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Ron Paul Earmarks...No Pork Here

Ron Paul on Earmarks:

(Note: continue only if you are interested in my cursory research into the Ron Paul earmarks listed in a recent negative article linked at the bottom of this.)

Ron Paul is 100% for transparency in bills, including earmarks; 100% against self-serving earmarks; 100% for Congress "reading" bills in their entirety. The fact that he also has earmarks attached to his name should be accepted only after noting that his earmarks for his district divert already appropriated $$ from horrendous channels and point them in positive directions. Also, local governance and maintenance of infrastructures locally will only come about after major changes are made in the entire system and that is going to take some time.

I was triggered as many of you have been by the article in a Texas paper trying to make Ron Paul sound like a hypocrite for earmarks attached to his name. For the most part they have to do with buses in cities desperately needing them in order to improve mass transit, helping residents and reducing pollution; health care and providing nurses in critical areas, highway improvements (non-super highway funding.) Often a Ron Paul "earmark" has greater implications than the "mere" name of it. A few of the earmarks that caught my attention were:

8. $3 million to test imported shrimp for antibiotics. (Does anyone think there is a big shrimp industry in Paul’s district?)
The short answer...YES. http://www.jarbobayoutimes.com/fisherman.html
And, I won't provide the links but chemicals and antibiotics in imported shrimp, particularly from China and others involved in aqua-farming as opposed to wild are of great concern. Look it up and I am sure you won't want imported shrimp. The FDA is supposed to check...but they are too busy checking dog food, I guess. This alone should be reason enough to protect "wild" shrimping and ensure that at least those of us in the US of A can have good shrimp caught off the gulf if we want it.

2. $8 million for the marketing of wild American shrimp.
3. $2.3 million for shrimp fishing research.
"Marketing" is a bit of a misnomer here. This in a nutshell has to do not just with shrimp, but with providing huge subsidies to importers of food products resulting in (1) inferior and perhaps unhealthy imports and (2) absolutely "killing" domestic industries...like we have the American farmer. It should be a "case study" for not subsidizing imports at the expense of American industries:
Here is what Ron Paul had to say:
and also:

And an interesting article on the "shrimp" issue concludes with:
"The shrimp fracas also was ironic in that it reversed the usual roles in international trade disputes: American shrimpers were cast as the Luddites resisting technological advancement in order to preserve a traditional way of life, while Vietnamese and Chinese aquaculturists represented globalized technological progress. Naturally, the motley anti-globalization delinquents who turn out in such tiresome numbers at every international economic event had nothing to say about this particular dispute, even though it should have plucked their environmentalist heartstrings as well, since aquaculture is a highly polluting industry. Evidently, their brains could not grasp the possibility that Americans might occasionally be the victims of globalization, rather than always its rapacious beneficiaries. Withering shrimping communities, all along the southern coastline of America, could have told them otherwise."

Here is the article:

7. $4.5 million to study the effects of the health risks of vanadium.
Check out the health risks of vanadium in certain mining industries and in fertilizer. Check out the high levels found in some areas of Texas. Think about the greater meaning...to agriculture, informing the public about toxins and their impact on our health. Do you think this kind of information will come from the EPA or the Department of Agriculture?

10. $1.18 million for “Personalized Medicine in Asthma”
I would hazard a guess that the good Doctor has encountered many cases of asthma and pharma-dependent victims. If you know anyone
particularly children whose lives have been altered by mass-marketed inhalers and massive doses of cortisone you know how sad it is. There are non-invasive treatments and just training in personally managing your asthma can bring about amazing results. Read up on the huge increase in asthma due to the pollutants in the air and allergies due to toxins and chemicals in the food. I imagine unnecessary medical trauma saddens Dr. Paul.

9. $10 million to repair the Galveston railways causeway bridge.
I wish somebody had repaired that bridge in Minnesota. The corps of engineers has evaluated this causeway and it is UNSAFE. It is also the access to Galveston Island and much of the surrounding economy is dependent upon it. Senator Hutchinson just got money appropriated not to "repair" it...but to REPLACE it and the money was tied to HOMELAND SECURITY. Perhaps her earmark was to ensure it is replaced in a manner more conducive to the goals of the North American Highway.

Ron Paul also earmarked for maintenance the port of Texas City.
This port was in dire need of maintenance and if you read up on how that city was just about blown away by a tragedy that occurred in 1947, those folks deserve a safe and well-maintained port.

I won't go on, but a brief look at the list of earmarks brings only applause from me. No bridges to nowhere...no land improvements in an area that backs up to his home to improve his property value...no paybacks for contributions. Just an honest Representative trying to see that his district gets their "fair share" until the time when States can take care of States...communities take care of communities. I see much needed infrastructure appropriations; I see concern about health issues; I see concern about the economy in his district. I see an honest Politician/Statesman.

