Ron Paul
2001 Ron Paul Chapter 5

India Disaster Relief

31 January 2001

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2001 Ron Paul 5:1
Mr. PAUL. Mr. Speaker, I thank the chairman for yielding me this time. I too want to express my deep sympathy and sorrow for those people in India who are suffering. It was truly a devastating natural disaster and certainly the concern of all Americans goes out to all these people.

2001 Ron Paul 5:2
I do have some concerns about how we respond so often to disasters like this because we believe that we can solve all our problems by just going to the taxpayers. I know that this does not seem like the appropriate time to raise the question, but there was a time in our history when we did not assume that it was a constitutional approach to tax poor people in America to help people in other parts of the world. We have always resorted to charities and volunteer approaches, and I still believe that is proper. I do not think there is evidence to show that aid to governments is necessarily the most efficient manner of helping other people.

2001 Ron Paul 5:3
There is also the moral question. We talk about what we are giving today, and it is substantial amounts, and we are substantially increasing it. It could be $10 million. It could be $100 million. But nobody talks about could it cost something. Well, there is a cost to it and it might hurt some innocent people in this country; the people who we do not know about. Somebody might not be able to build a house or get medical care. There may be somebody who will lose a job. There may be an increase in inflation. But we will never see those victims, so they are not represented. I think that if we were more determined to follow the rule of law and do this only in a voluntary manner we would not always place a burden on some innocent people in this country.

2001 Ron Paul 5:4
It was ironic that today, although there was talk earlier about sending some goods and surpluses, that actually the ambassador today sadly said he was not interested in any surpluses; he just wanted the dollars to come over there. And there may be a good reason for this, for efficiency sake or whatever. But in a way, I think if we have some surplus in food or something, we should be able to provide that.

2001 Ron Paul 5:5
Mr. Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity to express my sympathy for victims of the recent earthquake in the State of Gujarat, India and, at the same time, my concern for American taxpayers who, once again, will see their constitution ignored and their pockets raided by their representatives in Washington — it is, of course, easy to express sympathy with other people’s money.

2001 Ron Paul 5:6
Without so much as a hearing in the International Relations committee, this bill comes to the floor and, while laudably expressing deep sympathy for victims of this terrible natural disaster in India, regrettably expresses support for (a) the World Bank; (b) “substantially” increasing the amount of U.S. taxpayer-funded, disaster assistance; and (c) future economic assistance to rebuild the state of Gujarat, India.

2001 Ron Paul 5:7
Setting aside for the moment that nowhere in Article I, Sec. 8 (the enumerated powers clause) of the Federal Constitution can authority be found to take money from U.S. taxpayers for this purpose, additional problems result from passage of this resolution as well as those actions certain to follow as a consequence of the bill’s passage.

2001 Ron Paul 5:8
First, the notion of taxing the fruits of financially struggling Americans with no constitutional authority only to send it to foreign governments is reprehensible. One of the problems with such aid is that it ultimately ends up in the hands of foreign bureaucrats who merely use it to advance their own foreign government agendas thus making it less likely to get to those most deserving. One need only compare the success of private charities in this country with those government relief efforts to clearly see government’s profound and inherently inept record.

2001 Ron Paul 5:9
Secondly, forced “contributions” erode any satisfaction that comes from being a charitable individual. Without the personal choice of giving or not giving to charitable relief efforts, the decision to be charitable and the moral reward of so doing is completely eroded by the force- based government.

2001 Ron Paul 5:10
Lastly, as a result of such actions as these, participation dwindles worldwide for the most efficient means of dealing with such catastrophes, that is, private disaster insurance. When disaster costs are socialized, greater catastrophic results are encouraged as more people ignore the costs of living in riskier areas. At the same time, these same actors ignore the cost savings and other benefits of living in safer areas. Governments acting to socialize these costs actually stimulates the eventual death and destruction of more people and their property. (This, of course, is a lesson that the United States should learn to apply domestically, as well.)

2001 Ron Paul 5:11
While I truly do extend my heartfelt sympathy to those victims of the recent natural disaster in India, my duty remains to protect the U.S. taxpayer and uphold the constitutional limits of our Federal Government. For this reason and each of those detailed above, I must oppose this resolution.


2001 Ron Paul 5:4 for efficiency sake probably should be possessive: for efficiency’s sake.

2001 Ron Paul 5:6 International Relations committee probably should be capitalized: International Relations Committee.

2001 Ron Paul 5:7 enumerated powers clause probably should be capitalized: Enumerated Powers Clause.

2001 Ron Paul 5:10 stimulates probably should be stimulate, since the subject, Governments is plural.

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