By Ron Paul
This week, Congress passed a budget calling for increasing federal spending and adding $1.7 trillion to the national debt over the next ten years. Most so-called “fiscal conservatives" voted for this big-spending budget because it allows Congress to repeal some parts of Obamacare via “reconciliation." As important as it is to repeal Obamacare, it does not justify increasing spending and debt.
It is disappointing, but not surprising, that the Obamacare repeal would be used to justify increasing spending. Despite sequestration’s minor (and largely phony) spending cuts, federal spending has increased every year since Republicans took control of the House of Representatives. Some will attribute this to the fact that the Republican House had to negotiate with a big-spending Democratic president — even though federal spending actually increased by a greater percentage the last time Republicans controlled the White House and Congress than it did under President Obama.
The history of massive spending increases under unified Republican control of government is likely to repeat itself. During the presidential campaign, President-elect Donald Trump came out against reducing spending on “entitlements.” He also called for a variety of spending increases, including spending one trillion dollars on infrastructure.
One positive part of the infrastructure proposals is their use of tax credits to encourage private sector investments. Hopefully this will be the first step toward returning responsibility for building and maintaining our nation’s infrastructure to the private sector.
Unfortunately, the administration appears likely to support increased federal spending on “shovel-ready” jobs. Claims that federal spending helps grow the economy rely on the fallacy of that which is not seen. While everyone sees the jobs and economic growth created by government infrastructure projects, no one sees the greater number of jobs that could have been created had the government not taken the resources out of the hands of private businesses, investors, and entrepreneurs. Despite what some conservatives seem to think, this fallacy applies equally to Republican and Democrat spending.
President-elect Trump has criticized the past two administrations’ reckless foreign policy, and he has publicly shamed the powerful Lockheed Martin company for wasting taxpayer money. Yet, he continues to support increasing the military budget and has called for increased military intervention in the Middle East.
The fact is the United States already spends too much on militarism. Not only does the United States spend more on the military than the combined military budgets of the next eight highest spending countries, but Pentagon waste exceeds the total Russian military budget.
America can no longer afford to waste trillions of dollars on a militaristic foreign policy. Donald Trump should follow-up his attacks on wasteful military spending by dramatically changing our foreign policy and working to cut the Pentagon's bloated budget.
If the new administration and Congress increase spending, they will need the Federal Reserve to monetize the growing debt. The need for an accommodative monetary policy gives the Federal Reserve and its allies in Congress and in the deep state leverage over the administration. This leverage could be used, for example, to pressure the administration to abandon support for the Audit the Fed legislation.
Fed action can only delay the inevitable day of reckoning. Raising levels of federal spending and debt will inevitably lead to a major economic crisis. This crisis is likely to be reached when concerns over our national debt cause more countries to reject the dollar’s status as the world's reserve currency. The only way to avoid this crisis is to stop increasing spending and instead begin reducing spending on all aspects of the welfare-warfare state.
By Michael S. Rozeff
It took a year, and now it’s a fact: American troops are in Poland in rather large numbers. The rotating deployment of 4,000 American soldiers and forces in Poland was budgeted at $3.4 billion. It costs roughly $1 million a year to keep a single soldier overseas in a place like Poland. (In Afghanistan, the cost is well over $2 million a year for a single soldier.)
This is said to deter Russia, but it’s totally unrealistic to think that Russia intends to attack Poland. Materially, the military-industrial complex benefits from keeping Russian-American tensions alive. Peace and disarmament are not in its interest; they mean much lower power and profits. Philosophically, the guiding concept that vivifies the military-industrial complex is to show the Russians and the world that the U.S. is a superpower and that it intends to spread its ways worldwide, with Russia included as a target for coming under American influence and domination.
What would the U.S. do if Russia stationed 4,000 of its troops in Matamoros, Mexico? What would the U.S. do if Mexico had an F-16 air force as Poland does and if it equipped them with new stealthy Russian-supplied cruise missiles that had a range of 620 miles? What feelings would be aroused in people who live in the American states within that range to know that Russian forces were at their doorstep?
Yes, you would not hear the end of the protests from Washington. Washington would respond with enormous demands and pressures. So is it any wonder that Russia protests these moves and takes steps to counter them by moving its nuclear forces closer to Poland?
