Josh Nelson

Ron Paul: Let’s Spend $240 Million on Commemorative Medals

by Josh Nelson  ::  Filed Under Elections 2008  ::  December 30th, 2007 @ 9:22 am EST

One of Ron Paul’s strongest points in his Presidential campaign has been his consistency. He consistently votes against foreign intervention, social programs and what he calls unconstitutional government spending. He has used this as justification for voting against congressional medals of honor for American heroes like Rosa Parks and Muhammad Ali. “Why should American taxpayers pay for these medals?” he asks incredulously.

The Congressional Gold Medal is made of solid gold, and in every instance it is awarded, it can cost taxpayers upwards of $30,000. This money not only pays for the gold to make the medal, but also the mold that needs to be specially created since each medal is tailored to its recipient. Congressman Paul voted against awarding this medal over and over because he does not think it is a good use of taxpayer dollars

While browsing through the congressional record, trying to find a single piece of legislation Dr. Paul has passed (I can’t), I came across a bill he introduced in December 2001.

H.R. 3417: To amend title 10, United States Code, to provide for the award of a medal to persons who served in the Armed Forces during the Cold War.

Sec. 1134. Cold War medal: award

`(a) AWARD- There is hereby authorized an award of an appropriate decoration, as provided for under subsection (b), to each person who served honorably in the armed forces during the Cold War in order to recognize the contributions of those person to United States victory in the Cold War.

`(b) DESIGN- The Secretary of Defense, in designing the decoration for the purposes of this section, shall consult with appropriate organizations and entities, including veterans’ organizations. The decoration shall be of appropriate design, with ribbons and appurtenances.

`(c) CHARGE- The Secretary of Defense shall furnish the decoration under this section subject to the payment of an amount sufficient to cover the cost of production of the decoration and of the administration of this section.

`(d) PERIOD OF COLD WAR- In this section, the term `Cold War’ means the period beginning on September 2, 1945, and ending on December 26, 1991.’

Obviously, the bill didn’t go anywhere, only garnering one cosponsor. Since 2003, Hillary Clinton has been trying to pass a similar bill.

With Democrats back in power, veterans are holding out hope that this year could be different.

They have some stalwart supporters on Capitol Hill, including Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), who sponsored a bill with Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) that would direct the secretary of Defense to award a Cold War service medal to those who served honorably from the end of World War II to the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Here is the kicker. The Department of Defense opposes such a bill, due to the estimated cost of $240 million.

Defense planners, while routinely requesting billions of dollars for V-22s, C-17s and the Future Combat Systems, have blanched at the cost of awarding medals to the approximately 24 million Americans who served in the armed forces from Sept. 2, 1945, to Dec. 26, 1991.

The Pentagon argues that making and distributing each medal would cost $10, raising the total potential costs of a Cold War medal to a not-insignificant $240 million.

Shorter Ron Paul: I was for costly congressional medals before I was against them.

Can any Ron Paul fans explain this apparent contradiction?

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30 RESPONSES to “Ron Paul: Let’s Spend $240 Million on Commemorative Medals”

Tim says  ::  December 30th, 2007 @ 9:40 am EST

Dingbat, Veterans serve the country and risk their lives for the country. They deserve full benefits and medals by the state because they risk their lives to protect our freedoms. They also work for the country, thus Congress has full right to do this.
As stated in the text:
`(d) PERIOD OF COLD WAR- In this section, the term `Cold War%u2019 means the period beginning on September 2, 1945, and ending on December 26, 1991.%u2019

That includes Vietnam and Korea. Are you saying that we SHOULDN’T give an award to our Veterans?
Keep digging for dirt, dingleberry, you won’t find much.

Better yet, here’s Whitey “Bo” Thompson thanking Ron Paul making sure he gets the coverage he needs:

    Josh Nelson says  ::  December 30th, 2007 @ 9:44 am EST–lobby/veterans-fight-for-cold-war-medal-20 07-10-18.html

    The Department of Defense %u201Cmaintains a long-standing policy that service or campaign awards will not cover periods where other service or campaign awards have been authorized, such as the Korean Service Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal and the Vietnam Service Medal, to name a few,%u201D the Pentagon wrote as part of an appeals document that highlights its opposition to language in the House authorization bill.