It should be noted that although these were Ron Paul "earmarks" the appropriation bills they were attached to were probably so 'pork of a different kind laden' by the time they went to market or to vote that he couldn't even vote for them. Would take more research to find out.

SHAME on "The Houston Chronicle" and the neocons who prompted this article and SHAME on the uninformed blogger who spread it on the net.

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I don't see the problem...

If your state or district puts in $1 and gets that $1 back through earmarks, what's the big deal? The real problem seems to be when you get more back than you put in. The three biggest welfare states are Alaska, New Mexico, and Mississippi. I forget where I saw that, but the site listed how much all the states paid in federal taxes vs how much they get back.

No more excuses

Can I get a few people here to agree, with the rest of the thinking population, that earmarks are part of the corrupt machinery of government?

This system is designed to make everyone tap into the largess and expect their congressman to help with it. It is designed to keep people with integrity out of politics.

This is a test of our credibility. Forget Dr Paul for a minute and consider whether the whole thing is Constitutionally right or wrong, then advocate the right principle. Consider what RP would do, if I understand his way of dealing with all sorts of quagmires that the current system puts us into.

This system can only be reformed in one of two ways. By overthrow, which is not where sane people are at this point. Or by working within the system. The question is then what alternatives a liberty-minded congressman has in dealing with his constituents clamoring for carve-outs and hand-outs, while still promoting the ideas of liberty from within the government.

RP's answer seems to be (if my understanding is correct) "Since I am to represent you, I will forward your requests for pork, but I will not vote for the bills when they come up". I don't like the compromise, but I admit that it is difficult to imagine another way to deal with the distorted conflicts that arise from having the power to redistribute wealth, while still promoting liberty through legislation.

Earmarks are a way of ensuring that no politician is left with any choice, if he doesn't want the flood of spending to become a one-way conduit out of his district and into the rest of the country.

This matter will not go away, and RP needs to have the principles and the story crystal clear when it comes up in debate. I can assure you, it will.

Go, RP.


He is doing his job!

I commend Dr. Paul for trying to take care of his district. That’s his job. I doubt very much that Dr. Paul gives in to any “clamoring for carve-outs and hand-outs” as this is the province of big cooperate welfare. So I doubt that this is the case with Dr. Paul.

Judging from the types of earmarks he has added to bills, I would say he is trying to support his district businesses and individual tax payers. To assume that this is wrong is to assume that this is corrupt. I know you don’t think that of Dr. Paul.

If a thief steals your property or that of your neighbors and you are placed in a position to try to retrieve some of that stolen property, it would be unconscionable for you not to do so. Dr. Paul knows that even if he votes against a Bill his vote will probably not stop the Bill from passing. He knows his district’s property will then be handed out to someone else; maybe someone less deserving; maybe someone less needful but certainly someone who doesn’t have a right to it.

Until the Federal government stops stealing the property from the good people of the 14th District of Texas, Dr. Paul has an obligation to try to recover as much of that stolen property as possible. There is no conflict of interest; there is no violation of his oath. It is his duty and his right.

I know that those of you who post here have a great respect and admiration for Dr. Paul. Until the system is changed and the thievery is stopped, Dr. Paul has every right to work within the system to protect and retrieve his district’s property.

Best Regards,

Actually, I Do Agree With You

...in principle and am struggling with the issue. That is the reason that the article grabbed my attention and I dug into the nature of the "earmarks." They were not pork IMO and were for his district, often picking up the slack where other means (quality control and research, infrastructure repair and maintenance, health care options, etc.) should be available to reach the appropriate end.

That being said, I am in the process of reading "The Constitution in Exile" by Judge Andrew Napolitano. He would also agree with you.

In some ways the answer from the RP office was a little like "everybody does it" and the money was going to be spent anyway...why not for good ends. I also would like an answer that better fits into the total platform. An answer that explains hopefully (a) earmarks are bad, (b) earmarks should go away, (c) what takes their place.

I try very hard to not write anything negative on this site or elsewhere as it could defeat our real purpose. Also, I have found that 100% of the time...when I understand where Ron Paul is coming from, I agree. There may be something here that I do not completely understand. Most likely it falls into the area of "transitional" progress...a period of re-setting the means to ends.

There are practically no negatives that can be said about Ron Paul that can't be countered. I am looking for more on this issue as well. Are "appropriation bills" as they now stand just a "give-away"...a lottery for district needs? I am a bit lost in this whole issue.


I'm not looking for perfection

Fonta, thanks for the thoughtful comments. Those of us who stand on the constitutional principles of strictly limited government regardless of convenience must be aware of and point out what we see as obvious flaws and weaknesses.

