Ron Paul's Texas Straight Talk - A weekly Column
August 24, 1998
Taxpayer cash flowing again to non-citizens
Popular causes often used to hide unconstitutional spending programs

For years American citizens had complained to Congress about the policy of providing welfare and other benefits to non-citizens, so it was with great ceremony in 1996 that Congress passed the Welfare Reform Act. Among other things, this measure repealed the nonsensical programs giving taxpayer cash to non-citizens.

Public support for the provision was so strong, even President Clinton had to bow to the pressure and sign the legislation into law. What we in the public missed was what had to be a big wink between Congress and the president, as both crossed their fingers knowing the arrangement was temporary.

In fact, the law had barely taken effect when Congress this year took up legislation, the Agriculture Appropriations for 1999, which had buried in it a return to the old policy of handing out cash to aliens.

What does an ostensibly agriculture-related measure have to do with giving handouts to aliens? Nothing, of course, except it is a way to make it harder for those who oppose giving taxpayer cash to any non-citizen with their hand out to vote against the legislation. Especially in an election year.

In fact, when the books are examined closely, one finds that the benefits aliens receive under this new legislation - and the precedent set by its passage - are far bigger than any positives for American farmers and ranchers. As a note, the Agriculture Appropriations process has long been the hiding place for the failed social programs loved by liberals; some estimates show that as much as 65-70 percent of the spending is on non-ag-related programs.

The paying of benefits to non-citizens is offensive and reckless for many reasons. Most notably because it literally robs money from two groups of people: the people who paid into the system through taxes and are now expecting to get something for their trouble, and the people who are currently paying into the system (through taxes) and must bear a higher burden.

The agreement we each make with the government when we pay taxes is that we are getting something in return: defense, infrastructure, and so on. In our age of welfarism, we also expect benefits from the government if we fall sick or unemployed.

But when those who did not pay into the system get benefits, two things happen. First, the resources available to pay benefits (tax dollars) are spread even thinner. This means that those who paid into the system (especially our senior citizens, and even our veterans) must get a lower return on their taxes and labor, in the form of reduced benefits.

Second, because of the nature of our system, those aggrieved by the spreading-thin of benefits from the pool they created with their taxes will rightly complain. The only option available to Congress - in their warped sense - is to increase taxes on those currently working and paying taxes so that all the beneficiaries get 100 percent of what they were expecting.

But these programs of giving away Americans' tax dollars to non-citizens is not limited to welfare programs at home. We see it also with the subsidization of foreign corporations and foreign nationals through the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other organizations. Of course, supporters of these welfare programs like to claim that they "help" America's small businessmen and farmers, but the proof simply doesn't exist. In fact, much like the recent "farm legislation," the pay-out to the foreign nationals and corporations is much larger than the small bones thrown to our people as a form of sick appeasement, to keep them paying into, and believing in, the system of redistribution.

Why do politicians feel the need to send your tax dollars to non-citizens? First, almost by definition, non-citizens are ethnic minorities, thereby giving politicians the opportunity to show they 'care" about that particular ethnic group. Second, when the non-citizens reside here, it creates yet another dependent class for when they become citizens; if they get a government check from the moment they cross the border, it is likely they will continue to vote for those willing to provide ever more generous government checks. Third, for those outside the US, often wealthy individuals with ties to US corporations, it creates sources for campaign donations, or provides ways to ensure corporate donors here get lucrative deals overseas, reimbursing the industrialists' donations with tax money.

It is important to always look at the details of the legislation hidden behind the popular names and slogans. It is even more important to follow the money. Americans are tired of being forced to pay benefits to non-citizens, while politicians hide behind platitudes, polls and feel-good policies.