The political positions of Ron Paul (R-TX), United States presidential candidate, have been labeled conservative, Constitutionalist, and libertarian. Ron Paul's nickname "Dr. No" reflects both his medical degree and the insistence that he will "never vote for legislation unless the proposed measure is expressly authorized by the Constitution." This position has frequently resulted in Paul casting the sole "no" vote against proposed legislation.
Paul advocates bringing troops home from U.S. military bases in Korea, Japan, and Europe, among others. He also often proposes that the U.S. stop sending massive, unaccountable foreign aid. The National Journal labeled Paul's overall foreign policies in 2006 as more conservative than 20% of the House and more liberal than 77% of the House (28% and 72%, respectively, in 2005).
In an October 11, 2007 interview with The Washington Post, Paul said, "There's nobody in this world that could possibly attack us today... I mean, we could defend this country with a few good submarines. If anybody dared touch us we could wipe any country off of the face of the earth within hours. And here we are, so intimidated and so insecure and we're acting like such bullies that we have to attack third-world nations that have no military and have no weapon."
During the 2003 invasion, he found himself "annoyed by the evangelicals' being so supportive of pre-emptive war, which seems to contradict everything that I was taught as a Christian." Paul's consistent opposition to the war expanded his conservative and libertarian Republican support base to include liberal Democrats. Fox News commentator Bill O'Reilly criticized Paul's stance on the issue when Paul appeared on The O'Reilly Factor by claiming Paul "dodged the question" about what he would do to stop Iran from filling the potential power vacuum that could result from an American withdrawal.
Paul was the only "no" vote on , the Darfur Accountability and Divestment Act of 2007 (passed House 418-1-13, awaiting action in the Senate), which would "require the identification of companies that conduct business operations in Sudan [and] prohibit United States Government contracts with such companies. Among the bill's findings were Colin Powell's Senate testimony that the Sudanese government and the Janjaweed militias it supported were responsible for genocide, and the observation that many Americans inadvertently invest in foreign companies which disproportionately benefit the Sudanese regime in Khartoum. Paul cited the past ineffectiveness of sanctions against Cuba and Iraq as evidence against divestment from businesses connected to the Sudanese government. Proponents of Sudanese divestment legislation cite recent advertisement campaigns by the Sudanese government, and the complete withdrawal of large suppliers such as CHC Helicopter Corporation, Rolls Royce, and ABB, as evidence of the effectiveness of Sudanese divestment.
He voted against the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA), holding that it increased the size of government, eroded U.S. sovereignty, and was unconstitutional. He has also voted against the Australia–U.S. FTA, the U.S.–Singapore FTA, and the U.S.–Chile FTA, and voted to withdraw from the WTO. He believes that "fast track" powers, given by Congress to the President to devise and negotiate FTA's on the country's behalf, are unconstitutional, and that Congress, rather than the executive branch, should construct FTA's.
Paul's immigration positions sometimes differ with libertarian think tanks and the official platform of the U.S. Libertarian Party. He believes illegal aliens take a toll on welfare and Social Security and would end such benefits, concerned that uncontrolled immigration makes the U.S. a magnet for illegal immigrants, increases welfare payments, and exacerbates the strain on an already highly unbalanced federal budget. Paul's Congressional voting record earned a lifetime grade of B and a recent grade of B+ from Americans for Better Immigration.
Paul believes that immigrants should not be given an "unfair advantage" under law. He has advocated a "coherent immigration policy", and has spoken strongly against amnesty for illegal immigrants because he believes it undermines the rule of law, grants pardons to lawbreakers, and subsidizes more illegal immigration. Paul voted for the Secure Fence Act of 2006, authorizing an additional 700 miles (1100 kilometers) of double-layered fencing between the U.S. and Mexico.
Paul also believes children born in the U.S. to illegal aliens should not be granted automatic birthright citizenship. He has called for a new Constitutional amendment to revise fourteenth amendment principles and "end automatic birthright citizenship", and believes that welfare issues are directly tied to the immigration problem.