      Tim says  ::  December 30th, 2007 @ 10:02 am EST

      To quote another commenter on digg:
      “So the DOD policies over ride the Congress?”

DrEast says  ::  December 30th, 2007 @ 10:07 am EST

Because awarding medals to members of the armed forces is a legitimate, constitutional use of congressional power, and awarding medals to popular civilians isn’t?

    Alex says  ::  December 30th, 2007 @ 10:22 am EST

    Please cite the section and article of the Constitution you are referring to.

Pirsqed says  ::  December 30th, 2007 @ 10:30 am EST

Usuaully, when Paul introduces bills like this it’s to make a point: If you want to do something that is unconstitutional, you have to make an amendment so that it’s no longer unconstitutional. I don’t know for sure if that’s the case here because I don’t really feel like trying to find any statements he made at the time.

James A. says  ::  December 30th, 2007 @ 10:45 am EST

Yeah, and the DOD provides substandard care and treats veterans generally like crap. They are only interested in them when they are useful. If there is ONE thing I am more than willing for my tax dollars to pay for, it is treating our soldiers VERY well.

Why do you hate the troops?

    Jason Rosenbaum says  ::  December 30th, 2007 @ 10:54 am EST

    And you think that you can solve these problems with a $10 medal? You’re kidding, right? If Paul really wanted to support the troops, he could have, you know, given them healthcare. But I don’t think he wants that…

      Eric says  ::  December 30th, 2007 @ 12:13 pm EST

      Um, he’s ABSOLUTELY for giving them healthcare. Taking care of the troops is one of the few things he thinks government HAS to do, AND he thinks government has been shirking it’s duties.

      Man, you’re such an idiot. This whole article is absurd. This is the best smear you could come up with? This is awful, you’re totally uninformed and it shows.

      Jason Rosenbaum says  ::  December 30th, 2007 @ 12:18 pm EST

      Why is giving a $10 medal to troops right, and giving one to Rosa Parks isn’t?

      Frank says  ::  January 13th, 2008 @ 9:40 pm EST

      And do you REALLY believe the Pentagon when they say a $1.60 medal costs $10? I didn’t make that number up — it’s on the DOD price list.

James A. says  ::  December 30th, 2007 @ 10:49 am EST

Why is it that every blog and media site that claims to be “independent” is always overtly liberal?

    Alex says  ::  December 30th, 2007 @ 11:52 am EST

    Most of us are not Democrats or Republicans, hence we’re independent. Independent doesn’t always mean some coward moderate who doesn’t have an opinion on anything. I’m a leftist independent, deal with it.

Brian says  ::  December 30th, 2007 @ 1:03 pm EST

First of there is a difference between awarding our service members medals and awarding civilians an non-US citizens a $30,000 gold metal. Awarding our troops is what congress is suppose to be doing.

I think the author here has a misunderstanding. When you see a member of the military in their dress uniform, the little colored rectangles on their chest are awards. They are called ribbons. Some ribbon also have a medal that is associated with it, for example, If I were to serve in Iraq I would be eligible for the Iraqi Campaign medal which could be either represented by a ribbon or the actual metal on my uniform depending on what uniform I am wearing, whereas if I was in combat in Iraq and was eligible and awarded a combat action ribbon, there is no medal associated with this award so it is only represented by a ribbon. Now, there are designated awards for pretty much every conflict and campaign that US troops were involved in and these medals and awards are really the only recognition a service member receives for taking part in that conflict or campaign, which makes these medals very important to our service members, they can also help service members get promoted. So when you see a service member in uniform with his ribbon and medals or maybe just ribbons you can see pretty much everything the man or woman has been a part of throughout their career. Now, awards such as these are awarded in a ceremony in which they are “pinned on”, the US Government pays for the medal or ribbon that is awarded. From that point on the medal and ribbon are part of the service members uniform and he/she is responsible for replacements, which isn’t a big deal because ribbon cost 10 to 20 cent each and medals usually 2 to 10 dollars depend on the medal. Awarding service members that served during the cold war would cost 240 million because of the number of people who did serve during that time and would be awarded the medal, not because the medals are worth $30,000 each. I would think just a ribbon would be more feasible, but I do see awarding veterans medals and awards for risking their life to serve our country a hell of allot more justified than giving $30,000 medals to civilians. Plus it is the job of congress to award our service members thease medals and awards for their service.

