Ron Paul and Harry Mitchell have again stopped the increase in pay that Members of Congress automatically get every year unless it is voted down.
Their efforts to block the pay raise for 2010 was successful last year, and today their bill to block the pay raise for 2011 passed overwhelmingly (402-15) in the House after passing the Senate last week.
“We should not be padding our pocketbooks when our constituents are still tightening their belts and losing their jobs,” stated Congressman Paul. “As well, we could continue with this symbolic first step and stop increasing taxes, expanding the federal budget, and spreading our military so thin. These additional measures would do much to begin our economic recovery.”
Below, Ron Paul speaks on the House floor in support of the bill:
Ron Paul: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I rise in support of this legislation and I want to complement Mr. Mitchel from Arizona for getting this bill to the floor. We’ve worked on this for several years and I am pleased that this is going to be passed today.
Much has been said about the unemployment rate in this country, and I saw one other take on unemployment today where it said that low-income people (below $20,000) the unemployment rate is actually 31%, which shows how devastating this recession is. And for some it’s an actual depression.
I would like this bill to be passed, but not just as symbolism. It is a good symbolism, and important symbolism. But as was mentioned by the gentleman from California, it’s not a tremendous amount of money. But it’s important for us to recognize that we have a serious problem in this country and that we shouldn’t be careless about the way we think about this problem. It shouldn’t make us feel necessarily good because we pass this; this is just necessary.
It does remind me of a piece of legislation I introduced many years ago in the 1970s when we had rampant inflation, which I anticipate will probably come back to this country. Back then we had a 15% inflation rate, and my suggestion then in the form of legislation was to get the members’ attention to understand what an inflation was all about. I said we should take a pay cut at the rate of inflation.
And even today we might suggest that there is a lot more inflation out there than we admit to. So maybe not only should we freeze our salaries, maybe we should be taking a pay cut so that we can do a better job, because we really can’t brag about the job that we have done for the country because of the condition the country is in.
But I would like to extend this motivation to freeze the pay of congressmen to freezing a few other things. I would like to see our budget at least frozen where it is. That would go a long way to solving some of our budgetary problems. And how about freezing the debt level? Let’s not raise the debt level. Instead, this next year, our national debt is going to go up by $2 trillion when you add up all that we borrowed from our trust funds.
Also, I’d like to see a freeze on regulations because regulations usually backfire. There are unintended consequences, they cost a lot of money, they act as a tax, and they don’t improve the economy overall.
I would be in support of freezing the welfare transfer system. The system that most people think, “Well, transfers are going to help all the poor people”. The trouble is, wealth transfer systems help the rich people and they’re the ones to get the bailouts and poor people don’t. So a freeze on welfare transfer would be a long way towards restoring a free society and a constitutional government.
Also, I think the consensus of the American people today is that we ought to freeze the bailouts. Let’s not bail out anybody anymore. But it looks like it will be a long time before that happens because we have a monetary system where we have somebody over there called the Federal Reserve that says, “We can print and at will, and our job is to be the lender of last resort.” That means to bail anybody and everybody out that needs money and it looks like that will be domestic as well as international.
I’d like to freeze the ability of the Federal Reserve to print money out of thin air. That, in moral terms, is counterfeit and yet that is the encouragement for us to run up our deficits because the Fed can come in and increase the money supply. A sound monetary system would have frozen anybody’s ability to just create money out of thin air.
I’d also like to freeze the income tax at the 1912 level. And that, indeed, would be a real boost to the people of this country. All of a sudden there would be great wealth in the hands of the consumer. Just think if all the money that we spent on the bailouts that just tided things over, if just a portion of that had been used to get rid of the income tax, I think the money would have been better spent because the people would have been spending the money instead of the bureaucrats and the politicians and the regulators that bail out the people who were making all the money in the first place.
But I would also extend this freeze on to some other things, too. I’d like to freeze some of our militarism. I think we have enough fighting going on. I don’t think we should expand the war. I don’t think we should be looking for another enemy. I’d like to freeze the sanctions on countries, I’d like to see a lot more free trade. I would like to see that the bombing is not extended, that we quit allowing our CIA to extend the bombing of countries that have not attacked us.
I would also like to put a freeze on this concept of preventive war. This whole idea and concept of preventive war means that we can literally start the war.
So yes, it’s good that we’re freezing the salaries of us here in the Congress but if we really want to restore the Republic, we will freeze a lot of these other issues as well.