Thoughts, essays, and writings on Liberty. Written by the heirs of Patrick Henry.

“Do we desire to be cradled, and then carried throughout life to our graves by this partisan propelled bureaucratic monstrosity? ... as individuals of sovereign dignity, are we now so terrified, bewildered, and impotent that our main purpose is to seek asylum from the potential hazards of freedom? Have we no faith in our natural strengths and abilities?”     Sergei Hoff

October 2, 2007

Should Ron Paul Accept Federal Matching Funds ?

by Doug Mataconis

There have been a few articles over at Lew Rockwell’s blog on the question of whether Ron Paul should accept federal matching funds (i.e., tax dollars taken from people who might not necessarily support his campaign) in his run for the White House. Not surprisingly given the pro-Paul tilt of that website, they seem to think its all okey-dokey.

Walter Block argues that not only can Ron Paul take matching funds, he’s practically morally obligated to do it.

First, Block notes the traditional libertarian argument against benefiting from the state in this manner:

[T]he state receives all of its money from only three sources, all of which are entirely illegitimate: taxes, inflation and borrowing. Tax levies are blatant and outright theft. If you do not believe this, try not paying them and see what happens to you. Governmental printing up of money, whether directly through the printing press or indirectly via fractional reserve banking, is nothing less than counterfeiting, a form of fraud, which is equivalent to theft. And, as for borrowing, anyone who lends money to the state apparatus is complicit in its evil doings. When libertarianism supplants present institutional arrangements, these bonds will not be repaid.

Given that this is the case, accepting money from the government, it is argued, is indistinguishable from accepting stolen goods or merchandise. Perhaps this ought to be a crime, severely punished by some future libertarian Nuremberg court.

But wait; there are difficulties here. For the modern state is so involved in the lives of its citizens that it is the rare individual who does not accept some form of government largesse, whether in the form of money payments, services, or goods of one type or another.

For example, while not everyone goes to a public school or teaches there, it is the rare individual who does not: walk on statist sidewalks, drive on public roads, carry currency in his pocket, avail himself of the services of governmental libraries, museums, parks, stadiums, etc. Which of us has not entered the premises of the motor vehicle bureau, sued someone in court, posted a letter, attempted to attain a passport, or interacted with government in any of the thousand and one other ways it touches upon our lives? And this is to say nothing of seeking government permissions for commercial purposes, accepting social security payments, voting, taking an air flight (where we are “protected” by the security apparatus).

There a major problem with Block’s argument here in that there is a difference between going to the DMV to get a Driver’s License, which we’re all required to do, or using the Court system to sue someone who has damaged us, which is the only alternative typically available, and voluntarily making the decision to take money from the state for our own benefit. That, in it’s essence is what campaign matching funds are all about.

It’s not as if the Paul campaign, or any campaign for that matter doesn’t have an alternative; they can decide not to take the matching funds at all. Deciding to do so, though, leads to the implicit acceptance that the state has a role in financing election campaigns. And that is something that I would think someone who believes in liberty and the Constitution would be opposed to.

Block goes even further than that though, and argues that Congressman Paul would be morally justified, and may even be morally required, to take taxpayer dollars to help his campaign:

May anyone properly seize state wealth in this perspective? No. Only non statists may legitimately do so. Not Halliburton nor Bechtel; not Hillary nor Rudy. They are all supporters of statism. They are all members in good standing in the ruling class (see on this here and here). But Ron, and also the average guy in the street, may do so. They have no blood on their hands. Indeed, it is a positive mitzvah for people of this sort to relieve the government of its stolen property.

By taking it for themselves ? I don’t think so.

Block does go on to argue that it would not be wise for Paul to take matching funds, not the least because it would cause people to wonder just how much he actually believed in freedom. But that’s not the point. It’s not whether it’s wise or not, it’s whether it’s right or not.

Following up on Block’s piece, Murray Sabrin, who ran has a libertarian for Governor of New Jersey in 1997, argues that Paul should take matching funds for the same reason that he did:

Ron Paul has been in nearly a dozen debates and forums. Yet, there are tens of millions of American who do not know who he is. Only exposure in the MSM will change that. One way would be to obtain the federal matching funds to get his message out to the general public, not just GOP primary voters. Independent voters could play a major role in some of the early primaries. Whatever the rules are they cannot be very onerous or come with many strings attached.

The Ron Paul campaign should accept the matching funds with a clear conscience, because Dr. Paul would be playing by the rules of the game. After all, he accepts a taxpayer funded congressional salary and taxpayer funds to run his congressional offices. If Ron Paul supporters do not want him to obtain matching funds because they are “tainted,” they should also demand he depend on voluntary contributions to pay for all the expenses, including salaries, of his DC and Texas offices. Clearly, that would be an unrealistic application of libertarian principles.

