Ron Paul has been called extreme, radical, crazy and even dangerous. His views are often portrayed as too far out there – they are unrealistic and impractical. I don’t think Congressman Paul is crazy and I certainly don’t think he is dangerous to the American common good but I do cede that he is extreme, he is radical, he is an idealist and it certainly may be argued that his proposed policies are not practical. However, America’s problems are also extreme and will require extreme solutions. In short, the woes of our nation beg an idealist man – not a practical man, not a down-to-earth man, but a theoretical man who, when Rome burns, isn’t constrained by the limitations of convention. The tried-and-true methods are wonderful when times are good but to rely on such “practical” measures in the face of unprecedented challenges is erroneous. Our practicum has tried-and-failed and only the theoretical idealist can get us out now. Don’t believe me? Lets look at a mere few of the problems plaguing our country right now.
Our national debt is 15.4 trillion dollars, or 136,021 dollars per taxpayer. Our total unfunded liabilities are over 117.7 trillion dollars at over one million dollars per taxpayer. Our federal government overspends beyond its revenue at a rate of over 1.2 trillion dollars per year. Ron Paul’s spending plan cuts $1 trillion in spending during the first year of presidency, eliminating five cabinet departments (Energy, HUD, Commerce, Interior, and Education), abolishing the Transportation Security Administration and returning responsibility for security to private property owners, abolishing corporate subsidies, stopping foreign aid, ending foreign wars, and returning most other spending to 2006 levels. Ron Paul proposes the most extreme budget cuts of any presidential candidate by leaps and bounds. Yet, by cutting 1 trillion we still fall 200 million short annually of a balanced budget. That means that by cutting spending by an amount equal to half our revenue we will still be accruing debt and won’t even begin paying off our massive debt! Under the implementation of Ron Paul’s spending plan we would have a balanced budget by 2015 and then, finally, we can begin the arduous but essential process of reducing our debt burden. This is the most radical plan of action out there, proposed by a man considered so extreme the MSM undergoes frequent media blackouts in an attempt to curb his influence, and yet all it proposes is doing the bare minimum to get America’s economy back on track.
Ron Paul is labeled extreme because he wants to use the American people’s money prudently – instead of allowing our federal government to have free reign with the billions entrusted to them by us. His plan to eliminate government waste makes a 10% reduction in the federal workforce, slashes Congressional pay and perks, and curbs excessive federal travel. To stand with the American People, President Paul will take a salary of $39,336, approximately equal to the median personal income of the American worker. Meanwhile, the “practical” fiscal conservative Santorum who voted multiple times for congressional pay raises thinks that this is just too radical – and Romney, Gingrich and Obama agree.
The issue upon which conservatives seem to find Ron Paul’s stance most abhorrent though is on foreign policy. First, lets set the stage: what is the current state of American national defense and foreign policy? Today, hundreds of thousands of our fighting men and women have been stretched thin all across the globe in over 135 countries – often without a clear mission, any sense of what defines victory, or the knowledge of when they’ll be permanently reunited with their families. Ron Paul believes that acting as the world’s policeman and nation-building weakens our country, puts our troops in harm’s way, and sends precious resources to other nations in the midst of an historic economic crisis. Taxpayers are forced to spend billions of dollars each year to protect the borders of other countries, while Washington refuses to deal with our own border security needs. Congress has been rendered virtually irrelevant in foreign policy decisions and regularly cedes authority to an executive branch that refuses to be held accountable for its actions. Constitutionally, we cannot declare war without congressional approval. Do you remember a declaration of war from congress against Iraq? How about Afghanistan? Me neither. Thats because the executive branch has usurped the power to go to war – the same executive branch that, under NDAA, can now detain any American citizen indefinitely and without trial. Ron Paul, instead of spending billions in military ventures abroad and paying off tin-pot dictators around the world, would rather see strong borders at home and our money invested in the the American people – not in North Korea, Egypt, Pakistan and others. Is this extreme? Compared to American politics as usual, absolutely.
Rick Santorum, the object of adoration by many Catholic conservatives (and my own second choice), has denounced Ron Paul on the issue of abortion. Yet, Ron Paul seeks to immediately save lives by effectively repealing Roe v. Wade and preventing activist judges from interfering with state decisions on life by removing abortion from federal court jurisdiction through legislation modeled after his “We the People Act.” Additionally, Ron Paul will define life as beginning at conception by passing a “Sanctity of Life Act.” Furthermore, because Congressman Paul agrees with Thomas Jefferson that it is “sinful and tyrannical” to “compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves and abhors,” Ron Paul will also protect the American people’s freedom of conscience by working to prohibit taxpayer funds from being used for abortions, Planned Parenthood, or any other so-called “family planning” program. Compare this to Santorum who voted for a budget bill that contained millions in funds for Planned Parenthood, who proudly defends federal funding for contraception including the Pill which has been shown to be abortifacient (skip to 9:05) even though he personally opposes contraception, and who endorsed a militantly pro-abortion candidate against a pro-life candidate to his own political gain.
Ron Paul’s views are extreme . . . to a conventional political system that has no place to fit a man who doesn’t behave the way a politician is “supposed to act”. Ron Paul doesn’t strategically endorse candidates for political gain like other politicians do, he only accepts campaign donations from individuals and not corporations like other politicians do, and he gives unused funds from his allotted office budget back to taxpayers every year to the sum of $100,000 last year which other politicians don’t do (except for his son, Rand Paul). Politicians like Santorum or Romney are too entrenched in the trees to see the forest – they’re a part of the same establishment that has failed us in every facet of government involvement so how can they possibly reverse the trend?
Ron Paul doesn’t limit himself to our current system because he recognizes that the system is broken. Its the system, politics as usual, thats the problem. We can vote for men like Santorum or Romney or Gingrich or Obama who will continue the “tried-and-true” trends of increased government spending, increased federal powers, suppression of rights, serial foreign warfare and continued government takeover of the private business sector while throwing us a bone once in a while or we can vote for a man whose been ideologically consistent for 30 years, who is uncompromising in his ideals, who stands by the constitution and who has had the audacity to offer real solutions with real change. Ultimately, the decision is ours and, if we find ourselves stuck with four more years of ad nauseam corporate fascism at the hands of an Obama or a Romney then we have no one to blame but ourselves. In politics, we tend to get what we deserve so, this time around, lets try to deserve something a little better.