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Rep. Ron Paul on Net-gambling bill: a rare voice of sanity in Congress

Previous Politech message:

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: RE: [Politech] Step aside, war on terror -- now it's war on 
Inter	net gambling [econ]
Date: Wed, 12 Jul 2006 08:26:07 -0400
From: Singleton, Norman <Norman.Singleton@mail.house.gov>
To: 'Declan McCullagh' <declan@well.com>

Here is what Ron Paul said about the bill yesterday, please feel free to
share with the list:

   Mr. PAUL. Mr. Speaker, I rise in opposition to this legislation. It 
is not
easy to oppose this legislation because it is assumed that proponents of the
bill are on the side of the moral high ground. But there is a higher moral
high ground in the sense that protecting liberty is more important than
passing a bill that regulates something on the Internet.

    The Interstate Commerce Clause originally was intended to make sure 
were no barriers between interstate trade. In this case, we are putting
barriers up.

    I want to make the point that prohibition, as a general principle, is a
bad principle because it doesn't work. It doesn't solve the problem because
it can't decrease the demand. As a matter of fact, the only thing it does is
increase the price. And there are some people who see prohibitions as an
enticement, and that it actually increases the demand.

    But once you make something illegal, whether it is alcohol or whether it
is cigarettes or whether it is gambling on the Internet, it doesn't
disappear because of this increased demand. All that happens is, it is
turned over to the criminal element. So you won't get rid of it.

    Sometimes people say that this prohibition that is proposed is designed
to protect other interests because we certainly aren't going to get rid of
gambling, so we might get rid of one type of gambling, but actually enhance
the other.

    But one of the basic principles, a basic reason why I strongly oppose
this is, I see this as a regulation of the Internet, which is a very, very
dangerous precedent to set.

    To start with, I can see some things that are much more dangerous than
gambling. I happen to personally strongly oppose gambling. I think it is
pretty stupid, to tell you the truth.

    But what about political ideas? What about religious fanaticism? Are we
going to get rid of those? I can think of 1,000 things worse coming from
those bad ideas. But who will come down here and say, Just think of the evil
of these bad ideas and distorted religions, and therefore we have to
regulate the Internet?

[Begin Insert]

    H.R. 4411, the Internet Gambling Prohibition and Enforcement Act, should
be rejected by Congress since the Federal Government has no constitutional
authority to ban or even discourage any form of gambling.

    In addition to being unconstitutional, H.R. 4411 is likely to prove
ineffective at ending Internet gambling. Instead, this bill will ensure that
gambling is controlled by organized crime. History, from the failed
experiment of prohibition to today's futile ``war on drugs,'' shows that the
government cannot eliminate demand for something like Internet gambling
simply by passing a law. Instead, H.R. 4411 will force those who wish to
gamble over the Internet to patronize suppliers willing to flaunt the ban.
In many cases, providers of services banned by the government will be
members of criminal organizations. Even if organized crime does not operate
Internet gambling enterprises their competitors are likely to be controlled
by organized crime. After all, since the owners and patrons of Internet
gambling cannot rely on the police and courts to enforce contracts and
resolve other disputes, they will be forced to rely on members of organized
crime to perform those functions. Thus, the profits of Internet gambling
will flow into organized crime. Furthermore, outlawing an activity will
raise the price vendors are able to charge consumers, thus increasing the
profits flowing to organized crime from Internet gambling. It is bitterly
ironic that a bill masquerading as an attack on crime will actually increase
organized crime's ability to control and profit from Internet gambling.

    In conclusion, H.R. 4411 violates the constitutional limits on Federal
power. Furthermore, laws such as H.R. 4411 are ineffective in eliminating
the demand for vices such as Internet gambling; instead, they ensure that
these enterprises will be controlled by organized crime. Therefore I urge my
colleagues to reject H.R. 4411, the Internet Gambling Prohibition and
Enforcement Act.

[End Insert]

Norman Kirk Singleton
Legislative Director
Congressman Ron Paul
203 Cannon
Washington, DC 20515

"...libertarianism will win eventually because it and only it is compatible
with the nature of man and of the world. Only liberty can achieve man's
prosperity, fulfillment, and happiness....libertarians now propose to
fulfill the American dream and the world dream of liberty and prosperity for
all mankind."

"Murray Rothbard

Posted by Declan McCullagh on Jul 12, 2006 in category economics

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