Republican Representative (TX-14); previously Libertarian for President
Free trade helps all of Latin America, even Cuba
Q: How would you engage in Latin America to support the governments and the political parties that support democracy and free markets?
PAUL: Well, I think free trade is the answer. Free trade is an answer to a lot of conflicts around the world, so
I'm always promoting free trade. And you might add Cuba, too. I think we would be a lot better off trading with Cuba.
But as far as us having an obligation, a military or a financial obligation to go down and dictate to them what government they
should have, I don't like that idea. I would try to set a standard here where countries would want to emulate us. Unfortunately, sometimes we slip up on our standards and we go around the world and we try to force ourselves on others.
And yet, I believe with friendship and trade, you can have a lot of influence, and I strongly believe that it's time we have friendship and trade with Cuba.
Q: Apple Computer employs 46,000 Americans, but also employs about 500,000 people in China. How do you revive "Made in America"?
PAUL: You have to create the right conditions to bring these companies back, and they have to bring their capital back and
shouldn't be taxed. Apple's a great company, but the way you ask the question, it infers that because there's a bunch of workers overseas, it hasn't benefited a lot of people here. The consumers obviously have been benefited by a good company, well run.
But a lot of people worry about us buying and the money going overseas. But if you send money to China, they have to spend those dollars. Unfortunately, they're buying our debt and perpetuating our consumerism here and our debt here.
But also, when you get products, let's say the computer costs $100 instead of $1000. Well, the person's just saved $900. That helps the economy. That $900 stays in that person's pocket. So we shouldn't be frightened about trade or sending money on.
Trade sanctions never worked on Cuba, and won't work on Iran
Q: You said about Iran: "Sanctions are not diplomacy; they are a precursor to war and an embarrassment to a country that pays lip service to free trade."
A: Countries that you put sanctions on, you are more likely to fight them. I say a policy of peac
is free trade. Stay out of their internal business. Don't get involved in these wars. And just bring our troops home.
Q: So your policy towards Iran is, if they want to develop a nuclear weapon, that's their right, no sanctions?
A: No, that makes it
much worse. Why would that be so strange, if the Soviets and the Chinese have nuclear weapons? We tolerated the Soviets; we didn't attack them. And they were a much greater danger. You don't go to war against them. This whole idea of sanctions, all these
pretend free traders, they're the ones who put on these trade sanctions. This is why we still don't have trade relationships with Cuba. It's about time we talked to Cuba and stopped fighting these wars that are about 30 or 40 years old.
While he supports free trade in theory, Rep. Paul chafes at the government's role in the process, arguing that "We don't need government agreements to have free trade. We merely need to lower or eliminate taxes on the American people, without regard to
what other nations do." His philosophical support for free trade is evidenced by his support for legislation lifting government-imposed trade barriers, such as the Cuba embargo. He also voted against a proposal that would slap duties on China if they
didn't adjust their currency.
Unlike protectionists, Ron Paul embraces the economic importance of free trade, but lives in a dream world if he thinks free trade will be realized absent agreements like NAFTA. Paul himself argues that "tariffs are simply
taxes on consumers," but by opposing these trade agreements, he is actively opposing a decrease in those taxes. While Paul's rhetoric is soundly pro-free trade, his voting record mirrors those of Congress's worst protectionists.
Today, trade policy has been taken over by the executive branch and Congress graciously cedes this power. Transferring authority under fast-track legislation defies the intent of the Constitution. Trade treaties are not entered into, since senatorial
approval by two-thirds would be required and more difficult to pass. This has led to international trade agreements such as WTO, NAFTA, and CAFTA that sacrifice national sovereignty to international government organizations.
These agreements can supersede state laws as well. The Constitution assigns to the Congress the responsibility of regulating foreign trade. If the people and the
Congress preferred that the President and international government entities control trade, the Constitution should have been amended. Ignoring the Constitution on these issues or any issue serves to undermine constitutional legitimacy.
