Mr. ROHRABACHER. Mr. Speaker, tonight I rise to discuss technology and freedom. Unfortunately, we Americans can no longer rest assured that our freedom is secure and that the genius and creativity of our people will bring forth the innovation that in the past has enabled us to deter or defeat our enemies and has given us the ability as a people to overcome economic adversity and has provided the means to elevate the standard of living and general well-being of the American people as a whole.
America's greatness has been measured not by the wealth and power of our elites, as in other countries, but by the unbounding opportunity that has permitted all our citizens to live a decent, prosperous life. Now we see a great threat to that promise which until now has been taken for granted by generations of Americans. Unless we change our course, our children will not have the opportunity to live freer and better lives than what we have enjoyed. They in fact may be condemned to a dismal existence of national decline and personal deprivation.
This, unless we have the wisdom to understand what needs to be done, unless we have the responsibility to commit ourselves to getting that arduous
job done, unless we have the character to accept the temporary self-sacrifice needed for long-term progress and the courage to take on powerful interestsPage: E254] who profit from current policies.
Ronald Reagan used to say, and I quote, ``The phrase status quo is Latin for the mess we're in.'' Even the rest of us, the American people, suffer hurtful blows to our economic well-being. But of course that is most of the American people are suffering these blows. But there are those who enjoy great benefits from the current policies that are having such a negative impact on the rest of their fellow Americans. Our country and our people cannot much longer endure the current assault on our livelihood and personal financial stability. Yes, we will survive, individually and as a people. But Americans deserve more than survival.
Ours should be the freedom and prosperity, paid for by the blood and labor of those brave souls, those patriots, who over our Nation's 234 years stepped up and met the challenges every time to the dream of 1776, the dream that was threatened quite often in our country's history from within and from without. But now, of course, it is up to us, the United States. That is us. It is us versus them, the patriots versus the establishment clique, or perhaps best described as the globalists.
In the last year, we have watched in horror as hundreds of billions of our people's dollars have been channeled to a clique of Wall Street and financial market elites, many of whom put their companies at risk with irresponsible business decisions and then rewarded themselves with huge bonuses. Humble individuals would step forward to give back bonuses in such situations. No, not this crew. They didn't learn that at their Ivy League schools. Not one has expressed remorse nor gratitude, much less expressed a willingness to pay back the personal gains, huge personal gains made while driving their companies' solvencies into the dirt.
All of these bailouts, stimuluses, and giveaways have done nothing but put our country in further jeopardy. The Federal Government is now spending over $1.5 trillion more than it is taking in. We are now facing a mammoth liability that should never have been ours in the first place. We are at risk, and it is not a result of a natural calamity or an uncontrollable business cycle. It instead is based and has come to us because of bad policies and bad decisions. It is a crisis we must confront and we must deal with or it will destroy the America we have known and loved.
Yes, we are facing a threat of that magnitude, a magnitude of something that could destroy the country as we know it. Yet so many decisionmakers, from city hall to Capitol Hill, and yes, to the White House act as if we can operate with business as usual, or even worse, we can put in place policies that will turn this crisis into a catastrophe by adding an even greater burden onto the shoulders of our people and onto the shoulders of those people and those productive businesses throughout our country.
They think that they can even give more power and add more resources to the Federal Government. They think that the Federal Government can co-opt even more of the national wealth at the expense of the productive and wealth-generating workers and enterprises in our country. They think they can do this and we will still turn around and go up even as they are strangling those forces within our society that are necessary in order for us to succeed as a Nation.
I remember a few years ago there was a story about a New York politician of probably a century ago who was giving a speech at city hall who said, ``The sword of Damocles is hanging right over Pandora's box.'' Well, there is obviously something wrong with that observation, but the bottom line is there is a sword of Damocles hanging over our heads. There is a huge threat that is present throughout Washington, DC, and yes, throughout our country.
