(Rep. Ron Paul) – With a faltering economy, multiple wars, and the approaching demise of the dollar’s reserve status, there are more than enough problems to keep politicians in Washington working day and night. In between handing out cash for clunkers and nationalizing healthcare, the administration is busy sending more troops overseas, escalating existing wars, and seeking out excuses to start new wars.
Congress is working on “urgent” legislation to address crises like healthcare reform and climate change. The reforms are so very urgent that legislation must pass swiftly with no time to read the bills even though the new laws wouldn’t take effect for several years! Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve is busy dealing with our dollar crisis by printing up more dollars.
Yes, there certainly is a lot for Washington to do these days. Most, if not all, of what Washington is doing however, is more of what created the problems in the first place. Capitol Hill is filled with politicians running around putting out fires – but with gasoline. The truth is that all these fires keep so many powerful people employed and wealthy that it is not truly in many decision makers’ interests to be very effective problem-solvers. If Washington ran out of problems, think how many lobbyists would be out of a job, and how many special interest groups would just disband? Sadly, whatever is bad for the greater economy is good for the economy and job market in DC.
Of course, no form of government, not even one that respected its Constitutional restraints, would magically create a problem-free society. The question is: how should a society deal with its problems? The form of government that our founders envisioned, in which the federal government was strictly constrained by the Constitution, allows private citizens and communities to solve their own problems. The role of the government should be to protect contracts, punish fraud and violence through appropriate laws, law enforcement and the courts. Not a whole lot of laws or bureaucrats are really necessary to work on just that. Instead, new laws are constantly needed to fix the problems that previous unconstitutional laws created. We have ended up with an incomprehensible maze of laws and regulations that severely constrains the people and expands the government – the exact opposite of what our founders intended.
This is all because the Constitution is treated like a suggestion manual instead of the supreme law of the land. Under the Constitution, politicians’ hands are supposed to be tied in most of the areas they involve themselves in today. But somewhere along the line, politicians stepped out of Constitutional bounds and started pretending to solve our problems for us. All we have to show for it is more problems.
Today, Washington politicians can busily “solve” one problem, knowing that unintended consequences from that “solution” will keep them and their friends all very busy tomorrow. The people are ultimately left suffocating under the burden of Washington’s helping hands. It is coming to a point where our economy, our dollar, and indeed, the rest of the world have had about all the help from Washington that they can stand. The United States is headed the way of Rome and the Soviet Union, for the same reasons, unless we reverse the trend.
I continue to hope that enough Americans will realize that the true strength of our country doesn’t come from Washington, but rather the limitations placed on government in the Constitution. We must resolve to reverse the destructive course that we are on and then never again let big government problem-solving take over our lives and our country.
(Dr. Paul is a Republican congressman from Texas)