Ron Paul on Welfare & Poverty

Republican Representative (TX-14); previously Libertarian for President

Entitlements are not rights; only big guys get entitlements

Q: Many Americans believe that health care is a right. What services are all Americans entitled to expect to get from government?

PAUL: Entitlements are not rights. Rights mean you have a right to your life and you have a right to your liberty. I, in a way, don't like to use terms [like] gay rights, women's rights, minority rights, religious rights. There's only one type of right, it's your right to your liberty. It's caused divisiveness when we see people in groups because, for too long, we punished groups, so the answer then was let's relieve them by giving them affirmative action. I think both are wrong. If you think in terms of individuals and protect every single individual, no, they're not entitled. One group isn't entitled to take something from somebody else. There's a lot of good intention to help poor people. But guess who gets the entitlements in Washington? The big guys get them, the rich people. They run the entitlement system, the military industrial complex, the banking system.

Source: Meet the Press 2012 GOP New Hampshire debate , Jan 8, 2012

Churches used to take care of ill without insurance

Q: Let's say a healthy 30-year-old decides, "I'm not going to spend $300 a month for health insurance." Who's going to pay if he goes into a coma?

A: Well, in a society that you accept welfarism, he expects the government to take care of him. But what he should do is whatever he wants to do, and assume responsibility for himself. My advice to him would have a major medical policy.

Q: But if he doesn't have that, and he needs intensive care?

A: That's what freedom is all about, taking your own risks.

Q: Are you saying that society should just let him die?

A: No. I practiced medicine before we had Medicaid. In the early 1960s, the churches took care of them. We never turned anybody away from the hospitals. We've given up on this whole concept that we might take care of ourselves and assume responsibility for ourselves. Our neighbors, our friends, our churches would do it. The cost is so high because they dump it on the government, it becomes a bureaucracy.

Source: 2011 GOP Tea Party debate in Tampa FL , Sep 12, 2011

Welfare state isn't in the Constitution

Q: A long time ago, a fellow Texan was horrified to see young kids coming into the classroom hungry. The young student teacher later went on to be Pres. Lyndon Johnson. Providing nutrition at schools for children--is that a role of the federal government

PAUL: Well, I'm sure, when he did that, he did it with local government, and there's no rules against that. That'd be fine. But that doesn't imply that you want to endorse the entire welfare state. No; it isn't authorized in the Constitution for us to run a welfare state. And it doesn't work. All it's filled up with is mandates. But, yes, if there are poor people in Texas, we have a responsibility--I'd like to see it as voluntary as possible--but under our Constitution, our states have that right--if they feel the obligation, they have a perfect right to. This whole idea that there's something wrong with people who don't lavish out free stuff from the federal government somehow aren't compassionate enough. I resist those accusations.

Source: 2011 GOP debate in Simi Valley CA at the Reagan Library , Sep 7, 2011

Moral hazard permeates a welfare state

Artificially low rates of interest orchestrated by the Fed induced investors, savers, borrowers, and consumers to misjudge what was going on. The apparent prosperity based on the illusion of such wealth and savings led to misdirected and excessive use of capital. This illusion is referred to as moral hazard.

Anything that is seen as protection against risk causes people to act with less caution. Even if their actions may seem risky, someone else suffers the consequences, and moral hazard will encourage bad economic behavior.

Moral hazard, from whatever source, is detrimental because it removes the sense of responsibility for one's own actions. Interventionism conditions business people to believe they can enjoy the rewards of the market, yet pass on the penalties to others. That's what's happening today.

Although I'm talking here about financial moral hazard, the whole notion of the safety net permeates a socialist or welfare state, encouraging carelessness and dependency on the government.

Source: End the Fed, by Rep. Ron Paul, p.130-131 , Sep 29, 2010

Bush’s faith-based initiative is “a neocon project”

In a 2003 statement, Paul derisively labeled Pres. Bush’s faith-based initiative “a neocon project” that “repackages and expands the liberal notion of welfare.” In 2001, he proposed legislation to “amend” the faith-based initiative by offering a tax credit for private donations to faith-based organizations that provide social services. “Churches should not become entangled with government subsidies and programs because truly independent religious institutions are critical to a free society,” he said
Source: The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life , Oct 25, 2007

Voted NO on instituting National Service as a new social invention.

Congressional Summary:Generations Invigorating Volunteerism and Education (GIVE) Act:
    Adds to National and Community Service Act of 1990 (NCSA) purposes:
  1. providing year-round opportunities in service-learning;
  2. involving program participants in emergency and disaster preparedness, relief, and recovery;
  3. increasing service opportunities for retiring professionals;
  4. encouraging service by individuals age 55 or older and continued service by national service alumni;
  5. focusing national service on the areas of national need.

