by Ron Paul
According to a recent poll, 73 percent of all Americans oppose increases in federal spending. Since this anti-government spending sentiment is a major reason Republicans control the House and Senate, one would expect the Republican Congress to hold the line on, or even cut, government spending. Yet, despite the Republican leadership’s rhetoric about “fiscal responsibility,” this year’s House Republican budget spends $104 billion more than the GOP’s 2013 budget.
Some conservatives, most notably the Heritage Foundation, have criticized the GOP budget. Heritage and the conservative House Republican Study Committee (RSC) have both prepared conservative alternatives to the official Republican budgets. Unfortunately, neither Heritage nor the RSC budgets meaningfully reduce federal spending.
Conservative efforts to reduce the size of government are handicapped by their love affair with the military-industrial complex. Since the Pentagon’s budget makes up the largest category of “discretionary” spending, it seems logical that a serious balanced budget plan would reduce spending on militarism.
Yet many of the same conservatives who (rightly) criticize the Republicans for refusing to cut spending not only oppose cuts to the Pentagon budget, they actually call for increases in military spending! These conservatives refuse to admit that the trillions spent on “regime change” overseas have not only failed to turn the targeted counties into Jeffersonian republics but have actually empowered groups like ISIS.
Conservative support for ever-increasing spending on militarism undercuts their efforts to end corporate welfare. Much of the so-called defense budget is wasted on boondoggles like the F-35 fighter that only defend the lifestyles of defense contractors and their lobbyists.
Despite insisting on increased military spending, the Heritage and RSC budgets both, at least on paper, eliminate the deficit in less than ten years. These budgets contain some other positive elements. For example, the RSC budget calls for an audit of the Federal Reserve. Both budgets repeal Obamacare and provide the American people with much needed tax relief.
The good features of the conservative budgets do not cancel out their flaws. For one thing, neither of the conservative budgets actually cuts spending. Instead, they both use the old DC trick of cutting projected increases in spending. Only in DC could budgets that increase domestic spending be considered a “radical attack on the welfare state.”
The fundamental flaw in the conservative budgets is philosophical: like much of modern American conservatism, the budget accepts the notion that that the American government is both constitutionally authorized to, and capable of, running the economy, running our lives, and running the world. Hence the “conservative” budgets do little or nothing to scale back the federal role in education, housing, welfare, or commerce.
Conservative budgets reform welfare programs by giving the states more authority and flexibility in administering the programs. This may make marginal improvements in the programs, but it does not make the welfare state moral or constitutional. It also does not make government welfare more efficient or compassionate than private charity.
Similarly, while conservatives promise entitlement reforms that give individuals greater control, they refuse to grant young people the option to care for themselves by opting-out of the government entitlement system.
If America is going to avoid a major economic crisis, government spending and debt must be reduced. However, budgets that merely tinker around the edges of the welfare-warfare state, or only reduce the rate of spending increases, merely postpone the day of reckoning. Only a budget that brings the troops home, shuts down unconstitutional agencies, ends all corporate welfare, and begins unwinding our welfare and entitlement programs will ensure future generations enjoy liberty, peace, and prosperity.
Copyright © 2016 by Ron Paul Institute. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit and a live link are given. Read online
Written by Ron Paul
This has been the most dramatic week in US/Iranian relations since 1979.
Last weekend ten US Navy personnel were caught in Iranian waters, as the Pentagon kept changing its story on how they got there. It could have been a disaster for President Obama’s big gamble on diplomacy over conflict with Iran. But after several rounds of telephone diplomacy between Secretary of State John Kerry and his Iranian counterpart Javad Zarif, the Iranian leadership – which we are told by the neocons is too irrational to even talk to – did a most rational thing: weighing the costs and benefits they decided it made more sense not to belabor the question of what an armed US Naval vessel was doing just miles from an Iranian military base. Instead of escalating, the Iranian government fed the sailors and sent them back to their base in Bahrain.
Then on Saturday, the Iranians released four Iranian-Americans from prison, including Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian. On the US side, seven Iranians held in US prisons, including six who were dual citizens, were granted clemency. The seven were in prison for seeking to trade with Iran in violation of the decades-old US economic sanctions.
This mutual release came just hours before the United Nations certified that Iran had met its obligations under the nuclear treaty signed last summer and that, accordingly, US and international sanctions would be lifted against the country.
How did the “irrational” Iranians celebrate being allowed back into the international community? They immediately announced a massive purchase of more than 100 passenger planes from the European Airbus company, and that they would also purchase spare parts from Seattle-based Boeing. Additionally, US oil executives have been in Tehran negotiating trade deals to be finalized as soon as it is legal to do so. The jobs created by this peaceful trade will be beneficial to all parties concerned. The only jobs that should be lost are the Washington advocates of re-introducing sanctions on Iran.