I oppose trade organizations because of flawed fast-track
I consider myself the most "radical" free trader in Congress, but I do not vote for international trade organizations. The process by which these agreements are passed is flawed. Generally, fast-track legislation is passed by Congress, and congressional
authority over foreign commerce is transferred to the executive branch. The President then negotiates with other countries the details of how to lower tariffs or gives permission to retaliate for unfair trade practices. The only way the executive branch
should be involved is to draft a treaty to be ratified by the Senate. Generally, this is an obstacle if the President is required to get 2/3 of the Senate to agree. It's easy to get a majority of each party to give approval to fast-track legislation.
Since the Constitution is clear that Congress has the responsibility for foreign commerce, I don't believe the President should even attempt to regulate foreign trade by treaty. The President already has veto power over what Congress might pass.
I recall a fascinating trip during my days as a Air Force flight surgeon. We stopped in Peshawar, Pakistan, for a shopping trip at the Afghan border.
We could not enter Afghanistan. But nearby there was a huge cave set up as an exchange post with goods
as numerous as a giant department store's. Russian and Eastern goods were sold, as well as American ad other Western goods. It was peaceful under the earth. Here the people were permitted to trade and converse (authorities on both sides knew of the
underground market) because it served the interests of both, while up above, the Cold War raged.
Governments & central banks mess things up, but the market, if it is permitted to operate, is capable of sorting out the mess even under duress. There will
always be the underground, smugglers, and the black market, as long as we allow our governments to plunder and control us by making voluntary exchanges and associations illegal. It is government controls themselves that give us a rise to a black market.
Inflation is regressive & results in protectionism
Inflation is the most vicious and regressive of all forms of taxation. It transfers wealth from the middle class to the privileged rich. The economic chaos that results from a policy of central bank inflation inevitably leads to political instability and
violence. It's an ancient tool of all authoritarians.
Inflating is never a benefit to freedom-loving people. It destroys prosperity; feeds the fires of war; & is responsible for recessions. It's deceptive & addictive, and causes delusions of grandeur.
Wealth cannot be achieved by creating money by fiat.
Depending on monetary fraud for national prosperity or a reversal of our downward spiral is riskier than depending on the lottery.
Inflation has been used to pay for empires since ancient Rome. And
they all end badly. Inflationism and corporatism engender protectionism and trade wars. They prompt scapegoating: blaming foreigners, illegal immigrants, ethnic minorities, and too often freedom itself for the predictable events and suffering that result
Free trade agreements threaten national sovereignty
I opposed both the North American Free Trade Agreement and the World Trade Organization, both of which were heavily favored by the political establishment. Many supporters of the free trade market supported these agreements.
Nearly six decades ago when the International Trade Organization was up for debate, conservatives and libertarians agreed that supranational trade bureaucracies with the power to infringe upon American sovereignty were undesirable.
Source: The Revolution: A Manifesto, by Ron Paul, p. 96
, Apr 1, 2008
FactCheck: NAFTA Superhighway not a conspiracy; it’s I-35
On his campaign website, Paul describes the NAFTA Superhighway as “a ten-lane colossus the width of several football fields, with freight and rail lines, fiber-optic cable lines, and oil and natural gas pipelines running alongside.” According to Paul, th
ultimate plan is to form a North American Union with a single currency and unlimited travel within its borders.
The problem with Paul’s claim is that there are no plans to build a NAFTA Superhighway. Or a North American Union, for that matter.
Paul cites a map from the North America’s SuperCorridor Organization (NASCO), which is a consortium of public and private entities. But the map does not show a new highway. Those bright blue lines show only I-35 and I-29--interstates that already exist.
NASCO says it and some of the local governments along I-35 have been referring to that route as the “NAFTA Superhighway” for years. NASCO advocates improvements to existing roads, but is not lobbying for, or planning to build, any new thoroughfares.
Look at the monetary system and deal with the trade issues
We need to adopt free trade agreements with other countries. We inhibit the export of, say, farm products to countries like Cuba. It’s time we changed our attitude about Cuba. Our markets get closed for monetary reasons because our chief export is our
dollar. Because we have the reserve currency of the world, people take these dollars and our jobs go overseas. You can’t solve any of these problems if you don’t look at the monetary system and how it contributes to these job losses at home.
