by Ron Paul: The
Government as Identity Thieves
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with its insatiable appetite for spending, is set to pass yet another
“supplemental” appropriations bill in the next two weeks.
So-called supplemental bills allow Congress to spend beyond even
the 13 annual appropriations bills that fund the federal government.
These are akin to a family that consistently outspends its budget,
and therefore needs to use a credit card to make it through the
end of the month.
If the American
people want Congress to spend less, putting an end to supplemental
appropriations bills would be a start. The 13 “regular”
appropriations bills fund every branch, department, agency, and
program of the federal government. Congress should place every dollar
in plain view among those 13 bills. Instead, supplemental spending
bills serve as a sneaky way for Congress to spend extra money that
was not projected in budget forecasts. Once rare, they have become
commonplace vehicles for deficit spending.
supplemental bill is touted as an “emergency” war-spending
bill, needed to fund our ongoing conflicts in the Middle East. The
emergencies never seem to end, however, and Congress passes one
military supplemental bill after another as the wars in Iraq and
Afghanistan drag on.
Many of my
colleagues argue that Congress cannot put a price on our sacred
national security, and I agree that the strong, unequivocal defense
of our country is a top priority. There comes a time, however, when
we must take stock of what our blank checks to the military—industrial
complex accomplish for us, and where the true threats to American
debate over earmarks demonstrates how we have lost perspective when
it comes to military spending. Earmarks constitute about $11 billion
of the latest budget. This sounds like a lot of money, and it is,
but it is a drop in the bucket compared to the $708 billion spent
by the Pentagon this year to expand our worldwide military presence.
The total expenditures to maintain our world empire is approximately
$1 trillion annually, which is roughly what the entire federal budget
was in 1990!
We spend more
on defense than the rest of the world combined, and far more than
we spent during the Cold War. These expenditures in many cases foment
resentment that does not make us safer, but instead makes us a target.
We referee and arm conflicts the world over, and have troops in
some 140 countries with over 700 military bases.
With this enormous
amount of money and energy spent on efforts that have nothing to
do with the security of the United States, when the time comes to
defend American soil, we will be too involved in other adventures
to do so.
There is nothing
conservative about spending money we don’t have simply because
that spending is for defense. No enemy can harm us in the way we
are harming ourselves, namely bankrupting the nation and destroying
our own currency. The former Soviet Union did not implode because
it was attacked; it imploded because it was broke. We cannot improve
our economy if we refuse to examine all major outlays, including
so-called defense spending.
Paul is a Republican member of Congress from Texas.