Conservatives vs. Paul Supporters on Pork

Which group is preferable, the bulk of the Republicans or those who support Ron Paul? A month ago the choice seemed obvious. Even though I disagreed with Paul’s social conservatism, Paul did seem far preferable with regards to his position on Iraq and civil liberties. Unfortunately the Ron Paul movement increasingly seems to be one of fringe groups such as white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and conspiracy theorists who have little understanding of libertarian philosophy or economic beliefs. As a result it now appears that conservatives have a better understanding of economics than many Paul supporters, at least with regards to the consequences of earmarks.

In the recent past I’ve had disagreements with Paul supporters who defended Paul’s support for earmarks to benefit his Congressional district. Many of his supporters argued that the earmarks did not contribute to increasing government spending as the funds were already appropriated. Conservative blogger Ed Morrissey presents a far more economically sound argument than the Paul supporters.

Ed, while discussing an article in Thursday’s Washington Post which showed that Republicans as well as Democrats are responsible for earmarks, explained why earmarks contribute to increased government spending. He concludes:

If you want small government, the only way to get there is to show people an honest cost-benefit analysis of Washington’s spending. Republicans who contribute to or enable pork-barrel politics delay this accountability, and in doing so perpetuate the big-government leviathan they supposedly oppose. Until the spoils system is eliminated, the demand for big government will always remain strong enough to keep DC expanding its spending and its authority.

Republicans who want small government don’t pork. It’s really that simple, and Republican leadership had better learn the lesson quickly. Just as with any other market, the only way to end unwanted behavior is to remove the incentives.

Score one for the conservatives over the so-called libertarians. Those who make reducing government spending their top priority might still be justified in supporting Paul on the belief that his record, even though imperfect, is preferable to other choices. However when Paul supporters go beyond this and argue that the pork which Paul supports does not matter we see signs of a personality cult and not a principled political movement.

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4 Comments

  1. 1
    RonPaul33 says:

    Conservatives vs. Paul Supporters on Pork. Even though I disagreed with Paul’s. http://liberalvaluesblog.com/?p=2410

  2. 2
    RonPaul33 says:

    Conservatives vs. Paul Supporters on Pork. Even though I disagreed with Paul’s. http://liberalvaluesblog.com/?p=2410

  3. 3
    Eric Dondero says:

    Jeff Flake is a really true honest-to-goodness libertarian Republican. Ron Paul leans libertarian in some areas, but unlike Flake, he’s a bit of a porker.

    I know firsthand. Ron used to send me to the Army Corps of Engineers practically every week or so, hat in hand, begging for money for our District: Flood control, Dredging projects for Matagorda, Lavaca and Aransas Counties, Bridge construction, ect…

    Not saying these projects are necessarily bad. Just that Ron Paul does what just about every other Congressman does when it comes to Fed $$$ – He fights for his share. Flake on the other hand, actually forgoes some projects in his own District, to the detriment of his District, so that he can be entirely consistent and have hands clean of pork grease.

    Eric Dondero, Fmr. Senior Aide & Local Governmental Relations Coordinator for the District
    US Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX)
    1997-2003

  4. 4
    Ron Chusid says:

    Eric,

    It is nice to see a realistic report. I’ve received numerous responses to this calling me a liar as they deny Paul’s record of supporting pork for his district.

    This is another example of how Paul’s supporters do him more harm than good. They have become a personality cult which attack anything remotely negative about Paul regardless of the facts. When I first posted about Paul’s voting record it would have been far smarter to simply admit that Paul acts like virtually every other Congressman but that they support him regardless of this. Instead some denied Paul’s record which is a matter of public record. Many more came up with ridiculous arguments to rationalize Paul’s votes. In doing so they kept a minor issue alive and turned it into yet one more example of how a significant portion of Paul’s support is not libertarian.

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