Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Ron Paul: “Right to Work” Is Good for Business, Labor and Liberty






Many observers were surprised when Michigan, historically a stronghold of union power, became the nation’s 24th “Right to Work” state. The backlash from November’s unsuccessful attempt to pass a referendum forbidding the state from adopting a right to work law was a major factor in Michigan’s rejection of compulsory unionism. The need for drastic action to improve Michigan’s economy, which is suffering from years of big government policies, also influenced many Michigan legislators to support right to work.

Let us be clear: right to work laws simply prohibit coercion. They prevent states from forcing employers to operate as closed union shops, and thus they prevent unions from forcing individuals to join. In many cases right to work laws are the only remedy to federal laws which empower union bosses to impose union dues as a condition of employment.

Right to work laws do not prevent unions from bargaining collectively with employers, and they do not prevent individuals from forming or joining unions if they believe it will benefit them. Despite all the hype, right to work laws merely enforce the fundamental right to control one’s own labor.

States with right to work laws enjoy greater economic growth and a higher standard of living than states without such laws. According to the National Institute for Labor Relations Research, from 2001-2011 employment in right to work states grew by 2.4%, while employment in union states fell by 3.4%! During the same period wages rose by 12.5% in right to work states, while rising by a mere 3.1% in union states. Clearly, “Right to Work” is good for business and labor.

Workers are best served when union leaders have to earn their membership and dues by demonstrating the benefits they provide. Instead, unions use government influence and political patronage. The result is bad laws that force workers to subsidize unions and well-paid union bosses.
Of course government should not regulate internal union affairs, or interfere in labor disputes for the benefit of employers. Government should never forbid private-sector workers from striking. Employees should be free to join unions or not, and employers should be able to bargain with unions or not. Labor, like all goods and services, is best allocated by market forces rather than the heavy, restrictive hand of government. Voluntarism works.

Federal laws forcing employees to pay union dues as a condition of getting or keeping a job are blatantly unconstitutional. Furthermore, Congress does not have the moral authority to grant a private third party the right to interfere in private employment arrangements. No wonder polls report that 80 percent of the American people believe compulsory union laws need to be changed.

Unions’ dirty little secret is that real wages cannot rise unless productivity rises. American workers cannot improve their standard of living simply by bullying employers with union tactics. Instead, employers, employees, and unions must recognize that only market mechanisms can signal employment needs and wage levels in any industry. Profits or losses from capital investment are not illusions that can be overcome by laws or regulations; they are real-world signals that directly affect wages and employment opportunities. Union advocates can choose to ignore reality, but they cannot overcome the basic laws of economics.

As always, the principle of liberty will provide the most prosperous society possible. Right to work laws are a positive step toward economic liberty. 

Ron Paul: I Have Always Voted against the NDAA Regardless of What Party Controls the House.


Mr. Speaker, I rise to oppose what will be the final National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) I will face as a Member of the US House of Representatives. As many of my colleagues are aware, I have always voted against the NDAA regardless of what party controls the House. Far from simply providing an authorization for the money needed to defend this country, which I of course support, this authorization and its many predecessors have long been used to fuel militarization, enrich the military industrial complex, expand our empire overseas, and purchase military and other enormously expensive equipment that we do not need and in large part does not work anyway. They wrap all of this mess up in false patriotism, implying that Members who do not vote for these boondoggles do not love their country. 

The military industrial complex is a jigsaw puzzle of seemingly competing private companies; but they are in reality state-sponsored enterprises where well-connected lobbyists, usually after long and prosperous careers in the military or government, pressure Congress to fund pet projects regardless of whether we can afford them or whether they are needed to defend our country. This convenient arrangement is the welfare of the warfare state.

Because of the false perception that we must pass this military spending authorization each year or our men and women in uniform will go hungry, Congress has over the years taken the opportunity to pack it with other items that would have been difficult to pass on their own. This is nothing new on Capitol Hill. In the last few years, however, this practice has taken a sinister turn.

The now-infamous NDAA for fiscal year 2012, passed last year, granted the president the authority to indefinitely detain American citizens without charge, without access to an attorney, and without trial. It is difficult to imagine anything more un-American than this attack on our Constitutional protections. While we may not have yet seen the widespread use of this unspeakably evil measure, a wider application of this “authority” may only be a matter of time. 

Historically these kinds of measures have been used to bolster state power at the expense of unpopular scapegoats. The Jewish citizens of 1930s Germany knew all about this reprehensible practice. Lately the scapegoats have been mostly Muslims. Hundreds, perhaps many more, even Americans, have been held by the US at Guantanamo and in other secret prisons around the world.
But this can all change quickly, which makes it all the more dangerous. Maybe one day it will be Christians, gun-owners, home-schoolers, etc. 

