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Thread: Seeking information: please support or refute claims of Rep. Paul's Pork Spending

  1. #1

    Post Seeking information: please support or refute claims of Rep. Paul's Pork Spending

    Good evening, all.

    My previous thread regarding information to support/refute Congressman Paul's claim of one trillion dollars in foreign expenditures has been fairly successful, so I thought I'd turn to another contention many people have regarding Congressman Paul's record. This one pertains a bit more to his Congressional run, though Tim Russert did bring up the issue on Meet The Press -- Congressman Paul seemed a bit uncomfortable in his response, if you recall.

    The assertion is that Congressman Paul claims to be against big government and wasteful spending, but is -- as the Peden pundits are alleging in the 14th -- renowned for having one of the most extensive 'pork spending' request records in Texas. Congressman Paul's response on Meet The Press (after laughing uncharacteristically) was simply that he never voted for any of the legislation, in spite of seeking earmarks that would benefit his constituents. From his perspective, he was thus fulfilling two jobs: 1) representing the wishes of his constituency; 2) remaining steadfast in his support of the Constitution and small government. If I recall correctly he also noted that he was simply trying to win back some of the taxpayers' money.

    What's your perspective on this? I'd especially like to see thoughtful expansions of his apparent stance (from Meet The Press) or any further defense of his lobbied-for earmarks.

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  3. #2


    Here's an article that George Will wrote about Dr. Paul some time back. He explains that topic pretty well.

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    Forgive me for copying someone else's analogy, it's been a while and I don't know who to credit it to, but it can best be explained this way:

    You and two co-workers are going out for lunch. The three of you decide to split the total cost of the meal evenly. You want to go to a Chinese restaurant which is fairly cheap; your two co-workers decide to go to a more expensive Italian restaurant. However, when the pizza comes, you still take one-third of the pizza, even though you voted against buying it in the first place.

    Basically what Dr. Paul is saying is, he doesn't believe his taxpayers should be supporting such a ridiculously large budget - but since they do, his people are just as entitled to the money as anyone else.
    Quote Originally Posted by PaulConventionWV View Post
    You're not making the claim that there's no objective best diet, are you?

  5. #4


    His reasoning is sound, IMO. Although upon a first glance it seems like he is breaking his word, he is just using a loophole for the greater good. The federal government steals his constituents money, he legally uses earmarks to get it back to them as best as he can.

    In his view the federal government shouldn't be stealing their this is just a way to help right a wrong, even though he doesn't feel he should have to "game" the system to do so.

  6. #5


    It is not pork spending. It is earmarks. This is money taken from the tax payers that is set aside for projects in congressional districts. Ron Paul wants to do away with earmark spending but at the same time he is not stupid and willingly takes the money away from the federal government and returns it to the tax payers. If he did not earmark any money for his district it would be spent in some other part of the nation.

  7. #6


    Honestly, I think Ron Paul's claim that he is meeting two obligations is a position I wish most people in congress took. He has a duty to represent his district. He also has a duty to protect the constitution. The way congess runs is: They put in earmarks they want, and avoid their districts wishes. Then they vote against the constitution to make it succeed.

    Look at the impeachment of Bush issue. There is evidence for impeachment, people are demanding it, and the constitution says congress should impeach. Yet, congress is making excuses for the people and not representing their wishes, so that they may not follow the constitution.

    I know this isn't as thoughtful as you may want on the issue you present. I do not see Ron Paul's stance on this issue as anything but consistant.

  8. #7


    His constituents paid the exorbitant taxes. All that money was taken from them and given to the Federal Government. They didn't want the money taken from them in the first place. If it had never been taken in the first place, they could have spent it on museums and ports, etc., on their own, more efficiently, and without it needlessly going through the IRS and the federal gov't, and then BACK TO THEM--the money allocated in those earmarks is just that: THEIR MONEY. They have every right to get it back.

    Ron Paul said this: Just because I am against the IRS doesn't mean I refuse to take tax rebates; and just because someone is against the Social Security system does not mean they should refuse to collect their social security benefits. It is the exact same thing. Those people could vote against (or vote for public officials who are against) those programs, but still collect what they paid into and what they are legally due, and that would not be hypocritical by any stretch of the imagination.

    ALSO RELATED (Ron Paul on Term Limits):

    People have, extremely unfairly!, criticized Ron Paul because he supported and voted for term limits, but then stayed in office way beyond what those term limits would have been. Well, and Ron Paul has also said this I think--VOLUNTARY term limits would be horrible--in many ways and cases, only the good legislators would ever leave--the dishonorable ones that are there for the perks and pensions, etc., would not leave. So the consequence would be horrible for the country. Only mandatory term limits would work. So that criticism is the weakest argument against Paul ever--but people push it all the time! Ron Paul must say very clearly what I said above--and then ALWAYS say, "And anyway--I have never used a congressional junket and I have always refused to partake in the congressional pension plan! And if I left voluntarilly, my replacement would do both of those things!"