And how did we get here? How did we become so vulnerable? Well, let's all remember as we look at this, we got there because of bad decisions and bad policies, which continue. My colleague Dan Burton just went through this incredible proposal to institute what they call health care reform, which is really transformation of our health care system at the expense of billions if not trillions of dollars at a time when that expense will drive down our economy even more. As we are trying to strengthen the economy, we are going to drain it even more. It is the equivalent of bleeding patients in order to make them feel healthy, as used to be the practice.
How did we get in this horrible situation where our country is so weak? Well, to start with, when we talk
about bleeding resources from our country, we have sent a trillion dollars overseas in the last few decades in order to buy from foreigners energy that we could have produced here. Yet over the last 30 years we have incredibly limited our own domestic oil and gas production. We have built not one new oil refinery. We have built no hydroelectric dams. We have had no new nuclear power plants. And even as we speak, the Bureau of Land Management continues to block the construction of solar power facilities in America's deserts. This official obstructionism is aimed at protecting the habitat of some desert lizard or insect.
The end result of this nonsense, all of this nonsense, of not trying to produce our own energy, not trying to develop even nuclear power or hydroelectric dams, the end result of this is that to meet America's needs, a trillion dollars or more has been drained from our economy. This has been the policy of our government, a policy pushed forward by radical environmentalists, the same ones who are probably influencing the Bureau of Land Management not even to let us have solar power plants in the desert because they care so much about lizards and insects. These radical environmentalists, who are deluded enough to believe that they are helping us by depriving us of energy and deindustrializing our country, have had a horrible influence, but no one has been willing to step up and say, ``You're wrong.'' No one has been able to confront this force because it has been politically correct. It has been popular. It has been promoted in the press as if these people are idealists. Well, they are extremists.
Everyone in their right mind believes in trying to set a plan for the future and believes in clean air and a clean environment and clean soil. I have three children at home, Christian, Annika, and Tristen. Three little children. They will be 6 years old within a few months. I want these young people to have a clean environment. Of course we all do. We don't want them to be affected in a negative way, or any children in our country or around the world affected in a negative way. But the environmental extremists who dominate the majority party in this Congress are preventing us from developing our own energy resources and preventing us from having the economic progress we need to come out of this crisis.
At this moment they are preventing massive amounts of fresh water, runoff from the snow melting in the High Sierras, from being channeled in California to the agricultural areas of our State. As we speak, at this moment, millions of gallons of fresh water are flowing into the ocean instead of being permitted to be used in the agricultural part of our State. All of this to protect a little fish at the demand of radical environmentalists, radical environmentalists who obviously have the ear of the majority of people who are in this body. This little fish that they are protecting, the delta smelt, is not even big enough to be used as bait. A fish that is not even indigenous to California.
Yet the well-being of this little fish has been put, by the powers that be in Washington, D.C., on a higher priority by these political decision-makers than the price of food for the rest of the population, including all of our children. It has been put on a higher priority than the jobs and well-being of farm-related workers throughout California, and yes, throughout the United States. Crops are withering in California. They are withering because water is not being permitted to go to them and it is being channeled into the ocean. That is the policy. Billions of dollars of wealth as we speak are being lost forever.
And one asks why our economy is on the verge of collapse? Why we haven't been producing the revenue so we end up with $1.5 trillion of deficit? Well, policies in Congress like putting wildlife and their well-being over the well-being of people actually have brought
us to this situation and actually are making things worse, and are making it more difficult to work our way out of this economic challenge and this economic crisis. And it goes on and on.
With these higher energy prices, which are destroying the family budget, I might add, and pushing our country into an economic crisis, it's destroying--the local people, our ordinary people, their personal budgets are just destroyed, and they have no faith. They're losing hope because they can't see their way out of this pileup of debt because the economy is being strangled, and they can't see a way they can prosper in the economy. That's what's happening to all of our people individually. But as a whole, our country is in such an economic crisis.
And what does Congress do? Because these energy prices are, as I say, draining the family budget and draining the national budget, what does Congress do when it comes to energy? We pass a job-killing, energy-suppressant legislation, the cap-and-trade bill. This bill, which has passed this body in the midst of this economic crisis and as the energy crisis loomed, this bill, which passed our body, will make it even more difficult to produce the energy that we now depend on. And the excuse? Well, this time it's not saving a little fish. The excuse for passing this economy-killing, anti-energy legislation is what? Saving the planet. We can understand how they might want to save a little fish at the expense of all of us. But how are they going to save the entire planet from manmade global warming?