Events this week have dealt a harsh blow to Washington’s neocons, who for decades have been warning against any engagement with Iran. These true isolationists were determined that only regime change and a puppet government in Tehran could produce peaceful relations between the US and Iran. Instead, engagement has worked to the benefit of the US and Iran.
Proven wrong, however, we should not expect the neocons to apologize or even pause to reflect on their failed ideology. Instead, they will continue to call for new sanctions on any pretext. They even found a way to complain about the release of the US sailors – they should have never been confronted in the first place even if they were in Iranian waters. And they even found a way to complain about the return of the four Iranian-Americans to their families and loved ones – the US should have never negotiated with the Iranians to coordinate the release of prisoners, they grumbled. It was a show of weakness to negotiate! Tell that to the families on both sides who can now enjoy the company of their loved ones once again!
I have often said that the neocons’ greatest fear is for peace to break out. Their well-paid jobs are dependent on conflict, sanctions, and pre-emptive war. They grow wealthy on conflict, which only drains our economy. Let’s hope that this new opening with Iran will allow many other productive Americans to grow wealthy through trade and business ties. Let’s hope many new productive jobs will be created on both sides. Peace is prosperous!
Read online: http://bit.ly/1SqRyXf
by Horatio Bunce
As Tennessee Republicans continue to float the idea of an increase in the motor fuel tax, I keep seeing a phrase along the lines of “it might be the right time since gas prices are at historic lows”.
I am not sure how “historic” or “low” they mean. Regular unleaded gasoline in Knoxville was $1.46/gallon when Barry Sotero was elected in 2008. Today it is $1.58/gallon, an 8.2% increase. If the fraudulent 2.1% inflation rate reported by our government actually included housing, food and fuels, then a 2.1% inflation rate since 2008 should put gasoline at $1.69/gallon where it has been in the last month. However, we all knew the days of $110/bbl oil and $3.50/gallon gasoline in this same window. And why should we believe there will not be an equal, non-market fundamental, skyrocketing of price in the next 7 years?
How much tax is enough? Of the current $1.58/gallon, $0.214 is state tax and another $0.184 is federal tax. That’s over 25% of the total revenue going to taxes already. The same government that has coddled hybrids and electric cars, their buyers and manufacturers, and mandated increased fuel efficiencies now seems to be suffering the consequences of its own mandates. What did they expect after forcing manufacture of more fuel efficient vehicles? More fuel use to keep padding their coffers?
Of course it is readily apparent to anyone paying attention the last seven years that fuel price apparently has nearly nothing to do with cost of oil production or even demand. Crude Oil price per barrel today ($37) is far less now than when gasoline was $1.46 per gallon ($46). Have you noticed the price of motor oil dropping 50% like gasoline has the last couple of years? Why hasn’t it moved? Are we to believe there is less demand and an inventory surplus of crude oil lowering the price of gasoline, but the same surplus doesn’t affect price for the oil used in the gasoline engine?
There are many games being played with the oil market, our OPEC agreement for exports only in US dollars, EFT (electronically traded funds) or futures (not actual barrels of oil) trading, economic sanctions (economic warfare) with certain foreign countries. Retaliation by other countries in response, etc. It is a false market. Republicans should stop relying on its instantaneous position to justify tax increases.
With the goal of more transparency and open discussions on the role of government, BC Public Record is making these local Incentives Agreements available for your information and consideration. Keep in mind that these ‘deals’ do not include the agreements made with the state. Double dipping with crony corporate welfare is common.
Knox News reported that the incentives package for Advanced Munitions International (AMI) is $26.6 M but this figure doesn’t include the tax abatement that AMI will receive. AMI is required to provide 477 jobs paying and average $43,800 in salaries and benefits.
