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Thursday, September 22, 2011

Ron Paul

Ronald Ernest "Ron" Paul, born August 20, 1935 is an American medical doctor, author, Republican U.S. Congressman of the House of Representatives and candidate for the 2012 Republican Party presidential nomination. Paul is currently the U.S. Congressman for the 14th congressional district of Texas, which comprises the area south and southwest of the Greater Houston region, including Galveston. Paul serves on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, the Joint Economic Committee, and the House Committee on Financial Services, and is Chairman of the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Domestic Monetary Policy and Technology, where he has been an outspoken critic of current American foreign and monetary policy.
A native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Paul is a graduate of Gettysburg College and the Duke University School of Medicine, where he earned his medical degree. Paul served as a flight surgeon in the United States Air Force from 1963 until 1968, during the Vietnam War. He worked as an obstetrician and gynecologist during the 1960s and 1970s, delivering more than 4,000 babies, before entering politics during 1976.
Paul is the initiator of the advocacy group Campaign for Liberty and his ideas have been expressed in numerous published articles and books, including Liberty Defined: 50 Essential Issues That Affect Our Freedom (2011), End The Fed (2009), The Revolution: A Manifesto (2008), Pillars of Prosperity (2008), A Foreign Policy of Freedom: Peace, Commerce, and Honest Friendship (2007), and The Case for Gold (1982). According to University of Georgia political scientist Keith Poole, Paul had the most conservative voting record of any member of Congress since 1937. His son Rand Paul was elected to the United States Senate for Kentucky in 2010, making the elder Paul the first Representative in history to serve concurrently with a child of his in the Senate.
Paul has been termed the "intellectual godfather" of the Tea Party movement. He has become well-known for his libertarian ideas for many political issues, often differing from both Republican and Democratic Party stances. Paul has campaigned for President of the United States twice before, first during 1988 as the nominee of the Libertarian Party and again during 2008 as a candidate for the Republican nomination. On May 13, 2011, he announced formally that he would campaign again during 2012 for the Republican presidential nomination. On July 12, 2011, Paul announced that he would not seek another term in Congress in order to concentrate on his presidential bid.

Personal life and medical career

Paul was born in Pittsburgh, the son of Howard Caspar Paul and Margaret (née Dumont) Paul. His paternal great-grandparents emigrated from Germany, and his mother was of German and Irish ancestry. As a junior at suburban Dormont High School, he was the 220-yard dash state champion. He received a B.S. degree in biology at Gettysburg College during 1957. He was a member of the fraternity Lambda Chi Alpha. After earning a Doctor of Medicine degree from the Duke University School of Medicine during 1961, Paul relocated with his wife to Michigan, where he completed his medical internship at the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit. He then served as a flight surgeon in the United States Air Force from 1963 to 1965 and then in the United States Air National Guard from 1965 to 1968.
During 1968, Paul and his wife relocated to Texas, where he continued his medical work. Trained in obstetrics and gynaecology, Paul then began his own private practice.
Paul has been married to Carol Wells since 1957. They have five children, who were baptized Episcopalian: Ronald, Lori, Rand, Robert, and Joy. Paul's son Rand is the junior senator from the state of Kentucky. Raised a Lutheran, Paul later became a Baptist.

Early congressional career

While still a medical resident during the 1960s, Paul was influenced by Friedrich Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom, which caused him to read many publications by Ludwig von Mises and Ayn Rand. He came to know economists Hans Sennholz and Murray Rothbard well, and credits to them his interest in the study of economics. He came to believe that what the Austrian school economists wrote was becoming true on August 15, 1971, when President Richard Nixon "closed the gold window" by implementing the U.S. dollar's complete departure from the gold standard. That same day, the young physician decided to enter politics, saying later, "After that day, all money would be political money rather than money of real value. I was astounded.

