Recently by Charles Goyette: Is a Central Bank Gold Run at Hand?
Rep. Ron Paul gave his farewell address to Congress on Wednesday.
It was 1976, the bicentennial year, when he first took a seat in Washington. Although only one of 435 congressmen, he was distinguished from the beginning by his uncommon determination to serve the cause of peace and prosperity by championing individual liberty.
This he did with a consistency that baffled the plastic politicians of both parties.
Politics has ways of bending such lesser men, and molding even the well-intentioned to become servants of the state.
The tools are many: Congressional leadership bribes and bestows its favors, from plum committee assignments to nicer Capitol offices. Who wouldn't prefer the spacious corner office to the one more-suited to serving as the janitor's closet?
The parties reward the lockstep-marchers, too. For those who stay in step, there are endorsements and campaign funds. Meanwhile, for those who march to a different drummer, the party will recruit primary opponents — even from the other party.
And then there is the simple social pressure to which men whose eyes are not focused on a polestar of principle soon succumb. The description you've heard of Washington, that you have to go along to get along, is all too true.
A True Representative
Ron Paul never succumbed. He never sold out for a better assignment, a nicer office, lobbyist largesse, or shallow conviviality.
Nor has Congressman Paul ever taken a taxpayer-paid junket. He has never voted for a congressional pay raise. Nor has he ever voted for a tax increase or an unbalanced budget.
He does not participate in the lucrative congressional pension program. He returns a portion of his annual congressional office budget to the U.S. Treasury every year. And he has never voted for a bill that contravenes the plain language of the Constitution.
That alone is enough for him to stand apart. But my regard, born of experience, runs deeper.
Back in 1984, I arranged for Ron Paul to be a keynote speaker at a series of investment conferences. Even then he distinguished himself with his vision, clearly describing the economic course America was charting and the consequences that are beginning to unfold today.
As evidence of clarity, one can look to Congressman Paul's September 2003 remarks in the House Financial Services Committee, as he described in advance "the long-term damage to the economy inflicted by the government's interference in the housing market."
Five years to the month before the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac bubbles popped, Paul explained:
"Like all artificially created bubbles, the boom in housing prices cannot last forever. When housing prices fall, homeowners will experience difficulty as their equity is wiped out. "Furthermore, the holders of the mortgage debt will also have a loss. These losses will be greater than they would have otherwise been, had government policy not actively encouraged over-investment in housing. "Perhaps the Federal Reserve can stave off the day of reckoning by purchasing (Government-Sponsored Enterprise) debt and pumping liquidity into the housing market, but this cannot hold off the inevitable drop in the housing market forever. "In fact, postponing the necessary, but painful market corrections will only deepen the inevitable fall."
What magical gift of intuition has enabled Ron Paul over the years to so accurately describe our national trajectory and its consequences?
There is no magic to it; he has simply studied the precedents.
America isn't the only country to have purchased the "let's spend our way to prosperity" snake oil. It's not the first time a nation has taken the central economic planning Kool-Aid. This isn't the world's first fiat-money rodeo. Other countries have taken the same central-bank joyride.
Do These Same Questions Puzzle You?
Congressman Paul's farewell address can — and should — be read here orviewed here. Be sure to give some thought to the long list of important questions excessive government has prompted Congressman Paul to ask as he leaves office.
Here are a representative few:
- Why are sick people who use medical marijuana put in prison?
- Why does the federal government restrict the drinking of raw milk?
- Why are Americans not allowed to use gold and silver as legal tender as mandated by the Constitution?
- Why is Germany concerned enough to consider repatriating its gold held by the Fed in New York? Is it that the trust in the U.S. and dollar supremacy is beginning to wane?
- Why do our political leaders believe it's unnecessary to thoroughly audit our own gold?
- Why can't Americans decide which type of light bulbs they can buy?
- Why have we allowed the federal government to regulate commodes in our homes?
- Why haven't we given up on the drug war since it's an obvious failure and violates the people's rights? Has nobody noticed that the authorities can't even keep drugs out of the prisons? How can making our entire society a prison solve the problem?
- Why does changing the party in power never change policy? Could it be that the views of both parties are essentially the same?
- Why did the big banks, the large corporations, foreign banks and foreign central banks get bailed out in 2008 while the middle class lost their jobs and their homes?
- Why do so many in the government (including federal officials) believe that creating money out of thin air creates wealth?
- Why can't people understand that war always destroys wealth and liberty?
- Why is there so little concern for the Executive Order that gives the president authority to establish a "kill list," including American citizens, of those targeted for assassination?
- Why is patriotism thought to be blind loyalty to the government and the politicians who run it, rather than loyalty to the principles of liberty and support for the people? Real patriotism is a willingness to challenge the government when it's wrong.
- Is there any explanation for all the deception, the unhappiness, the fear of the future, the loss of confidence in our leaders, the distrust, the anger and frustration? Yes there is, and there's a way to reverse these attitudes. The negative perceptions are logical and a consequence of bad policies bringing about our problems. Identification of the problems and recognizing the cause allow the proper changes to come easy.
u2018A Life Uncommon'
As he acknowledges, there are no federal buildings or highways or major pieces of government-growing legislation named after Congressman Ron Paul. But his impact will last and his name will be remembered long after the untold thousands of plastic politicians have been forgotten.
Indeed, the singer Jewel has a stirring song that will forever remind me of Congressman Paul's political career. She urged that if we would but lend our voices to the sound of freedom and fill our lives with love and bravery, then we shall lead lives uncommon.
Congressman Paul has inspired millions with his voice of freedom. He has led a life uncommon.
Charles Goyette [send him mail] is the author of the New York Times bestseller The Dollar Meltdown. His new book is Red and Blue and Broke All Over: Restoring America's Free Economy. He is also editor of Freedom & Prosperity Letter, a monthly political and financial newsletter dedicated to revealing the truth about the U.S.’s political scene and economic climate. To learn more, go here.