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Ron Paul Suggests Axing 5 U.S. Federal Departments (and Budgets) 2247

sciencehabit writes with this selection from Science: "Presidential hopeful Ron Paul's new proposal to slash federal spending would wipe out large chunks of the government's research portfolio. The congressman from Texas and Republican candidate has unveiled a budget plan to reduce the deficit that would eliminate five federal departments: Energy, Commerce, Interior, Education, and Housing and Urban Development. In one fell swoop, such a step would erase, among other programs, the Energy Department's $5-billion Office of Science, the $4.5-billion National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the $750-million National Institute of Standards and Technology, and the $1.1-billion U.S. Geological Survey."
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Ron Paul Suggests Axing 5 U.S. Federal Departments (and Budgets)

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  • by COMON$ ( 806135 ) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @12:00PM (#37776142) Journal
    Ya because the world just fails unless the Gov't doesnt do everything. I bet this space initiative just goes to hell too since NASA isnt doing it....
  • by MyFirstNameIsPaul ( 1552283 ) <> on Thursday October 20, 2011 @12:01PM (#37776180) Homepage Journal
    For further reading on his plan to see what else he cuts, here it is. [] [pdf]
  • by MightyMartian ( 840721 ) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @12:07PM (#37776338) Journal

    You are aware, I trust, that the USGS is responsible for a large number of monitoring programs. Basically, killing it would essentially leave the West Coast of the United States without tsunami, earthquake or volcano alerts. I'm sure the people that live along that very geologically active strip of turf will be happy to know that Ron Paul considers them essentially expendable in his quest for ideological purity.

  • by jittles ( 1613415 ) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @12:08PM (#37776342)
    No more weather forecasting either. It's not just the US that depends on NOAA's National Hurricane Center. Many Caribbean countries that would be hard pressed to track hurricanes depend on this service.
  • by Rolgar ( 556636 ) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @12:22PM (#37776772)

    Yes, much better to see the effects of these policies in Federal politics.

    I'm a Catholic (non-Creationist) from Kansas, and we choose to home school because we believe we will be able to give our children the best character and education ourselves.

    The old controversy over evolution in Kansas never required students to be taught creationism. It only prohibited testing evolution on standardized tests. Schools were still free to teach what the parents wanted. That said, it was never an issue that I heard of that any schools stopped teaching evolution or started teaching Creationism. I think most of the Creationists who care about this issue probably home school or send their children to private schools. School districts in rural areas are prone to being of like minded people, so maybe there are some areas where they teach Creationism, but there is nothing preventing anybody being taught the truth at home which is where most good students are going to learn anyway.

  • by gfxguy ( 98788 ) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @12:29PM (#37776988)

    Most people don't seem capable of grasping that... the D.O. Education didn't even exist until 1979, and it's been downhill ever since it's inception.

    Also, as others have pointed out, there certainly are some programs that could be considered best done by the federal government... and those would be moved to other departments.

  • by chill ( 34294 ) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @12:35PM (#37777152) Journal

    And thus, his point is proved.

    NOAA services are not free, they are paid for by taxes. TANSTAAFL. The fact that you call them "free" means you've stopped associating government services with the costs incurred through taxation.

    This is one of the big problems. Too many people think of government services as "free" because there is no direct association with the taxes required to pay for them. The true costs are hidden, so people make foolish decisions because they don't see a cost.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 20, 2011 @12:45PM (#37777448)

    For those of you reading this without critical thinking skills: No private corporation did any of those things.

  • by darjen ( 879890 ) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @12:45PM (#37777454)

    You are the one smoking crack if you honestly believe we had libertarianism for 30 years. There are so many things wrong with your idiotic assertion I don't even know where to start.

  • by Mike ( 1172 ) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @01:05PM (#37778020) Homepage

    Hello clueless Mr. Anonymous.

    For all the pissing and moaning about evil corporations (much of which I agree with), you seem to miss the fact that these wouldn't have the power you abhor in a free market. They only have all these magical, mystical and evil powers over us because the government allows (and encourages) it. Without the guns of government behind them, the largest corporations in the world would be inert.

  • by trevelyon ( 892253 ) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @01:10PM (#37778148) []

    Above is the link to his website directly. Some notable tidbits that the article (along with some slashdot commenters) seemed to miss:

    "Cuts of this scale will also be accomplished by a Paul Presidency abolishing the Transportation Security Administration and returning responsibility for security to private property owners, abolishing corporate subsidies, stopping foreign aid, ending foreign wars, and returning most other spending to 2006 levels."

