Ron Paul's Texas Straight Talk - A weekly Column
September 14, 1998
Inconsistency must be addressed
Taxpayers shouldn't have to pay for drug dealers

It is simply a fact that even in the best of circumstances and situations, our federal bureaucracies and regulations are maddeningly complex, and it is also a fact that all too often that complexity breeds inconsistency or worse.

In perhaps no situation is that more apparent than our policies regarding narcotics trafficking and use, and federal housing.

As a physician, I know all too well the wretched effects which reckless use of narcotic and mind-altering substances can have on people. I have seen the helpless children born to alcohol- and drug-addicted parents. And I have even witnessed the destruction of families in my community at the hands of those using these substances.

For many years now, our federal government has waged a war on drug use. This "war" has been both figurative and literal. And yet at the same time, American taxpayers are forced to subsidize the very drug dealers and users who we are also trying to eliminate.

When the federal government began the "housing" programs, it was with the intention of providing adequate shelter to low-income families. Today, federal housing projects are among the most dangerous sections of a town, and are rapidly becoming little more than shelters for scurrilous behavior.

In fact, there are rules in place that make it almost impossible to oust those convicted of felonies involving drugs. Some argue that it isn't "nice" to evict these law-scoffs. Others suggest that we just need to spend more money to make the projects nicer, in the hopes that a new coat of paint will convince the druggies to change their ways.

The sad reality is that, in this case, taxpayers are the unwilling enablers of drug sellers and users. By refusing to evict those who break our laws, the federal government forces you and your family to literally subsidize the very lives of those engaging in illegal activity.

This must change. And so this past week I introduced legislation (HR4551) in the House of Representatives - mirroring similar provisions introduced in the Senate by Senator John Ashcroft of Missouri - that would prohibit anyone from living in federal housing who has been convicted of drug charges.

There will invariably be those who oppose this legislation, for many reasons. But they will ignore one important fact: this is the taxpayers' property. As the landlords, we taxpayers have the right to set forth restrictions on who can and cannot live in the buildings we are being forced to pay for.

And one thing is clear: those who would violate our communities' laws should not expect to be subsidized by federal tax dollars. No matter what some bleeding hearts may say, public housing is a privilege provided by the taxpayers, not a right.

While the American people are willing to offer a hand to those in need, no American should be forced to subsidize those who promote, produce or use illicit substances.