Ron Paul's Texas Straight Talk - A weekly Column

February 23, 1998
Fighting for liberty takes place in Washington and in the district
Constituents demand less taxes, less regulation, and more liberty

Four offices with full-time staffs working ten hour-days is all the proof I need that Americans have far too much federal government on their backs.

Our Founding Fathers would be shocked if they knew how often Americans have to deal with the various bureaus and agencies of the government based in the federal city. In fact, when they framed our national government, there were no such things as agencies or bureaus, and certainly no plans for legions of bureaucrats who spread out and harass the people for such things as whether they have the lid on their typewriter correction fluid screwed on tightly, or they are growing too much or too little of a particular crop, or making sure they are teaching kids about sex in kindergarten. It was simply unimaginable to the people who founded our nation that we would inherit a land as regulated and as taxed as the one we face in these closing days of this century.

But the fact that as a representative I have to maintain four offices - at the expense of the taxpayers - to handle nothing but helping constituents deal with the federal government is proof that the unimaginable is reality.

Whether its OSHA agents banging on the counters of small business owners, or EPA enforcers inspecting the dirt of the farmer, or the IRS threatening single mothers and retired veterans, the American people have constant contact with federal agencies. There are some in our nation who like the current arrangement, and even believe the federal government should take on even bigger roles in our lives and business. Often the excuse for these ever expanding roles for the federal government is that we need to help people, or that some wrong can be put right only by some collectivist activity.

Nothing could be more wrong.

The American people need and want, they demand, less government, not more. The American people want fewer bureaucrats breathing down their necks, not more. The American people want to keep more of what they earn, not less. The American people want the federal government to get out of their wallets, off their land, out of their schools, and out of the way. As I travel the district I hear people telling me they are tired of the imperious attitude of politicians who dare to say they are coming in to "partner" with farmers and small businessmen through new programs, bigger agencies and, of course, more taxes. But when politicians and federal bureaucrats talk about "partnering," it becomes a one-sided relationship with the government calling the shots and taking the rewards, while the farmer and small businessman get stuck with the work and the costs.

Daily my offices in the district are flooded with calls from people who have reached their wit's end in dealing with the vast myriad of agencies and bureaucrats, running in to the brick walls erected by the advocates of government intervention. To date the staff has been very successful. I think of the gentleman in the southern part of the district who recently attended a town hall meeting and told me how the IRS had been hounding his family for years over perceived mistakes. He had reached the end of his rope when he came to our attention, but my staff - using the bully position of the congressional office - was able to fight the red tape and the bureaucrats. His voice was strained as he told me that without my staff's intervention, he and his wife "would have been kicked out of our house and living under a bridge." His story is too commonplace for this statement to have been an emotional exaggeration. Daily we see similar situations with people of all backgrounds from all over the district.

But there are those who either refuse to acknowledge the suffering brought on by the failed ideology of government intervention, or they think it is justifiable. And they want more of it. Just this past year, in the midst of the major hearings on abuses by the Internal Revenue Service, that Gestapo of American life, Congress sneaked in over $700 million dollar budget increase for the IRS. I caught wind of the increase and voted against it. We need less of the IRS, much less.

Of course, those whose political ideology supports massive government will try to use the vote against me. And that is as it should be: the last thing I want is to make big government advocates happy.

The people of the 14th District of Texas, indeed the people of the United States, are tired of people harassed by federal agents who are enforcing unconstitutional regulations promulgated by an unfair tax burden. I'm proud to be fighting the foes of constitutional government and liberty. But I'm even more pleased that so many people are part of the fight. History has shown that big governments collapse under their own weight, and that those who favor government intervention scurry to insignificance in the light of liberty.

The federal government is far too big, and as I fight it on the ideological level in Washington, my staff and I are willing and eager to join you in fighting it on the ground.

Ron Paul represents the 14th District of Texas in the United States House of Representatives. He can be contacted at his office, 203 Cannon, Washington, DC 20515, or via the Internet (