The problem with the last part of Sabrin’s argument, of course, is that the salaries of Paul’s Congressional staff arise out of his Constitutional duties. Federal matching funds don’t. In essence, though, his argument boils down to the idea that taking the money will help the campaign, therefore the campaign should take the money. In other words, the ends justify the means.

For me the answer is simple. The one thing that distinguishes Ron Paul from the rest of the field is his commitment to certain principles. Accepting taxpayer dollars to fund his campaign would, quite clearly and not withstanding the twisted logic of Block and Sabrin,  be a violation of those principles. Once that happens, what is there to distinguish him from the rest of the field ?

To my mind, there would be nothing and I would, quite honestly, have to wonder whether it would just be better to stay home on primary day.

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66 Comments

  1. This article, as well as the Block article, is an illustration of the confusion that moralist libertarians have. A more rational form of libertarianism is the consequentialist type. Whatever works to maximize freedom is right. It doesn’t have to be any more complicated than that. If “stealing,” if that’s what you want to call it, assists in maximizing human liberty, do it. What’s “right” is not as important as maximizing liberty. Imagine if Ron Paul would win by accepting matching funds, and loses if he didn’t accept them. It would be irrational not to accept them in that case, because if he didn’t accept them we’d end up living in a world with less liberty just for the sake of keeping our hands clean. What’s the good in that?

    Comment by Drena — October 2, 2007 @ 4:17 pm
  2. I’m back to once again tell all you Ron Paul supporters:

    The sky is falling… again….

    Comment by Chicken Little — October 2, 2007 @ 4:21 pm
  3. What’s “right” is not as important as maximizing liberty. Imagine if Ron Paul would win by accepting matching funds, and loses if he didn’t accept them. It would be irrational not to accept them in that case, because if he didn’t accept them we’d end up living in a world with less liberty just for the sake of keeping our hands clean. What’s the good in that?

    Ron Paul will neither win nor lose based on his matching funds decision. But he will lose immensely by compromising his principles.

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — October 2, 2007 @ 4:22 pm
  4. In essence, though, his argument boils down to the idea that taking the money will help the campaign, therefore the campaign should take the money. In other words, the ends justify the means.

    I would restate that. If you accept that Ron Paul is running for President for altruistic purposes, you could justify the acceptance with what boils down to a Robin Hood approach. We’re not morally obliged to let a thief keep his loot, are we?

    Regardless of your answer though, I wouldn’t accept the funds for two reasons.
    1. It would be used against Paul, just like the earmark thing
    2. It would be used to justify the existence of the program if Paul is unable to get elected and eliminate it.

    IOW, I would avoid it because of the inevitable propaganda.

    Comment by Jeff Molby — October 2, 2007 @ 4:22 pm
  5. Some of Ron Paul’s supporters also think that war with Iran would be a good thing because it would increase their candidate’s chances of winning, despite the number of casualties it would create. So some of Ron Paul’s supporters are obviously hypocrites and idiots. People who believe in cutting such corners have obviously lost all perspective (or never believed in Paul’s issues in the first place) and should be ignored.

    As for Paul himself, his is the only opinion that matters on this issue and I doubt he’d give in to the temptation. It would be a public relations advantage to his competitors (who would take great joy in pointing out how Paul sold out his ideals) and it’s been fashionable this year for candidates to turn down public funds anyway, so there’d be limited benefit in it to him. I wouldn’t worry too much about Paul’s ethics on this.

    Comment by UCrawford — October 2, 2007 @ 4:27 pm
  6. His principles? I believe him to be a pragmatist, rather than a moral absolutist. If he were a moral absolutist libertarian he opposes all “theft,” he wouldn’t accept any tax payer money at all for his work in the government. He would also advocate that the military not be paid with tax dollars, but be voluntarily funded, and so on. He would be an anarchist. But, he’s not. He’s not a moral absolutist, but a pragmatist and constitutionalist.

    Comment by Drena — October 2, 2007 @ 4:30 pm
  7. Jeff,

    My response to your Robin Hood analogy would be that while we wouldn’t want a thief to keep his ill-gotten gains the next step would be to return those goods to the people it was stolen from…not give it to someone else. Otherwise it’s just fruit of the poisonous tree.

    Comment by UCrawford — October 2, 2007 @ 4:31 pm
  8. Walter Block:

    “Should Ron accept government matching funds? He would be very unwise to do so, despite the fact that there is nothing in the libertarian legal philosophy that would be violated by such an action.”

    Comment by Jim Ostrowski — October 2, 2007 @ 4:32 pm
  9. Drena,

    Actually, he’s turned down participation in the Congressional pension plan so the only thing he’s being paid for are services directly rendered. There’s nothing morally compromised about being paid for a job you’re currently doing.

    You ought to be careful with your love of “pragmatism”. It often has a funny way of becoming the same thing as “ethically bankrupt”.

