The president asked Congress last week to authorize new funding for the war in Iraq, which was not paid for in the wasteful budget recently passed in the House of Representatives. You might assume that Congress would simply approve legislation that pays for military supplies and hardware, troop wages, ammunition, fuel, food, and the like. In other words, the bread and butter items that our troops need to prosecute the war in Iraq.
But nothing is simple in Washington. Congress could not resist the opportunity to put its hands in taxpayers’ pockets by adding 20 billion dollars in completely unrelated spending to the final bill. In essence, Congress is so addicted to spending that it will use any opportunity, even a war, to spend money for every conceivable reason- however unrelated to the war in Iraq.
We must understand that America is in a financial crisis. Tax revenues are down due to the faltering economy, but congressional spending has exploded by more than 22% in just two years. As a result, annual deficits have risen rapidly, and the national debt now approaches 6.5 trillion dollars. Almost all of this new spending has been completely unrelated to homeland defense or national security concerns. The same old failed domestic agencies and special-interest pork programs have received the bulk of the dollars. While Congress should fund constitutional federal functions like national defense, our very solvency as a nation is being threatened by unconstitutional spending.
Here are some examples of what ended up in the “war funding” bill:
-$3.2 billion for an airline bailout-even though the
airlines always seem to be troubled and always feel they deserve tax
money. If we bail out the airlines, why not the hotels, restaurants,
and rental car agencies that have been affected by 9-11 and the war
in Iraq? Why not every industry that’s suffering?;
The bill also includes $8 billion in foreign aid, which is especially egregious given the state of the American economy. How can we ask taxpayers to send billions abroad with things so tough for many here at home?
The $ 8 billion includes:
-$1 billion in "economic assistance" for Turkey,
even though they refused to let America use its bases to stage our assault
on Iraq and have only grudgingly allowed use of its airspace;
and the list goes on and on. All of this is of course in addition to the standard foreign aid we send these nations and many others every year.
These are just some examples of how Congress takes every possible opportunity to spend your money, even when it should be focused on the war in Iraq. Was it really too much to ask for a clean bill to fund the president's request, a bill unencumbered by pork handouts and useless foreign aid? Apparently not even war can prevent Congress from shamelessly sticking its hands in your pockets while cloaking itself in “support the troops” rhetoric.
Ron Paul, M.D., represents the 14th Congressional District of Texas in the United States House of Representatives.
Previous articles by Rep. Ron Paul
Back to Antiwar.com Home Page | Contact Us