First campaigns

Inspired by his belief that the monetary crisis of the 1970s was predicted by the Austrian School and caused by excessive government spending on the Vietnam War and welfare, Paul became a delegate to the Texas Republican convention and a Republican candidate for the United States Congress. During 1974, incumbent Robert R. Casey defeated him for the 22nd district. When President Gerald Ford appointed Casey to direct the Federal Maritime Commission, Paul won an April 1976 special election to the vacant office. Paul lost some months later in the general election, to Democrat Robert Gammage, by fewer than 300 votes (0.2%), but defeated Gammage in a 1978 rematch, and was reelected during 1980 and 1982.

House of Representatives

Paul proposed term-limit legislation multiple times, at first during the 1970s in the House of Representatives where he also declined to attend junkets or register for a Congressional pension while serving four terms. His chief of staff (1978–1982) was Lew Rockwell. During 1980, when a majority of Republicans favored President Jimmy Carter's proposal to reinstate draft registration, Paul argued that their views were inconsistent, stating they were more interested in registering their children than they were their guns. He also proposed legislation to decrease Congressional pay by the rate of inflation; he was a regular participant of the annual Congressional Baseball Game; and he continued to deliver babies on Mondays and Saturdays during his entire 22nd district career.
During his first term, Paul initiated a "think tank", the Foundation for Rational Economics and Education (FREE). Also during 1976, the foundation began publication of the first monthly newsletter associated with Paul, Dr. Ron Paul's Freedom Report[30] (or Special Report). It also publishes radio advertisements, monographs, books, and (since 1997) a new series of the monthly newsletter, Ron Paul's Freedom Report, which promote the principles of limited government.

1988 presidential campaign

In the 1988 presidential election, Paul was on the ballot in 46 States. Paul scored third in the popular vote with 432,179 votes (0.5%). Paul was kept off the ballot in Missouri, and received votes there only when written in, due to what the St. Louis Post-Dispatch termed a "technicality".
The Libertarian party was split between a Conservative and Liberal wing. Ron Paul represented the Conservative wing which was successful in fundraising while the Liberal wing received 10x and more favorable press coverage which was argued was 100x more important. Nevertheless the Nomination was given to Paul. Ron Paul argued, “Pro-life libertarians have a vital task to perform: to persuade the many abortion-supporting libertarians of the contradiction between abortion and individual liberty; and, to sever the mistaken connection in many minds between individual freedom and the ‘right’ to extinguish individual life.”
According to Paul, his presidential campaign was about more than obtaining office; he sought to promote his libertarian ideas, often to school and university groups regardless of vote eligibility. He said, "We're just as interested in the future generation as this election. These kids will vote eventually, and maybe, just maybe, they'll go home and talk to their parents." He traveled the country for a year speaking about issues such as free market economics and the rising government deficits: "That's why we talk to a lot of young people. They're the ones who are paying these bills, they're the ones who are inheriting this debt, so it's most likely these young people who will move into this next generation in government."

Inter-congressional years

Ron Paul & Associates (RP&A), Inc. was initiated during 1984 by Paul, who served as President. Llewellyn H Rockwell Jr. served as Vice President, Ron Paul's wife Carol served as Secretary and Lori Pyeatt as Treasurer. The corporation was dissolved during 2001. In 1985 Ron Paul & Associates began publishing The Ron Paul Investment Letter and The Ron Paul Survival Report; it added the more controversial Ron Paul Political Report during 1987. Many articles lacked a byline, yet often invoked Paul's name or persona.
After his unsuccessful presidential bid during 1988, Paul resumed his private medical practice and continued to allow the newsletters to be published bearing his name. For 1992, RP&A earned $940,000 and employed Paul's family as well as Lew Rockwell (its vice-president and occasional editor) and seven other workers. Murray Rothbard and other libertarians believed Rockwell ghostwrote the newsletters for Paul; Rockwell later acknowledged involvement in writing subscription letters, but attributed the newsletters to "seven or eight freelancers".