    Comment by UCrawford — October 2, 2007 @ 4:34 pm
  10. Drena,

    And he’s also gone on record as being in favor of abolishing the IRS and doing away with income tax…so he’s apparently not as “pragmatic” as you think.

    Comment by UCrawford — October 2, 2007 @ 4:36 pm
  11. If he were a moral absolutist he wouldn’t accept money for “services rendered” either. There are individuals who do not consent to their money being taken by the governent at all. They would rather be free to drop out of the system. Taxing them to pay for public officials, or any other public service. is clearly theft. Paul doesn’t oppose theft, but only unconstitutional theft.

    Comment by Drena — October 2, 2007 @ 4:37 pm
  12. Jim,

    I noted that Block said Paul shouldn’t take matching funds, my problem is with his idea that there is nothing anti-libertarian about the idea of doing so.

    I disagree. If you think its wrong to take your money and give it to Hillary Clinton, then it’s equally wrong for the government to take your money and give it to Ron Paul.

    The ends don’t justify the means.

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — October 2, 2007 @ 4:43 pm
  13. Drena,

    It’s not a question of moral absolutism.

    You can’t get to work without using government funded roads.

    Ron Paul, however, can run for President without taking taxpayer dollars.

    There is a fundamental difference at work here.

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — October 2, 2007 @ 4:45 pm
  14. To oppose all theft, is to oppose not only income tax, but excise taxes, tarrif, and so on. To be a libertarian who opposes all theft is to be an anarchist. Paul is not one, so he wouldn’t be comprising his principles by taking part in a little “stealing,” if it’s going to help spread the message of liberty. It’s simply a matter of cost versus the benefit. In my opinion, the cost is very small considering the benefit, and any worries about him being castigated for compromising his principles can be him explaining that by noting that his principle is the principle of maximizing liberty. His principle is not zero taxes.

    Comment by Drena — October 2, 2007 @ 4:51 pm
  15. Yet another post to try and divide Ron Paul supporters. Debate it all you want, he’s not going to take the matching funds. Period!

    Comment by Joseph — October 2, 2007 @ 4:58 pm
  16. Moreover, Doug, you said “You can’t get to work without using government funded roads.” Yes, you have to use things provided by tax dollars or you can’t get to work. Likewise, you can’t win the presidency without a lot of money, and if you don’t have a lot of money then you certainly can’t win it without matching funds. History has shown this to be so. Therefore Ron Paul can’t get become president without matching funds. Just as you are thrust into the position of using government-funded roads to get to where you want to go, Paul is thrust into the position of using goverment funded election assistance to get to where he wants to go.

    Comment by Drena — October 2, 2007 @ 5:00 pm
  17. Pick a Paul speech: Yes or No

    Start with:
    “I oppose all tax funding of campaigns as unconstitutional and will seek to repeal all public financing laws if elected President…”

    YES:
    “.. however, I don’t believe it is ethical to concede a benefit to those who support a bad law at the expense of those who oppose it. I favor term limits, but I won’t voluntarily consent to abandon my efforts to the benefit of those who would oppose me. In the same way, I cannot condone the use of voluntarily allocated tax funds only by those who favor more tyranny. Therefore, I will accept matching funds and use them to condemn this unconstitutional violation at every opportunity.”

    NO:
    “… In the meantime, I will depend solely on the voluntary contributions of those freedom lovers who chose to contribute to my campaign. I trust their judgment and have been delighted with their enthusiastic support.”

    Seems to me that NO is both simpler and more consistent with Ron Paul’s message. But, I’d support him on either principled position.

    Comment by Bill Westmiller — October 2, 2007 @ 5:01 pm
  18. Drena,

    Hey that’s an excellent point. Coincidentally Paul also opposes tariffs and excise taxes too. By the way, you should probably ask Ron Paul’s campaign what he thinks about the idea of “a little stealing”. I’m not sure you’ll get the answer you think you’ll get.

    You’ve actually read the guy’s issues page, right?

    Comment by UCrawford — October 2, 2007 @ 5:12 pm
  19. The only acceptable way to do this from a Libertarian standpoint would be to ask the individual taxpayer-supporters for their permission.

    This should be accompanied by a copy of said taxpayer’s 1040 showing the amount of taxes paid and permission for Ron Paul to accept just that much in public matching funds.

    so if I paid $3000.00 in Federal income taxes, then I would send a photocopy of that to the campaign along with a note:

    Dear Rep. Paul.

    If you will accept $3000.00 in campaign matching funds, I will consider last year’s federal taxes to be a voluntary donation.

    Sincerely,

    John and Mary Jones

    Comment by Kevin Houston — October 2, 2007 @ 5:12 pm
  20. One more thing,

    I doubt most in the media, nor most in the public would understand the fine line Ron Paul would be skating to do this.

    More likely, he would excoriated as a hypocrit and the damage would outweigh the benefit.

