Congress Freezes Its Own Pay

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Last
week Congress did something fiscally responsible. It’s not
very often I can say that. Granted, it was small in the grand scheme
of things, but I was glad to be an original cosponsor, along with
Congressman Harry Mitchell of Arizona, of a bill to block the automatic
pay raise that Congress otherwise receives every year. Every Member
of Congress gets this raise unless it is expressly voted down. For
the second year in a row Congress has voted to freeze its own pay,
which, in a time of skyrocketing deficits and high unemployment,
is the very least Congress can do.

The country
is in a serious recession, bordering on depression. Unemployment
is grossly underreported, and not likely to get better anytime soon.
American citizens and businesses are overtaxed, yet tax revenues
still fall far short of our government’s voracious appetite
for spending. This is no time to raise taxes. And since congressional
salaries come from tax revenue, allowing ourselves a raise would
fly in the face of economic reality.

Of course,
Congress ignores economic reality all the time. But if Congress
can freeze salaries as a first step towards fiscal sanity, it can
freeze — if not drastically cut — a vast array of federal
expenditures.

At the very
least, Congress could freeze current spending levels, instead of
constantly increasing them. We could stop increasing the debt ceiling
every few months, as has become our habit. We could freeze regulations
that add to the burden on our struggling small businesses. We could
freeze intrusive bailouts that upset the balance of the market and
cost us billions — billions we could instead use to eliminate
the oppressive income tax! We could freeze the money supply and
stave off the tsunami of inflation the Fed has been generating for
years.

Furthermore,
we could address the mismanagement and waste in foreign affairs
which adds immensely to our budget. Like entitlements, militarism
is expensive. We need to reject sanctions as a precursor to military
action, and embrace free trade as the most effective method for
spreading liberty. After all, as the great economist Frdric Bastiat
said: when goods don’t cross borders, armies will. It is time
to bring our troops home, instead of instigating expensive new wars
when we’re already hopelessly mired in several conflicts already.
We need to rethink the whole idea of pre-emptive war — not
only because it’s wrong and counterproductive, but because
we literally cannot afford it!

We could do
much to restore fiscal sanity to this country simply by stopping
the madness and bringing our troops home — from Iraq, Afghanistan,
Korea, Japan, Germany, and so many other places. This costly global
empire does not serve the interests of the American people and we
should end it peacefully and voluntarily now, lest it end in chaos
later.

Though it may
be wishful thinking on my part, I’m encouraged by the small
step taken by Congress last week. Fiscal sanity can begin with a
small step, and I want to encourage Congress to move in this direction.

See
the Ron Paul File

May
4, 2010

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

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