The Book of Ron Paul
1997 Ron Paul Chapter 36

Employment, Training, And Literacy Enhancement Act Of 1997

16 May 1997

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Congressional Record (Page H2853)   Cached

1997 Ron Paul 36:1
Mr. PAUL. I move to strike the last word.

1997 Ron Paul 36:2
Mr. Chairman. The gentleman is recognized for 5 minutes.

1997 Ron Paul 36:3
Mr.PAUL. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. This bill is an attempt to improve the Federal jobs training program. We now have over 700 different programs, and quite literally, it’s a mess. This bill is a well-intentioned piece of legislation that does make some token changes and some improvement. They may work, they may not.

1997 Ron Paul 36:4
I would like to address another subject, which is, should we be involved at all? If we have tried it for 30 years and it’s not working, when will we ask ourselves, should we be in the business of job training? Quite frankly, I am not very confident that we here in the Congress are smart enough to do it.

1997 Ron Paul 36:5
Always the argument is that if this is a slightly better approach to last year’s approach, this is a movement in the right direction. But some day we have to ask the question whether or not endorsing the same philosophic principle of a bad program is really going to solve our problems. We have no evidence that this approach will work. Most likely this will become just a bureaucratic adjustment. There will be a cost in the adjustment, but ultimately Government will once again fail in its attempt to do something that it was not designed to do. This idea of local control and block grants is something that sounds good, it sounds like we’re moving in the right direction, but the odds of it really benefiting are very, very slim.

1997 Ron Paul 36:6
Government really isn’t smart enough to do what is intended in a program like jobs training. We’re not, here in the Congress, smart enough to know what the future is and to make business decisions. It’s rather sad to see our business leaders advocating a piece of legislation like this, rather than them understanding and resorting to the market to decide when and how to train workers.

1997 Ron Paul 36:7
Instead, they use their energies to come and transfer funds from one group to another in the pretense that they are able, in partnership with the Government, to design a program that will fit the marketplace. There is no sign, there is no evidence that a program like this has been permitted under the Constitution. But better yet, under today’s circumstances, and eventually this will prevail, is do we really have the funds to do something that’s not working? The funds aren’t there, and any time we deal with a program like this, we have to think that it is a contribution to the high deficits that we are running.

1997 Ron Paul 36:8
H.R. 1385 is flawed in that it endorses the very same principles that have been used for 30 years, arguing that the Federal Government and government bureaucrats know more than what the market knows.

1997 Ron Paul 36:9
I would like to list a few mandates of the bill. No. 1, it mandates that States submit a 3-year plan for adult job training and literacy on the approval of the Secretaries of Education and Labor. It mandates that States establish local work force development boards whose functions and composition are determined by Federal law.

1997 Ron Paul 36:10
It mandates that the local work force board meet Federal core indicators, mandates that local work force boards be dominated by representatives of the business community. That doesn’t give me a whole lot of encouragement, another step toward replacing the free enterprise system with corporatism.

1997 Ron Paul 36:11
If you like mandates, you certainly will be pleased with this piece of legislation. It spends taxpayers’ dollars, the victims, for skilled upgrading for incumbent workers. Those who are still working are required to pay for those who think they are going to get trained, thus creating a new entitlement program for already-employed workers; Spends taxpayers’ dollars on grants to business and unions for demonstration projects. Spends taxpayers’ dollars on family literacy service. Spends taxpayers’ dollars on the National Institute for Literacy, the type of bureaucracy this Congress should be shutting down, not expanding. It spends taxpayers’ dollars on job training services for which the business community and individual workers should be paying for themselves.

1997 Ron Paul 36:12
And incidentally,and I know this would be of the least amount of interest to so many here, but the truth of the matter is: Congress has no constitutional authority to mandate or operate any job training program.

1997 Ron Paul 36:13
And at this time I would like to yield to my colleague from Illinois.

1997 Ron Paul 36:14
Mr. HYDE. I thank the gentleman for yielding, and I wanted to associate myself with the thrust of his remarks. I may feel a little more benignly towards the uses of government than he, but essentially his critique of this bill I share.

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