benefit packages imposed by politicians and bureaucrats.

Opponents of the Court’s decision argue that Obamacare gives employees a “right” to free birth control that trumps the employers’ property rights. This argument confuses rights with desires. Successfully lobbying the government to force someone else to grant your wishes does not magically transform a desire into a “right.”

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Ron Paul on Capitol Hill

6786 (1)Jeff Deist talks with Tom Woods about Congressional staffers and the DC establishment’s grudging respect for the Ron Paul revolution.

Ron Paul Discusses the Future of the US Dollar

In this audio interview, Ron Paul touches on recent developments affecting the value of the dollar, the potential for currency collapse, gold, war, Russia, and more.

The Ron Paul portion begins at 2:30 and ends at 17:30.

(Note: My posting of this video is not an endorsement of any of the advertised products that appear on screen in the course of the interview.)

Ron Paulian Economist Elected Prez

I’m often fearful when I learn about new feature-length movies that are explicitly libertarian because they often suffer from tiny budgets and inexperience among the actors and crew.

In this case however, the movie looks to have an adequate budget (based on the diversity and quality of shots in the trailer) and the actors have real and lengthy IMDB credits.

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The VA Scandal and Socialized Medicine

Department_of_Veterans_Affairs_LogoThe Obama Administration has claimed to be outraged by the shabby treatment that veterans receive at the hands of the VA. But as Ron Paul points out this week, it’s a bit unconvincing when the administration claims to care deeply about veterans while simultaneously sending American soldiers to receive third degree burns and mangled limbs in far away lands that are no threat whatsoever to the Americans who are paying all the bills.

Indeed, as Lew Rockwell has noted, a great way to combat the abuse of veterans is to quit creating new veterans.

The other troubling aspect of this controversy is the VA health care system itself.

Why is it that government is so interested in the direct provision of health care? Why is there not a government clothing program or a government cell phone program? That is, why does no one ever say “I’m off to the VA clothing store!”  or “I’m going to the VA cell phone store.” Certainly clothing and communications devices are pretty basic and necessary.

If one felt that veterans deserved some sort of lifelong benefit for military work, one could simply provide veterans with a stipend that they could use to procure health care. But this is not done.

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Why They Hate Peace

6755Ron Paul writes in this weekend’s Mises Daily:

Some believe economic sanctions and blockades are acceptable alternatives to invasion and occupation. But these too are acts of war, and those on the receiving end rarely capitulate to the pressure. More likely they remain bitter enemies, and resort to terrorism when unable to confront us in a conventional military fashion.

Inflation, sanctions, and military threats all distort international trade and hurt average people in all countries involved, while usually not really hurting the targeted dictators themselves. Our bellicose approach encourages protectionism, authoritarianism, militant nationalism, and go-it-alone isolationism.

Ron Paul: What Does The US Government Want in Ukraine?

data=VLHX1wd2Cgu8wR6jwyh-km8JBWAkEzU4,ASWA9xT640ikUa1SD750pfpnD84jAZbzLQ-cOPDCaXc0ylcgdxpWUIy9-N6V_k5vTtLwNaB7jcAtgnZzZ-VMW43zoTKaUrvciDIq2wjmlJr4AvXMT5P2O9mb9c57eA19SqWXY8PJJ6mhilw4226d6NagIGqUkUd-PCYd-Q_MhlalqAKJ5BKKAfter reviving conscription, killing protestors in Odessa, and seizing ballots in eastern Ukraine, agents of the Ukrainian state now denounce organizers of the plebiscite in eastern Ukraine as “terrorists.”

“The farce, which terrorists call the referendum, is nothing more than propaganda to cover up murders, kidnappings, violence and other serious crimes,” Ukraine’s acting President Oleksandr Turchynov said in a statement.

Gee, sounds legit. Or, it may just be yet another case of a state throwing a temper tantrum any time a group of citizens try to determine their political future for themselves through decentralization or secession. Even if the separatists are guilty of serious crimes, the full extent of their crimes is surely tiny when compared to those of the Ukrainian state (and virtually all states).  Read More→

Why We’re No Longer Number One

800px-thumbnailBy Ron Paul

Last week World Bank economists predicted that China would soon displace the United States as the world’s largest economy. The fact that this one-time economic basket case is now positioned to surpass the US is one more sign of the damage done to American prosperity by welfare, warfare, corporatism, and fiat money.

Some commentators have predicted that China’s reign as the world’s largest economy would not last long. This may be true. While China has made great strides since adopting free-market reforms in the 1970s, China is still run by an authoritarian government whose economic policies distort the market in order to benefit state-favored industries. These state-favored businesses are often controlled by politically-powerful individuals.