    Jason Rosenbaum says  ::  December 30th, 2007 @ 1:07 pm EST

    See Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution, where Congress is specifically given powers to “provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States.” That is, Congress has the power to award medals to both military and civilian personnel.

    Now, you may think rewarding medals to veterans is a better use of tax money than rewarding medals to civilians, but it’s pretty hard to argue that awarding said money to civilians is unconstitutional.

      Brian says  ::  December 30th, 2007 @ 2:42 pm EST

      Ok, thanks for this reply but what are you talking about? Did I say that awarding civilians a medal is unconstitutional? The person who posted this article seemed confused about the difference between a military campaign medals and a Congressional Gold Medal. They are definitely not the same thing. I also didn’t say that awarding a service member with a medal is a “better use” of tax money than awarding a civilian. I was pointing out that these medals for troops(even though I don’t necessarily agree with having a medal for service during the cold war)are not the same thing as giving one individual a $30,000 gold medal. I think it is more justified to award a service member a medal that cost you and me $10 to honor their commitment and sacrifices compared to a medal to an individual that cost me and you $30,000. Im all for congress awarding outstanding Americans who do great things for this country but a $30,000 gold metal on the taxpayers is ridiculous.

      Jason Rosenbaum says  ::  December 30th, 2007 @ 3:22 pm EST

      Ok, fine. But that wasn’t Ron Paul’s position. He made a distinctly Constitutional argument that the Rosa Parks medal was not something he would support. Yet he does the same thing he claims to find unconstitutional with Cold War vets. That’s the difference. How do you explain that double standard?

      Brian says  ::  December 30th, 2007 @ 11:43 pm EST

      I think Ron Paul’s argument is based on the fact that the congressional gold medals cost taxpayers $30,000. I know they could create a nice medal for a fraction of that price. Also Ron Paul was for awarding Rosa Parks a medal if each member of congress pitched in $100 to pay for it, I think he opposed the tax payers paying the $30,000 bill.

The Presidential Candidates says  ::  December 30th, 2007 @ 1:28 pm EST

I think the big difference is that Paul sees awarding military members for their service as part of what the Federal Government should be doing while giving medals to private citizens is not.

It really seems like many on the “left” (and I actually consider myself quite “left” as well) are looking for cracks in Paul’s armor because so many progressives have decided that supporting John Edwards or Hillary Clinton ain’t going to get the job done. We want our civil liberties and we want peace around the world. That’s what Ron Paul wants to bring to us!

Scott L'Ecuyer says  ::  December 30th, 2007 @ 3:20 pm EST

For complete and complehensive background on the issue of award of the Cold War medal, please refer to our website.

The DOD’s position is easily refuted. We would gladly justify why Cold War veterans derserve the award of the medal.

Jerald Terwilliger says  ::  December 30th, 2007 @ 3:49 pm EST

DOD also fights a Cold War Medal as duplication of awards. The fact is many veterans served in places or during times when no other award was issued. The National Defense Service Medal is very time specific, and there were long periods of time when it was not issued.

Not everyone was in a place to receive the Armed Forces Expeditanory Medal either. So if you only served 3 years you were not even eligible for a Good Conduct Medal (at least in the Navy)

Yet these men and women put their lives on the line every day. Our planes where shot from the sky, our ships were attacked, our ground forces were in danger, the men and women manning missle sites were in far away, dark, dirty, cold places.