Well, more and more evidence that this theory is bogus surfaces every day. The public and decision makers for 10 years were inundated by phony science, altered numbers, and outright fraud. Scientists who disagreed with the manmade global warming theory were cut from research grants and prevented from publishing peer-reviewed dissenting opinions. It's all coming out. Everyday we see stories verifying that this is fraud, and what's been going on, the lies that have been told, the altering of numbers and statistics, the cherry-picking of actual information that would be put into computers to come out with solutions. All of this is coming out more and more every day, yet the Congress ignores all of that, as do the science advisers of this administration. They ignore this evidence. They belittle it, claiming that the case--No, no, this is inconsequential, but the case is closed.
How many have heard that expression? ``The case is closed.'' Well, that means they won't listen. That means that they won't even permit disagreement or permit an honest debate of the issue. This is what the proponents of manmade global warming have been doing for the last 2 years to stifle debate and prevent the American people from getting a balanced view of the positions, of the various positions that are taken on the proposal that mankind is changing the climate of the planet and making the planet warm up.
Well, even as we wade through the snow and the freezing weather that really is gripping large parts of our country and the rest of the world, I might add, even as experts now confirm that there's been a lack of warming for 15 years, economy-killing legislation passed in the House has been put forth in the name of stopping manmade global warming. Well, at least that little fish that they were trying to save and all the hardship on regular people to save that little fish is real. That little fish is real. Manmade global warming is a hoax.
I would point out there are many prominent scientists from around the world, major scientists, heads of universities, science departments, et cetera, from around the world who have taken a position that manmade global warming, as it has been presented to us, is false.
Well, we've had cooling and warming cycles in the Earth's climate for millions of years. These cycles are tied to solar activity, just like temperature trends that we've identified on Mars and other bodies in our solar system. By the way, what does solar system mean? Solar, the sun. The sun is the greatest source of energy not only for our planet but for the other planets. And we see on Mars the same type of temperature trends. I guess they must think there is some sort of SUV or something being driven on Mars that creates the temperature change on Mars.
Well, global warming should not be the issue because it's a fraud. What should be the issue is global pollution and the preventing of global pollution. But this distinction between global pollution, which is the pollutants that hurt human beings, versus carbon, CO
2, which is something that actually is beneficial to the planet. Actually, it helps us grow more plants, and it is not harmful to human beings. The fact that they are focused on CO
2 rather than pollutants hurts us in our efforts to stop the pollutants that are hurting people and at the same time is costing us billions of dollars with no payback whatsoever. In fact, we are spending billions of dollars unnecessarily in order to justify the research which has been done in order to justify the accusation that it is mankind and not the sun that is creating changes in our atmosphere.
The temperature of the planet is not manmade. We can't do anything about it. But the energy shortage, the energy shortage is manmade, and we can do something about that. And that is costing us billions of dollars as well. Billions, perhaps trillions of dollars.
Global warming is a fraud that has made the job of dealing with the energy crisis almost undoable. It has hampered our ability to solve the energy crisis, and we have made it worse--much worse--by legislation that was passed in this Congress in the middle of an economic crisis. For years, it has been a costly drag on our economy, this concept that we're going to try to outlaw CO
2 rather than getting to pollutants.
Well, now with a horrendous crisis looming, with a sword hanging over our heads, not producing domestic energy is no longer acceptable. The economic consequences are too damaging and too painful, painful to our people. We should be aggressively looking for ways to produce more energy here rather than searching for reasons to prevent increases in domestic production because that's what the powers that be in this Congress now are doing. That's what happened with the cap-and-trade bill. They are looking for reasons to prevent domestic production of the current energy that we depend upon. The end result has been, yes, a hampering of domestic production and has thus resulted in a decline in wealth generation in our country.
