World Trade Organization
Congressman Ron Paul

Congressman Ron Paul

March 31, 2000

Dear friend of liberty,

Who is the worst American president? There’s a lot of competition for that title, but Woodrow Wilson is definitely a finalist. After promising the American people that he would stay out of Europe’s quarrels, he immediately schemed to get us into World War I.

In addition to a host of dead youngsters, US entry meant the destruction of the old Russia and the old Germany. Now these regimes had their problems, but upon their ashes rose the most murderous governments in history, the Communists and the Nazis.

That is, Wilson turned an intramural European war into a world war, which in turn led directly to World War II and the Cold War, and the deaths of 100 million innocents. Wilson also suppressed free speech in America. People were jailed for criticizing the president at dinner parties in their own homes!

Naturally, Wilson also wanted statism at home, including a central bank like the Federal Reserve, the horrible income tax, and the direct election of senators, all designed to reward the special interests and empower the central government at the expense of the people and the states.

And indeed, we got the Fed and the 16th and 17th amendments to the Constitution, starting us off on a century of federal power, welfare, and war.

As the Framers recognized, an imperial government overseas means an imperial government at home, and Wilson sought to centrally plan the economy through his totalitarian Trading With the Enemy Act, legislation which haunts us to this day, and which I have fought during all my time in Congress. You would not believe the monetary nonsense and other evil committed under cover of this unconstitutional 1917 law. Or maybe you would!

Of course, Wilson also wanted world government, and to plan the world economy, and his method was an early version of the World Trade Organization. He called it the World Trade Tribunal.

Thank goodness "isolationist" Republicans in the Senate defeated the WTT along with US participation in the first UN, the League of Nations. We’re all taught in school that this was a disaster. In fact, it was one of the great moments in 20th century Congressional history, for our freedom and sovereignty.

The establishment didn’t give up, however. There was too much at stake. They kept working on a UN, which we got after World War II, with Alger Hiss as its first secretary general, and Stalin and Franklin D. Roosevelt as its founding fathers. Just as bad, though without as much publicity, the bad guys kept working on a global trade agency to reward the big boys at the expense of American consumers and small businessmen, and our Constitution.

Their next open attempt at a WTO took place after WW II, when Harry Truman­another very bad president­tried to inflict what he called the International Trade Organization on America. Truman, a real central planner who didn’t hesitate to draft workers into the Army, nationalize the steel industry, and get us into an undeclared, no-win, unconstitutional war in Korea, pulled every string and told every lie to enact his ITO. Mountains of illegitimate money were at stake, not to speak of a hoard of illegitimate power.

I put down the defeat of the ITO, despite massive pressure for it, to one man, Philip Courtney. Courtney, a New York businessman and friend of Ludwig von Mises and Henry Hazlitt, devoted his life to stopping the ITO, with writing, press interviews, and education of Congress and the people. He led us to victory.

Courtney explained that such an organization, although sold as "free trade," was just the opposite. The idea that American businessmen ought to be able to import and export what they want, without the permission of the feds, is what the Framers advocated. I do too. It’s why, in his Farewell Address, George Washington urged full commercial relations with other countries, but no political relations. It’s why the Declaration of Independence denounces King George with manipulating and cutting off our trade with the rest of the world.

Under a regime of real free trade, prosperity and international amity are both enhanced. But the bad guys use this ideal of free enterprise to sell just the opposite.

When the ITO came to a vote, Truman couldn’t get it through. Too many people had been educated about its bad effects, and there were too many decent men still in the Senate, and we were spared such a despicable global agency.

They came Clinton and Newt. Clinton, another contender for he worst president title, had long schemed for world government control of the trillions of dollars in international trade. Trade profits should go to government-favored corporations, according to Clinton, not be decided by the free market.

Clinton also wants to undermine American sovereignty, indeed he’s like to abolish it, under a UN headed by himself. And the World Trade Organization is a key part of that plot.

The ITT and the ITO were introduced as treaties, requiring Senate approval by a two-thirds vote. Clinton knew he might not get that kind of vote, and so he circumvented the Constitutional requirement by submitting the WTO, as he did Nafta, as a resolution requiring only a majority vote of both Houses.

Still, the WTO was going nowhere, and Clinton and company were deathly afraid that the new Republican Congress taking office after the 1994 election might not pass it. So like a thief in the night, with the active cooperation of Newt Gingrich, Clinton put the WTO to a vote by the lame-duck Congress. And it passed, with the Republican leadership twisting arms just as hard as the Clinton administration.

Now we have a global trade agency that can actually overrule our laws. For example, the WTO is now claiming that we are not taxing our small companies enough, and that is an unfair trade advantage! We are supposed to raise taxes at the orders of international bureaucrats in Geneva!

But all is not lost, which is also why I need your help. Stuck in the original WTO legislation was a proviso, to help it get passed, allowing a "privileged resolution" of repeal. That is, after 5 years, a Congressman or Senator could demand that the US get out of the WTO, and his resolution could not be bottled up in committee. It had to be voted on within 90 days.

As soon as the 5 years passed, I introduced such a resolution, despite unbelievable pressure not to, with some heroic cosponsors. We will get this vote, which can be the beginning of the end of the WTO. For one thing, Nafta has been a disaster. No one claims credit for that fiasco anymore. And after the Seattle riots, the plans to expand the WTO had to be shelved. The rioters did their damage (most of it against American small businesses), but the real action took place inside the hall.

Third world countries refused to go along with Clinton’s new environmental and labor regulations, which could keep them poor. They know that labor-union rules and Green-inspired regulations could strangle developing economies, and they said No. There is another WTO meeting in Washington next month, and it’s going to be a bad hair day for world government too. I’ll make sure of it.

I predict surprising support for my anti-WTO resolution. Not only will Constitutionalists, conservatives, and libertarians support it. But the left, upset because the labor and environmental regulations didn’t pass, will help out too. I don’t agree with them. But I am glad to have any vote to begin the process of bringing the WTO down.

On behalf of Clinton, the office of US Trade Representative, run by the awful Charlene Barshevsky, has been playing all sorts of games—illegal games—to stop my vote to junk the WTO. But she didn’t succeed.

Please, help fight for our country’s liberty and sovereignty.

We can save our country’s freedom and sovereignty. We can restore the Constitution. We can hand on to our children and grandchildren the great republic the Framers gave us.


          Ron Paul, M.D.

          U.S. Congressman

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