Providing for Consideration of H.R. 7321, Auto Industry Financing and Restructuring Act, before the House of Representatives, December 10, 2008.
I rise in opposition to the rule and the underlying legislation. It doesn’t take a whole lot to convince me that we are on the wrong track with this type of legislation. And at great risk of being marginalized, I want to bring up a couple of issues. One is that if one were to look for guidance in the Constitution, there’s no evidence that we have the authority to take funds from one group of Americans and transfer it to another group who happen to need something.
And the moral argument is it’s not right to do so. Why should successful Americans be obligated to take care of those who have made mistakes?
But those two arguments in this Chamber are rather weak arguments, so I will try to talk a little bit about economics. I think what we’re doing here today and what we’ve done here for the last week has been, essentially, a distraction. We’re talking about transferring funds around, $15 billion that’s been authorized. It’s been designated to do some other interventions that were unnecessary in the car industry. And in a way, this legislation probably could have been done by unanimous consent, but there’s been a lot of talk and a lot of publicity and a lot of arguments going back and forth about the bailout for the car companies; and it is, of course, very important.
But in the scheme of things, you know, what’s $15 billion mean anymore, especially since it’s been authorized?
The big thing is the big bailout, the $8 trillion, the unlimited amount the Federal Reserve has invested and what we’ve been doing for the past 6 months. We are on the road to nationalization. In many ways, we’re in the midst of nationalization without a whimper.
There is no real talk about it. I mean, we’ve essentially nationalized the insurance companies, the mortgage companies, the banks, and medical care is moving in that direction, and now the car companies are going to be run by a car czar from this Congress. I mean, it is such an embarrassment. It is such an insult to us who believe in freedom, who believe in sound money and who believe in limited government. It is such an insult to the whole idea of what made America great, and this is what it has come to — bailout after bailout after bailout — and nobody even calls it what it really is. It is the nationalization of our industries.
You know, in many ways, Harry Truman was a much more honest person. He said we should nationalize the steel industry, and he did. Fortunately, we still had a little bit of common sense in our courts, and they said "Hey, you’re going too far.” That’s what we’re doing here. We’re nationalizing. It happens always for good purposes, and we are always going to do good for this group, or that, but you never ask the question "How much harm have you done to the other group?” and that’s what we ought to be talking about. We ought to really find out what this is costing.
As much as I strongly believe in the free society — and I can defend it from the economic viewpoint — I also know where we are and where we ought to go.
I do believe in the transition. That is, if we need a bailout for the car companies, even though I don’t like the idea, if you could pay for it, take it out of these hundreds of billions of dollars running the American empire around the world. Cut it; bring it home and spend it here, but running up these deficits is going to do us in, and we are working on the collapse of the dollar. That is what you’d better pay attention to. So pay attention. This is a lot more important than this little $15 billion. To me, it has been a gross distraction from the great harm we’ve done in the past 6 months.
December 12, 2008
Dr. Ron Paul is a Republican member of Congress from Texas.