    Comment by Kevin Houston — October 2, 2007 @ 5:14 pm
  21. Drena,

    Also, I should probably take this opportunity to point out that you wouldn’t be an anarchist to believe in voluntary taxation or limited government…that would technically qualify as “minarchy”. Anarchists believe in no taxation, no military, and no government.

    Comment by UCrawford — October 2, 2007 @ 5:16 pm
  22. Bill,

    I’d still vote for him if he accepted matching funds because he supports most of the policy I agree with. But I still think he’d be a hypocrite for doing so.

    Comment by UCrawford — October 2, 2007 @ 5:19 pm
  23. The free publicity he would gain by not accepting matching funds is worth more than the paid publicity he could get with matching funds. If he accepted matching funds, his opponents would bring up the fact in every debate, but if Paul refuses, he can discuss federal matching funds in a way that shows that standing up for principle can be a winning strategy.

    Comment by Michael — October 2, 2007 @ 5:28 pm
  24. Ucraword, that’s not true. Those who support “voluntary taxation” are called “anarcho-capitalists.” They oppose the existence of a state, but support privately funded (voluntary taxation) police and militaries.

    Comment by Drena — October 2, 2007 @ 5:30 pm
  25. Ucraword, that’s not true either. When asked how government would be supported without income tax, he says through excise taxes and a uniform tarrif. He’s not against all taxes. He’s only against unconstitutional taxes, and unconstitional methods of collecting them.

    Comment by Drena — October 2, 2007 @ 5:32 pm
  26. Ron Paul should accept them because accepting them is playing by the rules.

    Comment by william — October 2, 2007 @ 5:34 pm
  27. Obviously, Block has twisted his logic into a pretzel. Taking federal matching funds violates libertarian principle.

    It’s not as if there is a pile of stolen loot and he would be liberating some of it for better purposes. If he takes federal matching funds, the national debt will be increased by that much, and the amount (plus interest) will be taken from future taxpayers. If he doesn’t take the matching funds, the money doesn’t go to more statist purposes, because there is no money to be distributed.

    No Libertarian candidate should take matching funds. Since Ron Paul is running as a Republican, it’s more of a gray area. Are the funds Constitutional? It’s open to interpretation.

    If he does accept matching funds, I wouldn’t stop supporting him simply because he chose to play by the rules of the game, even though he disagrees with some of them. A baseball purist may not like the designated hitter rule, but playing without one in a league that allows them would be a questionable move.

    Politics is more complicated than baseball, though, and the freedom movement has more at stake, since Ron Paul is our first truly visible national candidate. He should turn down the funds, not just because his opponents would use accepting them against him politically, but for the teaching value.

    Comment by Craig — October 2, 2007 @ 5:35 pm
  28. Ron Paul has shown by example that he doesn’t need the governments money as evidenced by refunding a portion of his budget to operate his Washington office.

    There is not a doubt in my mind that he will do what is right and not accept the funds if they become available. Not accepting this redistribtuion of wealth will make him more popular with the public and solidify his small but loyal base. It will also show he is one of the few consistent politicans in Washington today.

    If on the other hand, I am wrong and he does accept the funds. I will lose much respect for the man and certainly look at him as a hypocrite.

    His best move; accept the funds and donate 100% to some type of charitable organization or scholarship funds where the results can be shown that the private sector can outperform the government any day. That could be a story that could go on for years.

    Comment by JD — October 2, 2007 @ 5:53 pm
  29. I am a Ron Paul supporter. I think it is great that Ron Paul is very principled and consistent. Ron Paul is in public service because he wants to change the laws of the land in such a way as to increase liberty for the people. He is working within the system to change it, both as a Congressman and as a Presidential candidate. I am very, very proud of him.

    To make the argument that he should not accept public campaign funds is to say that Ron Paul is more useful as a boycott leader than as a politician and public servant. The boycott we’re talking about in this case is the boycott of public campaign funds. I think that Ron Paul can be much, much more useful to the cause of liberty by getting his message heard widely than by trying to demonstrate symbolic purity through boycotts. It would be much worse for America if Ron Paul tried to travel to campaign stops around the country without using public roads just because the state paid for them. His campaign would stall out because he couldn’t get anywhere to talk to anyone!

    The law of the land is that there is public financing available for campaigns. This fact does not change the tax laws one bit. If the money goes unclaimed by boycotting politicians, it is not returned to the people. So Ron Paul should use it.

    If Ron Paul is able to change the system, the taxpayers will no longer be required to support campaigns. But while the public funds are legally available, Ron Paul’s choices are a) use the funds to spread a message of freedom; or b) boycott the funds in an attempt to please certain purists who care more about having their idol be absolutely philosophically pure than about actually increasing liberty and hope that satisfying thos people will somehow help his message to resonate more. Choice a) will go much further in helping spread the message of freedom than choice b).