    Full plan is here: []

    So as part of this plan he will get rid of:
    -Entire TSA
    -Corporate (including Oil) subsidies
    -End the wars (likely the largest single current expenditure/drain on the economy)
    -End foreign aid (which I suspect will keep the U.S. out of more wars and significantly reduce the terror threat to the U.S.)
    -15% of military spending (on top of complete ending of war spending)
    -Keeps Social Security and Veteran care in place but allows young people to opt out of social security (basically, ending the Ponzi scheme and recognising the debt owed from it).

    I will agree that some things he wishes to cut are not things I would choose to get rid of BUT can anyone point out a single other candidate that has a plan in plain, simple terms like his to actually do something? I sure haven't seen anything like this from other candidates. Then again I feel they are all talk. Real problem solvers would have at least a moderately detailed plan up on their website with rough numbers on how to accomplish things. If anyone finds such from other candidates please post in reply. I'd be very interested in seeing other plans even at as high level as this one is.

    The plan is extreme but note that even with everything he is removing and reducing it only ends the DEFICIT (i.e. we stop borrowing more) by year three. Most people seem to not realise or accept how much pain the U.S. will have to endure to climb out from the mountain of debt without defaulting. Much like those that make $40,000 and have $40,000 in credit card debt it's a long suffering process. Much more borrowing at the current rate and defaulting on debt is almost an assured result (hence the lowering of the U.S. credit rating). I should point out European nations, most local governments, etc are all in the same situation. Borrowing to get luxuries you can't afford is endemic in the western mentality currently.

    I suspect this will also reduce the corruption considerably since there will be many fewer lucrative grants to bribe senators and congressmen to get. That is, if it passes at all. You'll likely need to toss the bulk of republicans AND democrats out to get anything like this through since it will dismantle many of the incentives for funnelling money to them.
  • Does not he? (Score:5, Informative)

    by PaulBu ( 473180 ) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @01:17PM (#37778312) Homepage

    15% slash (right there, top line on the second page here: []) AND defunding all (undeclared) wars, resulting in immediate pull-out from all, what is it now, 5,6,7 places?

    And, since most libertarians agree that national defence is legitimate function of Federal government, and knowing weather and coast around your country has obvious military uses, I would see nothing wrong with NOAA and USGS being funded from DOD budget.

    "Fix weights and measures" is explicitly constitutional, so, I'd guess, NIST would be also safe under Dr. Paul's watch.

    Paul B.

  • by DragonWriter ( 970822 ) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @01:26PM (#37778562)

    But corporations do exist without any need for government.


    I can think of one that has been around for a very long time, is very well managed and highly profitable. Millions of dollars worth of goods and services move through this organization every year, and many of the consumers of the products would not have access to these products without this organization. The Mafia.

    The Mafia is not a corporation. A corporation is defined as an entity with separate legal personality from its individual participants. It is purely a creation of law; the Mafia is just a collective label given to a number of different groups of people.

    When legal action is taken against the Mafia, its not in the form of "The People of the State of New York v. La Cosa Nostra, Inc."; its individual actions against individual members because the Mafia isn't a corporation and therefore doesn't have distinct legal personality.

    Sure, if you redefine corporation to just mean "group of people", a corporation wouldn't require government, just like if you redefine "water" to mean "any compound containing hydrogen" then water wouldn't require oxygen atoms. But words have meanings.

  • by Thuktun ( 221615 ) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @01:26PM (#37778566) Homepage Journal

    Why should the people of North Dakota pay for tsunami monitoring for California? If the west coast wants earth quake and tsunami warning, they can pay for it.

    North Dakota is not geologically inert. []

    He also wants to axe NOAA, of which the National Weather Service is a part, which tracks weather events like thunderstorms and blizzards that affect North Dakota.

    Besides, your callous attitude would seem to lead to something like this:
    "Why should I have to do anything to help anyone? Screw 'em." (later) "Eeek, I'm in trouble, why won't someone help me?!"

  • by interval1066 ( 668936 ) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @01:36PM (#37778794) Homepage Journal
    Frank? As in Barney Frank? The man who pretty much SINGLE HANDEDLY caused the real estate fiasco three years ago? You bet I disagree with him. Kucinich will get nothing pushed through that anyone will pay attention to, same with Sanders.
  • by mspohr ( 589790 ) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @02:01PM (#37779354)
    Intel did not invent the semiconductor.