Historically, the United States issued Letters of Marque against the Barbary pirates, and commissioned privateers to attack the shipping of countries with whom the United States was at war. These letters of Marque were typically issued on a per-voyage basis, and some 1700 of them were granted by the congress during the American Revolution.
Paul has signed a pledge not to raise taxes or create new taxes, given by Americans for Tax Freedom. Paul has also been an advocate of employee-owned corporations (such as employee stock ownership plans). In 1999, he co-sponsored The Employee Ownership Act of 1999, which would have created a new type of corporation (the employee-owned-and-controlled corporation) that would have been exempt from most federal income taxes.
John Berthoud, president of the National Taxpayers Union, an organization that promotes lower tax rates, has said, "Ron Paul has always proven himself to be a leader in the fight for taxpayer rights and fiscal responsibility .... No one can match his record on behalf of taxpayers." Paul has been called a "Taxpayer's Friend" by Berthoud's organization every year since he returned to Congress in 1996, scoring an average percentage of 100%, tying Tom Tancredo for the highest score (1992–2005) among all 2008 presidential candidates from Congress. National Federation of Independent Business president Jack Farris has said, "Paul is a true friend of small business.... He is committed to a pro-small-business agenda of affordable health insurance, lower taxes, tort reform, and the elimination of burdensome mandates.
Paul has stated: "I agree on getting rid of the IRS, but I want to replace it with nothing, not another tax. But let's not forget the inflation tax. In other statements, he has permitted consideration of a national sales tax as a compromise if the tax need cannot be reduced enough. He has advocated that the reduction of government will make an income tax unnecessary. Paul would substantially reduce the government's role in individual lives and in the functions of foreign and domestic states; he says Republicans have lost their commitment to limited government and have become the party of big government. He would eliminate many federal government agencies, such as the U.S. Department of Education, the U.S. Department of Energy, the US Department of Commerce, the US Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Emergency Management Administration, the Interstate Commerce Commission and the Internal Revenue Service, calling them "unnecessary bureaucracies". Paul would severely reduce the role of the CIA; reducing its functions to intelligence-gathering. He would eliminate operations like overthrowing foreign governments and assassinations. He says this activity is kept secret even from Congress and "leads to trouble. He also commented, "We have every right in the world to know something about intelligence gathering, but we have to have intelligent people interpreting this information.
Paul's opposition to the Federal Reserve is supported by the Austrian Business Cycle Theory, which holds that instead of containing inflation, the Federal Reserve, in theory and in practice, is responsible for causing inflation. In addition to eroding the value of individual savings, this creation of inflation leads to booms and busts in the economy. Thus Paul argues that government, via a central bank (the Federal Reserve), is the primary cause of economic recessions and depressions. He believes that economic volatility is decreased when the free market determines interest rates and money supply. He has stated in numerous speeches that most of his colleagues in Congress are unwilling to abolish the central bank because it funds many government activities. He says that to compensate for eliminating the "hidden tax of inflation, Congress and the president would instead have to raise taxes or cut government services, either of which could be politically damaging to their reputations. He states that the "inflation tax" is a tax on the poor, because the Federal Reserve prints more money which subsidizes select industries, while poor people pay higher prices for goods as more money is placed in circulation.
His warnings of impending economic crisis and a loss of confidence in the dollar in 2005 and 2006 were at the time derided by many economists, but accelerating dollar devaluation in 2007 has led experts like former Federal Reserve chair Alan Greenspan to reconsider hard money policies such as those of Paul; in his 2007 memoirs, Greenspan described his nostalgia for the gold standard and warned that future conditions could cause "a return of populist, anti-Fed rhetoric, which has lain dormant since 1991.
He condemns the role of the Federal Reserve and the national debt in creating inflation. The minority report of the U.S. Gold Commission states that the federal and state governments are strictly limited in their monetary role by Article One, Section Eight, Clauses 2, 5, and 6, and Section Ten, Clause 1, "The Constitution forbids the states to make anything but gold and silver coin a tender in payment of debt, nor does it permit the federal government to make anything a legal tender." The Commission also recommended that the federal government "restore a definition for the term 'dollar.' We suggest defining a 'dollar' as a weight of gold of a certain fineness, .999 fine. On multiple occasions in congressional hearings, he has sharply challenged two different chairmen of the Federal Reserve, Alan Greenspan and Ben Bernanke.
