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1999 Ron Paul Chapter 37

Pell Grants

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4 May 1999


1999 Ron Paul 37:1
Mr. PAUL. Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to explain why I oppose H. Con. Res. 88, which expresses the sense of the Congress that funding for the Pell Grant Program should be increased by $400 per grant and calls on Congress ton increase funding for other existing education programs prior to authorizing or appropriating funds for new programs. While I certainly do oppose creating any new federal education programs, I also oppose increasing funds for any programs, regardless of whether or not the spending is within the constraints of the so-called balanced budget agreement. Mr. Speaker, instead of increasing unconstitutional federal spending, Congress should empower the American people to devote more of their own resources to higher education by cutting their taxes. Cutting taxes, not increasing federal spending, should be Congress’ highest priority.

1999 Ron Paul 37:2
By taxing all Americans in order to provide limited aid to a few, federal higher education programs provide the federal government with considerable power to allocate access to higher education. Government aid also destroys any incentives for recipients of the aid to consider price when choosing a college. The result is a destruction of the price control mechanism inherent in the market, leading to ever-rising tuition. This makes higher education less affordable for millions of middle-class Americans who are ineligible for Pell Grants!

1999 Ron Paul 37:3
Federal funding of higher education also leads to federal control of many aspects of higher education. Federal control inevitably accompanies federal funding because politicians cannot resist imposing their preferred solutions for perceived “problems” on institutions beholden to taxpayer dollars. The prophetic soundness of those who spoke out against the creation of federal higher education programs in the 1960s because they would lead to federal control of higher education is demonstrated by examining today’s higher educational system. College and universities are so fearful of losing federal aid they allow their policies on everything from composition of the student body to campus crime to be dictated by the Federal Government. Clearly, federal funding is being abused as an excuse to tighten the federal noose around both higher and elementary education.

1999 Ron Paul 37:4
Instead of increasing federal expenditures, Mr. Speaker, this Congress should respond to the American people’s demand for increased support of higher education by working to pass bills giving Americans tax relief. For example, Congress should pass H.R. 1188, a bill I am cosponsoring which provides a tax deduction of up to $20,000 for the payment of college tuition. I am also cosponsoring several pieces of legislation to enhance the tax benefit for education savings accounts and pre-paid tuition plans to make it easier for parents to save for their children’s education. Although the various plans I have supported differ in detail, they all share one crucial element. Each allows individuals the freedom to spend their own money on higher education rather than forcing taxpayers to rely on Washington to return to them some percentage of their own tax dollars to spend as bureaucrats see fit.

1999 Ron Paul 37:5
In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, I call upon my colleagues to reject H. Con. Res. 88 and any other attempt to increase spending on federal programs. Instead, my colleagues should join me in working to put the American people in control of higher education by cutting taxes and thus allowing them to use more of their resources for higher education.
Note:

1999 Ron Paul 37:1 calls on Congress ton increase funding probably should be calls on Congress to increase funding.

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