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Nevada Standoff a Symptom of Increasing Authoritarianism

us_public (2)By Ron Paul

The nation’s attention has for the past few weeks been riveted by a standoff in Nevada between armed federal agents and the Bundys, a ranching family who believe the federal government is exceeding its authority by assessing “fees” against ranchers who graze cattle on government lands. Outrage over the government’s use of armed agents to forcibly remove the Bundys’ cattle led many Americans to travel to Nevada to engage in nonviolent civil disobedience in support of the family.

The protests seem to have worked, at least for now, as the government appears to have backed off from direct confrontation. Sadly, some elected officials have inflamed the situation by labeling the Bundys and their supporters “domestic terrorists,” thus justifying any future use of force by the government. That means there is always the possibility of another deadly Waco-style raid on the Bundys or a similar group in the future.

In a state like Nevada, where 84 percent of the land is owned by the federal government, these types of conflicts are inevitable. Government ownership of land means that land is in theory owned by everyone, but in practice owned by no one. Thus, those who use the land lack the incentives to preserve it for the long term. As a result, land-use rules are set by politicians and bureaucrats. Oftentimes, the so-called “public” land is used in ways that benefit politically-powerful special interests.

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Another Phony Budget Debate

spendingBy Ron Paul

Anyone watching last week’s debate over the Republican budget resolution would have experienced déjà vu, as the debate bore a depressing similarity to those of previous years. Once again, the Republicans claimed their budget would cut spending in a responsible manner, while Democratic opponents claimed the plan’s spending cuts would shred the safety net and leave vital programs unfunded. Of course, neither claim is true.

The budget does not cut spending at all, and in fact actually increases spending by $1.5 trillion over ten years. The Republicans are using the old DC trick of spending less than originally planned and calling that reduced spending increase a $5.1 trillion cut in spending. Only in DC could a budget that increases spending by 3.5 percent per year instead of by 5.2 percent per year be attacked as a “slash-and-burn” plan.

The budget also relies on “dynamic scoring.” This trick is where the budget numbers account for increased government revenue generated by economic growth the budget will supposedly unleash. The claims are dubious at best. Of course, reducing government spending will lead to economic growth. But real growth requires real cuts, not this budget’s phony cuts.

As important as reducing spending and balancing the budget is, focusing solely on budget numbers ignores the root of the problem. The real problem is that too many in Washington — and the nation as a whole — refuse to consider any serious reductions in the welfare-warfare state.

I have always maintained that the logical place to start reducing spending is the trillions wasted on our interventionist foreign policy. Unfortunately, there are still too many in Congress who claim to be fiscal hawks when it comes to welfare spending, but turn into Keynesian “doves” when it comes to spending on the military-industrial complex.

These members cling to the mistaken belief that the government can balance it budget, keep taxes low, and even have a growing economy, while spending trillions of dollars policing the world, and propping up some governments and changing others overtly or covertly. Thus, President Obama is attacked as soft on defense because he only wants to spend $5.9 trillion over ten years on the military. In contrast, the Republican budget spends $6.2 trillion over the next decade. That is almost a trillion more than the budget’s total so-called spending cuts.

If there are too many fiscal conservatives who refuse to abandon the warfare state, there are too many liberals who act as if any reduction in welfare or entitlement spending leaves children starving. I agree it is unrealistic to simply end programs that people are currently dependent on. However, isn’t it inhumane to not take steps to unwind the welfare system before government overspending causes a bigger financial crisis and drags millions more into poverty?

Far from abandoning those in need of help, returning the responsibility for caring for the needy to private charities, churches, and local communities will improve the welfare system. At the very least,  young people should have the freedom to choose to pay a lower tax rate in exchange for promising to never participate in a government welfare or entitlement program.

Last week’s budget debate showed how little difference there lies between the parties when it comes to preserving the warfare-welfare state. One side may prefer more warfare while the other prefers more welfare, but neither side actually wants to significantly reduce the size and scope of government. Until Congress stops trying to run the world, run the economy, and run our lives, there will never be a real debate about cutting spending and limiting government.

[The Ron Paul Institute]

Ron Paul: Aid to Ukraine Is a Bad Deal For All

3134323442_52a9009ce7_oBy Ron Paul

 

Last week Congress overwhelmingly passed a bill approving a billion dollars in aid to Ukraine and more sanctions on Russia. The bill will likely receive the president’s signature within days. If you think this is the last time US citizens will have their money sent to Ukraine, you should think again. This is only the beginning.

