• Freedom From Government

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    Obama signed an executive order last week continuing the faith-based
    initiatives program created by former President Bush. When the program
    was created, I warned that giving taxpayer money to private religious
    organizations would eventually lead to political control and manipulation
    of them. This week has provided some evidence that this was a justified

    The logic behind
    funding faith-based initiatives seemed reasonable to some. Private
    organizations are much more effective in charitable endeavors than
    government programs and bureaucracies. Therefore, why not “outsource”
    some of the government’s welfare-state activities to these
    worthy organizations? This appealed to many conservatives, especially
    after the follow-up executive order exempting recipients from discriminatory
    hiring laws, which assured many that taking federal funds would
    not jeopardize their control over their own operations. But beware
    the government program started under an administration you like,
    for it may look a lot different under the one you don’t. Exemptions
    that Bush gave, Obama can take away.

    But now, dependencies
    on federal money have been set, operations have been expanded accordingly,
    and many charities are waiting breathlessly for the administration
    to tell them what new conditions they will have to meet. With the
    stroke of a pen, religious charities might not be able to take into
    consideration a job applicant’s faith, sexual orientation or
    lifestyle if they wish to remain eligible for that taxpayer money
    that was so enticing a few years ago. Similarly, if FOCA (Freedom
    of Choice Act) is passed, will Catholic Church hospitals be forced
    to offer abortion services to retain their federal funding? Can
    they remain solvent without it?

    This is the
    major problem with basing a private business model on the receipt
    of government funds. This money does not come without control, or
    the future possibility of control. We are seeing parallel control
    grabs in industries that have recently been the recipients of taxpayer
    largess. Government officials are now discussing executive compensation
    on Wall Street, banking, and in the auto industry. How much is too
    much to pay someone? When is a bonus deserved? But because politicians
    have bought their way into these industries, these are now political
    decisions. It is easy to utilize class envy to whip up public support
    for these interventions, but government always slides down the slippery
    slope. Politicians are also discussing other aspects of these businesses
    in which they are not expert, such as, what should lending standards
    be? What sort of cars should we direct the auto industry to make?
    Once government money infiltrates a balance sheet, “taxpayers”
    meaning “politicians” have a say in how you operate.

    Money is the
    Trojan horse that government uses to infiltrate and infect organizations.
    Funding that, on the outset, is designed to strengthen and support,
    will bureaucratize and regulate in the end. It is sad to see charities
    now having reason to focus on lobbying, regulatory compliance and
    paper pushing to get and retain money taken by force, rather than
    beefing up private, voluntary fundraising activities. Those tempted
    to join Washington’s ongoing bailout bonanza should instead
    take the famed advice of former First Lady Nancy Reagan on the acceptance
    of harmful and addictive substances and “Just Say No”
    to government money. This is the best protection from government

    the Ron Paul File

    10, 2009

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

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