Proponent's argument to vote Yes:Sen. BARBARA MIKULSKI (D, MD): [In developing national service over many years] we were not in the business of creating another new social program. What we were in the business of was creating a new social invention. What do I mean by that? In our country, we are known for our technological inventions. But also often overlooked, and sometimes undervalued, is our social inventions.

We created national service to let young people find opportunity to be of service and also to make an important contribution. But not all was rosy. In 2003, when I was the ranking member on the appropriations subcommittee funding national service, they created a debacle. One of their most colossal errors was that they enrolled over 20,000 volunteers and could not afford to pay for it. That is how sloppy they were in their accounting. I called them the "Enron of nonprofits."

And they worked on it. But all that is history. We are going to expand AmeriCorps activity into specialized corps. One, an education corps; another, a health futures corps; another, a veterans corps; and another called opportunity corps. These are not outside of AmeriCorps. They will be subsets because we find this is where compelling human need is and at the same time offers great opportunity for volunteers to do it.

Opponent's argument to vote No:No senators spoke against the amendment.

Reference: Serve America Act/GIVE Act; Bill H.R. 1388 ; vote number 2009-H169 on Mar 31, 2009

Voted YES on providing $70 million for Section 8 Housing vouchers.

Voting YES on this amendment would add $70 million to the Section 8 housing voucher program, funding an additional 10,000 affordable housing vouchers.
Reference: Department of Housing and Urban Development appropriations; Bill HR 5576 Amendment 1015 ; vote number 2006-267 on Jun 13, 2006

Voted NO on promoting work and marriage among TANF recipients.

Welfare Reauthorization Bill: Vote to pass a bill that would approve $16.5 billion to renew the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families block grant program through fiscal 2008 and call for new welfare aid conditions. The bill raises the work requirements for individuals getting assistance from 30 to 40 hours per week. States would be required to increase the number of recipient families working from the current level of 50 percent to 70 percent or more in 2008. The bill also provides an additional $1 billion in mandatory state child care grants and provides $200 million annually for marriage promotion programs.
Reference: Bill sponsored by Pryce, R-OH; Bill HR 4 ; vote number 2003-30 on Feb 13, 2003

Voted NO on treating religious organizations equally for tax breaks.

Vote to pass a bill that would allow religious organizations to compete equally with other non-governmental groups for federal funds to provide social service, and provide $13.3 billion in tax breaks for charitable giving over 10 years.
Bill HR 7 ; vote number 2001-254 on Jul 19, 2001

Voted NO on responsible fatherhood via faith-based organizations.

Vote to establish a program that would promote more responsible fatherhood by creating educational, economic and employment opportunities and give grants to state agencies and nonprofit groups, including faith-based institutions.
Reference: Bill sponsored by Johnson, R-CT.; Bill HR 3073 ; vote number 1999-586 on Nov 10, 1999

Abolish federal welfare; leave it all to states.

Paul adopted the Republican Liberty Caucus Position Statement:

    BE IT RESOLVED that the Republican Liberty Caucus endorses the following [among its] principles:
  1. The US Department of Health and Human Services should be abolished, leaving decision making on welfare and related matters at the state, local or personal level. All Americans have the right to keep the fruits of their labor to support themselves, their families and whatever charities they so choose, without interference from the federal government.
  2. All able-bodied Americans have the responsibility to support themselves and their families.
Source: Republican Liberty Caucus Position Statement 00-RLC5 on Dec 8, 2000

Other candidates on Welfare & Poverty: Ron Paul on other issues:
Pres.Barack Obama
V.P.Joe Biden
GOP Candidates:
Rep.Newt Gingrich(GA)
Rep.Ron Paul(TX)
Gov.Mitt Romney(MA)
Third Party Candidates:
Rep.Virgil Goode(C)
Gov.Gary Johnson(L)
Gov.Buddy Roemer(AE)
Jill Stein(G)
C.G.David Walker(AE)

GOP Withdrawals:
Rep.Michele Bachmann(MN)
Herman Cain(GA)
Gov.Chris Cristie(NJ)
Gov.Mike Huckabee(AR)
Gov.Jon Huntsman(UT)
Rep.Thaddeus McCotter(MI)
Gov.Sarah Palin(AK)
Gov.Tim Pawlenty(MN)
Gov.Rick Perry(TX)
Sen.Rick Santorum(PA)
Donald Trump(NY)
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Page last updated: May 31, 2012