So imagine that: We aren't being permitted to develop our own energy. Thus, the amount of wealth that's being generated in our country has been declining. And because there is less wealth, people are beginning to suffer. A transfer of wealth to those countries when we are purchasing energy that we could be producing ourselves is impoverishing our country. That's right. We could produce it ourselves, but yet we're buying it from overseas, and we have less wealth here. This, as I say, has cost our economy trillions of dollars, trillions, and we are expected to continue our economic woes even as Congress passes more restrictions on domestic energy production.
Then, of course, when it comes to wealth transfer, one needs to look closely at America's trade policies, another major cause for an economic decline. We have been betrayed by wrongheaded idealists both when it comes to the environment as well as when it comes to trade
policy. We have also been betrayed by powerful special interest groups in our own country who have global goals in mind, both environmentally and economically--at least that's what they say. The American people, as trusting as they are, have expected their government to represent their interests in trade negotiations. Instead, our representatives have focused on long-term global goals. And time and again, our interests as a people have been a secondary instead of a primary consideration for those with authority who are supposed to be protecting our interests.
You know, when people representing the other countries sit down with us to negotiate, their people know that they're supposed to be negotiating what is in the interest of their people. We expect them to do that. The people on our side of the table have something much more majestic in mind than just the self-interest of our own people, as if there's something wrong with a Democratic government representing the interests of people who elect them. And we have gotten a short end of the stick. We have been shortchanged in these negotiations, trade negotiations, because we haven't had anybody there aggressively demanding what's in the interest of our people. But instead, we want to create a global system, and we want to convince these other people to sort of inch over in this direction so we can be part of a global effort.
Now don't get me wrong, I believe in international trade. I believe really, actually, in a robust trade between free people, and I believe such a trade between free people is a benefit to both parties. Especially if the ground rules are fair and equal and negotiated out between the two peoples, a trade between democratic countries is a win-win. Well, there is obviously something seriously wrong when our economy is sputtering to a halt while our trading partners are going into high gear.
Free trade between free people, which is my motto, should not be blamed for this because the problem is not free trade between free people, it's free trade on one side and controlled on the other. Free trade with a controlled and autocratic government is inherently not free. If permitted to do so, which is what our negotiators have permitted, the power of economic activity will be directed by these tyrannical governments, like China, to bolster the power of their elite, and it will be done at the expense, yes, of their own people's freedom, but it will be done at the expense of the economic well-being of our people.
Under this guise of free trade, which has not been challenged--because it isn't free trade if you're dealing with a dictatorship like China--we have had policies aimed at creating a global system. That's why we're permitting the Chinese to get away with this because we want them to be a part of a global system which includes everybody and, thus, will have a positive influence on all of these other countries. Well, the global system will supposedly include everybody--dictators, rogue regimes, countries where people are treated like serfs by gangsters, and criminals, and tyrants. Sorry, we don't need free trade or to be in a binding relationship with those types of regimes, and we don't need to be controlled by a global trading establishment that will result from all of this planetary organization of commerce. And you can bet that that global trading establishment, the systems that will be set up, will be eventually dramatically influenced, if not dominated, by nefarious regimes and self-enriching elites.
This, the WTO--which is what they're trying to create as a global system--will be and is becoming more like the United Nations. The United Nations, which was a theoretical dream but in reality, a nightmare for free and democratic peoples. The U.N. is an organization that gives China, the world's worst human rights abuser, a veto, and it provides General Assembly votes to the likes of Burma, Iran, Cuba, and North Korea. Oh, that's a good gang on which we should depend upon. We should make sure we're a part of an organization that gives them an equal vote in the General Assembly to ours or gives China a veto over anything the U.N. can do.
And speaking of China, here, too, is an explanation of why our country is on the verge of an economic calamity: We have permitted Communist China a one-way free trade policy for the last 20 years. And yes, when it was democratizing and opening up, such a strategy might have been justified at least for a time. During the Reagan years, we saw a liberalizing China. Reagan made it clear, and I know this because I worked with him on his speeches when he went to China, he made it clear that as long as progress toward openness and freedom continued in China, our generous trade and commerce policies would continue to be in place.