Source: 2007 Des Moines Register Republican Debate
, Dec 12, 2007
Block international highway from Canada to Mexico
Q: You charged at the YouTube debate that eminent domain would be used to build a new international highway from Canada through the US down to Mexico, suggesting that maybe there was a plan to create some sort of North American Union, similar to the
European Union. That is now being denied by a lot of folks in Washington, including a spokesman for the Federal Highway Administration, saying: “There is no such super highway like the one he’s talking about. It doesn’t exist in plans or anywhere else.”
A: We have a bill in the Congress to stop all of the funding for this particular highway, and I think we have over 50 co-sponsors of it. To be in denial of this, that this is not planned, they’re not going to admit it. It’s subtle.
They’ll say, we are just improving highways. But how come they had a meeting in April 2005 with the president of Mexico, the US & Canada, and they talk about these things? They do believe in globalism. So I don’t think there is any doubt about the plans.
Q: Will you abolish all plans to promote economic integration of North America?
A: Not only do I not want a North American Union, I want us out of the U.N., the IMF, the World Bank, the WTO, NAFTA and CAFTA. NAFTA has nothing to do for free trade.
It’s a pretense to lower tariffs, but it’s a reason to go talk to the WTO to raise tariffs. We need free trade. That’s very, very important. But you don’t get that by world government.
Inappropriate to impose sanctions for persecuting Christians
Q: Today, Christians are being beaten, jailed, and expelled throughout the Muslim world. In Saudi Arabia, no church buildings are permitted, yet Saudi extremist Wahhabis have built hundreds of mosques in the US with funding from Saudi Arabia.
If elected, will you take action to protest these gross injustices and persecution by denying visas or imposing trade sanctions?
China trade not contingent on human rights & product safety
Q: Sarah Lu was forced to work in labor camps for six years, for the crime of being a Christian house church leader. Thousands of prisoners of conscience are forced to manufacture items that stock our American shelves. Would you make future trade with
China contingent on them measurably improving their record on religious freedom & human rights?
Today, we face a new threat of widespread eminent domain actions as a result of powerful interests who want to build a NAFTA superhighway through the United States from Mexico to Canada. Property rights are the foundation of all rights in a free society.
Without the right to own a printing press, for example, freedom of the press becomes meaningless. The next president must get federal agencies out of these schemes to deny property owners their constitutional rights to life, liberty, and property.
The monetary reforms drawn up at Bretton Woods N.H. in July 1944, were supposed to be permanent. The agreement lasted barely 27 years.
At this UN Monetary and Financial Conference, the gold bullion standard was altered. Although the new system was
hailed as an improvement, it was a way to institutionalize long-term inflation and transfer power to politicians and bankers. It was also the means to finance interventionist foreign policy, by creating money and credit out of thin air.
Political pain and economic disruption at home were to be eased by exporting much of the inflation.
44 nations agreed to the establishment of a World Bank and an International Monetary Fund, which began operations in 1946. This permitted dollars--said
to be “good as gold”--to be substituted for gold as the international reserve currency.
With this agreement, gold ceased to flow back and forth to settle balance of payment differences, thus eliminating an essential feature of a sound monetary system.
Allow Americans to own gold; end large-scale foreign sales
The minting of U.S. gold medallions has emphasized the importance of the people’s right to own gold.
Historic Congressional hearings have been held on the gold standard and an amendment to establish a gold commission passed both Houses unanimously.
The commission, composed of public and private sector representatives, will specifically study the role of gold in the domestic and international monetary systems.
We must also work on halting massive gold sales at below market prices to European central bankers and Arab sheiks.
If the administration is still intent on “demonetizing” gold with gold sales, let’s at least sell it only in sizes that Americans can afford--one, one half, and one quarter ounce coins.
Approves the Agreement entered into with the government of Peru. Provides for the Agreement's entry into force upon certain conditions being met on or after January 1, 2008. Prescribes requirements for:
enforcement of textile and apparel rules of origin;
certain textile and apparel safeguard measures; and
enforcement of export laws governing trade of timber products from Peru.