  9. #8


    Quote Originally Posted by LibertyEagle View Post
    Here's an article that George Will wrote about Dr. Paul some time back. He explains that topic pretty well.
    A Cheerful Anachronism
    Rep. Ron Paul Says He Can Find In The Constitution's Enumeration Of The Federal Powers--Article I, Section 8--No Reference To Rice.
    By George F. Will
    Updated: 4:31 PM ET Nov 5, 2007
    Some rice farmers from congressman Ron Paul's district were in his office the other day, asking for this and that from the federal government. The affable Republican from south Texas listened nicely, then forwarded their requests to the appropriate House committee. It may or may not satisfy their requests in some bill dispensing largesse to agricultural interests. Then Paul will vote against the bill.

    He believes, with more stubbornness than evidence, that the federal government is a government of strictly enumerated powers, and nowhere in the Constitution's enumeration (Article I, Section 8) can he find any reference to rice. So there. "Farm organizations fight me tooth and nail," he says, "but the farmers are with me." Of course they can afford to indulge their congressman's philosophical eccentricity because lots of other House members represent rice farmers, so rice gets its share of gravy. Still, Paul is a likable eccentric, partly because he likes his constituents while disliking what he considers their incontinent appetite for government. Why, "If you ignore what they say about rice, they are nice people." He would help them by ending the trade embargo with Cuba, to which they used to sell a lot of rice.

    The 71-year-old Ob-Gyn doctor has delivered more than 4,000 babies and (it must seem to other House members) an even larger number of speeches in the House deploring most of what the government does. This week he will be in New Hampshire announcing his second presidential candidacy.

    In 1988, during a 12-year sabbatical from Congress, he was the Libertarian Party's nominee, and finished third. He received just 0.47 percent of the popular vote, but his 432,179 votes were four times more than the total that elected President John Quincy Adams in 1824, so there. This time he is seeking the Republican nomination, so he will be on the Manchester, N.H., stage April 4 for the first Republican candidates' debate.

    There, like Longfellow's youth "who bore,'mid snow and ice, a banner with the strange device, Excelsior!" Paul will unfurl his banner emblazoned with James Madison's Federalist Paper No. 45: "The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined." Paul, who really believes in limited government, will infiltrate that confabulation of sedate candidates in order, he says, to find out "how many real Republicans are left." This could be entertaining, meaning embarrassing.

    Do any other House Republicans agree with him? "Every one of them, at times. But none of them all the time." Paul relishes his role as The Least Malleable Republican. Last week Paul, who voted not only against the 2002 authorization for war but the 1998 Iraq Liberation Act (he thinks "regime change" and its inevitable aftermath, "nation-building," are optional follies) was vehemently supporting the House resolution disapproving of the president's Iraq policy.

    Most congressional offices are decorated with photos of representatives gripping and grinning with presidents and other eminences. Paul, who thinks the presidency has swollen to anticonstitutional proportions, has photos of two Austrian School economists, Friedrich Hayek and Ludwig von Mises, who warned against what Hayek called "the fatal conceit" of governments thinking they can allocate wealth and opportunity more reasonably than can markets. Paul's office has a picture of one president--Grover Cleveland, the conservative Democrat who asked, "What is the use of being elected or re-elected unless you stand for something?"

    Paul thinks everyone is born an instinctive libertarian, "wanting to be let alone." Unfortunately, "the school system beats it out of you." Paul voted both for the ban on partial-birth abortion (a fetus is alive, leave it alone) and against the ban on same-sex marriage (none of the federal government's business). He refused to allow any of his five children (three of whom are doctors) to accept federal student loans, and he will not accept his congressional pension. He voted against campaign-finance regulation in 2002 and the Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act in 2006, denouncing the former as the left's attack on free speech and the latter as the right's attack. Because they are "not authorized within the enumerated powers of the Constitution," he regularly votes against awarding gold medals to distinguished figures, including--gasp--the Gipper.

    Even before the Founders' generation passed from the scene, the government was slipping off the leash that Madison said--and Paul says--the Constitution puts on it. (Where did Jefferson find constitutional authority for making the Louisiana Purchase?) Still, Paul is not only a cheerful anachronism but a useful one. He forces us to consider the continuing relevance of some old arguments, and he reminds us that much of the reverence for the Founders is more rhetorical than operational.

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    Excellent article, though I don't know that it particularly refutes the claim of Congressman Paul's sizable earmarks. So far it seems his own justifications are the most robust.

  11. #10


    Quote Originally Posted by hyoomen View Post
    Excellent article, though I don't know that it particularly refutes the claim of Congressman Paul's sizable earmarks. So far it seems his own justifications are the most robust.
    It doesn't refute them. It helps explain the process.

    You might also check his articles. He has one on this whole deal.

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    From what I understand, he passes along ALL the earmarks for his district, not just the ones for wealthy contributors. As bad as some of the earmarks are, they are far from being the largest source of government waste. Letting lifelong unelected bureaucrats make spending decisions results in just as much waste. It's the appropriations part that controls how much we're spending. It's kind of like if your spouse says she's going to the store and will purchase $100 of groceries. You request that she picks up steak for one of the meals. She still spends $100, but you've at least had your say on what you get to eat. Eliminating earmarks takes all of the spending decisions out of elected officials and puts them in the hands of unelected officials.

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