A lot of people like Ron Paul because he advocates — or seems to advocate — small government. If only they knew what his fundamentally insane beliefs about “small” government would mean for America today. For while the original thirteen states required a proportionally small government, and relied upon the individual states for things such as military personnel, the fact is that today’s America is a much larger nation than what the Founding Generation began with — both in terms of land mass and population, and therefore requires a government proportional to its size and population.
What would a Ron Paul administration mean for the American people, in the unlikely event he were to become president?
For starters, a Ron Paul administration would mean — as this web site so eloquently and succinctly put it:
At the root of the Ron Paul “revolution” is the dismantling of Social Security and the Department of Education as well as other basic social programs, and the elimination of worker and environmental protections. Advances like single payer health care? No way. Ron Paul’s message is that you need to take care of yourself, and that there shouldn’t be such government programs, nor such interference with private profit. While he puts forward reasons for not supporting going to war abroad, his domestic policies would ignite civil war at home.
I’ll expand upon this, because the full scope of what would happen under a Ron Paul government really needs to take root in your mind, dear reader. Imagine you’re sixty-five, and you’re no longer physically capable of working as the younger generations are. But you can forget about retiring, because you would not have Social Security to help meet your basic income needs. As CBS News puts it:
According to the AARP, 68 percent of workers currently between the ages of 50 and 70 plan to work in retirement, or to never retire. Almost half of these people say that they plan to work into their 70s.
Once boomers hit retirement age, the number of older employees in the workplace will increase. The economy, Russell says, has already seen a growing number of older workers. The Census Bureau reported that between 1998 and 2000 alone, the number of workers age 64 to 74 increased nearly 14 percent. Some of these are people who simply didn’t retire, others are people who returned to work.
Money is the top reason why boomers intend to remain in the workplace, says Russell.
As an ABC News blog asks, “[a]re we all destined to be 80-year-old greeters at Wal-Mart?” If Ron Paul were to get his way, the trend we’re seeing now would continue — and continue to get worse. Because his precious “free market” demands it, and opposes anything government-provided such as Social Security. In short, we’re already returning to an era not unlike before Social Security, in which people whose bodies are exhausted from a lifetime of labor must soldier on just to survive. But under a Ron Paul administration, and a compliant Congress, we would no longer have even the weakened social safety net we have today.
Let us now consider education. Before public education, higher learning was available only to those who could afford it. It meant that the masses were kept largely ignorant (for reasons I shall explain in a bit), learning only those skills which were necessary to work and produce for the elites in society. Public education changed all that. No longer a hallmark of the affluent (relatively or actually), greater access to higher learning in the 1930s and beyond allowed generations of laborers to enjoy a higher standard of living than their parents and grandparents did. But this is a bit generalized, so here’s a brief explanation of what public education means versus private education.
Public schools are prohibited by the State Constitution from charging state residents any form of tuition or other fees for materials, supplies, textbooks or transportation. Most private schools traditionally impose fees, in addition to tuition, for one or more of these items.
Public school teachers are required to hold college degrees and to be licensed by the state. Private schools have no personnel requirements other than their own.
Public schools must accept any resident student who applies for admission, regardless of sex, race, religious affiliation, economic status or physical or mental handicap. Private schools can be selective in choosing their students.
The right of a public school student to a free education is guaranteed by the State Constitution and the student may not be disciplined in a manner that restricts or removes that right without being afforded due process of law. Private schools are not subject to these requirements and may exclude any student whose behavior is not conducive to the learning process.
Remember what I said about how education was at one time limited only to those who could afford it? The above quote explains why this is a bad thing. One of the ways in which the powerful control the masses is keeping them as ignorant as is conveniently possible. An educated public is a public that cannot be controlled. And so it benefits the current system to restrict access to education to those who can pay for it. If you can’t pay for an education, in Ron Paul’s ideal society you’d be out of luck. Your ability to obtain and maintain employment would depend largely on the whims of private enterprise. If it requires unskilled labor, you might have a chance. But it would be a slim one, and you’d find yourself at the dubious mercy of your employer — who would naturally take full advantage of your relative ignorance to prevent you from asserting your rights.
