The Book of Ron Paul
1997 Ron Paul Chapter 12

Opposing the Miller Amendment

19 March 1997

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Congressional Record (Page H1152)   Cached

Mr. GOODLING. Mr. Chairman, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from Texas [Mr. PAUL]. (Mr. PAUL asked and was given permission to revise and extend his remarks.)

1997 Ron Paul 12:1
Mr. PAUL. I thank the gentleman for yielding me this time.

1997 Ron Paul 12:2
Mr. Chairman, I rise today in support of H.R. 1 and in opposition to the Miller amendment. The Miller amendment obviously would negate everything we are trying to do in H.R. 1.

1997 Ron Paul 12:3
One of my favorite bumper stickers simply says “Legalize freedom.” I would like to think that is what we are doing here today, is legalizing freedom to some small degree. The workers in the public sector already have this right to use comp time. There is no reason why the workers in the private sector cannot have this same right as well.

1997 Ron Paul 12:4
The bedrock of a free society is that of voluntary contracts and it is easy for many of those who oppose this bill to understand that voluntary contracts and voluntary associations in personal and social affairs is something that we have to respect. But there is no reason why we cannot apply this to economic affairs as well. A true free society would permit voluntary contracts and voluntary associations in all areas, and it has not always been this way, as it is today, where social liberty and economic liberty are separate. It has only been in the 20th century that we have divided these two, and there is no reason why we cannot look at liberty in an unified manner. Those individuals who want freedom of choice in personal and social affairs should certainly recognize that those of us that believe in economic freedom ought to have those same choices.

1997 Ron Paul 12:5
This great division has occurred and has led to a great deal of confusion in this country. Today, we are making this token effort to relegalize in a very small manner this voluntary contract to allow workers to make a freedom of choice on how they would like to use their overtime, taking the money or using it as comptime. There is no reason why we should prohibit this. It is legal in the public sector. There is no reason why we cannot legalize a little bit of freedom for the worker in the private sector as well. Thank you.

1997 Ron Paul 12:6
Mr. Chairman, this act partially restores the right of employees to contract with their employers to earn additional paid time off from work in lieu of overtime pay when the employees works longer than 40 hours in a week.

1997 Ron Paul 12:7
I am pleased to support this bill, as it represents a modest step toward restoring the freedom of contract. Freedom to form employment contracts is simply a branch of the freedom of association, one of the bedrocks of a free society. In fact, another good name for freedom of contract is freedom of economic association.

1997 Ron Paul 12:8
When persons have the right to associate with whom they choose, they will make the type of agreements that best suit their own unique needs. Any type of Government interference in the freedom of association means people will be forced to adjust their arrangements to satisfy the dictates of Government bureaucrats, For example, even though workers might rather earn compensatory time so they may have more time to spend with their children and spouses then accept paid overtime, the current law forbids them from making such an arrangement. But Congress has decided all Americans are better off receiving overtime pay rather than compensatory time, even if the worker would prefer compensatory time. After all, Congress knows best.

1997 Ron Paul 12:9
The Founders of the country were champions of the rights of freedom of association. Under the U.S. Constitution, the Federal Government is forbidden from interfering in the economic or social contracts made by the people. As we all know, the first amendment prohibits Congress from interfering with the freedom of association. There is nothing in the history or thought of the Framers to indicate economic association was not given the exact same level of protection as other forms of association.

1997 Ron Paul 12:10
In fact, the emphasis placed by this country’s Founders on property and contract rights indicates the Founders wanted to protect economic associations from Government interference as much as any other type of associations.

1997 Ron Paul 12:11
Unfortunately, since the early years of the 20th century, Congress has disregarded the constitutional prohibition on Federal regulation of freedom of economic association, burdening the American people with a wide range of laws controlling every aspect of the employer-employee relationship. Today, Government presumes to tell employers whom they may hire, fire, how much they must pay, and, most relevant to our debate today, what types of benefits they must offer.

1997 Ron Paul 12:12
Behind these laws is a view of the function of Government quite different from that of the Founders. The Founders believed Government’s powers were limited to protecting the liberties of the individual. By contrast, too many in Congress believe Government must function as parent, making sure citizens don’t enter into any contracts of which the national nanny in Washington disapproves.

1997 Ron Paul 12:13
I note with some irony that many of the same Members who believe the Federal Government must restrict certain economic association claim to champion the right of free association in other instances.

1997 Ron Paul 12:14
For example, many of the same Members who would zealously defend the right of consenting adults to engage in voluntary sexual behavior free from State interference. Yet they are denying those some individuals the right to negotiate an employment contract that satisfies these unique needs.

1997 Ron Paul 12:15
Yet the principle in both cases is the same, people should have the right to contract and associate freely with whomever, on whatever terms they choose, they choose without interference from the Central State.

1997 Ron Paul 12:16
As has been often mentioned in this debate, 75 percent of employees surveyed by the polling firm of Penn & Schoen favored allowing employees to take compensatory time in lieu of overtime. Yet Members of Congress, who not only claim to favor freedom of association but claim to care for the workers, will not allow them the freedom to contract with their employees for compensatory time.

1997 Ron Paul 12:17
What arrogance and hypocrisy. If employees feel that compensatory time would benefit them, and employers, eager to attract the best employees, are willing to offer compensatory time, what right does Congress have to say “No, you must do it our way?” Congress has no right to interfere with private, voluntary contracts whether between a husband and wife, a doctor and patient, or an employer or an employee.

1997 Ron Paul 12:18
Mr. Chairman, it is time to lift the federally imposed burdens on the freedom of association between an employer and employee. As a step in that direction, I will vote for the unamended Working Family Flexibility Act and I call on all my colleagues who support individual liberty and freedom of association to join me in supporting this pro-freedom, pro-worker bill.


1997 Ron Paul 12:1
Ron Paul actually thanks The Honorable William Franklin Goodling of Pennsylvania for yielding, and then asks for unanimous consent to revise and extend Ron Paul’s remarks.

1997 Ron Paul 12:5
Congressional Record omits Thank you. at the end of this verse, because Ron Paul extends the remarks.

1997 Ron Paul 6:12-18
These verses were inserted in Congressional Record as an extension of remarks, and were not spoken on the House floor.

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