That is why last year, along with Reps. Justin Amash, Walter Jones, and others, we attempted to simply remove the language from the NDAA (sec. 1021) that gave the president this unconstitutional authority. It was a simple, readable amendment. Others tried to thwart our straightforward efforts by crafting elaborately worded amendments that in practice did noting to protect us from this measure in the bill. Likewise this year there were a few celebrated but mostly meaningless attempts to address this issue. One such effort passed in the senate version of this bill. The conferees have simply cut it out. The will of Congress was thus ignored by a small group of Members and Senators named by House and Senate leadership.

There are many other measures in this NDAA Conference Report to be concerned about. It continues to fund our disastrous wars in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, and elsewhere for example.

The Conference Report contains yet another round of doomed-to-fail new sanctions against Iran. These are acts of war against Iran without actually firing a shot. But this time the House and Senate conferees are going further than that. The report contains language that pushes the US as close to an actual authorization for the use of force against Iran as we can get. The Report “…asserts that the U.S. should be prepared to take all necessary measures, including military action if required, to prevent Iran from threatening the U.S., its allies, or Iran’s neighbors with a nuclear weapon and reinforces the military option should it prove necessary.”
This kind of language just emboldens Iran’s enemies in the region to engage in increasingly reckless behavior with the guarantee that the US military will step in if they push it too far. That is an unwise move for everyone concerned.

This Conference Report contains increased levels of foreign military aid, including an additional half-billion dollars in missile assistance to an already prosperous Israel and some $300 million to help an increasingly prosperous Russia control its chemical, nuclear, and biological weapons. And Russia does not even want the money!

Overall, this authorization will give the president even more money for military activities next year than he requested. At a time when the news has been dominated by reports of our budget crisis, the “fiscal cliff,” and the “need” to increase taxes on Americans, Congress is foolishly spending even more on the military budget than the administration wants! I suppose that is what counts as a reduction in the language of Washington.
I urge my colleagues to oppose this, and all future, reckless and dangerous military spending bills that are destroying our national security by destroying our economy.

Ron Paul: Seeking Total Security Leads to a Totalitarian Society



by Ron Paul

The senseless and horrific killings last week in Newtown, Connecticut reminded us that a determined individual or group of individuals can cause great harm no matter what laws are in place.  Connecticut already has restrictive gun laws relative to other states, including restrictions on fully automatic, so-called “assault” rifles and gun-free zones.

Predictably, the political left responded to the tragedy with emotional calls for increased gun control.  This is understandable, but misguided. The impulse to have government “do something” to protect us in the wake national tragedies is reflexive and often well intentioned.  Many Americans believe that if we simply pass the right laws, future horrors like the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting can be prevented.  But this impulse ignores the self evident truth that criminals don’t obey laws.

The political right, unfortunately, has fallen into the same trap in its calls for quick legislative solutions to gun violence.  If only we put armed police or armed teachers in schools, we’re told, would-be school shooters will be dissuaded or stopped.

While I certainly agree that more guns equals less crime and that private gun ownership prevents many shootings, I don’t agree that conservatives and libertarians should view government legislation, especially at the federal level, as the solution to violence.  Real change can happen only when we commit ourselves to rebuilding civil society in America, meaning a society based on family, religion, civic and social institutions, and peaceful cooperation through markets.  We cannot reverse decades of moral and intellectual decline by snapping our fingers and passing laws.

Let’s not forget that our own government policies often undermine civil society, cheapen life, and encourage immorality.  The president and other government officials denounce school violence, yet still advocate for endless undeclared wars abroad and easy abortion at home.  U.S. drone strikes kill thousands, but nobody in America holds vigils or devotes much news coverage to those victims, many of which are children, albeit, of a different color.

Obviously I don’t want to conflate complex issues of foreign policy and war with the Sandy Hook shooting, but it is important to make the broader point that our federal government has zero moral authority to legislate against violence.

Furthermore, do we really want to live in a world of police checkpoints, surveillance cameras, metal detectors, X-ray scanners, and warrantless physical searches?  We see this culture in our airports: witness the shabby spectacle of once proud, happy Americans shuffling through long lines while uniformed TSA agents bark orders.  This is the world of government provided “security,” a world far too many Americans now seem to accept or even endorse.  School shootings, no matter how horrific, do not justify creating an Orwellian surveillance state in America.

Do we really believe government can provide total security?  Do we want to involuntarily commit every disaffected, disturbed, or alienated person who fantasizes about violence?  Or can we accept that liberty is more important than the illusion of state-provided security? Government cannot create a world without risks, nor would we really wish to live in such a fictional place.  Only a totalitarian society would even claim absolute safety as a worthy ideal, because it would require total state control over its citizens’ lives.  We shouldn’t settle for substituting one type of violence for another. Government role is to protect liberty, not to pursue unobtainable safety.

