Madame Speaker, I rise to introduce the Congressional Responsibility and Accountability Act. This bill requires Congress to specifically authorize via legislation any proposed federal regulation that will impose costs on any individual of at least $5,000, impose costs on a business or other private organization of at least $25,000, impose aggregate costs on the American people of at least $250,000, or cause any American to lose his or her job.
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to help America's law enforcement officers by introducing the Police Security Protection Act. This legislation provides police officers a tax credit for the purchase of armored vests.
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to introduce the Public Safety Tax Cut Act. This legislation will achieve two important public policy goals. First, it will effectively overturn a ruling of the Internal Revenue Service which has declared as taxable income the waiving of fees by local governments who provide service for public safety volunteers.
Many local governments use volunteer firefighters and auxiliary police either in place of, or as a supplement to, their public safety professionals. Often as an incentive to would-be volunteers, the local entities might waive all or a portion of the fees typically charged for city services such as the provision of drinking water, sewerage charges, or debris pick up. Local entities make these decisions for the purpose of encouraging folks to volunteer, and seldom do these benefits come anywhere near the level of a true compensation for the many hours of training and service required of the volunteers. This, of course, not even to mention the fact that these volunteers could very possibly be called into a situation where they may have to put their lives on the line.
Madam Speaker, HR 180 is premised on the assumption that divestment, sanctions, and other punitive measures are effective in influencing repressive regimes, when in fact nothing could be further from the truth. Proponents of such methods fail to remember that where goods cannot cross borders, troops will. Sanctions against Cuba, Iraq, and numerous other countries failed to topple their governments. Rather than weakening dictators, these sanctions strengthened their hold on power and led to more suffering on the part of the Cuban and Iraqi people. To the extent that divestment effected change in South Africa, it was brought about by private individuals working through the market to influence others.
While fear itself is not always the product of irrationality, once experienced it tends to lead away from reason, especially if the experience is extreme in duration or intensity. When people are fearful they tend to be willing to irrationally surrender their rights.
Thus, fear is a threat to rational liberty. The psychology of fear is an essential component of those who would have us believe we must increasingly rely on the elite who manage the apparatus of the central government.
The statement “Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety” has been attributed to Benjamin Franklin. It is clear, people seek out safety and security when they are in a state of fear, and it is the result of this psychological state that often leads to the surrender of liberty.
Last week, I wrote about the ideology of globalism and how it underlies certain government policies. Managed trade agreements, international military adventurism, and amnesty for illegal immigrants all emanate from this ideology.
Yet globalism has a consequence that is, if we are to believe the rhetoric of its greatest proponents, entirely unintended. Globalists often label those of us who resist their schemes as “isolationist.” Yet it is, somewhat remarkably, the globalists themselves who promote policies that isolate our nation from the rest of the world.
During the 30th year of the Humphrey-Hawkins hearings, it would be helpful for Congress to reassess the usefulness of the Humphrey-Hawkins mandate. The dual mandate calls for full employment and stable prices. Humphrey-Hawkins assumes that the Federal Reserve has unique insights into the United States economy that no one else possesses, that the Federal Reserve knows what prices should be and how much unemployment there should be. Full employment which is brought about through rising inflation will eventually lead to a stagnant economy which will lead to more unemployment. 30+ years after the stagflation era, I would hope that Phillips curves are one of those barbarous relics of the past that have been sent to their graves, along with wage and price controls and bans on the private ownership of gold.
But what I wish to highlight the most is the most pernicious part of the Humphrey-Hawkins mandate is the mandate for price stability. This objective overlooks the natural tendency of prices to fall over time. As new production technologies are brought on line, factories gear up, economies of scale are reached, and the prices of goods will decrease.
The recent defeat of the amnesty bill in the Senate came after outraged Americans made it clear to the political elite that they would not tolerate this legislation, which would further erode our national sovereignty. Similarly, polls increasingly show the unpopularity of the Iraq war, as well as of the Congress that seems incapable of ending it.
Because some people who vocally oppose amnesty are supportive of the war, the ideological connection between support of the war and amnesty is often masked. If there is a single word explaining the reasons why we continue to fight unpopular wars and see legislation like the amnesty bill nearly become law, that word is “globalism.”
