Magazine article Reason

No Deals

Magazine article Reason

No Deals

Article excerpt

Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) is a rare congressman: Trained as a physician, he served in Congress briefly in 1976, and then from 1978 to 1984. In 1988, he ran for president on the Libertarian Party ticket, garnering over 400,000 votes. In 1996, over the objections of the Republican leadership, he ran for Congress again, handily winning both the primary and general elections.

But what makes Paul especially unusual is this: He takes the Constitution's limits on federal power seriously. Before voting on a piece of legislation, he submits it to a two-part test. First, he asks if the program is actually authorized by the Constitution. If it is, he then consults his campaign promises, which include pledges to never raise taxes or increase spending. Suffice it to say that Paul votes nay on a regular basis. In February, Washington Editor Michael W. Lynch talked with Paul about the upcoming session in Congress.

Q: What do you think is the most important issue before this Congress?

A: Whether we expand the size of government or shrink it. And there's a 99.9 percent chance that it will expand. We'll go up in taxes; we'll go up in regulations; and we'll see a continued attack on our personal liberties. There's been no reversal in those trends. I think spending is going to go up tremendously. But there will be a "compromise": Conservative will get their type of spending, and liberals will get theirs.

Q: Do you see anyone among your colleagues working to reduce government?

A: I think there's a good group here, particularly those who were elected in 1994, but I don't think their voices are being heard. …

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