    Supreme Court Justice Learned Hand once said that no American has any moral obligation to pay a single cent more in taxes than the minimum amount legally required, and I’m sure Ron Paul would agree with that. Similarly, no American has a moral obligation to reject legally available government services. We should object to taxation and regulation and government spending that impinge on our liberties, and we should try to change the system and shrink the government. But to muzzle ourselves by undertaking self-destructive boycotts seems like a grave error.

    The ideological purity argument is often designed to discredit people who are working hard for change. It has been used a lot recently against Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards. (I don’t support Edwards or his policies, I support Ron Paul.) John Edwards has based his platform on fighting poverty, and people say that he’s a hypocrite because he has some personal wealth. The implication is that until he has donated all his own money to charity, he has no right to say that poverty is a problem, and that other equally rich candidates who don’t think that poverty is a problem are therefore less hypocritical. Similarly, Ron Paul’s opponents will say that until he refuses every last government service, he has no right to call for government spending cuts, and therefore we should just vote for a tax and spend guy who shows consistency by using government services. For liberty lovers, that type of argument makes no sense.

    Ron Paul wants to shrink government. Everyone else wants to increase it. Therefore, if you want a smaller government, Ron Paul is the only choice. And no attempt to discredit his message based on his willingness to prioritize spreading his message over leading a quixotic boycott of government services can change the fact that Ron Paul is the best candidate for President of the United States.

    Comment by Alex — October 2, 2007 @ 5:57 pm
  30. Has anyone recently checked out Paul’s website. The fundraising goal this next quarter is 12 million. If he reaches that goal, then this thing is going to start to get really interesting…

    Comment by Kaligula — October 2, 2007 @ 6:34 pm
  31. He didn’t accept Medicare as a doctor, he doesn’t take part in the Congressional pension, he’s never taken a government junket, he didn’t let his children take student loans, and he returns a portion of his salary to the Treasury every year… There’s no way in heck he’s going to be taking any public campaign funding.

    Comment by Thomas — October 2, 2007 @ 6:40 pm
  32. beyond the RP rah-rah, this thread was very interesting and informative to me on libert. ideals

    Comment by oilnwater — October 2, 2007 @ 6:42 pm
  33. well said Alex and other Ron Paul defenders… there are still millions of Americans out there who would love this man as much as WE THE PEOPLE do… but they dont know about him. Who could have ever imagined such a fair and honest man like this Dr. would ever be running for president. Ron Paul 2008!!! unstoppable..

    check a vid here to see the Dr. himself talking about the dollars being needed to be seen on TV in big states like California.
    i support him and whatever his choice as the right one. it’ll make sense just like he does.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nSagrF4_5rg

    Comment by s — October 2, 2007 @ 7:10 pm
  34. UCrawford, you said:

    “Some of Ron Paul’s supporters also think that war with Iran would be a good thing because it would increase their candidate’s chances of winning, despite the number of casualties it would create. So some of Ron Paul’s supporters are obviously hypocrites and idiots. People who believe in cutting such corners have obviously lost all perspective (or never believed in Paul’s issues in the first place) and should be ignored.”

    On a different blog I made the comment that war with Iran would be the best thing to happen to Dr. Paul’s campaign. I then proceeded to explain (I thought) that it would further erode and implode the Trotskyite neocon agenda and further outrage the American people to move into Dr. Pauls’ anti-war camp.

    However, in no case did I do what you claim I did, which was endorse the idea of going to war with Iran. Commenting on the effects of such folly is not and never has been the same as endorsing it. If you think that commentating on an idea is endorsing it then you truly have no clue about much of anything.

    OTOH, if you are not referring to me, then you have my apology for jumping to a wrong conclusion.

    As for the matching public funds, yes, Dr. Paul should take them, with the explanation that in order to get out the message, you need the cash. Short of true public-only-funded, equal-amounts-for-all campaigns (which I favor because then it truly becomes a battle of ideas), the only way to truly compete is with the cash, as reprehensible as it may seem to be. This movement is more than Dr. Paul, but as the lead spokesperson and the face put to the movement, he needs to be out in front, in public, as much as possible, giving a face and voice to us nationally, even while we work in the weeds to get the dirty work of the campaign done as we have so admirably done so far.

    Comment by Tannim — October 2, 2007 @ 7:26 pm
  35. To make the argument that he should not accept public campaign funds is to say that Ron Paul is more useful as a boycott leader than as a politician and public servant. The boycott we’re talking about in this case is the boycott of public campaign funds. I think that Ron Paul can be much, much more useful to the cause of liberty by getting his message heard widely than by trying to demonstrate symbolic purity through boycotts. It would be much worse for America if Ron Paul tried to travel to campaign stops around the country without using public roads just because the state paid for them. His campaign would stall out because he couldn’t get anywhere to talk to anyone!

    Again, your analogy is as flawed as Block’s is.