Then came Tiananmen Square. Unfortunately, Reagan was not President when this historic atrocity was committed. The Tiananmen Square massacre was not something that needed to happen, but it did happen. I believe had Ronald Reagan been President, it wouldn't have happened. He would have sent a telegram to those Communist dictators and said, If you slaughter the democratic movement and end democratic reform in China, we will withdraw your credits. There will be no technology transfer. There will be no investment in your country. There will be no open market for your goods. Don't do it. That is what Reagan would have done.
Do you know what the telegram was that President Bush, the father of our last President, sent? Do you know what it said to those Chinese Communist bosses about to make the decision to slaughter democracy in their own country? It didn't say anything because he never sent the letter. He never sent the telegram. In fact, there was no communication and no repercussions that the Bush Presidency used against the Communist Chinese atrocities committed in Tiananmen Square. Yet it changed history, and we let them get away with it because, you know what? There was an elite in our country that were making money by making deals with the Communist Party leadership in China.
For 20 years, we have let the policies that we put in place to encourage democratization stay in place even as these brutal Chinese dictators consolidated their hold. All along, the dictatorship has been strengthened by its position and strengthened in its position by exploiting America's wealth and technology which we have heaped upon them even after Tiananmen Square. We strengthened them at our expense.
Our China policy has decimated manufacturing in America and drained trillions of dollars from our economy. Note that. Again, more trillions of dollars drained from our economy. No wonder we are in an economic crisis. The regime in Beijing murders dissidents. It prosecutes and persecutes religious believers, whether they be Christians, Muslims, or Falun Gong. There is no freedom of speech, no freedom of association, no opposition parties, no free press, no independent judiciary. Yet we treat China better than we do some democratic countries, or countries that have at least made reforms, like Russia, that have made dramatic reforms, although they are imperfect.
Over the years, our elite has been encouraged to make deals to set up manufacturing in China. So factories and production have been shut down in the United States, and some companies have opened up new factories. Some of those same companies have opened up new factories in China. Over and over again, it has taken its toll on us. Not all of us, of course. The corporate elite gets a substantial short-term profit by some of these forays into the Chinese market, enough to warrant big bonuses for the short term.
It is our Achilles heel. Our corporate elite will sell out the well-being of their grandchildren for a quick profit next year. China, on the other hand, has long-term interests. In the long term, they get our assets and our wealth-generating technology. The bosses get rich quick selling out their employees. American consumers get cheaper products in the short term, but in the long term they and their children don't have any good-paying jobs. Not even enough to buy those cheap products. Even Congress wouldn't be stupid enough to buy that deal.
Oh, but there was a sweetener to that deal, of course. The sweetener was, if we let the one-way free trade keep on, it would bring about world peace, especially peace with China. Now, isn't that something that we have heard over and over again, just like the mantra of global warming. Oh, we are going to have a democratizing China and world peace if we just continue to allow this one-way free trade policy, which is obviously not working in the interest of our people.
Well, if there is one thing that liberals might like even better than stopping man-made global warming, it is world peace. And on top of that, on top of feeling good about a nice slogan, our really rich guys here in America are making a lot of money to boot, and they are friends with all of these policymakers. Well, policymakers promised political liberalization in China would result in more personal contact and more prosperity in China. To get them to do business, basically they promised us that because that is what we needed in order to keep these trade policies in place. Well, the promise that there would be a liberalization in China because they are having more interaction with us, it is what I call the ``hug a Nazi, make a liberal'' theory, and it hasn't worked.
There has been no liberalization. We have created a Frankenstein monster that now threatens us militarily, and as our subject is here tonight, this gang of thieves now has leverage to drag us down and destroy our prosperity and the prosperity and well-being of our people. We are now vulnerable to a corrupt dictatorship in Beijing, and after Tiananmen Square, we have ended up not just having most-favored nation trading status, but under Bill Clinton, he made most-favored nation trading status permanent. Bush allowed after Tiananmen Square for the policy to continue; Clinton made it permanent.