He has also called for the removal of all taxes on gold transactions. He has repeatedly introduced the Federal Reserve Board Abolition Act since 1999, to enable "America to return to the type of monetary system envisioned by our Nation's founders: one where the value of money is consistent because it is tied to a commodity such as gold"; it has received virtually no mainstream news coverage. He opposes dependency on paper fiat money, but also says that there "were some shortcomings of the gold standard of the 19th century ... because it was a fixed price and caused confusion." He argues that hard money, such as backed by gold or silver, would prevent inflation, but adds, "I wouldn't exactly go back on the gold standard but I would legalize the constitution where gold and silver should and could be legal tender, which would restrain the Federal Government from spending and then turning that over to the Federal Reserve and letting the Federal Reserve print the money.
Paul strongly supports legalization of parallel currencies, such as gold-backed notes issued from private markets and digital gold currencies. He would like gold-backed notes (or other types of hard money) and digital gold currencies to compete on a level playing field with Federal Reserve Notes, allowing individuals a choice whether to use sound money or to continue using fiat money. Paul believes this would restrain inflation, limit government spending, and eventually eliminate the ability of the Federal Reserve to "tax" Americans through inflation (i.e., by reducing the purchasing power of the currency they are holding), which he sees as "the most insidious of all taxes".
He suggests that current efforts to sustain dollar hegemony, especially since collapse of the Bretton Woods system following the United States' suspension of the dollar's conversion to gold in 1971, exacerbate a rationale for war. Consequently, when petroleum producing nations like Iraq, Iran, or Venezuela elect to trade in Petroeuro instead of Petrodollar, it devalues an already overly inflated dollar, further eroding its supremacy as a global currency. According to Paul, along with vested American interests in oil and plans to "remake the Middle East", this scenario has proven a contributing factor for the war against Iraq and diplomatic tensions with Iran.
He has committed himself for over 30 years to educating Americans in libertarian economic principles, such as eliminating the Federal Reserve Board, a private-public banking entity that Paul says has a centralized monopoly control over our money and threatens to impoverish the population through devaluation of the dollar. Paul has many times confronted Congress with a bill to audit the Federal Reserve Board, which Congress has repeatedly turned down.
Paul was one of only three members of Congress that voted against the Sarbanes-Oxley Act: it "imposes costly new regulations on the financial services industry [that] are damaging American capital markets by providing an incentive for small US firms and foreign firms to deregister from US stock exchanges.
Paul argued against the $700 billion bailout proposal to purchase toxic debt during the economic crisis of 2008. His vote was among the majority of "nay" votes cast to defeat the initial measure in the U.S. House of Representatives. The House passed a "sweetened" version of the bill, against which Paul voted a second time, later in the week.
However, critics contend that Paul's position is disingenuous because he often requests earmarks for bills that he supposedly knows will pass no matter which way he votes. For example, in 2007 he requested nearly $400 million dollars in earmarks in bills he voted against. A spokesman in the Fox News article says, "Reducing earmarks does not reduce government spending, and it does not prohibit spending upon those things that are earmarked. What people who push earmark reform are doing is they are particularly misleading the public — and I have to presume it's not by accident." Paul openly addresses these concerns by providing an explanation in his weekly column. As Paul says, "In an already flawed system, earmarks can at least allow residents of Congressional districts to have a greater role in allocating federal funds - their tax dollars - than if the money is allocated behind locked doors by bureaucrats."
