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Ron Paul's farewell address to Congress

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Below is the transcript of my farewell address to Congress, which I presented on Wednesday, November 14:

This may well be the last time I speak on the House Floor. At the end of the year I'll leave Congress after 23 years in office over a 36 year period. My goals in 1976 were the same as they are today: promote peace and prosperity by a strict adherence to the principles of individual liberty.

It was my opinion, that the course the U.S. embarked on in the latter part of the 20th Century would bring us a major financial crisis and engulf us in a foreign policy that would overextend us and undermine our national security.

To achieve the goals I sought, government would have had to shrink in size and scope, reduce spending, change the monetary system, and reject the unsustainable costs of policing the world and expanding the American Empire.

The problems seemed to be overwhelming and impossible to solve, yet from my view point, just following the constraints placed on the federal government by the Constitution would have been a good place to start.

In many ways, according to conventional wisdom, my off-and-on career in Congress, from 1976 to 2012, accomplished very little. No named legislation, no named federal buildings or highways -- thank goodness. In spite of my efforts, the government has grown exponentially, taxes remain excessive, and the prolific increase of incomprehensible regulations continues.  Wars are constant and pursued without Congressional declaration, deficits rise to the sky, poverty is rampant and dependency on the federal government is now worse than any time in our history.

All this with minimal concerns for the deficits and unfunded liabilities that common sense tells us cannot go on much longer. A grand, but never mentioned, bipartisan agreement allows for the well-kept secret that keeps the spending going. One side doesn't give up one penny on military spending, the other side doesn't give up one penny on welfare spending, while both sides support the bailouts and subsidies for the banking and  corporate elite. And the spending continues as the economy weakens and the downward spiral continues. As the government continues fiddling around, our liberties and our wealth burn in the flames of a foreign policy that makes us less safe.

The major stumbling block to real change in Washington is the total resistance to admitting that the country is broke. This has made compromising, just to agree to increase spending, inevitable since neither side has any intention of cutting spending.

The country and the Congress will remain divisive since there's no "loot left to divvy up."

Without this recognition the spenders in Washington will continue the march toward a fiscal cliff much bigger than the one anticipated this coming January.

I have thought a lot about why those of us who believe in liberty, as a solution, have done so poorly in convincing others of its benefits. If liberty is what we claim it is -- the principle that protects all personal, social and economic decisions necessary for maximum prosperity and the best chance for peace -- it should be an easy sell. Yet, history has shown that the masses have been quite receptive to the promises of authoritarians which are rarely if ever fulfilled.

If authoritarianism leads to poverty and war and less freedom for all individuals and is controlled by rich special interests, the people should be begging for liberty. There certainly was a strong enough sentiment for more freedom at the time of our founding that motivated those who were willing to fight in the revolution against the powerful British government.

During my time in Congress the appetite for liberty has been quite weak; the understanding of its significance negligible. Yet the good news is that compared to 1976 when I first came to Congress, the desire for more freedom and less government in 2012 is much greater and growing, especially in grassroots America. Tens of thousands of teenagers and college age students are, with great enthusiasm, welcoming the message of liberty.

I have a few thoughts as to why the people of a country like ours, once the freest and most prosperous, allowed the conditions to deteriorate to the degree that they have.

Freedom, private property, and enforceable voluntary contracts, generate wealth. In our early history we were very much aware of this. But in the early part of the 20th century our politicians promoted the notion that the tax and monetary systems had to change if we were to involve ourselves in excessive domestic and military spending. That is why Congress gave us the Federal Reserve and the income tax. The majority of Americans and many government officials agreed that sacrificing some liberty was necessary to carry out what some claimed to be "progressive" ideas. Pure democracy became acceptable.

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Ron Paul is a member of the House of Representatives from Texas and a former presidential candidate, for the GOP and also for the Libertarian parties. His latest book is End The Fed
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Good-Bye and Good Riddance, Ron Paul. Don't let th... by E. T. SIMON on Saturday, Nov 17, 2012 at 1:07:54 AM
Sad when people move into someone else's country a... by Bill Johnson on Sunday, Nov 18, 2012 at 9:27:26 PM
He did a lot of good while he was there.... by Ken Stevens on Saturday, Nov 17, 2012 at 2:24:45 AM
Ron Paul is just about the only US politician who ... by Paul Sedkowski on Saturday, Nov 17, 2012 at 6:58:33 AM
Thank you for your many years of service! You have... by Bill Johnson on Saturday, Nov 17, 2012 at 7:17:17 AM
Wow! As I read and re-read each paragraph, trying ... by Gary Williams on Saturday, Nov 17, 2012 at 8:08:56 AM
There it is. He prefers government by the business... by Gary Williams on Saturday, Nov 17, 2012 at 8:09:34 AM
Gary said: There it is. He prefers government by t... by June Genis on Saturday, Nov 17, 2012 at 11:48:42 AM
What you ignore is also a point that I also brough... by Gary Williams on Saturday, Nov 17, 2012 at 7:11:07 PM
 "Unhappy events abroad have retaught us two ... by Gary Williams on Saturday, Nov 17, 2012 at 7:35:47 PM
Truly brilliant!  Ron Paul's fan club is just... by Sister Begonia on Sunday, Nov 18, 2012 at 12:14:35 PM
Ron Paul's assertions that we act and live as indi... by janet O'Connell on Sunday, Nov 18, 2012 at 10:07:36 AM
"It is up to each of us to be virtuous if we expec... by Sister Begonia on Sunday, Nov 18, 2012 at 12:08:55 PM
"Free-market anarchism  (sometimes called sim... by Gary Williams on Monday, Nov 19, 2012 at 2:30:42 AM
Far easier for the president and congress to "borr... by Lance Ciepiela on Saturday, Nov 17, 2012 at 9:55:43 AM
 A few days ago, somebody was arguing that ha... by Ad Du on Saturday, Nov 17, 2012 at 11:22:19 AM
The guy isn't worth a plug nickel.  His indiv... by Lester Shepherd on Saturday, Nov 17, 2012 at 12:13:24 PM
...but out of respect for a man who has more integ... by Scott Baker on Saturday, Nov 17, 2012 at 1:25:08 PM
Ron Paul's position isn't necessarily a "gold- or ... by Paul Sedkowski on Saturday, Nov 17, 2012 at 2:46:12 PM
You might want to take a look at what happened to ... by Gary Williams on Saturday, Nov 17, 2012 at 7:27:50 PM
Yes, another good example of the problems involved... by Scott Baker on Sunday, Nov 18, 2012 at 5:12:52 AM
Tell me how good a suit an ounce of gold would hav... by Scott Baker on Sunday, Nov 18, 2012 at 5:10:31 AM
The whole point of free competition is that the ma... by Paul Sedkowski on Sunday, Nov 18, 2012 at 7:11:39 AM
Please take a look at the chart in my previous com... by Scott Baker on Sunday, Nov 18, 2012 at 1:43:23 PM
Paul, in the end, achieved nothing. He confused ma... by John Bonanno on Sunday, Nov 18, 2012 at 7:25:51 AM
reply to Paul Sedkowski:   I like Scott Bak... by Ned Lud on Sunday, Nov 18, 2012 at 7:33:23 AM
Does this mean that we have finally rid ourselves ... by Sister Begonia on Sunday, Nov 18, 2012 at 12:05:39 PM
This Space Cowboy does not need to agree with ever... by Michael Dewey on Friday, Nov 23, 2012 at 10:58:46 AM
The #1 responsibility for each of us is to change ... by Michael Dewey on Friday, Nov 23, 2012 at 11:03:26 AM