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.
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?