In a speech on June 25 2003, criticizing giving Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Tony Blair a Congressional Gold Medal of Honor, Paul said, “These medals generally have been proposed to recognize a life of service and leadership, and not for political reasons — as evidenced by the overwhelming bipartisan support for awarding President Reagan, a Republican, a gold medal. These awards normally go to deserving individuals, which is why I have many times offered to contribute $100 of my own money, to be matched by other members, to finance these medals.” He has also been criticized for being the only dissenting vote against giving Pope John Paul II, Rosa Parks, and Mother Teresa the medal. The medals and ceremonies held to bestow them on recipients are expensive. Texas Monthly awarded him the “Bum Steer” award for voting against a congressional honor for cartoonist Charles Schulz, but also noted, “When he was criticized for voting against the [Parks] medal, he chided his colleagues by challenging them to personally contribute $100 to mint the medal. No one did. At the time, Paul observed, ‘It's easier to be generous with other people's money.’”
In a December 2003 article entitled "Christmas in Secular America", Paul wrote, "The notion of a rigid separation between church and state has no basis in either the text of the Constitution or the writings of our Founding Fathers. On the contrary, our Founders’ political views were strongly informed by their religious beliefs. Certainly the drafters of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, both replete with references to God, would be aghast at the federal government’s hostility to religion. The establishment clause of the First Amendment was simply intended to forbid the creation of an official state church like the Church of England, not to drive religion out of public life. The Founding Fathers envisioned a robustly Christian yet religiously tolerant America, with churches serving as vital institutions that would eclipse the state in importance. Throughout our nation’s history, churches have done what no government can ever do, namely teach morality and civility. Moral and civil individuals are largely governed by their own sense of right and wrong, and hence have little need for external government. This is the real reason the collectivist Left hates religion: Churches as institutions compete with the state for the people’s allegiance, and many devout people put their faith in God before putting their faith in the state. Knowing this, the secularists wage an ongoing war against religion, chipping away bit by bit at our nation’s Christian heritage. Christmas itself may soon be a casualty of that war.
In 2005, Paul introduced the We the People Act, which would have removed "any claim involving the laws, regulations, or policies of any State or unit of local government relating to the free exercise or establishment of religion" from the jurisdiction of federal courts. If made law, this provision would permit state, county, and local governments to decide whether to allow displays of religious text and imagery and whether to ban atheists from public office.
Paul has sponsored a constitutional amendment which would allow students to pray privately in public schools, but would not allow anyone to be forced to pray against their will or allow the state to compose any type of prayer or officially sanction any prayer to be said in schools.
Paul voted against an amendment that would have legally protected net neutrality: "One of the basic principles, a basic reason why I strongly oppose this is, I see this as a regulation of the Internet, which is a very, very dangerous precedent to set. Paul was also asked, "Do you trust the Verizons or the AT&Ts of the world to give internet users equal access to all media online?" He replied, "Well, quite frankly I don't understand all the details, but if you believe in the free market you try to work out a way to solve those problems through contractual arrangements, not through depending on government regulation, so yes they are difficult and like I admit, I don't understand all those problems that we face, although the point I make is I have a healthy disregard and fear of the bureaucrats doing it because once you do that, those big companies are going to regulate, they're going to be the lobbyists and the politicians that regulate the law, and I think you'll be in worse shape. He was perceived as softening this stance later.
Paul has been criticized for voting against legislation to help catch online child predators, one of the votes used in the CNET "Technology voter guide". In response to critics, Paul said, "I have a personal belief that the responsibility of raising kids, educating kids and training kids is up to the parents and not the state. Once the state gets involved, it becomes too arbitrary." He also believed that the proposed law was unconstitutional.
Ron Paul was one of two representatives to vote against the Securing Adolescents From Exploitation-Online Act of 2007, which states that anyone offering an open Wi-Fi Internet connection to the public, who "obtains actual knowledge of any facts or circumstances" in relation to illegal visual media such as child pornography transferred over that connection, must register a report of their knowledge to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
In the first chapter of his book, Freedom Under Siege, Paul argued that the purpose of the Second Amendment is to place a check on government tyranny, not to merely grant hunting rights or allow self-defense. When asked whether individuals should be allowed to own machine guns, Paul responded, "Whether it's an automatic weapon or not is, I think, irrelevant. Paul believes that a weapons ban at the federal or state level does not work either. "Of course true military-style automatic rifles remain widely available to criminals on the black market. So practically speaking, the assault weapons ban does nothing to make us safer. Rather, he sees school shootings, plane hijackings, and other such events as a result of prohibitions on self-defense. Based on Paul's responses to a 1996 survey, he supports the right of citizens to carry concealed firearms if they are legally owned.