One of the most disturbing aspects of this unholy relationship has been the transfer of American technology to China, technology used against our remaining manufacturers and against our defenders, and technology that advances Chinese military power and threatens our safety. Technology has flowed over there. Much of the technology to which I refer was a product of R&D paid for by the American taxpayer. Letting such American innovation be used to bolster and strengthen such a monster regime in China is sinful and an incredible betrayal of the American people and a disservice to the freedom loving people of China. Let us note that I believe the Chinese people are our greatest allies. They are the ones who will rid themselves of this tyranny and save the world from this threat. We must do everything to reach out to the people of China who are our friends by fighting, by confronting, not fighting in terms of military, but confronting the Chinese dictatorship just as we should be doing in Iran.
But there is a deal between our corporate elite and the Chinese hierarchy. Our corporate elite wins. Our people lose their jobs. Freedom loses. Our government has foisted this upon us. Our government permits the Chinese to keep their currency value artificially low, which makes China even more able not just to compete but to overwhelm our manufacturers. They have been keeping their currency artificially low so they can obliterate domestic manufacturing in the United States, and we have permitted the limited access of our products to their market while at the same time we have opened up our
market totally to Chinese-made products. They limit our access to their markets while they have unlimited access to ours. Their currency is kept at a low level to make sure that the flow of wealth is coming in their direction by manipulating currencies. We have permitted technology and investment to go there even though it is a dictatorship. So what we have seen is trillions of dollars have been drained out of our economy.
So wages in the United States have been depressed. Our manufacturing infrastructure has been nearly obliterated. We must deal with this situation or America will continue to slide down even as the power of Beijing ascends. It will continue to affect our prosperity and freedom, and we will become more docile and more subservient, even as the arrogance and the maliciousness of the Beijing regime becomes apparent.
China trade policy must be on the list if we are to get ourselves out of the downward economic spiral that we are in. Trillions of dollars of wealth are being drained from our people, yet we hear no such proposals about China trade. In fact, there is legislation making its way through Congress that would make the situation worse, surprise, surprise. It would result in even more American technology and know-how ending up in Chinese hands and being used against us. There are proposals in Congress to weaken export control laws that control the flow of American technology.
I agree that with free nations, our entrepreneurs and enterprises should be free from the heavy-handed restrictions they now face. This, of course, as long as the final destination of the people we are dealing with is not a transaction that will end up delivering products to threatening nations like China or Iran. But the American business community insists on one set of rules for all. Rather than a two-tiered system, free trade with free and democratic countries being on one tier, with continued controls over the technology transfer to countries which are controlled by dictatorships and belligerent regimes, no, they can't have that two-tiered system. It makes sense, but not to a businessman who thinks of himself as a citizen of the world, not as an American patriot or not as someone who is associated with just Americans. He is a citizen of the world. Of course, yes, he is a citizen of the world just like all people around the world, they want a fast buck. Well, it is our job to protect the interests of the American people, not the interests of an elite who want to make a fast buck in dealing with dictators.
Interestingly enough, one of the issues of contention in this debate deals with the launching of U.S. satellites on Chinese rockets. The last time this was tried I thought it could be done as long as safeguards were in place to prevent transfer of technology. It turned into a national security nightmare. The safeguards were promised by the Clinton administration, but they were never enforced. When I realized this, I immediately changed my position on the issue and, in fact, conducted a personal investigation that turned out to discover a damaging transfer of rocket technology to China. Later, the Cox Commission verified our national security had been severely damaged.
Now the same arguments are being made. Now current Chinese rockets, however, have benefited from the technology they took from us and were given 15 years ago. Well, if we permit them to launch our satellites on their rockets, we will be undercutting our own rocket industry. You can kiss our aerospace industry goodbye. If our major companies like Boeing and GE start outsourcing aircraft and rocket parts to China, kiss our aerospace industry goodbye. Give them even more access to our technologies, and we will not be able to recapture the economic momentum that we need to weather our current crisis.
