Club for Growth Releases Seventh Presidential White Paper on Ron Paul
Posted by chip91 on October 29, 2007
Today, the fiscal conservative PAC Club for Growth released it’s seventh presidential white paper on Congressman Ron Paul. Here are some highlights from the report.
“Ron Paul’s record contains some very laudable components,” said Club for Growth President Pat Toomey. “On taxes, regulation, and political speech, his record is superb. His spending record is impressive, though Paul has recently embraced pork-barrel projects in direct contradiction to his vociferous opposition to unconstitutional appropriations by the federal government.”
Unfortunately, his stubborn idealism often takes Ron Paul further away from achieving the limited-government, pro-growth philosophy he advocates. This is certainly the case with school choice, free trade, tort reform, and entitlement reform, in which he votes against vital free trade agreements, competitive school choice initiatives, and tort reform proposals.
The Club for Growth is committed to lower taxes-especially lower tax rates- across the board. Lower taxes on work, savings, and investments lead to greater levels of these activities, thus encouraging greater economic growth.
Ron Paul’s record on taxes is excellent, epitomized by his rallying cry for phasing out the IRS. Over his career, he has backed up his speeches and articles with many pro-growth votes.
The Club for Growth is committed to reducing government spending. Less spending enhances economic growth by enabling lower taxes and diminishing the economically inefficient political allocation of resources.
Ron Paul’s history contains some curious indiscretions, including a vote for $232 million for federally mandated election reform (only 1 of 21 Republicans to vote for it) and a vote against the line-item veto-even after it was modified to pass constitutional muster. Paul’s record on pork was outstanding in 2006, voting for all 19 of Jeff Flake’s anti-pork amendments in 2006, but his record took a stark turn for the worse in 2007, in which Paul received an embarrassing 29% on the Club for Growth’s RePORK Card, voting for only 12 of the 50 anti-pork amendments. Some of the outrageous pork projects Paul voted to keep include $231,000 for the San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association’s Urban Center; $129,000 for the “perfect Christmas tree project;” $300,000 for the On Location Entertainment Industry Craft Technician Training Project in California; $150,000 for the South Carolina Aquarium; and $500,000 for the National Mule and Packers Museum in California. This year, Ron Paul requested more than sixty earmarks “worth tens of millions of dollars for causes as diverse as rebuilding a Texas theater, funding a local trolley, and helping his state’s shrimp industry.”
Free trade is a vital policy for maximizing economic growth. In recent decades, America’s commitment to expanding trade has resulted in lower costs for consumers, job growth, and higher levels of productivity and innovation.
Ron Paul has opposed many free trade agreements during his time in Congress:
- Voted against Fast Track Authority
- Voted against a free trade agreement between the U.S. and Chile
- Voted against free trade with Singapore
- Voted against free trade with Australia
- Voted against CAFTA
- Voted against the U.S.-Bahrain trade agreement
- Voted against the Oman trade agreement
- Voted against normal trade relations with Vietnam
While Paul’s rhetoric is soundly pro-free trade, his voting record mirrors those of Congress’s worst protectionists.
America’s major middle-class entitlement programs are already insolvent. The Club for Growth supports entitlement reforms that enable personal ownership of retirement and healthcare programs, benefit from market returns, and diminish dependency on government.
Rep. Paul’s limited-government philosophy found a particularly useful victim in the country’s entitlement programs.
But the recurring theme of Paul’s career is his frequent willingness to let unattainable ideals obstruct attainable progress towards those ideals. Just as in trade, this tendency leaves Paul opposing pro-growth reforms of Social Security. He opposes allowing workers to divert some Social Security payroll taxes into private retirement accounts, arguing instead for cutting payroll taxes and leaving it up to workers to do what they will with the savings. While the ideal is admirable, it is not a sufficient reason to oppose the pro-growth, expansion of freedom that personally-owned retirement accounts represent.
The Congressman was also 1 of only 4 Republicans to join the Democrats in voting against the extension of welfare reform in 2002.
Excessive government regulation stymies individual and business innovation necessary for strong economic expansion. The Club for Growth supports less and more sensible government regulation as a critical step toward increasing freedom and growth in the marketplace.
Nicknamed “Dr. No,” Rep. Paul has spent his career voting against a slew of big-government, regulatory bills. This impressive record contains a couple of odd votes, such as his vote for an amendment delaying oil and gas production in the Gulf of Mexico. More curious is Paul’s support for legislation requiring the Department of Health and Human Services to negotiate Medicare drug prices with drug companies, which is likely to lead to de facto price controls. These votes aside, Paul’s record on regulation demonstrates a consistent aversion to government intervention in the private sector and an appreciation for the role limited government plays in furthering economic growth.
The Club for Growth supports broad school choice, including charter schools, voucher programs, and tax credits that create a competitive education market including public, private, religious, and non-religious schools. More competition in education can only lead to higher quality and lower costs.
Ron Paul’s opposition to school choice stems from his opposition to the government’s role in education, arguing that federal voucher programs are “little more than another tax-funded welfare program establishing an entitlement to a private school education.” He consistently voted against voucher programs, including a 1998 school voucher program for D.C. public school students, and a 2003 bill for a DC voucher program.
While Paul’s sentiment is understandable, it doesn’t change the fact that his votes are a direct impediment to achieving high-quality school choice. By voting against school choice programs, Paul is aligning himself with Democrats and the National Education Association in opposing progress towards achieving a truly competitive, market-based education system.
Political Free Speech
Maximizing prosperity requires sound government policies. When the government strays from these policies, citizens must be free to exercise their constitutional rights to petition and criticize those policies and the politicians responsible for them.Ron Paul has a stellar record of protecting political free speech. There is no question about Rep. Paul’s steadfast respect for the First Amendment.
The American economy suffers from excessive litigation which increases the cost of doing business and slows economic growth. The Club for Growth supports major reforms to our tort system to restore a more just and less costly balance in tort litigation.
Representative Paul opposes federal tort reform for the same reason he opposes most federal solutions-he believes the federal approach “damages the Constitution by denying states the right to decide their own local medical standards and legal rules.”
While Paul’s idealism is laudable, he has not offered a viable alternative for dealing with a problem that is hurting American consumers and businesses, while diminishing our international competitiveness.
When it comes to limited government, there are few champions as steadfast and principled as Representative Ron Paul. In the House of Representatives, he plays a very useful role constantly challenging the status quo and reminding his colleagues, despite their frequent indifference, that our Constitution was meant to limit the power of government. On taxes, regulation, and political free speech his record is outstanding. While his recent pork votes are troubling, the vast majority of his anti-spending votes reflect a longstanding desire to cut government down to size.
But Ron Paul is a purist, too often at the cost of real accomplishments on free trade, school choice, entitlement reform, and tort reform.