This article was originally published at LewRockwell.com.
President-Elect Trump held his first press conference in quite some time. While it may be entertaining to watch him battle with the media, there are some tough and challenging consequences heading our way when it comes to Trump's stated policies. Ron Paul discusses on today's Myth-Busters!
By Jacob G. Hornberger
Hardly a day goes by without someone calling for gun control as the way to reduce violence in America.
But the gun control advocates have it all wrong. That’s because they are attacking the symptom of the problem rather than the cause of the problem. That’s not going to do any good and, in fact, might well make the situation even worse.
Consider Switzerland, a country in which there is widespread gun ownership. If that was the root cause of violence in society, Switzerland would have the same problem with societal violence that the United States has. It doesn’t.
There are two ways to drastically reduce violence in America — so drastically, in fact, that there would be a lot less Americans calling for gun control.
The first way is the end the war on drugs. Just legalize all drugs, not just marijuana. If that were to be done today, violence in the United States would plummet dramatically.
First, drug addicts and drug users would no longer have to commit thefts and robberies to pay for the artificially high price of illegal drugs. Making drugs illegal reduces the supply. That causes prices to go up. The stricter the enforcement, the higher the price. Exorbitant prices make it much more difficult for addicts and users to be able to afford the drugs. Assuming that they’re going to get the drugs one way or another, that leaves them with but one alternative with respect to finances — to steal the money to pay for the drugs. That entails violence in the form of muggings, robberies, burglaries, thefts, and the like.
Let’s assume drugs are legalized. Then the price plummets. Drugs become more reasonably priced, much like liquor, wine, and beer. When was the last time you heard of someone committing robbery or theft to get the money to buy a bottle of wine? Drug addicts and drug users find that they’re able to support their drug habit through regular employment. They don’t have to resort to violence to get the money to pay for reasonably priced drugs.
Second, drug gangs and drug cartels are out of business the day drugs are legalized. That’s because they cannot effectively compete against reputable pharmacies and other suppliers. How many addicts or users are going to use some black-market dealer when they can get their drugs from a reputable pharmacy or pharmaceutical company? The drug lords and drug dealers today would not be able to survive.
That means the end of all the violence associated with wars between drugs gangs and drug cartels. No more turf battles between the gangs because there won’t be any more gangs. No more drug-war assassinations of public officials, like what happens often in Mexico, because, again, there won’t be any more drug gangs.
The second way to reduce violence in America is to bring all the troops home from the Middle East and Afghanistan immediately. Not one more killing. Not one more bomb. Not one more assassination.
Ever since the U.S. national-security state began killing people in the Middle East more than 25 years ago, Americans have just assumed that all that constant, non-stop death and destruction would have no effect on people back here at home. The major media has cooperated in this endeavor by declining to publish photographs of the dead. The Pentagon won’t let them photograph the coffins containing the bodies of U.S. soldiers who have been killed over there. The idea has always been based on the notion that if the killing, maiming, torturing, and destruction was limited to over there, it wouldn’t have any effect here at home.
That’s been a pipe dream from the beginning. When their loved ones, relatives, friends, or countrymen are getting killed or having their homes or businesses destroyed by some foreign power, people will oftentimes retaliate not only in revenge but also as a way to make it stop. Americans learned that lesson on 9/11, 2001. They had forewarnings of this lesson even before that date — the 1993 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, the terrorist attack on the USS Cole, and the terrorist attacks on the U.S. Embassies in East Africa. They’ve also learned it in several terrorist attacks since then, some of them here in the United States. Foreign interventionism has costs, not just financial, but also in terms of terrorist “blowback.”
I think there is another factor at work here as well. I can’t prove it but I believe it to be true. I think the constant, non-stop, daily killing, bombing, shooting, and destroying in the Middle East and Afghanistan for the past 25 years has served as some sort of psychological trigger for people who are just a bit off-kilter, driving them to commit unexplained acts of violence against others. The cheapening of life overseas through non-stop killing sets off the trigger that then drives the off-kilter person to unleash his own bizarre wave of violence here at home. Ending the constant violence at the hands of the national-security state over there might well end up bringing a diminution in violence here at home at the hands of the off-kilter types.
