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My Plan for a Freedom President: How I Would Put the Constitution Back in the Oval Office - Page 3 PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Guest Commentaries
Written by Ron Paul   
Friday, 05 March 2010 06:06

The classroom is not the only place the federal government does not belong. We also need to reverse the nationalization of local police. Federal grants have encouraged the militarization of law enforcement, which has led to great damage to civil liberties. Like education, law enforcement is inherently a local function, and ending programs such as the Byrne Grants is essential not just to reducing federal spending but also to restoring Americans' rights.

Obviously, a president concerned with restoring constitutional government and fiscal responsibility would need to address the unstable entitlement situation, possibly the one area of government activity even more difficult to address than education. Yet it is simply unfair to continue to force young people to participate in a compulsory retirement program when they could do a much better job of preparing for their own retirements. What is more, the government cannot afford the long-term expenses of entitlements, even if we were to reduce all other unconstitutional foreign and domestic programs.

As I mentioned in the introduction to this article, it would be wrong simply to cut these programs and throw those who are dependent on them "into the streets." After all, the current recipients of these programs have come to rely on them, and many are in a situation in which they cannot provide for themselves without government assistance. The thought of people losing the ability to obtain necessities for them because they were misled into depending on a government safety net that has been yanked away from them should trouble all of us. However, the simple fact is that if the government does not stop spending money on welfare and warfare, America may soon face an economic crisis that could lead to people being thrown into the street.

Therefore, a transition away from the existing entitlement scheme is needed. This is why a constitutionalist president should propose devoting half of the savings from the cuts in wars and other foreign spending, corporate welfare, and unnecessary and unconstitutional bureaucracies to shoring up Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid and providing enough money to finance government's obligations to those who are already stuck in the system and cannot make alternative provisions. This re-routing of spending would allow payroll taxes to be slashed. The eventual goal would be to move to a completely voluntary system in which people only pay payroll taxes into Social Security and Medicare if they choose to participate in those programs. Americans who do not want to participate would be free not to do so, but they would forgo any claim to Social Security or Medicare benefits after retirement.

Some people raise concerns that talk of transitions is an excuse for indefinitely putting off the end of the welfare state. I understand those concerns, which is why a transition plan must lay out a clear timetable for paying down the debt and eliminating unconstitutional bureaucracies, and setting a firm date for when young people can at last opt out of the entitlement programs.

A final area that should be front and center in a constitutionalist's agenda is monetary policy. The Founders obviously did not intend for the president to have much influence over the nation's money -- in fact, they never intended any part of the federal government to operate monetary policy as it is defined now. However, today a president could play an important role in restoring stability to monetary policy and the value of the dollar. To start, by fighting for serious reductions in spending, a constitutionalist administration would remove one of the major justifications for the Federal Reserve's inflationary policies: the need to monetize government debt.

There are additional steps a pro-freedom president should pursue in his first term to restore sound monetary policy. He should ask Congress to pass two pieces of legislation I have introduced in the 110th Congress. The first is the Audit the Fed bill, which would allow the American people to learn just how the Federal Reserve has been conducting monetary policy. The other is the Free Competition in Currency Act, which repeals legal-tender laws and all taxes on gold and silver. This would introduce competition in currency and put a check on the Federal Reserve by ensuring that people have alternatives to government-produced fiat money.

All of these measures will take a lot of work -- a lot more than any one person, even the president of the United States, can accomplish by himself. To restore the country to the kind of government the Founders meant for us to have, a constitutionalist president would need the support of an active liberty movement. Freedom activists must be ready to pressure wavering legislators to stand up to the special interests and stay the course toward freedom. Thus, when the day comes when someone who shares our beliefs sits in the Oval Office, groups like Young American for Liberty (YAL) and Campaign for Liberty will still have a vital role to play. No matter how many pro-freedom politicians we elect to office, the only way to guarantee constitutional government is through an educated and activist public devoted to the ideals of the liberty.

For that reason, the work of YAL in introducing young people to the freedom philosophy and getting them involved in the freedom movement is vital to the future of our country. I thank all the members and supporters of YAL for their dedication to changing the political debate in this country, so that in the not-too-distant future we actually will have a president and a Congress debating the best ways to shrink the welfare-warfare state and restore the republic.

U.S. Representative Ron Paul (R-Texas) is the author of End the Fed and The Revolution: A Manifesto.

This essay originally appeared in Young American Revolution, a magazine published by Young Americans for Liberty (YALiberty.org).

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