FOREIGN OPERATIONS, EXPORT FINANCING, AND RELATED PROGRAMS APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2005 -- (House of Representatives - July 15, 2004)
The Committee resumed its sitting.
Mr. SANDERS. Mr. Chairman, I yield 3 minutes to my friend, the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Paul).
(Mr. PAUL asked and was given permission to revise and extend his remarks.)
Mr. PAUL. Mr. Chairman, the author of the amendment, and I am a coauthor of it, mentioned that it has a broad spectrum of individuals supporting it. He mentioned progressives and liberals and conservatives and moderates, but he forgot the libertarians.
Libertarians support this as well and for a precise reason. A free market libertarian does not believe in welfare for anybody, let alone the rich, and it is particularly gnawing to see the subsidies go to the very wealthy.
I am in strong support of this amendment, but, like the gentleman from California, I do not support this for the purpose of collecting more taxes, but I do think it is a message to us here that if we do not revise our tax system and our regulatory system we will prompt more and more business to leave this country.
So there are two issues here, but corporate welfare and subsidies should have no part in this. There is no room for it. It is wrong.
Also, the beneficiaries outside the corporations we should not forget either, because the biggest country that benefits from this is China. Why do we subsidize China? People who receive the goods get a benefit as well as the people who get to sell the goods get a benefit? China is on the books right now currently with $5.9 billion in outstanding loans. They receive more than anybody else. So there is something wrong with a system like that.
There are two economic points that I want to make on this. When we do this and we allow tax credit and special deals for some corporations, we assume, and we will hear this in the defense of the Ex-Im Bank, and say look at the good that we do. But what they fail to ask is, where did it come from, who was denied the credit? The fact that we do not finance it does not mean it would not happen. It would happen.
What it does is it distorts the market and causes people to do the wrong thing, and some individuals do not get the credit is obviously the case, but what we need to do is to have a much more oriented free market. When we direct it this way, even those companies may do more than they ordinarily would, and that participates in the economic bubble that occurs, of course, for other reasons as well. Then there has to be corrections. But if one is in a powerful position in a place where they can qualify, and 80 percent of this goes to the very, very large companies, although there are a lot of companies that receive the big bucks, and big countries like China.
This is corporate welfare. It should be defeated; and, ultimately, if we believe in liberty and freedom, we ought to get rid of the Export-Import Bank.
BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT
Mr. PAUL. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman for yielding to me.
I appreciate the opportunity to spend 5 minutes on an issue that I wanted to bring up in the form of an amendment, and that deals with the $300 million that will be going to Pakistan. And I call this to attention because I think it is a very unwise expenditure. But I want to make my case for this in the context of overall foreign policy.
Essentially for 100 years, we have accepted the foreign policy of Woodrow Wilson. It is a flawed idealism that we should, and it is our responsibility to, make the world safe for democracy. That did not just exist for World War I, which led to a peace treaty which caused a lot of problems leading up to World War II; but those notions are well engrained in the current neoconservative approach to foreign policy and the policy that this administration follows. But
I do not think it is in the best interests of our country to follow this.
The advice of the Founders was that we should be more balanced in our approach and not favoring special nations, not giving money or weapons or getting involved in any alliances with the different nations of the world and we would all be better off for it.
I believe that this policy is a failure and has been very costly. If we think about the last 100 years how many lives were lost, how much blood has been spilled, how many dollars have been spent in this effort to make the world safe for democracy, the world is probably as unsafe now as it has ever been. And here we are. We are proposing that we send $300 million under this policy to Pakistan.
We are in Iraq to promote democracy, but here we send money to a military dictator who overthrew an elected government. And there just seems to be a tremendous inconsistency here. There was a military coup in 1999. There is the strong possibility that Osama bin Laden may well be in Pakistan. And to actually send money there, we are prohibited from really going in there and looking for Osama bin Laden; so we give the government of Pakistan money in the hopes that they will be helpful to us.
There is quite a bit of difference between the foreign policy of neutrality and friendship with everyone versus giving money and support to everyone. And if we look at our history, it has not worked very well. We have in the past given money to both sides of a lot of wars, and right now we try to be friends and we give money in support to both India and Pakistan. I do not bring this amendment up here to be pro either one or anti either one. I want to have a pro-American foreign policy and not say, well, I want to punish Pakistan and help India or vice versa.
We have helped people who have been arch enemies for years. Take Greece and Turkey. We helped both sides. But not only do we help both sides of a lot of these fights that have been going on for a long time, we literally help our enemies. Just think of the support we gave Osama bin Laden when he was fighting the Russians in Afghanistan and just think of our alliance with Saddam Hussein in the 1980s when we did provide him with a lot of destructive weapons. That type of policy does not add up. It does not make a lot of sense. It is not in our best interests, and my suggestion here is hopefully somewhere along the way, we will take a serious look at this and redirect our foreign policy.
But, specifically, is it a wise expenditure to put $300 million into the government of Pakistan with the pretense that we are promoting democracy by supporting a military dictator at the same time our young men are dying in Iraq promoting democracy? It does not add up, and it suggests that there are other motives for some of these expenditures and some of our motivations around the world.
In the past we have been arch enemies of Libya, but now we have decided they will be our friends. And I am not against that in particular, but I am against giving them subsidies and helping them out.
There is such a difference between neutrality and friendship and that of giving weapons and arms and promoting antagonisms