Things seem to be unraveling quickly for the new administration. The latest unemployment numbers are worse than the last reports. For all the billions of dollars spent and committed to fixing our economic problems, the situation is only getting worse. This was to be expected by those who understand the root causes of the problems. Throwing money around and creating more government programs is both simplistic and damaging to the economy.
Of course, the administration claims that we would have been much worse off without these efforts. You can't improve this situation by adding to our mountain of public debt for the benefit of big banks and other special interests. The American people know this. When will Washington learn?
In addition, the president's plans for healthcare reform - or health insurance reform - are becoming more and more unpopular as details are examined. But because of all the alarmist rhetoric, politicians in Washington feel obligated to pass something, even if it doesn't help. Rarely are liberty and prosperity at greater risk than when politicians feel they must "do something". It is frightening to watch Washington toy with our healthcare purely for political reasons.
However, the saddest shortcoming of this administration is its utter failure to pursue a more peaceful foreign policy. Just last week up to 90 people, apparently mostly civilians, were killed in Afghanistan in an airstrike, and the violence is only getting worse. The administration is mulling over how many more troops they will send as part of their "Afghan Surge" with advisors getting it exactly backwards. They qualify sending fewer troops as "high-risk" and sending more troops as "low-risk". This is not the perception at all if you were to ask the families of those being sent over. The best answer would be to stop risking any of our troops for the sake of what is, for all intents and purposes, a violent occupation, helping no one.
But all of these problems and their wrong-headed solutions come from one greater problem - which is not understanding the reasons that we are here. The economy is in bad shape because of too much government intervention producing a myriad of unintended consequences and perverse incentives. Healthcare is broken because the doctor-patient relationship has been broken down by hyper regulation and too much government interference.
Afghanistan is a mess because they ignored the mission approved by Congress - to seek out those who attacked us on 9/11. They have instead gotten sidetracked with nebulous interventionist tasks such as promoting democracy and nation building. Eight years later, there is no real progress. The Soviets bankrupted themselves fighting in the mountains and caves of Afghanistan and we're about to do the same. If we would just look to history it would be self-evident that there is nothing left to win in Afghanistan, and everything to lose.
Most of all, we need to understand that we don't understand Afghan culture and politics, and for that reason alone, intervening in their affairs is unlikely to produce positive results. The best thing we could possibly do now is to bring our troops home, from Afghanistan, from Iraq, from Japan, from Germany, from all occupied countries, and concentrate on mending badly damaged relationships around the world. Free and honest trade has always been the best way to do that, without fail. Not understanding the benefits of peace, freedom, and nonintervention will always bring about catastrophe.
Dr. Ron Paul
Congressman Ron Paul of Texas enjoys a national reputation as the premier advocate for liberty in politics today. Dr. Paul is the leading spokesman in Washington for limited constitutional government, low taxes, free markets, and a return to sound monetary policies based on commodity-backed currency. He is known among both his colleagues in Congress and his constituents for his consistent voting record in the House of Representatives: Dr. Paul never votes for legislation unless the proposed measure is expressly authorized by the Constitution. In the words of former Treasury Secretary William Simon, Dr. Paul is the "one exception to the Gang of 535" on Capitol Hill.
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