Later congressional career

1996 campaign
During 1996, Paul was re-elected to Congress after the most difficult campaign he had experienced since the 1970s. Because Republicans had gained control of both houses of Congress in the 1994 election, Paul entered the campaign hopeful that his Constitutionalist policies of tax reductions, terminating federal agencies, and curbing the U.N. would have more support than during the past. The Republican National Committee emphasized instead encouragement of Democrats to switch parties, as Paul's primary opponent, incumbent Greg Laughlin, had done during 1995. The party endorsed Laughlin, including assistance from House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Texas Governor George W. Bush, and the National Rifle Association. Paul responded by running newspaper advertisements quoting Gingrich's harsh criticisms of Laughlin's Democratic voting record 14 months earlier. Paul won the primary with assistance from baseball pitcher, constituent, and friend Nolan Ryan (as honorary campaign chair and advertisement spokesman), as well as tax activist Steve Forbes and conservative commentator Pat Buchanan (both of whom had had presidential campaigns that year).
Paul's Democratic opponent in the autumn general election, trial lawyer Charles "Lefty" Morris, received assistance from the AFL-CIO, but Paul's wider contributor base out-raised Morris two-to-one, giving the third-highest amount of individual contributions received by any House member (behind Gingrich and Bob Dornan). While Paul was able to describe Morris as a stooge of trial lawyers and big labor, Morris ran numerous advertisements about Paul's advocacy of federal drug law repeal.
Morris also accused Paul of authoring questionable statements in past newsletters, some of which were characterized as racially charged. Paul's congressional campaign countered the statements were taken out of context. and that voters might not understand the "tongue-in-cheek, academic" quotes out of context. Further, the campaign rejected Morris' demand to release all back issues.

Later campaigns

During 1998 and again during 2000, Paul defeated Loy Sneary, a Democratic Bay City, Texas, rice farmer and former Matagorda County judge, running advertisements warning voters to be "leery of" Sneary. Paul accused Sneary of voting to increase his pay by 5%, increasing his travel allotment by 400% during one year, and using increased taxes to start a new government bureaucracy to administer a license plate fee he enacted. Sneary's aides said he had voted to increase all county employees' pay by five percent in a cost-of-living increase. Paul countered that he had never voted to increase Congressional pay. In both campaigns, the national Democratic Party and major unions continued to spend much money against Paul. Paul continued to refrain from congressional benefits and in 2009 was featured by CBS on Up to the Minute as one of two members of the U.S. Congress that had pledged not to receive a pension from the United States government. The other was Howard Coble of North Carolina.
An online "grassroots" petition to draft Paul for the 2004 presidential election garnered several thousand signatures. On December 11, 2001, he told political independents that he was encouraged by the fact that the petition had spread the message of Constitutionalism, but did not expect a White House win at that time. Further prompting in early 2007 caused him to enter the 2008 presidential election campaign.
Unlike many political candidates, Paul receives the overwhelming majority of his campaign contributions from individuals (97 percent during the 2006 cycle), and receives much less from political action committees (PAC's) than others, ranging from two percent (2002) to six percent (1998). The group Clean Up Washington, analyzing from 2000 to mid-2006, listed Paul as seventh-lowest of PAC receipts of all House members; one of the lowest in lobbyist receipts; and fourth-highest in small-donor receipts. He had the lowest PAC receipts percentage of all the 2008 Republican presidential candidates.

Relationship with district

After 2003 Texas redistricting, Paul's district is larger than Massachusetts (though it has only a tenth of the population), with 675 miles (1,086 km) of Gulf of Mexico coastline between Houston and Rockport, Texas, including some 22 counties. Even so, Paul opposes programs like federally funded flood insurance (typically endorsed by coastal and rural representatives) because it requires those outside flood zones to subsidize those within, but prohibits those within from choosing their own insurers. In an overwhelmingly rural region known for ranching and rice farms, Paul opposes farm subsidies, which are paid to large corporations rather than small farmers. Despite his voting against greatly endorsed legislation like farm bills, Paul's devotion to reducing government is popular with 14th district voters: in a survey, 54% of his constituency agreed with his goal of eliminating the U.S. Department of Education.
Paul adds his own "earmarks", such as for Texas shrimp promotion, but he routinely votes against most spending bills returned by committee. Earmarks permit members of Congress, rather than executive branch civil servants, to designate spending priorities for previously authorized funds directed otherwise. Paul compared his practice to objecting to the tax system yet taking all one's tax credits: "I want to get their money back for the people." In The Revolution: A Manifesto, Paul states his opinion of earmarks this way: "The real problem, and one that was unfortunately not addressed in the 2007's earmark dispute, is the size of the federal government and the amount of money we are spending in these appropriations bills. Cutting even a million dollars from an appropriations bill that spends hundreds of billions will make no appreciable difference in the size of government, which is doubtless why politicians and the media are so eager to have us waste our time on earmarks."