"Racism is simply an ugly form of collectivism, the mindset that views humans strictly as members of groups rather than individuals. Racists believe that all individuals who share superficial physical characteristics are alike: as collectivists, racists think only in terms of groups. By encouraging Americans to adopt a group mentality, the advocates of so-called 'diversity' actually perpetuate racism. Their obsession with racial group identity is inherently racist.American Community Survey He views the new American Community Survey questions as “both ludicrous and insulting”, believing that the information is simply none of the government's business.
Paul refers to his background as an obstetrician as being influential on his view, recalling inadvertently witnessing a late-term abortion performed by one of his instructors during his residency, “It was pretty dramatic for me to see a two-and-a-half-pound baby taken out crying and breathing and put in a bucket.” During a May 15 2007, appearance on the Fox News talk show Hannity and Colmes, Paul argued that his pro-life position was consistent with his libertarian values, asking, "If you can't protect life then how can you protect liberty?" Furthermore, Paul argued in this appearance that since he believes libertarians support non-aggression, libertarians should oppose abortion because abortion is "an act of aggression" against a fetus, which he believes to be alive, human, and possessing legal rights.
Paul has said that the ninth and tenth amendments to the U.S. Constitution do not grant the federal government any authority to legalize or ban abortion, stating that "the federal government has no authority whatsoever to involve itself in the abortion issue".
Paul introduced The Sanctity of Life Act of 2005, a bill that would have defined human life to begin at conception, and removed challenges to prohibitions on abortion from federal court jurisdiction. In 2005, Paul introduced the We the People Act, which would have removed "any claim based upon the right of privacy, including any such claim related to any issue of ... reproduction" from the jurisdiction of federal courts. If made law, either of these acts would allow states to prohibit abortion. In 2005, Paul voted against restricting interstate transport of minors to get abortions.
In order to "offset the effects of Roe v. Wade," Paul voted in favor of the federal Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003. He has described partial birth abortion as a "barbaric procedure". He also introduced H.R. 4379 that would prohibit the Supreme Court from ruling on issues relating to abortion, birth control, the definition of marriage and homosexuality and would cause the court's precedents in these areas to no longer be binding. He once said, “The best solution, of course, is not now available to us. That would be a Supreme Court that recognizes that for all criminal laws, the several states retain jurisdiction.”
Paul voted "no" on a federal ban on human cloning.
In Tavis Smiley's All-American Forum debate at Morgan State in September 2007, Paul stated: "Over the years I've held pretty rigid to all my beliefs, but I've changed my opinion of the death penalty. For federal purposes I no longer believe in the death penalty. I believe it has been issued unjustly. If you're rich, you get away with it; if you're poor and you're from the inner city you're more likely to be prosecuted and convicted, and today, with the DNA evidence, there've been too many mistakes, and I am now opposed to the federal death penalty.
Paul has proposed the use of education tax credits, included in his bill the Family Education Freedom Act (H.R. 612), which provides a $3,000 tax credit to families to choose their own schools. He has also introduced the Education Improvement Tax Cut Act, which would provide for a tax credit for up to a $3,000 donation to the public or private school of the taxpayer's choice, which would provide accountability and more money to America's schools from a local level. Paul has also proposed tax credits of $5,000 per year for each family, which could be used for any school-related expenses, whether the children of the family attend public or private school or are home-schooled.
Paul has rejected government-issued vouchers in favor of education tax credits. Paul supports the right of state and local school districts to implement education vouchers according to the 10th Amendment of the Constitution, but he does not believe they should exist on a federal level. He says that vouchers are given to certain students favored over others, and it is not fair for some middle-class parents to have to pay their child's own way at a private school while other parents' children are selected for government voucher programs. He opposes the welfare state generally, and says that in their current form, vouchers are a form of welfare given to some over others; they would be worthwhile if they resulted in an equal amount of money being taken out of the public school system, but the end result is usually more money on both vouchers for private schools and more money for the public school system. He says that vouchers would only work if they gave public schools some competition and forced public schools to get better, but when the public school gets all the money it would have and more even with vouchers as competition, the public system has no reason to get better.
