Ron Paul's Texas Straight Talk - A weekly Column

August 25, 1997

Paul's legislation focuses on individual liberty
By US Representative Ron Paul

Congress has not been in session during the month of August and I have absolutely enjoyed being able to spend so much time in Texas. I've been pleased to discuss not only what Congress as a whole has been doing but also what I specifically am working on. I have introduced eight pieces of legislation, and am cosponsoring 87 others.

This week I will describe two of the measures I have introduced, both of which have a direct impact on the lives of us all.

The first is HR 2029, the Selective Service Registration Privacy Act. Put succinctly, this legislation will prohibit Clinton's Americorps program from using any Selective Service Administration resources, including draft registration information. Current law requires 18-year-old males to register with Selective Service.

Americorps is a program which should have never come into existence, it is simply an unconstitutional government expenditure. The Americorps program has absolutely no constitutional basis, no rational economic basis, and no pragmatic basis; it is simply another program aimed at making more people dependent on government largess, at the expense of the hard-working taxpayers.

But what we have today is not nearly as bad as what the president and his friends have indicated they hope it will become. First, the president has proposed the "Service to America Initiative' which would allow Americorps to use Selective Service resources to promote his brand of federally subsidized, so-called 'volunteerism' in Americorps. To use Selective Service, ostensibly a program designed to enhance our national security, as a means to bolster President Clinton's liberal, failing Americorps is completely ridiculous. And it sets a dangerous precedent.

Letting Americorps get its foot in the door of the Selective Service system now is troubling by what it could portend for the future. I absolutely do not want my grandsons to be drafted into Americorps' "national volunteer service" and be sent to distribute needles in some drug-infested urban area, or be forced to pick-up trash in the national parks, but that is exactly where this could lead; and what the social liberals want. Already the president and his cronies have warped the meaning of the word "volunteer" by instigating this program, and we see school districts around the nation requiring volunteerism or public service as a condition of graduation It is not at all unlikely that this same social-planning crew will try to mandate that all kids 'volunteer' with Americorps.

HR 2029 has been sent to my committee, the Education and Workforce Committee, as well as the National Security Committee.

While we are waiting on an opportunity to stop Americorps, we can not allow this new "back door" attempt to strengthen it to slip by us. If we do not stop these two programs from merging, I believe our attempt to end Americorps will become more and more difficult as time wears on.

The second piece of legislation I will discuss this week is HR 1121, the Financial Freedom Act. This legislation will directly affect every American who does business with a credit union or a bank. Over the years banks and credit unions have rightly perceived that they are disparately burdened by federal regulations and taxation, and have seen any relief for their 'competitors' as harmful to their own business.

However, the answer is not to increase the level of regulation or taxes on one or the other, but to instead lower the taxes and regulations on both. My legislation helps both ends of the industry by cutting government regulation and taxes on each type of institution.

For the banks, HR 1121 ends the Community Reinvestment Act and lowers federal taxes; for the credit unions, the common and multiple membership bonds are expanded.

But the biggest winner is the consumer, who benefits either way: with fewer regulations and lower taxes consumers will see savings in their banking costs, while the needed flexibility for credit unions will give individuals greater choices in their financial dealings as competition between institutions increases.

The Financial Freedom Act is a step in the right direction, the direction of cutting taxes and regulations to the benefit of all Americans, regardless of where they live, how much money they make, or how they manage their finances. And while cutting taxes and regulations is always the morally and constitutionally correct position to take, this legislation has the added effect of being a direct, financially positive benefit to every American.

The role of government is to protect life and liberty from initiations of force or fraud. By preventing government from drafting our children into a system of social engineering, and by reducing the unconstitutional barriers to financial freedom, these two pieces of legislation take a step in the direction our nation must head; the direction of individual liberty.

Ron Paul represents the 14th District of Texas. His office may be contacted at 203 Cannon, Washington, DC 20515.