This $1 billion for Ukraine is a rip-off for the America taxpayer, but it is also a bad deal for Ukrainians. Not a single needy Ukrainian will see a penny of this money, as it will be used to bail out international banks who hold Ukrainian government debt. According to the terms of the International Monetary Fund (IMF)-designed plan for Ukraine, life is about to get much more difficult for average Ukrainians. The government will freeze some wage increases, significantly raise taxes, and increase energy prices by a considerable margin.

But the bankers will get paid and the IMF will get control over the Ukrainian economy.

The bill also authorizes more US taxpayer money for government-funded “democracy promotion” NGOs, and more money to broadcast US government propaganda into Ukraine via Radio Free Europe and Voice of America. It also includes some saber-rattling, directing the US Secretary of State to “provide enhanced security cooperation with Central and Eastern European NATO member states.”

The US has been “promoting democracy” in Ukraine for more than ten years now, but it doesn’t seem to have done much good. Recently a democratically-elected government was overthrown by violent protestors. That is the opposite of democracy, where governments are changed by free and fair elections. What is shocking is that the US government and its NGOs were on the side of the protestors! If we really cared about democracy we would not have taken either side, as it is none of our business.

Washington does not want to talk about its own actions that led to the coup, instead focusing on attacking the Russian reaction to US-instigated unrest next door to them. So the new bill passed by Congress will expand sanctions against Russia for its role in backing a referendum in Crimea, where most of the population voted to join Russia. The US, which has participated in the forced change of borders in Serbia and elsewhere, suddenly declares that international borders cannot be challenged in Ukraine.

Those of us who are less than gung-ho about sanctions, manipulating elections, and sending our troops overseas are criticized as somehow being unpatriotic. It happened before when so many of us were opposed to the Iraq war, the US attack on Libya, and elsewhere. And it is happening again to those of us not eager to get in another cold — or hot — war with Russia over a small peninsula that means absolutely nothing to the US or its security.

I would argue that real patriotism is defending this country and making sure that our freedoms are not undermined here. Unfortunately, while so many are focused on freedoms in Crimea and Ukraine, the US Congress is set to pass an NSA “reform” bill that will force private companies to retain our personal data and make it even easier for the NSA to spy on the rest of us. We need to refocus our priorities toward promoting liberty in the United States!

[The Ron Paul Institute]

The ‘Pro-Russian’ Libertarian Position of Richard Cobden

Richard_Cobden (1)Richard Cobden, the great libertarian of the 19th century, man of peace, leader of the Anti-Corn Law League, and anti-imperialist, was once considered in line to be Prime Minister. Yet, like so many libertarians after him, he was destroyed for his opposition to nationalism and war. In Cobden’s case, his opposition to the Crimean War sent his political capital into a tailspin as not only the ruling classes savagely attacked him, but he was also abandoned by the liberal rank and file and who had supported his economic positions, but who shunned Cobden once he refused to jump on the war-hysteria bandwagon. One of Cobden’s great “crimes,” according to his critics, was that he was an apologist for the Russian Empire. Cobden was no such thing, of course, but Cobden’s recognition of the motivations behind Russian actions in Europe and Crimea earned him condemnations from narrow-minded liberals who were more concerned with criticizing the Russians (who of course couldn’t have cared less what the British liberals thought) than with criticizing the British Empire, a leading source of political instability and despotism worldwide.

Writings like this, in which Cobden simply examines the Russian point of view on the Polish and Crimean questions, while pointing to the British Empire’s own imperialism, did not earn Cobden any friends:

Lord Dudley Stuart (whose zeal, we fear, without knowledge, upon the subject of Poland, and whose prejudice against Russia have led him to occupy so much of the public time uselessly upon the question before us), in the course of his long speech in the House of Commons (February 19th) upon introducing the subject of Russian encroachments, dwelt at considerable length upon the lust of aggrandisement by which he argued that the government of St. Petersburg was so peculiarly distinguished; and he brought forward, at considerable cost of labour, details of its successive conquests of territory during the last century. Where the human mind is swayed by any passion of however amiable a nature, or where the feelings are allowed to predominate over the reason, in investigating a subject which appeals only to the understanding, it will generally happen that the judgment is defective. We attribute to the well-known fervour of Lord Stuart’s sentiments upon Russia and Poland, the circumstance that, during the fortnight which he must have employed in collecting the dates of the several treaties by which the former empire has wrested its possessions from neighbouring states, the thought never once occurred to him—a reflection which would have entered the head of almost any other man of sense, who sat down coolly to consider the subject—that, during the last hundred years, England has, for every square league of territory annexed to Russia, by force, violence, or fraud, appropriated to herself three. Such would have been the reflection which flashed across the mind of a statesman who sat down, dispassionately, to investigate the subject of Russian policy;

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US ‘Democracy Promotion’ Destroys Democracy Overseas

11879731476_415694913b_bby Ron Paul

It was almost ten years ago when, before the House International Relations Committee, I objected to the US Government funding NGOs to meddle in the internal affairs of Ukraine. At the time the “Orange Revolution” had forced a regime change in Ukraine with the help of millions of dollars from Washington.