    There’s a difference between using public roads when there is no alternative transportation method and accepting funds that the state has taken from taxpayers to fund a campaign that those taxpayers may not necessarily agree with.

    If it’s wrong when Hillary or Obama take taxpayer dollars for their campaign, then it would be wrong for Ron Paul to do it as well. The difference is I wouldn’t be surprised to see Hillary, Obama, or Rudy do it. I would be disappointed if Ron Paul did.

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — October 2, 2007 @ 8:01 pm
  36. Craig,

    If he does accept matching funds, I wouldn’t stop supporting him simply because he chose to play by the rules of the game, even though he disagrees with some of them. A baseball purist may not like the designated hitter rule, but playing without one in a league that allows them would be a questionable move.

    Politics is more complicated than baseball, though, and the freedom movement has more at stake, since Ron Paul is our first truly visible national candidate. He should turn down the funds, not just because his opponents would use accepting them against him politically, but for the teaching value.

    Well said, I agree 100%

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — October 2, 2007 @ 8:02 pm
  37. I know that the money that pays for national conventions and general presidential election campaings is not collected by a required income tax. When a tax form is filled out, the taxpayer has the option to check a box donating $3 to this fund.

    This may not be the source for matching funds but if it is, i see the use of this money as moral and “untainted” because it was not derived by the use of force, (although some may argue that filling out the form is forced) but instead it can be viewed more as a voluntary donation.

    However if this money’s source is not from a fund of donations I don’t believe that any candidate should use it.

    I rarely feel that the ends justify the means.

    Comment by Grey — October 2, 2007 @ 8:17 pm
  38. Update of my previous post

    “The presidential public financing system is funded by a $3 tax check-off on individual tax returns (the check off does not increase the filer’s taxes, but merely directs $3 to the presidential fund)”
    -according to wikipedia.

    Thought i would throw this into the mix see if this changes anyones minds maybe even my own.

    Comment by Grey — October 2, 2007 @ 8:31 pm
  39. 3rd Quarter Bets:

    Any of you have a clue as to Paul’s numbers? Any bets?

    I say 5.5 million. What say?

    And this stuff about the matching campaign funds? While I would love to banter with you all on this, it’s not worth it. Ron Paul won’t do it. He already spoke to it:

    “Mr. Speaker, this so-called “reform” [i.e., campaign finance reform] legislation is clearly unconstitutional. . . . . The case against this provision was best stated by Herb Titus, one of America’s leading constitutional scholars, in his paper Campaign-Finance Reform: A Constitutional Analysis: “At the heart of the guarantee of the freedom of speech is the prohibition against any law designed to protect the reputation of the government to the end that the people have confidence in their current governors. As seditious libel laws protecting the reputation of the government unconstitutionally abridge the freedom of speech, so also do campaign-finance reform laws.”

    The damage this bill does to the First amendment is certainly a sufficient reason to oppose it. However, as Professor Titus demonstrates in his analysis of the bill, the most important reason to oppose this bill is that the Constitution does not grant Congress the power to regulate campaigns.In fact, article II expressly authorizes the regulation of elections, so the omission of campaigns is glaring.”

    Comment by Chris Kachouroff — October 2, 2007 @ 8:35 pm
  40. Grey,

    The $3.00 dollars doesn’t lower your taxes either. If it doesn’t mean anything, give it back. They won’t do it.

    The Boston Tea Party was over a 2% tax on the entire cost of tea. It wasn’t a big deal but it was the camel putting her proverbial nose in the wrong tent.

    Comment by Chris Kachouroff — October 2, 2007 @ 8:37 pm
  41. Drena,

    I support voluntary taxation and the existence of a state (albeit one with functions limited to national defense, police, courts, and, if you twist my arm, roads). Not sure, but I think the endorsement of a state tends to disqualify me from the anarcho-capitalist ranks. As for the matching funds argument, I’m pretty sure the libertarian ethos is “Theft is wrong unless it benefits our party.” In fact, I’m pretty sure that’s the exact opposite of what libertarianism is about.

    Tannim,

    No need to apologize, I was talking about you. But before you go all apopletic, answer me this. If given a choice between a) going to war with Iran and having Ron Paul get elected in 2008, or b) not going to war with Iran and ending up with Hillary, Guiliani or McCain in charge, which option would you choose?

    And to all the rest of you who rationalize the idea of Ron Paul taking the money with the mantra “The ends justify the means”, the problem is that none of you has any clue what the end really is. The end is not in winning the election, the end is in bringing our country back in line with Constitutionalism. And taking the public funding works against that. Ethical leaders don’t win by stealing from their hopeful constituents for a short-term political advantage…they win by convincing people to buy into their ideas. And if you can’t understand that then not one of you is worthy of calling yourselves libertarians, or Constitutionalists, or freedom lovers of any kind. Fortunately, I don’t think that Ron Paul’s dedication to the principles of freedom are as shallow as your own and I believe that he’ll turn down the money, which is why he’s still got my vote in spite of the actions of a great number of his fickle followers.

