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1998 Ron Paul Chapter 81

Women’s, Infant, and Children’s Program

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20 July 1998


1998 Ron Paul 81:1
Mr. PAUL. Mr. Speaker, Congress should reject H.R. 3874, a bill reauthorizing the Women’s, Infant, and Children’s (WIC) program and other childhood nutrition programs, and the flawed redistributionist, welfare state model that lies behind this bill. Although the goals of this legislation are noble, the means toward achieving the goals embodied therein are unconstitutional and ineffective.

1998 Ron Paul 81:2
Providing for the care of the poor is a moral responsibility of every citizen, however, it is not a proper function of the Federal Government to plunder one group of citizens and redistribute those funds to another group of citizens. Nowhere in the United States Constitution is the Federal Government authorized to provide welfare services. If any government must provide welfare services, it should be State and local governments. However, the most humane and efficient way to provide charitable services are through private efforts. Among their other virtues, private charities are much more likely to provide short-term assistance rather than fostering long-term dependency upon government programs.

1998 Ron Paul 81:3
Mr. Speaker, I know that you, and many of my colleagues, understand that private charities are also much better able to target assistance to the truly needy than government programs, which are burdened with bureaucratic rules of eligibility, as well as procedures designed to protect the “due process” rights of recipients, which cannot be adequately changed to meet unique individual circumstances. Thus, many people who are genuinely needy do not receive needed help. In fact, more than 40 percent of all families living below the poverty level receive no government assistance. Private charities can also be more effective because they do not have to fulfill administrative requirements, such as the WIC program’s rebate system, which actually divert resources from the needy.

1998 Ron Paul 81:4
Private charities are also able to place an emphasis upon reformation of personal behavior while not imposing the controls on personal life that government programs, such as WIC, impose on the program recipients. When a pregnant woman signs up to receive WIC vouchers, she is trading away a large amount of her personal freedom. Her choices of where to shop will be restricted to WIC-approved vendors and her choice of what foods to buy will be restricted to those foods which match the WIC nutrition specifications. WIC recipients are also required to participate in WIC parenting and nutrition classes.

1998 Ron Paul 81:5
As an OB/GYN I certainly recognize the importance of proper nutrition for pregnant women and young children. However, as a constitutionalist, I strenuously object to the federal government coercing pregnant women into accepting such services and restricting their choices of food products. The founders of this country would be flabbergasted if they knew that the federal government had monopolized the provisions of charitable services to low-income women, but they would be horrified if they knew the federal government was forbidding poor women from purchasing Post Raisin Bran for their children because some federal bureaucrats had determined that it contains too much sugar!

1998 Ron Paul 81:6
Mr. Speaker, the fact that the manufacture of foods such as Raisin Bran battle to get their products included in this program reveals the extent to which WIC is actually corporate welfare. Many corporations have made a tidy profit from helping to feed the poor and excluding their competitors in the process. For example, thanks to the WIC program, the federal government is the largest purchaser of infant formula in the nation.

1998 Ron Paul 81:7
According to the Congressional Research Service, food vendors participating in WIC received 9.86 billion in Fiscal Year 1997 — 75% of the total funds spent on the WIC program! This fiscal year, producers of food products approved by the federal government for purchase by WIC participants are expected to receive $10 billion dollars in taxpayer dollars! Small wonder the lobbyists who came to my office to discuss WIC were not advocates for the poor, but rather well-healed spokespersons for corporate interests!

1998 Ron Paul 81:8
Any of my colleagues who doubt that these programs serve the interests of large corporations should consider that one of the most contentious issues debated at Committee mark-up was opposition to an attempt to allow USDA to purchase non-quote peanuts (currently the only peanuts available for sale are farmers who have a USDA quota all other farmers are forbidden to sell peanuts in the US) for school nutrition programs. Although this program would have saved the American taxpayers $5 million this year, the amendment was rejected at the behest of supporters of the peanut lobby. A member of my staff, who appropriately asked why this amendment could not pass with overwhelming support, was informed by a staffer for another member, who enthusiastically supports the welfare state, that the true purpose of this program is to benefit producers of food products, not feed children.

1998 Ron Paul 81:9
The main reason supporters of a free and moral society must oppose this bill is because federal welfare programs crowd out the more efficient private charities for two reasons. First, the taxes imposed on the American people in order to finance these programs leave taxpayers with fewer resources to devote to private charity. Secondly, the welfare state erodes the ethic of charitable responsibility as citizens view aiding the poor as the government’s role, rather than a moral obligation of the individual.

1998 Ron Paul 81:10
The best way to help the poor is to dramatically cut taxes thus allowing individuals to devote more of their own resources to those charitable causes which better address genuine need. I am a cosponsor of HR 1338, which raises the charitable deduction and I believe Congress should make awakening the charitable impulses of the American people by reducing their tax burden one of its top priorities. In fact, Congress should seriously consider enacting a dollar-per-dollar tax credit for donations to the needy. This would do more to truly help the disadvantaged than a tenfold increase in spending on the programs in HR 3874.

1998 Ron Paul 81:11
In conclusion, Congress should reject HR 3874 because the programs contained therein lack constitutional foundation, allow the federal government to control the lives of program recipients, and serve as a means of transferring monies from the taxpayers to big corporations. Instead of funding programs, Congress should return responsibility for helping those in need to those best able to effectively provide assistance; the American people acting voluntarily.
Notes:

1998 Ron Paul 81:2 Providing for the care of the poor is a moral responsibility of every citizen, however, it is not a proper function of the Federal Government to plunder one group of citizens and redistribute those funds to another group of citizens. probably should have a semicolon: Providing for the care of the poor is a moral responsibility of every citizen; however, it is not a proper function of the Federal Government to plunder one group of citizens and redistribute those funds to another group of citizens.

1998 Ron Paul 81:6 the manufacture of foods probably should be the manufacturers of foods.

1998 Ron Paul 81:7 well-healed probably should be well-heeled.

1998 Ron Paul 81:8 non-quote peanuts probably should be non-quota peanuts.

1998 Ron Paul 81:8 (currently the only peanuts available for sale are farmers who have a USDA quota all other farmers are forbidden to sell peanuts in the US) probably should be (Currently the only peanuts available for sale are from farmers who have a USDA quota. All other farmers are forbidden to sell peanuts in the US.)

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