At that time I told the Committee:

We do not know exactly how many millions—or tens of millions—of dollars the United States government spent on the presidential election in Ukraine. We do know that much of that money was targeted to assist one particular candidate, and that through a series of cut-out non-governmental organizations (NGOs)—both American and Ukrainian—millions of dollars ended up in support of the presidential candidate…

I was worried about millions of dollars that the US government-funded National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and its various related organizations spent to meddle in Ukraine’s internal affairs. But it turns out that was only the tip of the iceberg.

Last December, US Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland gave a speechin which she admitted that since 1991 the US government has:

[I]nvested more than 5 billion dollars to help Ukraine…in the development of democratic institutions and skills in promoting civil society and a good form of government.

This is the same State Department official who was caught on tape just recently planning in detail the overthrow of the Ukrainian government.

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Ron Paul in ‘USA Today’

From his column in today’s USA Today:

Critics point to the Russian “occupation” of Crimea as evidence that no fair vote could have taken place. Where were these people when an election held in an Iraq occupied by U.S. troops was called a “triumph of democracy”?

Perhaps the U.S. officials who supported the unconstitutional overthrow of Ukraine’s government should refocus their energies on learning our own Constitution, which does not allow the U.S. government to overthrow governments overseas or send a billion dollars to bail out Ukraine and its international creditors.

Though the Obama administration has applied some minimal sanctions on selected Russian and Crimean individuals, neither the U.S. nor the EU can afford significant sanctions against Russia. Global trade provides too much economic benefit to both sides.

If Spying on Senate is So Bad, Why is it OK For Them To Spy On Us?

1970119596_d8690c817a_bby Ron Paul

The reaction of Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) to last week’s revelations that the CIA secretly searched Senate Intelligence Committee computers reveals much about what the elites in government think about the rest of us. “Spy on thee, but not on me!”

The hypocrisy of Sen. Feinstein is astounding. She is the biggest backer of the NSA spying on the rest of us, but when the tables are turned and her staff is the target she becomes irate. But there is more to it than that. There is an attitude in Washington that the laws Congress passes do not apply to Members. They can trample our civil liberties, they believe, but it should never affect their own freedom.

Remember that much of this started when politicians rushed to past the PATRIOT Act after 9/11. Those of us who warned that such new powers granted to the state would be used against us someday were criticized as alarmist and worse. The violations happened just as we warned, but when political leaders discovered the breach of our civil liberties they did nothing about it. It was not until whistleblowers like Edward Snowden and others informed us of the abuses that the “debate” over surveillance that President Obama claimed to welcome could even begin to take place! Left to politicians like Dianne Feinstein, Mike Rogers, and President Obama, we would never have that debate because we would not know.

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Ron Paul Interviewed in ‘The Guardian’ About Crimea

Here, Ron Paul discusses Crimean secession:

“That is our how our country was started,” he said. “It was the right of self-determination, and voting, and asking and even fighting for it, and seceding. Of course libertarians were delighted with the secession of the various countries and units of government away from the Soviet Union, so yes, we want the people to make the decisions.”

Video: Lew Rockwell Discusses Police Statism and Austrian Econ with Ron Paul

In this January 2014 interview, Lew Rockwell discusses police states, the worldwide Austrian economics movement and the future of the Mises Institute with Ron Paul.




Youtube Version: Jeff Deist Interview with Ron Paul

Yesterday’s video featuring Jeff Deist and Ron Paul has been added to Youtube. This version is also slightly longer:

Hagel’s ‘Defense Cuts’ Are Smoke And Mirrors

800px-The_Pentagon_US_Department_of_Defense_building (1)by Ron Paul

Last week Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel proposed an additional 40,000 reduction in active duty US Army personnel, down to 450,000 soldiers. As US troops are being withdrawn from the recent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, it might make sense to reduce not only the active duty military but the entire military budget. However, from the interventionists’ reaction to Hagel’s announcement you might think President Obama announced he was shutting down the Pentagon!