Paul authors more bills than the average representative, such as those that impose term limits, or abolish the income tax or the Federal Reserve; many do not escape committee review. He has written successful legislation to prevent eminent domain seizure of a church in New York, and a bill transferring ownership of the Lake Texana dam project from the federal government to Texas. By amending other legislation, he has helped prohibit funding for national identification numbers, funding for federal teacher certification, International Criminal Court jurisdiction over the U.S. military, American participation with any U.N. global tax, and surveillance of peaceful First Amendment activities by citizens.
During March 2001, Paul introduced a bill to repeal the 1973 War Powers Resolution (WPR) and reinstate the process of formal declaration of war by Congress. Later during 2001, Paul voted to authorize the president, pursuant to WPR, to respond to those responsible for the September 11, 2001, attacks. He also introduced "Sunlight Rule" legislation, which requires lawmakers to take enough time to read bills before voting on them, after the Patriot Act was passed within 24 hours of its introduction. Paul was one of six Republicans to vote against the Iraq War Resolution, and (with Oregon representative Peter DeFazio) sponsored a resolution to repeal the war authorization during February 2003. Paul's speech, 35 "Questions That Won't Be Asked About Iraq," was translated and published in German, French, Russian, Italian, and Swiss periodicals before the Iraq War began.

Bills sponsored and cosponsored

The following tables link to the Congressional Record hosted by the Library of Congress. All the specifics and actions done for each individual bill Ron Paul has either sponsored or cosponsored can be reviewed further there. "Original bills" and "Original amendments" indicate instances where Ron Paul had pledged to endorse the legislation at the time the bill was initially introduced rather than at some other phase of the legislative process of the bill.
Rep. Ron Paul – U.S. House of Representatives – [R-TX-14]
Years Covered All bills sponsored All amendments sponsored All bills cosponsored All amendments cosponsored Original bills cosponsored Original amendments cosponsored Bill support withdrawn Amendment support withdrawn
1997–98 32 7 223 0 76 0 0 0
1999-00 51 8 316 0 119 0 0 0
2001–02 64 4 323 0 104 0 1 0
2003–04 68 8 354 0 150 0 0 0
2005–06 71 8 393 0 141 0 0 0
2007–08 70 0 443 0 160 0 0 0
2009–10 41 0 120 0 69 0 0 0


Paul serves on the House Foreign Affairs Committee (having been on the Western Hemisphere and the Asia and Pacific subcommittees); the Joint Economic Committee; and the Committee on Financial Services (as Ranking Member of the Domestic and International Monetary Policy, Trade and Technology subcommittee, and Vice-Chair of the Oversight and Investigations subcommittee).
Paul was honorary chairman of, and is a member of the Republican Liberty Caucus, a political action committee that describes its goal as electing "liberty-minded, limited-government individuals". Paul also hosts a luncheon every Thursday as chairman of the Liberty Caucus, composed of 20 members of Congress. Washington DC area radio personality Johnny "Cakes" Auville gave Paul the idea for the Liberty Caucus and is a regular contributing member. He is an initiating member of the Congressional Rural Caucus, which deals with agricultural and rural issues, and the 140-member Congressional Wildlife Refuge Caucus. He remains on good terms with the Libertarian Party and addressed its 2004 convention. He also was endorsed by the Constitution Party's 2004 presidential candidate, Michael Peroutka.