Our freedoms as Americans preceded gun control laws, the TSA, or the Department of Homeland Security.  Freedom is defined by the ability of citizens to live without government interference, not by safety. It is easy to clamor for government security when terrible things happen; but liberty is given true meaning when we support it without exception, and we will be safer for it.

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Ron Paul to Congress: Follow the Constitution in 2013





by Ron Paul

As I prepare to retire from Congress I’d like to suggest a few New Year’s resolutions for my colleagues to consider. For the sake of liberty, peace and prosperity I certainly hope more members of Congress consider the strict libertarian-constitutional approach to government in 2013.

In just a few days, Congress will solemnly swear to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic. They should read Article 1 Section 8 and the Bill of Rights before taking such a serious oath. Most legislation violates key provisions of the Constitution in very basic ways, and if members can’t bring themselves to say “no” in the face of pressure from the special interests, they have broken trust with their constituents and violated their oath. Congress does not exist to serve the special interests. It exists to protect the rule of law.

I also urge my colleagues to end unconstitutional wars overseas. Stop the drone strikes. Stop the covert activities and the meddling in the internal affairs of other nations. Strive to observe good faith and justice towards all nations, as George Washington admonished. We are only making more enemies, wasting lives and bankrupting ourselves with the neoconservative interventionist mindset that endorses preemptive war that now dominates both parties.

All foreign aid should end, which is blatantly unconstitutional. While it may be a relatively small part of our federal budget, for many countries it is a large part of theirs and it creates perverse incentives for both our friends and enemies. There is no way members of Congress can know or understand the political, economic, legal and social realities in the many nations to which they send taxpayers’ dollars.

Congress needs to stop accumulating more debt. U.S. debt monetized by the Federal Reserve is the true threat to our national security. Revisiting the parameters of Article 1 Section 8 would be a good start.

Congress should resolve to respect personal liberty and free markets. Learn more about the free market and how it regulates commerce and produces greater prosperity ever than any legislation or regulation.

Understand that economic freedom is freedom. Resolve not to get in the way of voluntary contracts between consenting adults. Stop bailing out failed yet politically connected companies and industries. Stop forcing people to engage in commerce when they don’t want to, and stop prohibiting them from buying and selling when they want to. Stop trying to legislate your ideas of fairness. Protect property rights. Protect the individual. That is enough.

There are many more resolutions I would like to see my colleagues in Congress adopt, but respect for the Constitution and the oath of office should be at the core of every single member’s of Congress due in 2013.

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Reality and the Schroedinger's Cat


In his criticism against the Copenhagen interpretation of the quatum nature of matter, Einstein said that, "Do you really think the moon isn't there if you aren't looking at it?"

The Schroedinger's Cat attempted to show the paradox that reality occupies multiple states, i.e parallel universes, until you decide to observe it like when one opens the cat box and finds out that the cat in a certain state, either dead or still alive. Reality is in more than one state but would collapse into a single observe arrangment when one decides to observe it. By then everything moves to a unified state and all uncertatinties  collapses into one definitive setup which a person, the observer, is aware of. This, as Einstein imply, is ridiculous. That is why he famously said that God doesn't play dices.

The paradox of reality can be simply re-stated in numerous but lighter manners. Like when I am in a deep sleep and the singularity of reality is supended until I wake up. Or when I am uncertain what happens at my back until I look at it. The act of observing overrides the probabilities, the superpositions, and simulatneosuly reduce everything to a singualr observable arrangement.

But one thing, which is so simple, is overlooked on the struggle to find what reality is. It is to be noted that all inquires are outwardly bound like when one tries to look for truth using telescopes to look for the bounderies of the universe; or when uses a microscope to try to decipher reailty in infinitely small particles or whatever one calls them. One must veer back and seriously ask who or what is that which makes the asking?

Reality is not a separate thing from that which makes the inquiry of it. The mind. Mind, which is in its own mental box struggles to find what it imagines to be reality. But the curse is not avoided. Mind can only come-up for things available on the mental box including the stuff call reality. Mind can't go out from its own confine. Reality, as all other concepts, can only serve up to a point at trying to grasp the substance it talks about. As all other concepts, reality is up to nothing but a pointer to that which can not be put to words. The paradox of reality renders language not capable of bringing in the ultimate understanding of what reality really is.

Reality is a mind stuff. Mind creates stuffs and tries to figure these stuffs out. One just needs to figure out that which makes the stuffs. The mind.But not in dismissive manner, 'reality' can only be grasp the moment one stops struggling to figure it out. Reality is not an object.  Reality is no more than just the awareness where object appear or seem to appear. There will be no way to know what; to tell how is what; why is what without first being aware.