Bizarre Spending Habits

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Last week I
had the opportunity to bring up spending and transparency in two
important hearings. On Wednesday I questioned Federal Reserve Chairman
Ben Bernanke on some highly questionable uses of funds at the Federal
Reserve, and on Thursday I asked Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
about exorbitant spending at the State Department.

It is extremely
important to continue bringing these issues up, especially in light
of our difficult economic times, when so many are out of work, as
I saw up close in my district at the Oceans of Opportunity Job Fair
in Galveston two weeks ago. Those who are working live with the
fear of losing their jobs as they struggle to pay bills. Meanwhile,
Washington is talking of increasing their taxes, something voters
were promised, clearly and adamantly, would not happen in this administration.

Government
also struggles with money, but the struggle centers on how to get
more of your money into government coffers. Rather than expanding
the Federal budget in the face of economic downturn, we should be
focusing on eliminating waste and being the very best stewards of
public funds that we can possibly be. Most businesses have had to
streamline and cut back in order to survive, and so it is only fair
for our government to do the same.

Instead, the
State Department is building a $1 billion embassy in London, the
most expensive ever built. The plans even include surrounding it
with a moat! I asked the Secretary of State about this massive expenditure,
and she claimed the funds for this were coming from the sale of
other properties. If money can be saved, then save it! Don’t
spend it on such an extravagant structure overseas when people back
home can’t find jobs or pay bills. Not only that, but the administration
has committed to doubling foreign aid. That is one promise that
is likely to be kept, despite our economic crisis.

I asked Chairman
Bernanke about Federal Reserve agreements with foreign central banks
and if he had had any conversations about bailing out Greece, which
he flatly denied. However, he recently announced that the Federal
Reserve will be looking into Goldman Sachs’ derivative agreements
with Greece. Goldman Sachs, as we know, has “too big to fail”
status with the Fed, so it is conceivable that any Greece-related
catastrophic losses at Goldman Sachs will once again be passed on
to taxpayers.

Perhaps most
sinister are the revelations in Robert Auerbach’s book Deception
and Abuse at the Fed
that $5.5 billion was sent to Saddam
Hussein in the 80’s — money that allowed Iraq to build
up its military machine to fight Iran prior to the first Gulf War,
the very machine turned against our brave men and women within just
a few years! I agree with Bernanke’s characterization of this
— it is indeed “bizarre” to think that Americans
at the Federal Reserve could engage in this type of behavior, which
some have called “criminal.” However, Professor Auerbach
served as a banking committee investigator, and as an economist
at the Treasury Department and at the Federal Reserve. His claims
are hardly without merit. In fact, they are solidly backed by court
rulings and other evidence.

The lack of
accountability and transparency in our leaders on government spending
is appalling. We simply must keep pressing these issues and voicing
our objections if we are ever to reverse our failed policies.

See
the Ron Paul File

March
2, 2010

Dr. Ron
Paul is a Republican member of Congress from Texas.

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