Committee assignments

Rep. Paul serves on the following committee and subcommittees.
Committee on Financial Services
Subcommittee on Domestic Monetary Policy and Technology (Chairman)
Subcommittee on International Monetary Policy and Trade
Committee on Foreign Affairs
Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations
With the election of the 112th Congress, and a resulting GOP majority in the House, Ron Paul became the chairman of the Subcommittee on Domestic Monetary Policy and Technology starting in January 2011.
On July 12th 2011, Ron Paul announced that he will not seek re-election as a U.S. Representative. 

2008 presidential campaign

Paul formally declared his candidacy for the 2008 Republican nomination on March 12, 2007, on C-SPAN. His campaign had intense grassroots support—his supporters were said to "always show up"—- and he had dozens of wins of GOP "straw polls". Additionally, Ron Paul garnered much popularity among college students, with about 500 Students for Ron Paul groups formed across the United States. Few major politicians endorsed Paul, but he won the endorsement of Houston political activist Clymer Wright, the main promoter of the municipal term limits imposed in Houston during 1991.
Paul's campaign showed "surprisingly strong" fundraising with several record-breaking events. He had the greatest rate of military contribution for 2008, and donations coming from individuals, aided significantly by an online presence and very active campaigning by endorsers, who organized "moneybomb" fundraisers acquiring millions of dollars during several months. Such fundraising earned Paul the status of having raised more than any other Republican candidate during 2007's fourth-quarter. Paul's name was a number-one web search term as ranked by Technorati, beginning around May 2007. He has had more YouTube subscriptions since May 20, 2007 than any other candidate.
 Paul said he had the greatest number of pledged Louisiana delegates who had registered by the original January 10 deadline, and formally challenged the deadline extension and the Louisiana GOP's exclusion of voters due to an outdated list; he projected three Louisiana delegates. The Super Tuesday West Virginia caucus was won by Mike Huckabee, whose state campaign coordinators reportedly arranged to give three Huckabee delegates to Paul in exchange for votes from Paul's endorsers. Huckabee has not confirmed this delegate pledge.
Paul's preference votes in primaries and caucuses began at 10 percent in Iowa (winning Jefferson County) and eight percent in New Hampshire, where he had the endorsement of state sovereignty champion, State Representative Dan Itse; on Super Tuesday they ranged from 25 percent in Montana and 21 percent in North Dakota caucuses, where he won several counties, to three percent in several state primaries, averaging under 10 percent in primaries overall. After sweeping four states on March 4, McCain was projected widely to have a majority of delegates pledged to vote for him in the September 2008 party convention. Paul obliquely acknowledged McCain on March 6: "Though victory in the political sense is not available, many victories have been achieved due to hard work and enthusiasm." He continued to contest the remaining primaries, having added, "McCain has the nominal number ... but if you're in a campaign for only gaining power, that is one thing; if you're in a campaign to influence ideas and the future of the country, it's never over." Paul's recent book, The Revolution: A Manifesto, became a New York Times and bestseller immediately upon release. His newest book, End the Fed, has been released.

