President's Day seems like a good day to revist Campaign for Liberty Chairman Ron Paul's “ My Plan for a Freedom President”, which initially ran in the March 2011 issue of Young Americans for Liberty's Young American's Revolution:
My Plan for a Freedom President
How I would put the Constitution back in the Oval Office
By Ron Paul
Since my 2008 campaign for the presidency I have often been asked, “How would a constitutionalist president go about dismantling the welfare-warfare state and restoring a constitutional republic?” This is a very important question, because without a clear road map and set of priorities, such a president runs the risk of having his pro-freedom agenda stymied by the various vested interests that benefit from big government.
Of course, just as the welfare-warfare state was not constructed in 100 days, it could not be dismantled in the first 100 days of any presidency. While our goal is to reduce the size of the state as quickly as possible, we should always make sure our immediate proposals minimize social disruption and human suffering. Thus, we should not seek to abolish the social safety net overnight because that would harm those who have grown dependent on government-provided welfare. Instead, we would want to give individuals who have come to rely on the state time to prepare for the day when responsibility for providing aide is returned to those organizations best able to administer compassionate and effective help—churches and private charities.
Now, this need for a transition period does not apply to all types of welfare. For example, I would have no problem defunding corporate welfare programs, such as the Export-Import Bank or the TARP bank bailouts, right away. I find it difficult to muster much sympathy for the CEO’s of Lockheed Martin and Goldman Sachs.
No matter what the president wants to do, most major changes in government programs would require legislation to be passed by Congress. Obviously, the election of a constitutionalist president would signal that our ideas had been accepted by a majority of the American public and would probably lead to the election of several pro-freedom congressmen and senators. Furthermore, some senators and representatives would become “born again” constitutionalists out of a sense of self-preservation. Yet there would still be a fair number of politicians who would try to obstruct our freedom agenda. Thus, even if a president wanted to eliminate every unconstitutional program in one fell swoop, he would be very unlikely to obtain the necessary support in Congress.
Yet a pro-freedom president and his legislative allies could make tremendous progress simply by changing the terms of the negotiations that go on in Washington regarding the size and scope of government. Today, negotiations over legislation tend to occur between those who want a 100 percent increase in federal spending and those who want a 50 percent increase. Their compromise is a 75 percent increase. With a president serious about following the Constitution, backed by a substantial block of sympathetic representatives in Congress, negotiations on outlays would be between those who want to keep funding the government programs and those who want to eliminate them outright—thus a compromise would be a 50 percent decrease in spending!
While a president who strictly adheres to the Constitution would need the consent of Congress for very large changes in the size of government, such as shutting down cabinet departments, he could use his constitutional authority as head of the executive branch and as commander in chief to take several significant steps toward liberty on his own. The area where the modern chief executive has greatest ability to act unilaterally is in foreign affairs. Unfortunately, Congress has abdicated its constitutional authority to declare wars, instead passing vague “authorization of force” bills that allow the president to send any number of troops to almost any part of the world. The legislature does not even effectively use its power of the purse to rein in the executive. Instead, Congress serves as little more than a rubber stamp for the president’s requests.
Perhaps the most significant part of this article is this paragraph:
All of these measures will take a lot of work—a lot more than any one person, even the president of the United States, can accomplish by himself. In order to restore the country to the kind of government the Founders meant for us to have, a constitutionalist president would need the support of an active liberty movement. Freedom activists must be ready to pressure wavering legislators to stand up to the special interests and stay the course toward freedom. Thus, when the day comes when someone who shares our beliefs sits in the Oval Office, groups like Young American for Liberty and Campaign for Liberty will still have a vital role to play. No matter how many pro-freedom politicians we elect to office, the only way to guarantee constitutional government is through an educated and activist public devoted to the ideals of the liberty.
Read the whole article here.
Campaign for Liberty will continue to work to mobilize pro-liberty Americans to make sure their elected officials support pro-liberty legislation. Please join our efforts.
Tags: Ron Paul, Campaign for Liberty, Young Americans for Liberty