The Book of Ron Paul
1997 Ron Paul Chapter 88

Reauthorization Of The Export-Import Bank

30 September 1997

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Congressional Record (Page H8186)   Cached

Mr. DREIER. Mr. Speaker, at this time I’m happy to yield 5 minutes to my friend from Surfside Beach, Texas, who’s a member of the Banking Committee and joins me as an outspoken proponent of unfettered free trade [Mr. PAUL].
The SPEAKER. The gentleman from Texas is recognized for 5 minutes.

1997 Ron Paul 88:1
Mr. PAUL. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent to revise and extend my remarks.

1997 Ron Paul 88:2
The SPEAKER. Without objection, so ordered.

1997 Ron Paul 88:3
Mr. PAUL. I appreciate the time, and I appreciate the characterization of the benefits from the Export-Import Bank as being export subsidies because we are talking about subsidies.

1997 Ron Paul 88:4
And generally speaking, we on this side of the aisle are against subsidies, especially if the subsidies are for the poor people. I just suggest we should question whether we should oppose subsidies for the rich people as well.

1997 Ron Paul 88:5
So I rise in support of the rule. There could be a better rule but, under the circumstances, I support the rule but I do not support the legislation. There are very good economic and there are very good moral reasons why programs like this should not even exist.

1997 Ron Paul 88:6
But I do want to take a moment to talk about something else I think is very important. Sometimes I think if one takes themselves too seriously around here one would become depressed, and I try very hard not to be depressed. But I found something in the committee report that I think is very, very interesting.

1997 Ron Paul 88:7
We have a House rule that says that in the committee report on legislation, when it comes up, we have to explain which part of the Constitution justifies what we do here. Of course, there is legislation that is proposed that if we pass the legislation it would be the law and we would have to answer to that antiquated document, the Constitution. I happen to be so old-fashioned as to believe that if we all were serious about the Constitution, all we would have to do is vote the Constitution and those convictions each day and we wouldn’ t need rules or laws.

1997 Ron Paul 88:8
But nevertheless I think it is interesting to note exactly where the constitutional authority comes from for the Export-Import Bank. Of course, the old standby is the General Welfare Clause. We do this for the general welfare of the people. But if you think about it, we’re using taxpayers’ money, we’re using subsidized interest rates, we’re benefiting certain companies, and we do benefit the foreign recipients and many times these are foreign governments, so they’re not the general welfare. If it’s a cost to the taxpayer, we are doing this at a penalty of the general welfare, not to the benefit of the general welfare.

1997 Ron Paul 88:9
But this is a wastebasket used especially in the 20th century as a justification for doing almost anything in the Congress. But then the justification goes on, and I find this even more fascinating. Of course, the other justification is the power to regulate commerce.

1997 Ron Paul 88:10
Well, regulating commerce between the States, actually the Commerce Clause was written to deregulate and make sure there were no impediments against trade, so we can under the Constitution regulate trade. But that doesn’t say subsidize certain people at the expense of others. So that was a giant leap in the 20th century where the regulation of commerce permits us to do almost anything.

1997 Ron Paul 88:11
It certainly rejects the whole notion and challenges the whole concept of the Doctrine of Enumerated Powers. So we either have a Constitution where there is a Doctrine of Enumerated Powers or we don’t. The document is very clear. It delegates powers. The powers are very limited and they’re numbered. They’re enumerated.

1997 Ron Paul 88:12
But today, if we casually look at the welfare clause, and if we casually look at the regulatory clause on commerce, we here in the Congress, under that understanding, we can do just about anything. And what happens? We do just about anything. And that is why our Government is so big and our regulatory bodies are so huge and we have tens of thousands of pages of regulations, because we have so little respect for the document that we should be guided by.

1997 Ron Paul 88:13
But there is another justification, according to the committee report, why we should and are permitted to pass legislation like the Export-Import Bank. Now, this one has to catch somebody’s interest and it has to be slightly humorous to somebody other than myself.

1997 Ron Paul 88:14
In addition, the power to coin money and regulate its value gives us the justification to give subsidies to big corporations, to benefit companies overseas, and to take credit from one group and give it to another, and to steal the money from the people through an oppressive tax system in order to provide these subsidies. And yet the justification is to coin money?

1997 Ron Paul 88:15
The Constitution still says that all we can do is use gold and silver as legal tender. Since we don’t do that, we should have changed the Constitution. We should do one or the other. But to use the Coinage Clause to extend credit is a stretch beyond belief. It says, though, that the courts have broadly construed this to allow Federal regulation, the provision of credit, to provide credit.

1997 Ron Paul 88:16
Well, this is exactly opposite of what the founders said and exactly opposite of one of the major reasons why we had the Constitutional Convention.

1997 Ron Paul 88:17
The Speaker. The gentleman’s time has expired.

1997 Ron Paul 88:18
Mr. PAUL. May I have one additional minute, please?

1997 Ron Paul 88:19
Mr. DREIER. I’m happy to yield my friend an additional minute.

1997 Ron Paul 88:20
The SPEAKER. The gentleman is recognized.

1997 Ron Paul 88:21
Mr. PAUL. This power that they take through the Coinage Clause in order to extend credit is exactly opposite of the provision in the 1792 Coinage Act, which says we have to protect against counterfeiting, and anybody who would be so bold as to debase the currency and ruin the value of the money, there was a death penalty mandated.

1997 Ron Paul 88:22
But here we casually give to our agencies of government this authority under the Coinage Clause to provide credit. Credit is nothing more than the dilution of the value of money. And believe me, long term, this is detrimental.

1997 Ron Paul 88:23
Later on in the general debate, I would like to address the economic issues as well. Thank you.


1997 Ron Paul 88:10
While Congressional Record says so we cannot, Ron Paul says so we can. See the C-Span video at 13:05:15 local time.

1997 Ron Paul 88:13
Ron Paul misuses the reflexive form to somebody other than myself instead of to somebody other than me.

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