Federal spending in anti-government Rep. Ron Paul’s (R-TX) district has quadrupled since 1999 to more than $4 billion, making Texas’ 14th congressional district one of the highest per-capita federal spenders in the country. With $14,707 spent per resident annually, it is clear that Paul’s constant bemoaning of overly-indulgent government spending is nothing but empty rhetoric used to rouse political support for his presidential bid.
Take FEMA, for example. Following the devastation caused by Hurricane Ike back in 2008, Ron Paul rallied against government assistance for those hit by natural disasters:
In several disasters that have befallen my Gulf Coast district, my constituents have told me many times that they prefer to rebuild and recover without the help of federal agencies like FEMA, which so often impose their own bureaucratic solutions on the owners of private property. Is bailing out people that chose to live on the coastline a proper function of the federal government?
Yet a recent investigation done by Mother Jones shows that while Paul was ranting about the evils of FEMA, his office was quietly planning what they could do with the new federal funds, which eventually included rebuilding 180 homes, reconstructing the county’s seawall, and embarking on an extensive beach nourishment project.
Even after these FEMA-funded projects were completed, Paul continued to warn of the constitutional and fiscal dangers of government relief programs. In May, CNN’s Wolf Blitzer asked Paul if he would like to see FEMA dissolved, to which Paul responded “Why not?”:
Well, if you want to live in a free society, if you want to pay attention to the constitution, why not? I think it’s bad economics. I think it’s bad morality. And it’s bad constitutional law. […] When you bankrupt our country and nobody has a job and then they say, well, FEMA needs to bail out everybody, then all we’re doing is compounding our problems.
Of course, Ron Paul has an explanation for his seemingly hypocritical behavior of rallying against government programs, but then quietly gobbling up federal funds: blame it on the government itself. “If they are going to allot the money, I have a responsibility to represent my people.” Paul’s doublespeak is just one more example of the empty rhetoric of many House Republicans who want to cut federal spending, but who at the same time aggressively lobby for federal funds for their home districts.