There’s another reason publicly funded education is vital: the maintenance of some standard of public control and accountability. Many private schools do not perform thorough background checks on their teachers. According to the Eagle Tribune:
Between 2001 and 2005, with an average of 18,488 credentialed teachers in the state, the state Department of Education revoked the credentials of 22 teachers. Nine of those involved allegations of sexual misconduct, including child pornography and sexual assault, according to state records, news reports and court documents.
New Hampshire’s figures were gathered as part of a seven-month investigation in which Associated Press reporters sought records on teacher discipline in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
Across the country, sexual misconduct allegations led states to take action against the licenses of 2,570 educators from 2001 through 2005. That figure includes licenses that were revoked, denied and surrendered.
Young people were victims in at least 69 percent of the cases, and the large majority of those were students.
Nine out of 10 of those abusive educators were male. And at least 446 of the abusive teachers had multiple victims.
And that’s just with public school systems. Private schools are under comparatively little restriction in terms of screening their faculties. If Ron Paul were to get his way, there would be no funding or enforcement of accountability standards, because that would interfere with his precious “free market”.
As we learned to our horror, the Bush-Cheney regime has taken cronyism to record-setting lows (or highs, whichever description you find more appropriate). The mining disaster last year at Crandall Canyon Mine in Utah is but one very public example of why big business cannot be trusted to regulate itself. Ron Paul would not only refuse to change this, he would go out of his way to eliminate or further cripple the already-weakened agencies now in place to regulate labor health and safety standards. Only in a well regulated system do we see adherence to safety and health protocols. But this would interfere with the “free market”, and so under Ron Paul it wouldn’t exist. Think about that the next time you bite into your next hamburger at McDonald’s or the next time you go into work at the local steel mill.
And you can forget about things such as publicly funded — and publicly accountable — police and fire-fighting departments. Already we have seen the awful results of privatizing such institutions, as last year’s wildfires in California proved.
After the Great Fire of London in 1666, insurance companies started issuing plaques to show private fire brigades which homes to save–and which to let burn. Insurers organized their own firefighting companies. Not having a plaque didn’t mean your home went totally ignored, but it certainly didn’t help.
Today, a decline in public funding for firefighting services has sparked explosive growth in the private sector. The world’s largest insurance company – American Insurance Group – now has “Wildfire Protection Units” in 150 US zip codes. During the 2007 California wildfires, AIG’s firefighters saved homes in wealthy areas, while less fortunate neighbors were left with rubble. A trade group for private firefighters founded in 2000 now represents 10,000 private firemen.
Rancho Bernardo, a wealthy San Diego community that lost 365 homes during the October fires, has just one fire station for a 24-mile area. The city fails to meet the minimum standards for accreditation recommended by the National Fire Protection Association, which requires a minimum of one station for every nine miles.
In a blistering interview earlier this month, San Diego Fire Chief Tracy Jarman told the San Diego Union-Tribune that the city was left on its own to fight the October wildfires–and was woefully unprepared, despite the fact that some richer homeowners had their own private army. With two fires blazing into Rancho Bernardo, Jarman called Cal Fire to request immediate air support and 150 strike teams from the state: 750 fire engines and 3,000 firefighters.
Cal Fire’s response? Nothing was available.
If Ron Paul were to become president, you can count on this privatization of public services becoming an institution. Haven’t got the money to pay for a private fire department? Well, sucks to be you then, if ever a fire begins to consume your home.
These are but a few explanations of the utter nightmare that would occur under a Ron Paul government. I’ve explained in Part One of this series how his fanatical devotion to the “free market” and scorn for government would have led him to let slavery continue had he been president instead of Abraham Lincoln. In Part Two, I’ve explained how Paul is in the back pocket of big business. And in Part Three, I’ve pointed out his spotty record on actually defending the Constitution and how his fanaticism led him to either vote against or take no stand on protecting U.S. citizens. I hope this series has helped Democrats and Democratic-leaning voters understand what Ron Paul is really all about, and how dangerous he really is. It’s important to understand what he really represents, and what his administration would do to America if he were to be elected president.