Paul says that when voucher proponents say that students have a right to a good education and give vouchers as the answer, it means that private schools must fall under federal regulations to ensure that they are meeting students' rights. He says that if given the choice of which private school to attend, parents may choose to use their taxpayer-voucher to attend a school objectionable to some, such as one run by, for example, the Nation of Islam, and for that situation not to happen, government control over which schools are acceptable for vouchers would have to be injected. He asserts that colleagues have mentioned before that to take vouchers, religious schools would have to seek government accreditation under the Department of Education. He argues that this would in effect be a forced accreditation process because schools that choose not to take part will not be seen as having the "government's seal of approval" and may go out of business. He points to how the federal government has used federal funding for universities to tell universities what policies they must accept, and that the government would try to do the same with private schools.
In 2004, he spoke in support of the Defense of Marriage Act (passed in 1996) which uses the U.S. Constitution's Full Faith and Credit Clause to prohibit states from being compelled to recognize same-sex relationships as marriages, even if treated as marriages in other states. The Defense of Marriage Act also prohibits the U.S. government from recognizing same-sex marriages, even if treated as marriages in other states. He co-sponsored the Marriage Protection Act, which would have barred judges from hearing cases pertaining to the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act.
Paul has said that federal officials changing the definition of marriage is "an act of social engineering profoundly hostile to liberty. Paul stated, "Americans understandably fear that if gay marriage is legalized in one state, all other states will be forced to accept such marriages. He says that in a best case scenario, governments would enforce contracts and grant divorces but otherwise have no say in marriage. Paul has also stated he doesn't want to interfere in the free association of two individuals in a social, sexual, and religious sense. Additionally, when asked if he was supportive of gay marriage Paul responded "I am supportive of all voluntary associations and people can call it whatever they want."
In 2005, Paul introduced the We the People Act, which would have removed from the jurisdiction of federal courts "any claim based upon the right of privacy, including any such claim related to any issue of sexual practices, orientation, or reproduction" and "any claim based upon equal protection of the laws to the extent such claim is based upon the right to marry without regard to sex or sexual orientation." If made law, these provisions would remove sexual practices, and particularly same-sex unions, from federal jurisdiction.Don't ask, don't tell In the third Republican debate on June 5 2007, Paul said about the U.S. military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy:
"I think the current policy is a decent policy. And the problem that we have with dealing with this subject is we see people as groups, as they belong to certain groups and that they derive their rights as belonging to groups. We don't get our rights because we're gays or women or minorities. We get our rights from our Creator as individuals. So every individual should be treated the same way. So if there is homosexual behavior in the military that is disruptive, it should be dealt with. But if there's heterosexual behavior that is disruptive, it should be dealt with. So it isn't the issue of homosexuality. It's the concept and the understanding of individual rights. If we understood that, we would not be dealing with this very important problem."Paul elaborated his position in a 65-minute interview at Google, stating that he would not discharge troops for being homosexual if their behavior was not disruptive.Sodomy Ron Paul has been a critic of the Supreme Court's decision on the Lawrence v. Texas case in which sodomy laws were ruled unconstitutional under the Fourteenth Amendment. In an essay posted to the Lew Rockwell website he wrote
"Consider the Lawrence case decided by the Supreme Court in June. The Court determined that Texas had no right to establish its own standards for private sexual conduct, because gay sodomy is somehow protected under the 14th amendment “right to privacy.” Ridiculous as sodomy laws may be, there clearly is no right to privacy nor sodomy found anywhere in the Constitution. There are, however, states’ rights – rights plainly affirmed in the Ninth and Tenth amendments. Under those amendments, the State of Texas has the right to decide for itself how to regulate social matters like sex, using its own local standards.