If our manufacturing and our know-how goes to China, we lose. China is and should be treated as America's adversary both in economics and an adversary to our democratic system as well. But the move to relax our restrictions and controls on the transfer of technology to China is moving forward here in Washington, as is the proposal to launch U.S. satellites on Chinese rockets. All of this is part of a trade policy that has obviously worked against us, us, the United States, the people of America. It has worked against us. Yet instead of being advocates of democracy to the Chinese leaders, as we were told would happen, our businesspeople will go there and interact with these Chinese leaders and they will become more democratic. They will learn to trust us and be more benevolent.
Well, instead our business community, instead of lobbying the bad guys, is here lobbying us on these policies in order to support their buddies in Beijing.
Just as disturbing, another windfall may be handed to China as well, as well as to other foreign competitors of the United States as part of a so-called patent reform bill that is making its way through the legislative process. For two decades, those very same corporate elites, especially in the electronics industry, who have been shipping jobs to China have been pushing hard for fundamental changes in America's patent system. Pro-inventiveness rhetoric has masked their attempt to dramatically diminish and even destroy the patent protection that has been enjoyed by Americans since the founding of our country.
Well, our only chance of getting back from an upward economic path is to increase our efficiency to produce more wealth through innovation and to use the creative genius of our people to build the machines that will enable American workers to compete and to beat foreign adversaries.
One of America's greatest assets, the bulwark of our freedom, that is the irreplaceable testament to the economic strength and wealth production in our country has been a strong patent system. It's been the right of our people, specifically written into our Constitution in article I, section 8, that guarantees the right of ownership to inventors for a given period of time in order to stimulate innovation and progress, and, yes, lead to general prosperity.
And it worked. That's why Americans have had such a high standard of living. People work hard all over the world, maybe harder than Americans, but we've had the tools and the equipment and the technology and the machines to out-compete those people throughout the world and build a standard of living of ordinary people. That's what we're proud of.
Other people work hard, as I say, but we produce the wealth, as never dreamed of before for normal, ordinary people, because we have the tools and the machines. And when threatened, our genius saved us from foreign despotism and tyranny, from hostile ideologies like fascism and communism. Our technological superiority is even more useful today when we are in a life-and-death struggle with radical Islam--not Islam in general, not the 1.5 billion Muslims on this planet who we have to reach out to just like we reach out to the people of China--but to the radical Islamists who would hurt us, who would kill our people as they did on 9/11.
Some foreigners would like to use the product of our creative genius against us. Unfortunately, there are those in the corporate elite who are willing to let that happen. The mega-electronics industry has been investing huge sums of money, campaign donations, for 15 years to accomplish this insidious goal of diminishing or destroying America's patent protections. They are the last ones you would think would be the enemies of patent protection because they are the biggest names in the electronics industry.
But why should such companies do this? Why would companies that appear to depend on innovation want to destroy the patent system? Because they produce products that contain multiple elements. Each one is a separate invention. Whether it's a cell phone or computer or other technology, there might be 20 elements that someone else invented, and they must use that capability in order to stay competitive. The big boys don't want to pay royalties to the little inventors, so instead they're negotiating an agreement that will undercut America's independent inventors, little guys, as well as other industries. It will permit these mega-tech multinational corporations to steal because they're going to make it legal. They're going to change the way the law works. They're going to diminish patent protection.
Well, the fact that this will also enable other gangsters around the world and other people around the world to steal America's technology, just like they're trying to steal it from America's little guys, that's of no concern to them because these corporate elites also are global thinkers. Many of them, as I said, consider themselves citizens of the world. Yeah, globalists.
For 15 years, they have tried time and again to ram through major fatal changes to our patent system, and each time they have been thwarted by a small band of patriots. That's right, the patriots can still beat the big guys. We can beat the globalists. Just last week, a bill made its way through the Senate Judiciary Committee. Chairman Leahy is looking for floor time to bring it to a vote. Once it passes, it is likely to make it through the House.
The Senate's legislation will not destroy the patent system as was the case with all of the past legislation that these mega-tech industries have tried to foist upon us, but the fact is that it will undermine and diminish the current levels of protection as a compromise with these big businesses. Why should we compromise with mega-tech companies that want to diminish our rights? They say they want to harmonize our laws with the rest of the world--again, a globalist approach. No, Americans enjoy more freedom and more rights than the people of the world. If they want to harmonize their laws with us, let them increase the protection that they give to average citizens rather than diminish it.