    You probably believe that Apple invented the computer.

  • by rahvin112 ( 446269 ) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @02:37PM (#37780340)

    In response you you list of inventions. DOD, DOD, NASA, DOD, DOD, NASA, DOT (Interior), EPA (Interior). Electrical was a mix of the rural electric loan program and state and local investment including eminent domain purchases.

    Nothing you listed would have happened without federal involvement, either in providing the research money or planning the result.

  • by Chris Burke ( 6130 ) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @02:44PM (#37780494) Homepage

    We know what private industry would have done wrt creating the Internet in the absence of the federal government. Because they did create it. Or rather them.

    and others.

    Each a walled garden, isolated from and incompatible with the others. Each created to require enforce the idea that customers are clients, rather than allowing arbitrary client/server or peer-to-peer relationships (as business has been trying to do with the Internet).

    We already know what business would have created without the Internet. And they sucked in comparison to the real thing. That's why all of these networks began to wane the second the Internet became available to the public. They turned into nothing more than ISPs with portal websites and they only did that because it was that or disappear instantly.

    In 1995 Bill Gates was saying that the Internet was a fad and everyone would return to the safety of MSN real soon now.

    The idea that if the Internet didn't exist that private industry would have created it is simply a-historical.

  • by Chris Burke ( 6130 ) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @03:36PM (#37781546) Homepage

    Sorry, but this is just proof that a (relatively) free market worked. In this particular case, "public money" created the Internet, but it sure as hell wasn't public money that allowed it to beat the others in the *gasp* free market. It was the local net providers, the little ISPs, that provided a better experience.

    I think you're confused. The topic of discussion is whether or not private industry would have created the Internet if the government hadn't created it for them, and the simple fact is that they wouldn't have because they didn't. They created their own networks, but they were nothing like the Internet.

    And the Internet beat these corporate walled-garden networks among the corporation's own customers. AOL retained an enormous number of subscribers and was the nation's largest ISP long after the AOL Network was completely irrelevant.

    Without the Internet, those small ISPs wouldn't have had anything to Provide Service to. Without the small ISPs, the Internet would have still won over the walled garden networks. We know this because it did win over the walled garden networks even among those who didn't change providers.

    The Free Market -- i.e. the Ron Paul Libertarian version where there's no federal government creating the Internet -- was tried, and it fucking failed.

  • by vajrabum ( 688509 ) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @03:51PM (#37781818)
    I like how libertarians and teahadists if that's the particular stripe of know-nothings just boldly stuff up. This is an oversimplification but early on it was mostly funded by ARPA and was looked at least initially as a strategic investment in network technologies that could be used for military command and control. The IMPs (routers) which tied together the early ARPAnet sites were built by BB&N under contract to the federal government and yes the universities were involved from the beginning. That's where the ideas but not the $$ came from. Go read the Wikipedia article on the History of the Internet. It's the 2nd unpaid article that shows up for a google search on Internet.
  • by pixelpusher220 ( 529617 ) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @03:58PM (#37781958)
    From wikipedia []

    In October 1962, Licklider was hired by Jack Ruina as Director of the newly established Information Processing Techniques Office (IPTO) within DARPA, with a mandate to interconnect the United States Department of Defense's main computers at Cheyenne Mountain, the Pentagon, and SAC HQ. There he formed an informal group within DARPA to further computer research.

    The 'idea' was published prior to this hiring, but the research into making it happen was decidedly government sponsored.

  • by Rockoon ( 1252108 ) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @04:35PM (#37782562)
    Barney Frank blocked reform of Fannie and Freddie in 2003, stating "I think we see entities that are fundamentally sound financially, and will withstand some of the disaster scenarios, and even if there were a problem the federal government doesnt bail them out." - Citation []

    Barney Frank then blocked reform of Fannie and Freddie again in 2005, stating "Homes that are occupied may see an ebb and flow in the price at a certain percentage level, but you are not going to see the collapse that you see when people talk about a bubble" - Citation []

    While he didnt singlehandedly create the problem, combined with other democrats [] he made sure that nothing was done it.

"My sense of purpose is gone! I have no idea who I AM!" "Oh, my God... You've.. You've turned him into a DEMOCRAT!" -- Doonesbury