Compare that to Kristine Tallent working at the City of Maryville making $105,608.57 (excluding benefits) or Blount County Commissioner Mike Caylor working at the City of Maryville making $69,424.78 (excluding benefits) or Blount County Commissioner Grady Caskey a teacher working for Blount County Schools making $53,080 (excluding benefits) or Blount County Commissioner Dodd Crowe a teacher working for Blount County Schools making $64,380 (excluding benefits) or Dodd Crowe’s wife Renda making $64,380 (excluding benefits) or Blount County Commissioner Gary Farmer working for Blount County Schools making $68,792 (excluding benefits) or Melissa Bowers wife of Blount County Commissioner Brad Bowers working for Maryville City Schools making $65,302.32 (excluding benefits) or Kristi Yates sister of Blount County Commissioner Brad Bowers working for Blount County Schools making $50,582 (excluding benefits) or City of Maryville Manager Greg McClain making $145,000.27 (excluding benefits) or Patricia Stinnett wife of Blount County Commissioner Tom Stinnett making $71,719.32 (excluding benefits) working for Maryville City Schools or Blount County Mayor Ed Mitchell making $123,726 or Blount County Sheriff James Berrong making $117,835 (excluding benefits) or the General Sessions judges making $158,795 (excluding benefits) or Bryan Daniels working for the Blount Partnership whose full salary is unknown but has said that the taxpayers are paying $50,000 of it.
The next time you see these people cutting ribbons and taking credit for giving the farm away, remember that many of them make far more than you do. But you should be happy that they used your money and took credit for bringing in jobs that pay far less than they make right?
“And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.” 2 Peter 2:3
Written byMonday November 9, 2015
Last week Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen hinted that the Federal Reserve Board will increase interest rates at the board’s December meeting. The positive jobs report that was released following Yellen’s remarks caused many observers to say that the Federal Reserve’s first interest rate increase in almost a decade is practically inevitable.
However, there are several reasons to doubt that the Fed will increase rates anytime in the near future. One reason is that the official unemployment rate understates unemployment by ignoring the over 94 million Americans who have either withdrawn from the labor force or settled for part-time work. Presumably the Federal Reserve Board has access to the real unemployment numbers and is thus aware that the economy is actually far from full employment.
The decline in the stock market following Friday’s jobs report was attributed to many investors’ fears over the impact of the predicted interest rate increase. Wall Street’s jitters about the effects of a rate increase is another reason to doubt that the Fed will soon increase rates. After all, according to former Federal Reserve official Andrew Huszar, protecting Wall Street was the main goal of “quantitative easing,” so why would the Fed now risk a Christmastime downturn in the stock markets?
Donald Trump made headlines last week by accusing Janet Yellen of keeping interest rates low because she does not want to risk another economic downturn in President Obama’s last year in office. I have many disagreements with Mr. Trump, but I do agree with him that the Federal Reserve’s polices may be influenced by partisan politics.
Janet Yellen would hardly be the first Fed chair to allow politics to influence decision-making. Almost all Fed chairs have felt pressure to “adjust” monetary policy to suit the incumbent administration, and almost all have bowed to the pressure. Economists refer to the Fed’s propensity to tailor monetary policy to suit the needs of incumbent presidents as the “political” business cycle.
Presidents of both parties, and all ideologies, have interfered with the Federal Reserve’s conduct of monetary policy. President Dwight D. Eisenhower actually threatened to force the Fed chair to resign if he did not give in to Ike’s demands for easy money, while then-Federal Reserve Chair Arthur Burns was taped joking about Fed independence with President Richard Nixon.
The failure of the Fed’s policies of massive money creation, corporate bailouts, and quantitative easing to produce economic growth is a sign that the fiat money system’s day of reckoning is near. The only way to prevent the monetary system’s inevitable crash from causing a major economic crisis is the restoration of a free-market monetary policy.
One positive step Congress may take this year is passing the Audit the Fed bill. Fortunately, Senator Rand Paul is using Senate rules to force the Senate to hold a roll-call vote on Audit the Fed. The vote is expected to take place in the next two-to-three weeks. If Audit the Fed passes, the American people can finally learn the full truth about the Fed’s operations. If it fails, the American people will at least know which senators side with them and which ones side with the Federal Reserve.
Allowing a secretive central bank to control monetary policy has resulting in an ever-expanding government, growing income inequality, a series of ever-worsening economic crises, and a steady erosion of the dollar’s purchasing power. Unless this system is changed, America, and the world, will soon experience a major economic crisis. It is time to finally audit, then end, the Fed.
Copyright © 2015 by RonPaul Institute. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit and a live link are given.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce posted an article yesterday about the EPA water rule and why it should be stopped. The article says, “EPA’s regulatory overreach is so outrageous that hundreds of local government and business organizations back the bill.”
The local government of Blount County, Tennessee opposed the EPA’s water rule and supported legislation to stop it through the resolution that I (Tona Monroe) sponsored (see page 522). So why did Bryan Daniels of the Blount Partnership and Chamber of Commerce work to kill my resolution? What exactly was Daniels’ agenda?
This comes while the local Chamber of Commerce and Blount Partnership are bragging on Facebook about their 5 star accreditation from the U.S. Chamber. The Chamber says, “we performed an intensive self-assessment of our operations in nine areas of work, including governance, government affairs, and technology.
