The Book of Ron Paul
1997 Ron Paul Chapter 29

Housing Opportunity And Responsibility Act Of 1997

7 May 1997

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Congressional Record (Page H2273)   Cached

1997 Ron Paul 29:1
Mr. PAUL. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the requisite number of words.

1997 Ron Paul 29:2
Mr. Chairman, we have been debating the housing bill now for quite a few days. And it seems like we spend most of our time, probably 99 percent of our time, debating two versions of government housing. For those of us who believe that more houses and better houses could be produced in a free market and in a free society, it is a bit frustrating. But the debate goes on.

1997 Ron Paul 29:3
I sincerely believe that everybody in the debate has the best of motivation, the desire is to be compassionate and to help poor people get homes. The tragedy is that we have been doing this for a good many years and have had very little success and this attempt now, again well motivated, to change the management of the housing program to a more local management program really leaves a lot to be desired.

1997 Ron Paul 29:4
On one side of the aisle we find out that the biggest complaint is that we do not have enough money, and the complaint is that the budget has been greatly reduced. But the way I read the figures, the numbers are going up over $5 billion this year, so there is going to be a lot more money in this HUD program compared to last. It is said on the other side that we are going to save $100 million in management at the same time we are spending a lot more money. Much has been said about how do we protect the rights of the individuals receiving public housing, and I have recognized that this is a very serious concern. Yet when we have a government program, it is virtually impossible to really honor and respect. And straightforward protection of individual rights is very difficult.

1997 Ron Paul 29:5
I am concerned about the victims’ rights, those people who lose their income, who lose their job because of government spending and government programs. It is said that we are trying very hard to take money from the rich and give it to the poor so the poor have houses. But quite frankly, I am convinced that most of the taxation comes from poor people. We have a regressive tax system. We have a monetary system where inflation hurts the poor more than the rich. And there is a transfer of wealth to government housing programs.

1997 Ron Paul 29:6
Unfortunately, everybody agrees the poor are not getting houses. And so many of the wealthy benefit from these programs. It is the rich beneficiaries, those who receive the rents and those who get to build the buildings are the most concerned that this government housing program continues.

1997 Ron Paul 29:7
Until we recognize the failure of government programs, I think we are going to continue to do the wrong things for a long time to come because there is no evidence on either side that we are really challenging the concept of public housing. There are two visions of one type of program on government housing. Some day somewhere along the line in this House we have to get around to debating the vision of a free society, a free society with a free market and low taxes, and a sound monetary system will provide more houses for the poor than any other system.

1997 Ron Paul 29:8
Much has been said about the corporate welfare and much has been recognized that corporations do benefit. But I am on the record very clearly that I would not endorse anything where a corporation or the wealthy get direct benefits from these government programs, whether it is the housing program or Eximbank or whatever.

1997 Ron Paul 29:9
I am also very cautious to define corporate welfare somewhat differently than others. Because when we give somebody a tax break and allow them to keep some of their own money, this is not welfare. It is when we take money from the poor people and allow it to gravitate into the hands of the wealthy, that is the welfare that has to be addressed and that is the part that we seem to fail to look at endlessly whether it is the housing program or any other program.

1997 Ron Paul 29:10
It is true, I think that it is very possible for all of us to have a vision which is designed to be compassionate and concerned about the injustice in the system. I do not challenge the views of anyone, but neither should my motivations be challenged because I come down on the side of saying that a free society and a constitutional government would not accept any of these programs because they have not worked and they continue to fail.

1997 Ron Paul 29:11
The real cost of this program and all programs unfairly falls on the poor people. Yet we continue endlessly to do this and we never suggest that maybe, maybe there is an alternative to what we are doing. We have so many amendments tinkering with how we protect the rights of the poor. I think that inevitably is going to fail because we are not smart enough to tinker with the work requirements.

1997 Ron Paul 29:12
Quite frankly, I have been supportive of a work requirement as an agreement to come into public housing, very, very reluctantly and not enthusiastically, because I am convinced that the management of a work program of 8 hours a month is going to outcost everything that we are doing.

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