    Comment by UCrawford — October 2, 2007 @ 9:03 pm
  42. I hope the October 12 deadline for changing party affiliations in NY and NH wont prejudice Paul’s campaign in these key states. That deadline is awfully close.

    Comment by Daniel — October 2, 2007 @ 9:16 pm
  43. My mother, of all people, just made a great point to me. Turning down money from the government is stupid, and very unlibertarian. It’s allowing government to have the money to waste instead of getting it into private hands where individuals freely decide how to spend it.

    Paul should definitely accept matching funds.

    Comment by Drena — October 2, 2007 @ 10:18 pm
  44. Drena,

    First, two wrongs don’t make a right. It’s like saying, “They’re going to give welfare money away anyway. What’s wrong if we take it. We’re not for it but someone’s going to get it.”

    Second, (and far more important), whether it’s stupid not to accept the money is irrelevant. Paul swore an oath to preserve and protect the Constitution. If he accepts it, he’s an oath breaker. He can’t stand on the House floor one day condemning it, only to turn around the next day as a candidate and say, “Gee folks, I’m not Congressman Paul today, just candidate Paul.”

    Comment by Chris Kachouroff — October 2, 2007 @ 10:40 pm
  45. Chris,

    Sure, “two wrongs don’t make a right,” but it is not two wrongs. Taking money away from the government is good for liberty. If you don’t take it then they will spend it on something wasteful (like war?). Taking those matching funds can even save lives, if only by getting the message out to more people on why the war should be stopped and therefore hastening its end. Your assumption that taking wealth away from government is “wrong” is erroneous. You should be arguing against government taking the money AWAY from the private voluntary sector. Getting it back there is not wrong, in any rational sense.

    Comment by Drena — October 2, 2007 @ 10:51 pm
  46. Chris,

    In fact, Paul makes this same argument when he tries to get money funneled back into his district. He says the money is taken away from taxes so it’s his responsibility to make sure that his district gets it back.

    Comment by Drena — October 2, 2007 @ 10:55 pm
  47. Chris,

    Moreover, someone who recieves welfare is not stealing. The stealing is the taxation – taking money out of the private sector. Welfare recipients are not thieves at all. They’re actually helping to take money away from the state to bring it back into the private sector. They’re not going to sit on that money. They’re going to spend it and disperse it among the people. If people are going to be taxed, then the people should bring that money back into the private sector. Leaving it in the hands of government is no good at all.

    Comment by Drena — October 2, 2007 @ 11:09 pm
  48. I think Paul is intellectual enough to understand the above and that’s why I think he’ll accept matching funds.

    Comment by Drena — October 2, 2007 @ 11:11 pm
  49. If not, he’s stupid and I don’t want a president that ties his own hands by dedication to self-righteous moral absolutism.

    Comment by Drena — October 2, 2007 @ 11:36 pm
  50. If I were Paul id do a media blitz today in NY and NH to let swing voters (democrats in NH and democrats and independents in NY) know they have until October 12 to register republican. Doug – can you do a separate blog entry on this registration rule change?

    Comment by Daniel — October 3, 2007 @ 12:02 am
  51. Drena,

    Taking away money from the government is okay as long as it’s used for libertarian purposes? You realize that you’ve just advocated the philosophy that the Republican party used to drive all the libertarians away, right? That’s not libertarianism, that’s statism.

    The only place government money should go when not being spent on common use items (things we all benefit from more or less equally) is back to the people it was taken from. Anything else is theft…including welfare and including political campaigns. If we diverge from that and rationalize it away by claiming we’re only diverting money to “good” projects that just happen to benefit us, then we’re no better than the Republicans and Democrats we bitch about.

    And what you call “self-righteous moral absolutism” Ron Paul calls “adherence to the Constitution and individual rights”. If you can’t understand that then you’ve got no moral standing to question anybody else’s libertarian credentials.

    Chris,

    Excellent points all around…guess you did learn something at Regents :)

    Comment by UCrawford — October 3, 2007 @ 12:11 am
  52. Drena,

    As to entitlements for Paul’s district, you neglected to mention that he also votes against every bill that includes them…assuming you bothered to notice.

    Comment by UCrawford — October 3, 2007 @ 12:15 am
  53. UCrawford,

    No, “taking money from the government is okay as long as it’s used for libertarian purposes,” but rather taking money from government is ok no matter what the purpose. Why should the government be allowed to take wealth from the private sector and spend it on what IT thinks it should be spent on? There is nothing libertarian about allowing that to happen. That’s centralized planning. The most libertarian thing to do is to not let it be taken in the first place, but if it is taken, then to take it back.

    Comment by Drena — October 3, 2007 @ 12:24 am
  54. UCrawford,

    No he doesn’t vote against “every bill.” He votes against those that he thinks the Constitution doesn’t authorize. As long as the stealing is permitted by the Constitution he supports it.