IMHO, RP's strength is in consistently advocating movement toward the ideal, starting from the present state of affairs, which is very far gone in the wrong direction. That is why I support his candidacy: he is obviously head-and-shoulders superior to anybody we have had the opportunity to vote into office, possibly since the Founding Fathers, who were not perfect either, so what?

Like many people, I disagree with RP on this or that policy, this or that method. But when he says that the business of government is to protect and advance liberty, not to redistribute wealth, I believe him and I am content to argue the details later.

Concerning tactics on the earmark question, I think what will work best, at some point (hopefully, an early opportunity of his own choosing), will be to just give a speech on the subject, including frank discussion of his own compromises. I don't see this as a top priority, since there are much bigger trillion-dollar fishes to fry. But I believe that it will be necessary when the battle gets really close and dirty.

But please, everybody, let's not pretend that there's "No pork here"! It's kind of embarassing and simply won't work. Accentuate the positive, instead. There is plenty of it out there to be found and bragged about.


That's the reason RP should explain his position on this

I hope he'll do it in very next days.
Go RP!

Property Rights

It can be argued that the shrimp testing is a protection of property rights. If a person unknowingly ingests a substance contained in the food supply, the sovereignty of the person's body has been violated. It is important for people to know what they are eating.

The one thing I like about the FDA is the statute that food products must list their ingredients. We could get rid of the FDA and keep the statute as a law.

I am looking for explanation from Ron Paul

You know, I'm tired of excusing third person and looking for better sides.
I understand that he forward his voters request and than he vote against bill, but I want Ron Paul to clearify his position on this matter.

Paul on earmark-pork


has his column on the subject. Earmarks are a symptom which keeps congressmen in office and keeps tax dollars from bureaucrats. Spending levels are truly the disease. No spending = no opportunity for earmarks, whether for sensible stuff like testing shrimp or for senseless bridges to nowhere in Alaska.

A Briefer Explanation

The earmark story is a hit piece on RP that is all over the MSM. I would address this story differently. The MSM should be asking who voted for budgets padded with slush funds instead of why Ron Paul tried to salvage some of his constituents taxes otherwise headed elsewhere.

Ron Paul has been very clear that as long as we have a welfare/warfare state, it will be impossible to eliminate the IRS. Ron Paul would like to end earmarks, a foreign military presence, the Department of Education (DOE), the IRS, OPIC, and other agencies. Doing so would reduce our national debt and our federal taxes. Until that day comes, we all will continue to pay taxes and accrue a collective national debt. Also, until then, many of these agencies and programs redistribute some of our tax money.

Although Ron Paul votes against budgets containing earmarks, surviving budgets contain slush funds for earmarks. Ron Paul's congressional district receives its proportion of these funds just as it receives its proportion of funding from the DOE, the Weather Bureau, and everything else. Ron Paul has to submit a list of earmarks for his district just as school districts have to submit paperwork to the DOE to receive back a partial share of absconded tax money.

Thanks for clearing this up

When I read about the shrimp earmark I wondered of its real importance, but now I see it very valid and needed. Once again reaffirming my support for Dr. Paul! Thanks!

Yes, it's right there in the 27th Amendment

Amendment XXVII ("The Shrimp Amendment"):

"The Tenth Amendment notwithstanding, the Congress of the United States shall have the power to test shrimp for whatever, whether it's actually harmful or not (up to, and including, useful)."

Seriously, Folks,

The Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States reads:
"The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, not prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

So, to justify spending federal tax dollars on shrimp testing, "needed" does *not* cut it. You must find the place in the Constitution where this function is delegated to the United States. Otherwise, the Constitutional position is that it is at most a State function. I suspect RP voted against this Bill, even though he did forward the *pork* request from his constituents.

Go, RP.


testing shrimp

Right now, the vast majority of people in the USA would expect the Feds to do it, but wouldn't you agree that imported shrimp from foreign places where imported pet food has recently caused a lot of DEATH should maybe be tested by SOMEONE? As a libertarian, I'd of course prefer it to be something like Consumer's Union or Underwriter's Labs instead of my taxes doing it, but that's not likely to happen soon -- especially in an opinion-environment with a widespread expectation of "free" federal competition.

Also, with GPS private property solutions to seagrass and shrimp conservation suddenly become possible and with the proper advocates the face of ocean-conservation could change drastically. Years of randomly-dragging trawls across the bottom-commons, which in the absence of private property rights enforcement has suffered, naturally. I'm pretty sure the government wouldn't want to study this because it would work and it's against more than a few agendas for capitalism to "work" for the environment, but testing hypercheap foreign shrimp for immense levels of antibiotic drugs isn't exactly on the outrage-level of a bridge to nowhere...