He believes that environmental legislation, such as emissions standards, should be handled between and among the states or regions concerned. "The people of Texas do not need federal regulators determining our air standards.
In an October 2007 interview on the environment, Paul held that climate change is not a "major problem threatening civilization". He declined to name any particular environmental heroes and affirmed no special environmental achievements other than his educating the people about free-market solutions rather than "government expenditures and special-interest politics". While he had stated his membership in the Congressional Green Scissors Coalition in a June interview, he did not recall the group's name in the later interview, describing it only as "a lot of environmentalists that work with me very closely".
Paul voted for the Medicare Prescription Drug Price Negotiation Act, which would allow the government to negotiate with pharmaceutical companies to get the best price for drugs provided in the Medicare Part D prescription drug program.
Paul rejects universal health care, believing that the more government interferes in medicine, the higher prices rise and the less efficient care becomes. He points to how many people today are upset with the HMO system, but few people realize that HMOs came about because of a federal mandate in 1973. He also points to the 1974 ERISA law that grants tax benefits to employers for providing insurance but not individuals; he prefers a system which grants tax credits to individuals. He supports the U.S. converting to a free market health care system, saying in an interview on New Hampshire NPR that the present system is akin to a "corporatist-fascist" system which keeps prices high. He says that in industries with freer markets prices go down due to technological innovation, but because of the corporatist system, this is prevented from happening in health care. He opposes socialized health care promoted by Democrats as being harmful because they lead to bigger and less efficient government.
Paul has said that although he prefers tax credits to socialized medicine, he would be willing to "prop up" the current systems of Medicare and Medicaid with money saved by bringing troops home from foreign bases in places such as those in South Korea.
He opposes government regulation of vitamins and minerals, observing that the Codex Alimentarius proposal would even require a prescription for basic vitamins.
Paul has joined prominent liberal Democrats in urging that states be allowed to permit farmers to grow industrial hemp, which currently is defined as a controlled substance. He contends that this would help North Dakota and other agriculture states, where farmers have requested the ability to farm hemp for years.
In 2005 and 2007 he introduced the Industrial Hemp Farming Act "to amend the Controlled Substances Act to exclude industrial hemp from the definition of marijuana, and for other purposes; it currently has eleven cosponsors. This bill would give the states the power to regulate farming of hemp. The measure would be a first since the national prohibition of industrial hemp farming in the United States. The Economist wrote that his support for hemp farming could appeal to farmers in Iowa.
Paul believes in personal responsibility, but also sees inequity in the current application of drug enforcement laws, noting in 2000, "Many prisoners are non-violent and should be treated as patients with addictions, not as criminals. Irrational mandatory minimal sentences have caused a great deal of harm. We have non-violent drug offenders doing life sentences, and there is no room to incarcerate the rapists and murderers.
When asked about his position on implementing the tenth amendment, Paul explained, "Certain medical procedures and medical choices, I would allow the states to determine that. The state law should prevail not the Federal Government." Speaking specifically about Drug Enforcement Administration raids on medical marijuana clinics Paul said, "They’re unconstitutional," and went on to advocate states' rights and personal choice: "You’re not being compassionate by taking medical marijuana from someone who’s suffering from cancer or AIDS .... People should have freedom of choice. We certainly should respect the law and the law says that states should be able to determine this."
In 2003, he introduced H. R. 1941, the Voter Freedom Act of 2003, that would have created uniform ballot access laws for independent and third political party candidates in Congressional elections. He supported this bill in a speech before Congress in 2004. In 2007 he reintroduced a similar version of the bill.
It "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. Federal bureaucrats and judges cannot read minds to see if actions are motivated by racism. Therefore, the only way the federal government could ensure an employer was not violating the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was to ensure that the racial composition of a business's workforce matched the racial composition of a bureaucrat or judge's defined body of potential employees. Thus, bureaucrats began forcing employers to hire by racial quota. Racial quotas have not contributed to racial harmony or advanced the goal of a color-blind society. Instead, these quotas encouraged racial balkanization, and fostered racial strife."