Proponents support voting YES because:
Rep. RANGEL: It's absolutely ridiculous to believe that we can create jobs without trade. I had the opportunity to travel to Peru recently. I saw firsthand how important this agreement is to Peru and how this agreement will strengthen an important ally of ours in that region. Peru is resisting the efforts of Venezuela's authoritarian President Hugo Chavez to wage a war of words and ideas in Latin America against the US. Congress should acknowledge the support of the people of Peru and pass this legislation by a strong margin.
Opponents recommend voting NO because:
Rep. WU: I regret that I cannot vote for this bill tonight because it does not put human rights on an equal footing with environmental and labor protections.
Rep. KILDEE: All trade agreements suffer from the same fundamental flaw: They are not self-enforcing. Trade agreements depend upon vigorous enforcement, which requires official complaints be made when violations occur. I have no faith in President Bush to show any enthusiasm to enforce this agreement. Congress should not hand this administration yet another trade agreement because past agreements have been more efficient at exporting jobs than goods and services. I appeal to all Members of Congress to vote NO on this. But I appeal especially to my fellow Democrats not to turn their backs on those American workers who suffer from the export of their jobs. They want a paycheck, not an unemployment check.
Reference: Peru Trade Promotion Agreement Implementation Act;
Bill H.R. 3688
; vote number 2007-1060
on Nov 8, 2007
Voted NO on implementing CAFTA, Central America Free Trade.
To implement the Dominican Republic-Central America-United States Free Trade Agreement. A vote of YES would:
Progressively eliminate customs duties on all originating goods traded among the participating nations
Preserve U.S. duties on imports of sugar goods over a certain quota
Remove duties on textile and apparel goods traded among participating nations
Prohibit export subsidies for agricultural goods traded among participating nations
Provide for cooperation among participating nations on customs laws and import licensing procedures
Encourage each participating nation to adopt and enforce laws ensuring high levels of sanitation and environmental protection
Recommend that each participating nation uphold the International Labor Organization Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work
Urge each participating nation to obey various international agreements regarding intellectual property rights
Reference: CAFTA Implementation Bill;
Bill HR 3045
; vote number 2005-443
on Jul 28, 2005
Voted NO on implementing US-Australia Free Trade Agreement.
United States-Australia Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act: implementing free trade with protections for the domestic textile and apparel industries.
Reference: Bill sponsored by Rep Tom DeLay [R, TX-22];
; vote number 2004-375
on Jul 14, 2004
Voted NO on implementing US-Singapore free trade agreement.
Vote to pass a bill that would put into effect a trade agreement between the United States and Singapore. The trade agreement would reduce tariffs and trade barriers between the United States and Singapore. The agreement would remove tariffs on goods and duties on textiles, and open markets for services The agreement would also establish intellectual property, environmental and labor standards.
Reference: US-Singapore Free Trade Agreement;
Bill HR 2739
; vote number 2003-432
on Jul 24, 2003
Voted NO on implementing free trade agreement with Chile.
United States-Chile Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act: Vote to pass a bill that would put into effect a trade agreement between the US and Chile. The agreement would reduce tariffs and trade barriers between the US and Chile. The trade pact would decrease duties and tariffs on agricultural and textile products. It would also open markets for services. The trade pact would establish intellectual property safeguards and would call for enforcement of environmental and labor standards.
Reference: Bill sponsored by DeLay, R-TX;
Bill HR 2738
; vote number 2003-436
on Jul 24, 2003
Voted YES on withdrawing from the WTO.
Vote on withdrawing Congressional approval from the agreement establishing the World Trade Organization [WTO].
Reference: Resolution sponsored by Paul, R-TX;
Bill H J Res 90
; vote number 2000-310
on Jun 21, 2000
Voted NO on 'Fast Track' authority for trade agreements.
Vote to establish negotiating objectives for trade agreements between the United States and foreign countries and renew 'fast track' authority for the President.
Reference: Bill introduced by Archer, R-TX.;
Bill HR 2621
; vote number 1998-466
on Sep 25, 1998
No restrictions on import/export; but maintain sovereignty .
