Ron Paul
1998 Ron Paul Chapter 99

Head Start Program

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14 September 1998

1998 Ron Paul 99:1
Mr. PAUL. Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to express my opposition to S. 2206, which reauthorizes the Head Start program, as well as the Community Services Block Grant program and the Low Income Housing Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). While the goals of Head Start and the Community Services Block Grant program are certainly noble, the means these programs use to accomplish these goals (confiscating monies from one group of citizens and sending them to another group of citizens in the form of federal funding for Washington-controlled programs) are immoral and ineffective. There is no constitutional authority for Congress to fund any programs concerning child-rearing or education. Under the constitutional system, these matters are left solely in the hands of private citizens, local government, and the individual states.

1998 Ron Paul 99:2
In fact, the founders of this country would be horrified by one of the premises underlying this type of federal program: that communities and private individuals are unwilling and unable to meet the special needs of low-income children without intervention by the federal government. The truth is that the American people can and will meet the educational and other needs of all children if Congress gives them the freedom to do so by eliminating the oppressive tax burden fostered on Americans to fund the welfare-warfare state.

1998 Ron Paul 99:3
When the federal government becomes involved in funding a program such as Head Start, it should at least respect local autonomy by refraining from interfering with the ability of local communities to fashion a program that suits their needs. After all, federal funding does not change the fact that those who work with a group of children on a daily basis are the best qualified to design a program that effectively serves those children. Therefore, I must strongly object to the provisions in S. 2206 that requires the majority of Head Start classroom teachers to have an Associate or Bachelors degree in early childhood education by 2003. This provision may raise costs and/or cause some good Head Start teachers to lose their positions simply because they lack the credentials a Washington-based “expert” decided they needed to serve as a Head Start instructor.

1998 Ron Paul 99:4
Mr. Speaker, if programs such as Head Start where controlled by private charities, their staffers would not have to worry about diverting valuable resources away from their mission to fulfill the whims of Congress.

1998 Ron Paul 99:5
I am also disappointed that S. 2206 does not contain the language passed by the House Committee on Education and the Workforce freeing Head Start construction from the wasteful requirements of the Davis-Bacon Act. Davis-Bacon not only drives up construction costs, it effectively ensures that small construction firms, many of which are minority-owned, cannot compete for federal construction contracts. Repealing Davis-Bacon requirement for Head Start construction would open up new opportunities for small construction companies and free up millions of taxpayers dollars that could be used to better America’s children.

1998 Ron Paul 99:6
Congress should also reject S. 2206 because it reauthorizes the Low Income Heating and Energy Program (LIHEAP). LIHEAP is an unconstitutional transfer program which has outlived its usefulness. LIHEAP was instituted in order to help low-income people deal with the high prices resulting from the energy crisis of the late seventies. However, since then, home heating prices have declined by 51.6% residential electricity prices have declined by 25% and residential natural gas prices have declined by 32.7%. Furthermore, the people of Texas are sending approximately $43 million more taxpayer dollars to Washington for LIHEAP than they are receiving in LIHEAP funds. There is no moral or constitutional justification for taking money from Texans, who could use those funds for state and local programs to provide low-income Texans with relief from oppressive heat, to benefit people in other states.

1998 Ron Paul 99:7
Another provision in S. 2206 that should be of concern to believers in a free society is the provision making “faith-based organizations” eligible for federal funds under the Community Services Block Grant program. While I have little doubt that the services offered by churches and other religious institutions can be more effective in producing social services than many secular programs, I am concerned that allowing faith-based organizations’ access to federal taxpayer dollars may change those organizations into lobbyists who will compromise their core beliefs rather than risk alienating members of Congress and thus losing their federal funds. Thus, allowing faith-based organizations to receive federal funds may undermine future attempts to reduce federal control over social services, undermine America’s tradition of non-establishment of religion, and weaken the religious and moral component of the programs of “faith-based providers.” It would be a tragedy for America if religious organizations weakened the spiritual aspects that made their service programs effective in order to receive federal lucre.

1998 Ron Paul 99:8
Since S. 2206 furthers the federal government’s unconstitutional role of controlling early childhood education by increasing federal micro-management of the Head Start program, furthers government intrusions into religious institutions and redistributes income from Texans to citizens of other states through the LIHEAP program, I must oppose this bill. I urge my colleagues to oppose this bill and instead join me in defunding all unconstitutional programs and cutting taxes so the American people may create social service programs that best meet the needs of low-income children and families in their communities.

1998 Ron Paul 99:4 if programs such as Head Start where controlled by private charities probably should be if programs such as Head Start were controlled by private charities.

1998 Ron Paul 99:6 However, since then, home heating prices have declined by 51.6% residential electricity prices have declined by 25% and residential natural gas prices have declined by 32.7%. probably should have commas after the first two percentages: However, since then, home heating prices have declined by 51.6%, residential electricity prices have declined by 25%, and residential natural gas prices have declined by 32.7%.

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