This medal should be awarded to all Cold War Veterans who served honorably during that time frame.

    Jason Rosenbaum says  ::  December 30th, 2007 @ 3:51 pm EST

    I agree. I have no problem with awarding medals. I only see a double standard with Paul’s Constitutional argument against a medal for Rosa Parks (a no less brave citizen) and his support for these medals. I think both have been earned, and both should be awarded.

Frank Tims says  ::  December 31st, 2007 @ 9:09 am EST

DOD is lying to Congress on this issue. The unit cost of the Cold War Service medal is estimated to be $1.50 per item, not $10 each. The Korea Defense Service medal (which DOD also opposed until Congress passed it) cost $1.41 each, and has cost DOD less than $300,000. So much for “budget busting” awards. The GI finishing Army basic and AIT has been going home with 3 ribbons (Army Service Ribbon, NDSM, and GWOT) — and DOD wants to argue that they follow a consistent awards system, without duplication? So far, the billions in shrink-wrapped cash DOD and its contractors have been “losing” in Iraq make me wonder why DOD persists in this “cost” argument. Oh yes, and let’s also remember to bestow presidential medals of freedom on the media hacks who parrot the neocon line!!!

Glen Talon says  ::  December 31st, 2007 @ 9:58 am EST

Why is it when an issue is argued,facts twisted voices of reason fade and the falsehoods become more important then the issue?

Fact people gave up their life serving in the Cold War (Their Future) for your living your life now,whats it worth to you?

If Rosa Parks actions showed she was human as well an equal it was part of the battles for those freedoms and veterans whom guard them,keep them and die to provide them,whats that worth to you?

The Women and Men serving the Nation gave these freedoms what part are you doing to preserve them?

Rosa earned that medal standing up for the freedoms veterans died to provide, they died to provide Rosa the right to make that stand and have earned their medal too!


    Jason Rosenbaum says  ::  December 31st, 2007 @ 10:03 am EST

    I couldn’t agree more. Both parties are equally deserving.

Jerald Terwilliger says  ::  December 31st, 2007 @ 10:58 am EST

And was it not wonderful to issue Congressional Medals to all 461 Olympians of the 1980 team, that did not even participate. Yes I know Congress approved it 27 years ago when Jimmy Carter was president.

So the Cold War Veterans have only been waiting 17 years. By the time a Cold War Medal gets passed at that rate, most of the vets will have passed on, so out the window goes DOD cost issue. There won’t be many around then.

The old Chief says  ::  December 31st, 2007 @ 10:58 am EST

Just take a look around, anywhere in Washington. There’s plenty of blame to go around for not having properly saluted those who were in harms way during the Cold War. The focus shouldn’t be on democrats or republicans but rather on government in general, the Pentagon in particular. These days, if it don’t shoot, we don’t spend money on it.
It’s really a damned shame.

The old Chief
(Yes, another Cold War Veteran, 1969-2007)

Will says  ::  September 5th, 2008 @ 5:01 pm EST

I just returned from Iraq and am qualified for the Iraq medal, the GWOT exped medal, and the GWOT service medal. Exactly zero of these were provided to me or anyone else in my unit. Cost to Uncle Sam $0

Frank says  ::  September 6th, 2008 @ 4:40 pm EST

Let’s hope the pentagon’s math has improved. The NDSM costs $1.60 per item. The number of living cold war vets is less than 18 million. How many Korea Defense Service Medals did DOD buy over a 4 year period? 200,000 — you do the math/ Less than 5% of those potentially eligible 1954-2007.

You don’t need a Ph.D. in economics to figure this one out.

Dizzle says  ::  May 27th, 2009 @ 7:15 pm EST

Perhaps what would be more in order would be a batch of medals, in line with costs of under $10 each, be given to all those recognized who fought for civil liberties in a similar way to Rosa Parks.

While Parks did fight for liberties she is not the only one. And we simply do not have enough money for $30K ceremonies for all of them. Though recognition of the many people who did protect and develop our rights domestically are heroes as well.


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