Paul adopted the Republican Liberty Caucus Position Statement:
As adopted by the General Membership of the Republican Liberty Caucus at its Biannual Meeting held December 8, 2000.
WHEREAS libertarian Republicans believe in limited government, individual freedom and personal responsibility;
WHEREAS we believe that government has no money nor power not derived from the consent of the people;
WHEREAS we believe that people have the right to keep the fruits of their labor; and
WHEREAS we believe in upholding the US Constitution as the supreme law of the land;
BE IT RESOLVED that the Republican Liberty Caucus endorses the following [among its] principles:
The US government should inhibit neither the exportation of US goods and services worldwide, nor the importation of goods and services.
The United States should not be answerable to any governing body outside the United States for its trade policy.
Source: Republican Liberty Caucus Position Statement 00-RLC9 on Dec 8, 2000
End economic protectionism: let dairy compacts expire .
Paul co-sponsored the Northeast Interstate Dairy Compact resolution:
Declares that the Northeast Interstate Dairy Compact should be allowed to expire under its own terms on September 30, 2001. Expresses the sense of the House of Representatives that Article I, section 10 of the United States Constitution should not be used to renew the interstate economic protectionism of our Nation's early history.
Source: House Resolution Sponsorship 01-HR230 on Aug 2, 2001
Rated 76% by CATO, indicating a pro-free trade voting record.
Paul scores 76% by CATO on senior issues
The mission of the Cato Institute Center for Trade Policy Studies is to increase public understanding of the benefits of free trade and the costs of protectionism.
The Cato Trade Center focuses not only on U.S. protectionism, but also on trade barriers around the world. Cato scholars examine how the negotiation of multilateral, regional, and bilateral trade agreements can reduce trade barriers and provide institutional support for open markets. Not all trade agreements, however, lead to genuine liberalization. In this regard, Trade Center studies scrutinize whether purportedly market-opening accords actually seek to dictate marketplace results, or increase bureaucratic interference in the economy as a condition of market access.
Studies by Cato Trade Center scholars show that the United States is most effective in encouraging open markets abroad when it leads by example.
The relative openness and consequent strength of the U.S. economy already lend powerful support to the worldwide trend toward embracing open markets. Consistent adherence by the United States to free trade principles would give this trend even greater momentum. Thus, Cato scholars have found that unilateral liberalization supports rather than undermines productive trade negotiations.
Scholars at the Cato Trade Center aim at nothing less than changing the terms of the trade policy debate: away from the current mercantilist preoccupation with trade balances, and toward a recognition that open markets are their own reward.
The following ratings are based on the votes the organization considered most important; the numbers reflect the percentage of time the representative voted the organization's preferred position.
Paul co-sponsored blocking NAFTA Superhighway & North American Union
This resolution urges disengaging from the NAFTA Superhighway System and the North American because these proposals threaten U.S. sovereignty:
Whereas US trade deficits with Mexico and Canada have significantly increased since the implementation of NAFTA;
Whereas a NAFTA Superhighway System from the west coast of Mexico through the US and into Canada has been suggested as part of a North American Union to facilitate trade;
Whereas the State of Texas has already begun planning of the Trans-Texas Corridor, a major multi-modal transportation project beginning at the US-Mexico border, which would serve as an initial section of a NAFTA Superhighway System;
Whereas it could be particularly difficult for Americans to collect insurance from Mexican companies which employ Mexican drivers involved in accidents;
Whereas future unrestricted foreign trucking can act collaterally as a conduit for illegal drugs, illegal human smuggling, and terrorist activities; and
Whereas a NAFTA Superhighway System would likely include be controlled by foreign management, which threatens the sovereignty of the US:
Now, therefore, be it Resolved: that the US should not engage in the construction of a NAFTA Superhighway System;
that the US should not allow the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP) to implement further regulations that would create a North American Union with Mexico and Canada; and
the President should indicate strong opposition to these acts or any other proposals that threaten the sovereignty of the United States.
Source: Resolution against the NAFTA Superhighway (H.CON.RES.40) 2007-HCR40 on Jan 22, 2007