Rep. Michael McCaul, Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, claimed that this slight reduction in personnel would hurt our military readiness. He blamed the exploding spending on welfare entitlements for the proposed military cuts, stating, “It’s all being sacrificed … on the altar of entitlements. This president cannot take on mandatory spending, so all we’ve done in the Congress — and this president — is basically cut discretionary spending.”

McCaul is partly right. Welfare spending is bankrupting the country. But military spending is also welfare: it is welfare for the well-connected military-industrial complex, which enriches itself manufacturing useless boondoggles like the F-35 fighter. We should never confuse legitimate defense spending – which I support – with military spending, which promotes interventionism overseas and actually undermines our national security.

Neoconservative Senators Lindsey Graham and John McCain were also quick to criticize Hagel’s announcement. They said the cuts were dead on arrival in the US Senate. “We are going to kill it, not let it happen,” said Graham. McCain added, “We live in an ever-increasingly dangerous world and this budget is out of touch with reality.”

What McCain and Graham won’t admit is that much of the reason we are in an increasingly-dangerous world is that the neocons keep inviting blowback with the interventions they are constantly pushing. If we minded our own business we would live in a far less dangerous world.

Nevertheless, although the neocons make a big deal about this small cut in military personnel, in reality these are not military cuts at all. These are token proposed cuts in troop levels which Congress won’t allow the administration to do anyway. What Hagel proposes is not cuts, but instead a shift in spending away from personnel and toward new high-tech weapons which are favored by and profitable to the military-industrial complex.

The F-35, for example, will continue in production according to Hagel’s plan, despite the numerous cost over-runs and design flaws. This is likely because the F-35 is built in 46 US states and nine foreign countries! That makes it particularly popular in Congress, regardless of its flaws and expense.

We do need real cuts in military spending, not just moving spending around from troops to new weapons systems. But what we really need is for the president to downsize US foreign policy. Maintaining a military presence in 140 countries while continuing to stir up trouble can lead to problems when the military is downsized. So, it’s our intervention that needs downsizing.

A proper foreign policy would mean a strong national defense, but a huge reduction in interventions and commitments overseas. Why are we stirring up trouble in Ukraine? In Syria? In Africa? Why are we defending South Korea and Japan when they are wealthy enough to defend themselves? A proper sized foreign policy would defend the United States instead of provoking the rest of the world.

[Ron Paul Institute]

The Washington Beltway: Sinkhole for Donors’ Funds

4661419386_4203c997be_oby Gary North

Reality Check

I turned 72 in February. I want to make a few comments on the history of the American Right, while I still have my wits about me.

I have spent my life on the fringes of academia. I earned a Ph.D., but I never went into full-time teaching. Well, not quite never. In the fall of 1979, I taught a course on the free market at a little-known Baptist college in North Carolina. At the end of the semester, I left North Carolina, moved to Texas, and did it in such a way that I avoided something in the range of $25,000 in state income taxes (1979 dollars). I never got paid personally for my teaching. I had the money paid to my foundation, the Institute for Christian Economics, from which I never drew a salary. I also taught a night school course in economics for two weeks at an Oregon community college in the spring of 1974. These schools were surely on the fringes of academia.

I came into the conservative movement in 1956 in response to a lecture by the anti-Communist Australian physician, Fred Schwarz. I was taught civics in 1958-59 in high school by the man who was probably the most conservative high school teacher in the state of California, and probably on the entire West Coast: Wayne Roy. He was legendary in the district.

I was the part of the Goldwater for Vice President movement in 1960. There were not many of us, especially in California.

I started reading The Freeman in 1957, a little over a year after it began publication. I started reading National Review in 1959, when I went off to college.

SINKHOLES

I have watched more money from conservatives go down the drain over the last 50 years than you can imagine. I have watched the same mistakes being made, over and over, all with enthusiastic financial support from donors. I have seen a few things that worked, and I have seen a lot of things that did not work. Still, in the overall sweep of life, most things don’t work. But when there is a pattern to that which doesn’t work, and when that pattern fails, again and again, to gain traction, I figure it’s time to sound a warning.

Here is the warning: if an organization is inside the Washington Beltway, do not send any money. It doesn’t need any money. It has enough donors who are doing that, donors who are terminally naïve, and will keep sending the money.

I’m not speaking here of lobbying organizations. I understand that lobbying organizations have to be inside the Beltway, or else close to it. I am also not speaking of public interest legal organizations that are trying to roll back the juggernaut federal court system and federal bureaucracy (administrative law). I am speaking here of what are euphemistically called think tanks.

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