Ron Paul's Texas Straight Talk - A weekly Column

September 29, 1997

Corporate welfare must be stopped; troops in Bosnia unconstitutional
By US Representative Ron Paul

Congress continues to ignore Constitution in the appropriations process

Last week Congress continued to consider the various appropriations bills to fund the agencies and departments of the federal government.

Included in the bills considered by the House last week was the conference report on the Defense Department appropriation for the coming year. In addition to spending more than $5 billion more than the last fiscal year, this budget continues funding for the UN mission in Bosnia. Sure, the appropriation bill contained a sentence or two asking, in a very soft way, that our troops be pulled out by mid-1998 - but even this weak request provides loopholes so that the president may continue US involvement in the UN Bosnia operation. We've been hearing promises of extracting our troops "in six months" for two years now, and yet American soldiers are still in the middle of a dangerous conflict in which we do not have a legitimate basis for intervening.

It's almost criminal that we're spreading thin our troops around the globe, putting them dangerously in harms' way, for no national security reasons. Our nation is made weaker by letting the UN commandeer our troops. We need to get our troops back under our command, withdraw them from these regional conflicts, and concentrate on protecting our borders and not policing the world.

Also this past week there was an amendment to the State Department appropriation which would have cut $54 million from the payment to the United Nations, because the UN owes the US for non-reimbursed expenses. While the big government advocates won, the measure did receive 165 votes.

I've started to think that if I cannot have my way and see the UN go the way of the dinosaur, then I think we need to see the UN funded completely by the voluntary contributions of individuals. And ironically, it was Ted Turner who, having made his fortunes in broadcasting, led the way this week by committing $1 billion to the anti-capitalism UN. If the UN must exist, then at the very least the American public shouldn't be forced to subsidize the organization which is diametrically opposed to US interests at every turn.

This week the Congress has a full plate, including legislation re-authorizing the Export-Import Bank, or Ex-Im. The Ex-Im is one of the mechanisms by which politicians are able to use your tax money to subsidize the actions of big, multinational corporations. Besides being unconstitutional, the Ex-Im Bank runs contrary to free market economics. It is unreasonable that taxpayers should be forced to foot the bill for funding risky ventures by big business. The Ex-Im Bank is the welfare engine for corporate America, paid for on the backs of the American taxpayer. The supporters of Ex-Im readily admit taxpayers have subsidized more than $100 billion of big-business deals in this decade alone.

Under existing law, if the Ex-Im Bank is not re-authorized by midnight, September 30, it will vanish. If it is re-authorized, we'll have to continue putting up with the corporate welfare of Ex-Im until 2001. Rest assured I will be voting "no."

It's time we stopped corporate welfare, and while my position is not very popular on Capitol Hill, I have been committed for many, many years to leading the charge against this immoral fraud, and I will continue to do so.

Whether the issue is subsidizing the socialists at the United Nations and their stupid wars, or covering the tail of corporate America, the US Congress needs to stop using your federal tax money on programs and activities - no matter how well intentioned or how long they have been in effect - which are not authorized by the Constitution. Just as sending our troops to fight in the undeclared wars of the UN is unconstitutional, so is forcing you to work hard to pay taxes that go to pad the pockets of corporate America as they ships jobs overseas.

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