The comment that was posted asking why the Chamber/Partnership blocked me and commissioner Jamie Daly if they were working on governance and government affairs appears to have been quickly deleted.
Earlier this year Commissioner Daly and I (Tona Monroe) sponsored a resolution asking congress to pass legislation, which has passed the House, to repeal draconian EPA stormwater regulations. The resolution passed despite Bryan Daniels trying to kill it so he could get credit for giving the farm away to bring jobs (a composites manufacturer?) to the area. Our area would have to be in attainment status in order for the manufacturer to come in the area without having to install more pollution control equipment.
The Blount Partnership/Chamber of Commerce and what ever entity that Byran Daniels and his cohorts choose to be at the moment have blocked Commissioners Jamie Daly and me. Despite the secretive, back stabbing, pancake eating, ribbon cutting, PR stunt craving ways of Daniels and Mayor Ed Mitchell, Jamie Daly commented on one of the Facebook pages of the royal deities about the possibility of more industry for the area. Did the hard hitting comment, “Now we can have more industries.” instill in Daniels such a paralyzing fear that he felt the need to block communication with an elected official? That comment was hardly a hard hitting rebuke, like I am known to deliver.
Bryan Daniels, his Chamber cohorts, Ed Mitchell, Chairman Jerome Moon and Bob Norris who hides behind his anonymous editorials are PR sensitive wimps. Anyone can be a boot licker and take credit for giving the farm away. Benjamin Franklin did it for years before he finally realized it was time to stand up to the crown and fight for the rights of the people.
By Ron Paul
The US Treasury’s recent announcement that the government will reach the debt ceiling on November 3 means Congress will soon be debating raising the government’s borrowing limit again. Any delay in, or opposition to, raising the debt ceiling will inevitably be met with hand-wringing over Congress’ alleged irresponsibility. But the real irresponsible act would be for Congress to raise the debt ceiling.
Cutting up its credit card is the only way to make Congress reduce spending. Anyone who doubts this should listen to the bipartisan whining over how sequestration has so drastically reduced spending that there is literally nothing left to cut. But, according to the Heritage Foundation, sequestration has only reduced spending from $3.6 trillion to $3.5 trillion. Only in DC would a less than one percent spending reduction be considered a draconian cut.
Defense hawks have found a way around sequestration by shoving billions of dollars into the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) account. OCO spending is classified as “emergency” spending so it does not count against the spending limits, even when OCO is used for items that do not fit any reasonable definition of emergency.
Yet, even using OCO to boost military spending by as much as $80 billion does not satisfy the military-industrial complex’s ravenous appetite for taxpayer dollars.
During the majority of my time in Congress, debt ceiling increases were routinely approved. In fact, congressional rules once allowed the House of Representatives to increase the debt ceiling without a vote or even a debate! Congress’ need to appear to respond to growing concerns over federal spending has forced it to end the practice of rubber-stamping debt ceiling increases.
Continuously increasing spending will lead to rising inflation as the Federal Reserve tries to monetize the ever-increasing debt. This will eventually lead to a serious economic crisis. When the crisis occurs, Congress will have no choice but to cut spending. The question is not if, but when and under what circumstances, spending will be cut.
The only alternative for cutting spending in response to economic crisis involves Congress gradually unwinding the welfare state in a manner that does not harm those dependent on federal programs. Congress will not even consider doing this until enough people have embraced the ideas of liberty to force the politicians to reconsider the proper role of government.
Those who accept the premises of the welfare statists are incapable of making principled arguments against welfare and entitlement programs. Thus, they can only quibble over spending levels or how to more efficiently manage the federal bureaucracy. While fiscal conservatives may gain some minor victories with this approach, their failure to challenge the welfare state’s morality or effectiveness dooms any effort to seriously curtail welfare state spending.
Similarly, one cannot favor both serious reductions in the military budget and an aggressive foreign policy. So-called cheap hawks may achieve some reforms in the Pentagon’s budget. They many even succeed in killing a few wasteful weapons projects. However, their unwillingness to oppose a foreign policy of perpetual war means they will always cave in to the war hawks’ demands for ever-higher military budgets.
Those who understand the dangers from continuing on our current path should support efforts to stop Congress from raising the debt ceiling. However, supporters of liberty will not win the political battle over government spending on welfare and warfare until we win the intellectual battle over the role of government. Those of us who know the truth must do all we can to spread the ideas of liberty.
Copyright © 2015 by RonPaul Institute. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit and a live link are given.
Read online: http://bit.ly/1QJSP7R