Newsletter controversy

Controversial claims made by an unidentified author in Ron Paul's newsletters, written in the first person narrative, included statements such as "Boy, it sure burns me to have a national holiday for Martin Luther King. I voted against this outrage time and time again as a Congressman. What an infamy that Ronald Reagan approved it! We can thank him for our annual Hate Whitey Day." Along with "even in my little town of Lake Jackson, Texas, I've urged everyone in my family to know how to use a gun in self defense. For the animals are coming." Two other statements that garnered controversy were "opinion polls consistently show only about 5% of blacks have sensible political opinions". In an article titled "The Pink House" the newsletter wrote that "Homosexuals, not to speak of the rest of society, were far better off when social pressure forced them to hide their activities."
Paul had given his own account of the newsletters during March 2001, stating the documents were authored by ghostwriters, and that while he did not author the challenged passages, he bore "some moral responsibility" for their publication.
At the end of 2007, both the New York Sun and the New York Times Magazine reprinted passages from early 1990s publications of Paul's newsletters, attacking them for content deemed racist. These were the same newsletters that had been used against Paul during his 1996 congressional campaign.
On January 8, 2008, the day of the New Hampshire primary, The New Republic published a story by James Kirchick quoting from selected newsletters published under Paul's name.
Responding to the charges in a CNN interview, Paul denied any involvement in authoring the passages. Additionally, Paul's campaign claimed through a press release that the quotations had come from an unnamed ghostwriter and without Paul's consent. Paul again denounced and disavowed the "small-minded thoughts", citing his 1999 House speech praising Rosa Parks for her courage; he said the charges simply "rehashed" the decade-old Morris attack.

Assistance for third-party candidates

On September 5, 2008, the Constitution Party of Montana removed Chuck Baldwin from their presidential ticket, replacing him with Ron Paul for president and Michael Peroutka for vice president. Paul made an announcement stating that he "was aware that the party planned to do this, and has said that as long as he can remain passive and silent about the development, and as long as he need not sign any declaration of candidacy, that he does not object." However, Paul requested on September 11 that Montana eliminate his name from the ballot, stating that he did not "seek nor consent" to the Montana Constitution Party's nomination. He also suggested the Party list official Constitution Party nominee Baldwin on the Montana ballot instead. Five days later the Montana Secretary of State denied Paul's request for withdrawal, stating that the request was sent to them too late. On September 4, 2008, a list of electors in Louisiana using the name "Louisiana Taxpayers Party" filed papers and paid $500 with the Secretary of State's Office. They are pledged to Paul for President and Barry Goldwater, Jr. for Vice President.
The same day, Paul's staff released a brief press statement: "On the heels of his historic three-day rally in Minneapolis that drew over 12,000 attendees, Congressman Ron Paul will make a major announcement next week in Washington at the National Press Club." The congressman had reportedly invited presidential candidates Chuck Baldwin, Bob Barr, Cynthia McKinney, and Ralph Nader to the press conference, causing some people to speculate that they would endorse Paul campaigning for president on the ticket of either the Constitution, Libertarian or other third party.

Post–2008 presidential campaign activities

On February 26, 2009, Ron Paul was a major speaker at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, D.C., speaking for 20 minutes on topics including monetary theory and policy in the United States, in addition to the War in Iraq, and international foreign policy. Paul's Campaign for Liberty sent 140 volunteers to CPAC 2009 to distribute materials, and significantly increased that number the next year.
In the 2009 CPAC Straw Poll for the 2012 presidential election, Paul tied 2008 GOP Vice-Presidential candidate Sarah Palin for third place with 13% of the vote, behind fellow former candidate Mitt Romney and Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal. However, in the 2010 CPAC straw poll, he scored first, decisively winning with 31%, followed distantly by Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin, and Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota, among others. In the 2010 Southern Republican Leadership Conference straw poll, Paul finished second place with 24% of the vote (438 votes), behind only Mitt Romney (with 439 votes). An April 2010 Rasmussen poll among likely voters found that Ron Paul and President Obama were statistically tied in a hypothetical 2012 presidential election.

2012 presidential campaign

Beginning during 2010 there was speculation among pundits and journalists regarding the prospect of Paul campaigning for president again during 2012. When Paul's wife, Carol, was asked if he would campaign during 2012 her response was "If you would ask him now he would probably say 'no', but he did say... things are happening so quickly and fast in our country, if we're at a crisis period and they need someone... with the knowledge he has... then he would do it."
Paul won several early straw polls and began raising funds for an exploratory committee. In mid-April, 2011, Paul announced the formation of a "testing-the-waters" account, and stated that he will make a decision on whether to enter the campaign officially no later than May. In late April, he formed an official exploratory committee to campaign for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination. He participated with the first Republican presidential debate on May 5, 2011. and on May 13, 2011, Paul formally announced his candidacy in an interview on ABC's Good Morning America. He placed second in the 2011 Ames Straw Poll, missing first by 0.9%.
An August scientific poll of likely voters across the political spectrum by Rasmussen Reports held a contest between Paul and Barack Obama, in which the two were "almost dead even." Obama led Paul by one percentage point at 39% to 38% - a significantly smaller margin than July (41% - 37%). Paul moved up to 3rd in a late-August poll of likely Republican primary voters, trailing Rick Perry and Mitt Romney and passing Michele Bachmann, climbing from fourth to third position.