The bill right now is going in the wrong direction even though there has been compromise. It still is taking us in the wrong direction even though the mega-tech companies, some of the major players who have been calling for this bill to be passed actually helped mold the first bill that was passed through this House, these people now say they don't support the legislation. We need to just say that bill contains compromises that are doing no favor to anybody, not the big guys, the little guys, not to American competitiveness, not to those people who are inventors, not to anybody.
We should just simply wait until next year. We can then build a strong coalition for patent protection with biotech, small and medium electronic firms, pharmaceuticals, colleges and universities, small inventors, all the people who actually are the mainspring of human progress for America. We can strengthen them by giving them more legal protection for their inventiveness.
Of course, compromise is not good enough for these mega-electronic firms, so they actually are opposing the bill too. Let us all work together then in making sure this Leahy compromise legislation does not pass and that next year we pass a bill--not for the mega-tech companies that are trying to destroy the patent system, but for the American people who depend on innovation.
The fight could go either way on this bill now, but let's hope that we can basically thwart their efforts because there are people in China and overseas right now waiting for us to change the rules in order to make sure they can get the technology and steal it from the American people themselves.
By the way, since 1996, these mega-tech companies, these electronic companies, which have sent thousands and thousands of jobs over to China, have been sued by little guys in 730 cases of patent infringement. These megacompanies, they don't want to suffer those cases. They just want to be able to take that intellectual property, even though they didn't invent it, and not pay for it, and benefit and profit from it themselves without giving royalties to the inventor. That kind of dynamic put into our system will undermine American progress and bring us down.
Thanks to our independent judiciary, these infringements have cost the big guys $4 billion in judgments. We need to keep in place a system in which if big guys are trying to steal from the little guys, the little guys can win, the patriots can win. But the big guys, they want to change the rules, let's see if we can do it. We need to have the American people alerted to this.
To get out of this crisis, this is what we need to focus on. The American people are becoming focused because their whole way of life, their specific standard of living of their family is being threatened and they
understand that. We're going to get out of this and get back on a path of economic growth. If our children are to live in peace and enjoy prosperity, we must produce our own energy, we must have trade agreements that are done not at our expense, but are mutually beneficial trade agreements, and we must protect our freedom, especially the rights of technology ownership that have served America so well.
An innovative surge will give us the edge. It will give us the ability to produce more wealth, create more jobs, and keep America competitive. We can produce and grow our way out of this crisis, but the challenge will not be met by wishful thinking. Patriots must act to save the day. We can rely on freedom and technology, but only if the patriots act to ensure that freedom and technological progress are not undermined by counterproductive policies and changes in the law that have been foisted upon us by powerful interest groups or ideological zealots, or just plain idiots with influence. Patriots have to step forward, or things will continue to go haywire and the standard of living of the American people will go down.
We will not sit idly by. Patriots can and will win. We will not give up our freedom. We will not give up the dream. With freedom and technology, there is no limit to what we as a people can accomplish, no limit to how far we can go, no barrier to progress that we cannot bring down.
Ronald Reagan used to say there's nothing wrong with our government that cannot be fixed with one good election. Well, I would amend that by saying there is nothing wrong with our country that can't be corrected by patriots working together. And with freedom and technology, we will overcome the economic challenge and crisis that we face, and we will ensure that our children are given the freedom and the opportunity and the decent standard of living that we have enjoyed as Americans over these last few decades since the great generation of Americans stepped forward and saved the world from Nazism and saved the world from communism and saved the world from fanatics who would murder and terrorize decent people throughout the world.
We have a very special role to play. Americans come from every race, every religion, every ethnic group. We have come here to show the world there is a better way, that we can live together in peace and respect each other. As this conglomerate people, we represent an ideal, not a territory, that we have to reach out to those people throughout the world and provide leadership as an example. That is what this fight is about. The patriots will win because we are doing so for the cause of all freedom and humanity.
Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.