    Comment by Drena — October 3, 2007 @ 12:36 am
  55. Drena,

    If by “taking it back” you’re saying it should be returned to the taxpayers that it came from, then you’re correct. If you mean, however, that it should go to whoever can grab it first, that’s theft.

    George Will indicated a different voting pattern for Paul than you’re suggesting

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/17200494/site/newsweek/

    Comment by UCrawford — October 3, 2007 @ 1:01 am
  56. Perhaps you’re confusing libertarianism with some other form of government:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kleptocracy

    Comment by UCrawford — October 3, 2007 @ 1:07 am
  57. Get the word out! Primary elections are being CLOSED by the GOP. Deadlines as early as 10/13/07! That’s 11 days from now. ONLY registered republicans allowed to vote in many primaries that were previously open. They’re cutting Dr. Paul’s campaign time down to less than 2 weeks!

    Read about it here:

    http://www.gambling911.com/Ron-Paul-New-Voting-Rules-100307.html

    Comment by Clovis — October 3, 2007 @ 1:07 am
  58. Correction: Deadlines in some states 10/12/07, not the 13th as typod in previous post.

    Comment by Clovis — October 3, 2007 @ 1:08 am
  59. This is as useless as medieval monks arguing about angels and pins. And that this argument is occurring throughout the Ron Paul blogosphere speaks volumes about why libertarians are so freakin useless and have a pathetic track record.

    Leave the decision re matching funds to RP.

    If you support him; then turn off your computer, get off your butts, and start talking to people one-on-one. Canvass your neighborhood with voter (re)registration forms and other stuff to get your neighborhood on the bandwagon. Buy materials/slimjims from the ronpaul2008.com site.
    Talk to voters and potential voters.

    Don’t just waste your time preaching – no forget that – arguing – with the choir. The only result of that is that you will give yourself an opportunity to whine/bitch/moan about being a loser. Yet again.

    Of course, if you don’t support RP; then carry on. Never mind.

    Comment by jfree — October 3, 2007 @ 2:21 am
  60. OK so if he took the money to boost his campaign… I would still vote for him. I mean what are you gunna let the same 2 familys run this country into the hole for 28 years? shit how about bushes daugter she looks like she can be pres.. LMAO IDIOTS there is only one true choice here and its RON PAUL!!

    Comment by Vof2maybe3FW — October 3, 2007 @ 3:48 am
  61. What is up with all the Ron Paul crap. There are 60+ comments on every single RP post. Are all those post really worth reading.

    Despite all exuberant excitement about RP by some posters. I would really like to see the man reject matching funds and really go out and raise that money from real supporters. Supporters better be willing to open up their wallets and pocketbooks. Instead of urging RP to accept federal funds, they should look within.

    It’s the libertarian way to go, and it would be a principled rejection of federal manipulation of its own elections. I think PROCESS issues are really important to many of Ron Paul supporters. Accepting federal match would be turning against those supporters, in an cynical attempt to win.

    I know I would stop sending RP money if he accepted federal funds. Because then I would have already given money to him through federal taxes. He’d become part of the IRS problem.

    Comment by TanGeng — October 3, 2007 @ 11:32 am
  62. TanGeng,

    It happens because “Paulestinians” don’t really have any other interests besides Ron Paul and I suspect most of them couldn’t converse rationally on any other topic on this site. :)

    Comment by UCrawford — October 3, 2007 @ 12:09 pm
  63. Act #1 of a Paul Presidency. Repeal the 16th amendment. Take the matching Funds Dr. Paul. Every one admires Robin Rood.

    Comment by ManFaded — October 4, 2007 @ 10:36 am
  64. er,,,,,,”I mean Robin Hood.”

    Comment by ManFaded — October 4, 2007 @ 10:37 am
  65. Check your Constitution ManFaded, President Paul would not have the authority to repeal the 16th Amendment.

    He would need the support of 2/3 of each house of Congress and 3/4 of the states to accomplish that.

    Let’s be realistic here, okay ?

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — October 4, 2007 @ 10:38 am
  66. FOLKS–PLEASE DO YOUR RESEARCH BEFORE YOU ARGUE. FEDERAL MATCHING FUNDS DON’T COME FROM OUR TAX DOLLARS. WHEN YOU FILE YOUR FED. TAXES, THERE’S A BOX ON THE 1040 ASKING YOU WHETHER YOU WISH TO CONTRIBUTE FUNDS TO THE CAMPAIGN CANDIDATES. THOSE DONATIONS COME DIRECTLY FROM YOU AND ARE WHAT THE GOVERNMENT USES TO MATCH FUNDS. HE’D BE A DAMN FOOL NOT TO TAKE THEM!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Comment by Valerie Marquis — October 13, 2007 @ 11:51 pm

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