Political positions

Paul has been described as conservative, Constitutionalist, and libertarian. He has been nicknamed "Dr. No", representing both his medical degree and his insistence that he will "never vote for legislation unless the proposed measure is expressly authorized by the Constitution" and "Mr. Republican". One scoring method published in the American Journal of Political Science found Paul the most conservative of all 3,320 members of Congress from 1937 to 2002. Paul's foreign policy of nonintervention made him the only 2008 Republican presidential candidate to have voted against the Iraq War Resolution during 2002. He advocates withdrawal from the United Nations, and from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, for reasons of maintaining strong national sovereignty. He endorses free trade, rejecting membership in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the World Trade Organization as "managed trade". He endorses increased border security and opposes welfare for illegal aliens, birthright citizenship and amnesty; he voted for the Secure Fence Act of 2006. He voted for the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists in response to the September 11, 2001, attacks, but suggested war alternatives such as authorizing the president to grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal targeting specific terrorists. An opponent of the Iraq War and potential war with Iran, he has also criticized neoconservatism and U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East, arguing that both inadvertently cause terrorist reprisals against Americans. Paul has stated that "Israel is our close friend" and that it is not the place of the United States to "dictate how Israel runs her affairs".
Paul is a proponent of Austrian school economics; he has authored six books on the subject, and displays pictures of Austrian school economists Friedrich Hayek, Murray Rothbard, and Ludwig von Mises (as well as of Grover Cleveland) on his office wall. He regularly votes against almost all proposals for new government spending, initiatives, or taxes; he cast two thirds of all the lone negative votes in the House during a 1995–1997 period. He has pledged never to raise taxes and states he has never voted to approve a budget deficit. Paul believes that the country could abolish the individual income tax by scaling back federal spending to its fiscal year 2000 levels; financing government operations would be primarily by excise taxes and non-protectionist tariffs. He endorses eliminating most federal government agencies, terming them unnecessary bureaucracies. Paul has a consistent record as an inflation hawk, having warned of the threat of hyperinflation as far back as 1981. Paul also believes the longterm decrease of the U.S. dollar's purchasing power by inflation is attributable to its lack of any commodity backing. However, Paul does not endorse a "return" to a gold standard, as the U.S. government has established during the past, but instead prefers to eliminate legal tender laws and to remove the sales tax on gold and silver, so that the market may freely decide what type of monetary standard(s) there shall be. He also advocates gradual elimination of the Federal Reserve System. As a free-market environmentalist, he asserts private property rights in relation to environmental protection and pollution prevention. He also opposes the federal War on Drugs, and believes the states should decide whether to regulate or deregulate drugs such as medical marijuana. Paul pushes to eliminate federal involvement with and management of health care, which he argues would allow prices to decrease due to the fundamental dynamics of a free market. He is an outspoken proponent for increased ballot access for 3rd party candidates and numerous election law reforms which he believes would allow more voter control. Referring to the federal government, Ron Paul has also stated that “The government shouldn't be in the medical business." He is also opposed to federal government influenza inoculation programs.
Paul was critical of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, arguing that it sanctioned federal interference in the labor market and did not improve race relations. He once remarked: "The Civil Rights Act of 1964 not only violated the Constitution and reduced individual liberty; it also failed to achieve its stated goals of promoting racial harmony and a color-blind society".
On April 15, 2011, Paul was one of four Republican members of Congress to vote against "The Path to Prosperity".

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