The international elite, including many in the political and economic leadership of this country, believe our constitutional republic is antiquated and the loyalty Americans have for our form of government is like a superstition, needing to be done away with. When it benefits elites, they pay lip service to the American way, even while undermining it.
I have been one of the strongest opponents of military action against Iraq . I voted against the initial authorization in 2002 and I have voted against every supplemental appropriations bill to fund the war. I even voted against the initial “ Iraq regime change” legislation back in 1998. I believe our troops should be brought back to the United States without delay. Unfortunately, one of the reasons I oppose this legislation is that it masquerades as a troop withdrawal measure but in reality may well end up increasing US commitments in the Middle East .
Mr. Speaker, this is precisely the debate we should have had four years ago, before Congress voted to abrogate its Constitutional obligation to declare war and transfer that authority to the president. Some in this body were rather glib in declaring the constitution antiquated while voting to cede the ability to initiate hostilities to the President. Now we see the result of ignoring the Constitution, and we are bringing even more mayhem to the process with this legislation.
Recently, the General Accounting Office studied nineteen instances where the President issued so-called “signing statements.” In such statements, the President essentially begins the process of interpreting legislation – up to and including declaring provisions unconstitutional—hence often refusing to enforce them.
The GAO study found that in nearly 1/3 of the cases studied, the administration failed to enforce the law as enacted. This approach is especially worrisome for several reasons.
First, these signing statements tend to move authority from the legislative branch to the executive, thus upsetting our delicate system of checks and balances. Next, these statements grant the President power not given by the Constitution, allowing him to usurp powers of the judicial branch. Finally, the idea of agencies refusing to enforce the law as enacted sets precedent for the type of run away administrative actions our constitution was expressly enacted in order to avoid.
A strong case can be made that our economy is not nearly as robust as our government statistics claim.
Unemployment numbers, inflation rates, tax revenues, and GDP growth all indicate there is little to worry about.
Yet underemployment and a lower standard of living for many Americans hit with significant price inflation leave them fearful of their economic future.
The shake up in the sub prime mortgage market which is now spreading, as the housing bubble deflates, has a long way to go. The same problem exists in the high-yield corporate debt market and will surely add to the economic uncertainty we now face. It’s deceptive to merely blame “abusive lending practices” for these problems.
Madam Speaker: I rise in strong opposition to this resolution. This resolution is an exercise in propaganda that serves one purpose: to move us closer to initiating a war against Iran. Citing various controversial statements by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, this legislation demands that the United Nations Security Council charge Ahmadinejad with violating the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.
Having already initiated a disastrous war against Iraq citing UN resolutions as justification, this resolution is like déja-vu. Have we forgotten 2003 already? Do we really want to go to war again for UN resolutions? That is where this resolution, and the many others we have passed over the last several years on Iran, is leading us. I hope my colleagues understand that a vote for this bill is a vote to move us closer to war with Iran.
A large brew-ha-ha has sparked over at KN@PPSTER over the possibility that Ron Paul is a racist. While I disagree with Tom on the dissection of the document he cites, and thereby its meaning, I've been somewhat shocked that Tom also disagrees with the statement, mine and others, that Ron Paul is the “best current choice to promote libertarianism.”
Domestic and International Monetary Policy, Trade and Technology Remittance Hearing, by US Rep. Ron PaulSubmitted by Staff on Sun, 2007-06-17 00:00.
It is clear to most people that remittances provide a significant economic boost to many South American and Latin American countries. Remittance flows to some countries dwarf foreign direct investment and foreign aid and have a beneficial effect on economic development, enabling low-income families to better their situations. The effect of remittances on development showcases the beneficial effects of market-based interaction to improve peoples' lives.
[This thread has morphed into “Who is the best current choice to promote libertarianism?,” so please pop on over there and leave your thoughts :) --MJ]
Tom Knapp, over at KN@PPSTER, found an old, seemingly racist article written by Ron Paul, and has requested libertarians to abandon Paul for the offence.
While initially shocked and appalled, after reading the article I have to come to the conclusion that Tom jumped the gun and came to the wrong conclusion.
Here's my reply to Tom's post....
[Please leave replies to Tom on Tom's blog. If you want to flame me, you can leave them at either place :)]
Thanks for the link to Paul's article and a lively debate over it. I'll be upfront and politely disagree with your conclusions and ask you to reconsider your request for ditching Paul.