Americans have nothing to lose by ending the drug war today and bringing all the troops home today. Both programs have not only failed to achieve their purported ends, they have both produced massive negative consequences. Americans have everything to gain, including a peaceful and harmonious society, by ending both of these federal programs today.
This article was originally published at The Future of Freedom Foundation.
By Ron Paul
Americans have thankfully woken up to the failure of the "drug war". The states have done a wonderful thing in nullifying federal control. Unfortunately, this can all be reversed with the incoming Trump Administration and his pick for attorney general Jeff Sessions. I share my thoughts on this very important issue below:
By Ron Paul
I was recently interviewed by Future Money Trends about the incoming Trump Administration, the Federal Reserve and gold amongst other issues. I share a few stories about my interactions with Paul Volcker and Alan Greenspan as well:
Much is said and written about crime in the inner cities. President Obama was recently in Chicago to discuss it. The real causes are most often overlooked, however...
By Chris Rossini
It appears that Obamacare is going to be one of the early issues addressed by the incoming Trump Administration. There's a lot of back-and-forth about "repeal and replace" and "repeal and wait." It's all nonsense.
Politicians think of themselves as high and mighty architects, running around with their magnificent blueprints that they're going to force on society. However, (without exception) life and reality smack the pompous politicians down. The sought after results almost never come to pass.
Unfortunately, like dogs that chase their own tails, politicians bounce back with a new set of blueprints every single time...And around-and-around we go.
No matter what type of society we are to live in, there will always be the poor, the uneducated, the hungry, and the unemployed. They would exist in an anarchist society. They would exist in a society with a limited or small government. They would even exist with free markets, sound money and rock-solid private property rights.
Poverty is not to be abolished. That's not an easy pill for many (most?) to swallow. As a result, people come up with the craziest ideas in order to fight this reality. Every idea has failed.
Take a look at America's current government. It's the biggest and most intrusive that the world has ever seen.
Has it abolished poverty? On the contrary, it's a poverty manufacturer.
Is it from lack of funds? Of course not!
The U.S. government parasitically drains American citizens to the tune of trillions of dollars per year. And it doesn't stop there. The gang has buried itself in debt that can't possibly be paid...ever!
There are poor people everywhere. The uneducated (thanks to government schools) are growing exponentially and millions of people are still hungry and unemployed.
So what's missing? Does the federal government need another trillion dollars? Does it need more credit from foolish creditors? Does it need another professor to concoct another blueprint?
The answer is a resounding NO to all of the above.
A serious advocate for a society of liberty, sound money, voluntary interactions, and rock-solid private property rights understands that there is no getting rid of poverty. For it is a built-in part of life.
But it's not as bad as it sounds. There's a very big upside, and here it is: In a free society, poverty may only be a temporary situation for each individual. As long as you have the freedom to think, to create, to serve, and to keep the fruits of your labor, you can raise yourself to unbelievable heights. That is the promise of freedom.
Unfortunately, that scares a lot of people. So instead of taking the peaceful route, most will choose to snuggle into the arms of the violent blueprint makers. "Let the politicians draw up plans to raise me out of poverty," becomes the belief.
The blueprint makers love taking on this most impossible task. They get praise (and sometimes worship). But they live and breathe on mostly one thing: Dependency.
Take a look at the arguments that are being presented in the Obamacare "debate." The left seems to brag about the numbers of dependents that they've created. What is to be done about the tens of millions who signed up for Obamacare? What are you going to do, rip their insurance away?
The dependents have become political bargaining chips.
Obamacare is just a small slice of the dependency web too. Factor in the unsustainable Medicare and Social Security scams and you've got a whole society of dependents (who believe they're entitled to what the government promised them).
Instead of a move towards liberty and free markets, the blueprint makers will bark at each other and settle on either keeping the monstrosity as it is, or "replace" it with another monstrosity that will inevitably fail.
A new philosophy must be embraced. Instead of trying to see how much poverty the U.S. government is able to create. Let's scrap the belief that stealing from (A) to give to (B) is a solution to any problem.
There's no way to make theft work.
There's no blueprint that will turn a wrong into a right.
Liberty is always the best option.
Perhaps someday it'll catch on.
Trump's choice for Secretary of State, former Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson, is expected to be grilled in tomorrow's Senate confirmation hearing. Will his lack of government experience or his business dealings with Russia trip him up?