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Public Statements

Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act, 2011

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

Mr. PAUL. Mr. Chair, both supporters and opponents of H.R. 1 claim that is a serious attempt to reduce federal spending, however, an examination of the details of the bill call that claim into question. For one thing, the often-cited assertion that H.R. 1 reduces spending by $99 billion is misleading as the $99 billion figure represents the amount that H.R. 1 reduces spending from the President's proposed Fiscal Year 2011 budget, not reductions in actual spending. Trying to claim credit for a reduction in spending based on cuts in proposed spending is like claiming someone is following a diet because he had 5 pieces of pizza when he intended to have 10 pieces.

In fact, H.R. 1 reduces federal spending by $66 billion. This may seem like a lot to the average American but in the context of an overwhelming trillion-dollar budget and a national debt that could exceed 100 percent of GNP in September, this cut is barely even a drop in the bucket.

One reason that H.R. 1 does not cut spending enough is that too many fiscal conservatives continue to embrace the fallacy that we can balance the budget without reducing spending on militarism. Until Congress realizes the folly of spending trillions in a futile attempt to impose democracy on the world we will never be able to seriously reduce spending.

Congress must not only reject the warfare state, it must also reject the welfare state. H.R. 1 is more aggressive in ending domestic spending than foreign spending, and does zero out some objectionable federal programs such as AmeriCorps. However, H.R. 1 leaves most of the current functions of the federal government undisturbed. This bill thus continues the delusion that we can have a fiscally responsible and efficient welfare state.

Mr. Chair, the failure to even attempt to address the serious threat the welfare-warfare state poses to American liberty and prosperity is the main reason why supporters of limited government and individual liberty should ultimately find H.R. 1 unsatisfactory. Only a rejection of the view that Congress can run the economy, run our lives, and run the world will allow us to make the spending reductions necessary to avert a serious financial crisis. This does not mean we should not prioritize and discuss how to gradually transition away from the welfare state in a manner that does not harm those currently relying on these programs. However, we must go beyond balancing the budget to transitioning back to a free society, and that means eventually placing responsibility for social welfare back in the hands of individuals and private institutions. Despite the overheated rhetoric heard during the debate, H.R. 1 is a diversion from the difficult task of restoring constitutional government and a free economy and society.


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