Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul’s proposed FY 2013 budget, which was released on Monday, slashes federal government extravagance by more than $1 trillion. The budget honors the vision of limited government and individual liberty enshrined by the Founding Fathers in the United States Constitution. As Thomas Jefferson lectured in his First Inaugural Address: “Still one thing more, fellow-citizens — a wise and frugal Government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government, and this is necessary to close the circle of our felicities.”
All of Ron Paul’s rivals have abandoned the robust and virile American Republic created in 1776 for a bloated, arrogant and ponderous empire indistinguishable from the British version overthrown by General George Washington and the Minutemen at Lexington and Concord more than two centuries ago.
Candidate Paul would freeze Department of Defense spending at approximately $500 billion annually, a sum vastly more than the military spending of any other nation. He would terminate the $200 billion squandered in objectless wars or the projection of military force abroad in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Yemen, Uganda, Somalia and against any suspected adherent of al Qaida anywhere on the planet. These absurd military expenditures escalate like a climbing staircase because they manufacture new enemies by funding the killing of innocent civilians and collaboration with rulers popularly execrated in their own countries for their corruption, bigotry and tyranny. Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who’s propped up by $120 billion in annual United States military spending, is exemplary. He stole the last election with phantom votes. His cronies looted the Kabul Bank of hundreds of millions with impunity. Opium production is skyrocketing. Females remain subjugated. Due process is an alien concept, while torture is routine. Toxic tribal and ethnic divisions persist. The United States is aiding and abetting Karzai’s crimes, which is planting the seeds of blowback and additional military spending.
Empire proponents like Mitt Romney, Herman Cain, Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann preposterously argue that the United States must be engaged in perpetual, planet-wide war featuring annual national security spending exceeding $1 trillion because Muslim radicals are infuriated by the freedoms that flourish here. Romney even insists the DOD budget is shortchanged and needs billions of dollars more in padding.
The Paul budget would freeze spending by the State Department at a modest $7.9 billion. And tens of billions uselessly sprayed on foreign countries every year in vain hopes of winning their allegiance to United States interests over their own national interests would be ended. Think of the billions thrown at Pakistan while it undermines the United States war effort in Afghanistan.
On the domestic front, the Ron Paul budget is refreshingly bold. The Department of Energy would be abolished, yielding an annual savings of $34 billion. The Department of Commerce would be axed, netting an additional annual savings of $10 billion. The Department of Education would die, lowering annual federal government spending by more than $70 billion. The Department of Housing and Urban Development would be jettisoned, saving American taxpayers more than $46 billion per year. And the Department of Interior would be ended, which would cut annual federal spending by an additional $12 billion.
None of these five departments plausibly advances a legitimate constitutional objective of the federal government. The Department of Energy obstructs a rational energy market by skewing incentives to favor so-called “green” technologies. The department’s Solyndra debacle is emblematic. The Department of Commerce does nothing the private sector can’t do with greater efficiency. The Department of Education has presided over a frightening decline in student achievement as its spending has ballooned. The Department of Housing and Urban Development has given the nation less net housing and development than it would have had without federal government meddling. The demolition of the federally funded Pruitt-Igoe public housing project symbolizes HUD’s staggering economic waste. The Department of Interior is largely engaged in land management that should be left to the private sector. It was implicated in the infamous Teapot Dome bribery scandal that occasioned the conviction of Interior Secretary Albert Fall. Its assets should be sold at fair market value. The federal government shouldn’t be the largest landlord in many Western states.
The Ron Paul budget preserves safety net programs for the truly needy or handicapped. All current Social Security benefit promises would be honored, but youth would be afforded an opportunity to opt out of the system and assume responsibility for creating “rainy day” funds tailored to their unique circumstances. To encourage private savings, the Paul budget would end taxation of personal savings accounts. Private enterprise would be equally boosted by slashing the corporate tax rate to 15%.
Ron Paul’s budget is lean, muscular and achievable without pinching the American people. It aims to reduce federal expenditures to 15.5% of GNP — a figure that was obtained in the early 1950s without engendering economic misery.
In sum, Ron Paul is the sole 2012 presidential candidate who doesn’t sound an uncertain trumpet when it comes to balancing the budget and shrinking the federal Leviathan. All the others hedge their promises with weasel words or abstractions.
If you are anxious about your pocketbook and the solvency of the nation, the Ron Paul budget should be irresistible.
Bruce Fein is Senior Policy Advisor to the Ron Paul 2012 Presidential Campaign. For more information, please visit www.brucefeinlaw.com