Speeches And Statements

November 17, 2004

Honoring Phil Crane

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to take this opportunity to pay tribute to my friend and colleague Phil Crane. During his 35 years in Congress, Phil has been one of the House’s most consistent defenders of low taxes, free-markets, limited government, and individual liberty. I count myself among the numerous elected officials and activists in the free-market movement who have been inspired by his example.

As a conservative professor, author, and activist, Phil was already a nationally known conservative leader before he ran for Congress. Two of his books, “The Democrat’s Dilemma” and “The Sum of Good Government” stand out as conservative classics that educated and motivated many conservative activists. Among the attributes that have made Phil a hero to the free-market movement is his understanding of sound economics. Phil is one of the few members of Congress who is well versed in the teachings of great free-market teachers such as Ludwig von Misses. This country would be much better off if more representatives understood economics as well as Phil Crane.

When Phil Crane came to Congress in the late sixties, there were only a handful of members supporting free-markets. This was a time when a “conservative” president imposed wage and price controls and “conservative” representatives and senators called for balancing the budget with tax increases rather than spending cuts. Thanks in large part to Phil’s effort; the political and intellectual climate of the nation became more receptive to free-market ideas. Phil’s work with groups such as the American Conservative Union, the Free Congress Foundation, and the Republican Study Committee (which he founded) played a major role in growing the movement for individual liberty. Phil’s service as an advisor to Young Americans for Freedom and as a director of the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, Hillsdale College, and the Ashbrook Center helped inspire new generations of young people to become active in the movement for liberty.

When I came to Congress in the seventies to fight to limit the size and scope of the federal government, I was pleased to find a kindred sprit in the gentleman from Illinois. I had the privilege of working with Phil on several efforts to cut taxes, reduce regulations, and return the government to its constitutional size. I also had the privilege of working with Phil when we where two of only four members to endorse Ronald Reagan’s 1976 primary challenge to President Gerald Ford.

As the number of representatives committed to free-markets and low taxes increased, Phil’s status as a congressional leader and accomplished legislator grew. Thanks in large part to Phil’s leadership; Congress has provided tax relief to American families and businesses during each of the last four years.

As his distinguished congressional career draws to a close, I hope all who value free-markets, individual liberty, and limited government will join me in thanking Phil Crane for his work on behalf of freedom.