(House of Representatives - December 10, 2019)

Text available as:

Formatting necessary for an accurate reading of this text may be shown by tags (e.g., <DELETED> or <BOLD>) or may be missing from this TXT display. For complete and accurate display of this text, see the PDF.

[Pages H10007-H10013]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []


  The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Delgado). Under the Speaker's announced 
policy of January 3, 2019, the gentleman from Kentucky (Mr. Barr) is 
recognized for 60 minutes as the designee of the minority leader.
  Mr. BARR. Mr. Speaker, tonight we find ourselves at a crossroads in 
the history of our great Nation, a nation founded upon the simple, 
self-evident truth that we are endowed by our Creator ``with certain 
unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit 
of happiness--that to secure these rights, governments are instituted 
among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the 
  With those words, the Declaration of Independence gave birth to a new 
nation rooted in the principles of limited government, individual 
freedom, and the rule of law through self-government, and it set into 
motion the greatest experiments in human freedom and prosperity the 
world has ever known. That is largely because our Constitution 
protected those principles through separation of powers, federalism, 
and the Bill of Rights.
  Just as the Constitution protected political freedom, it also 
protected our economic freedom and enabled the American people to 
flourish through entrepreneurship, business, and private enterprise 
operating in a free market. In short, Mr. Speaker, American capitalism, 
as enabled by the United States Constitution, has delivered the most 
free, prosperous, and successful country in the history of the world.
  But today, those principles of free enterprise and capitalism are 
under attack, and that experiment in liberty is threatened by leftwing 
politicians who are openly embracing socialism, defenders of central 
planning in the media and in the academy, and even some business 
leaders who are calling for a redefinition of the purpose of a 
  So, today, my colleagues and I, members of the Republican Study 
Committee, join the debate. We join the debate between staying on the 
road of capitalism, prosperity, and freedom versus going down a much 
different path, what Austrian-British economist and philosopher 
Friedrich August von Hayek called ``The Road to Serfdom,'' in which he 
spelled out a vivid warning to the socialist intelligentsia in England 
that an experiment with socialist policies would result in the same 
disastrous outcomes that had destroyed liberty in Germany and Russia.
  The experience of history is clear: Whenever and wherever socialism 
has been tried and put into place, it has resulted in a loss of 
individual freedom, economic stagnation, diminished productivity, 
deprivation and shortages, misery, and death.
  Central planning in Germany, Italy, and Japan before World War II and 
in the Soviet Union and China in the postwar, Cold War era, invariably 
resulted in soul-destroying and liberty-crushing totalitarianism.
  To paraphrase Hayek, fascism, communism, and so-called democratic 
socialism are merely variants of the same totalitarianism which central 
control of all economic activity tends to produce.
  Socialist Parties may not deliberately aim for a totalitarian regime, 
but the experience of history teaches us that the unforeseen but 
inevitable consequences of socialist planning create a state of affairs 
in which, if the policy is to be pursued, totalitarian forces will get 
the upper hand.
  Economic planning necessarily requires coercion and uses of 
compulsion upon individuals in ways that deprive them of freedom of 
choice. As author Charles C. W. Cooke recently wrote, ``Socialism Is 
Not Democratic.''
  Ascendant elements within the American left are engaged in a 
sustained attempt to reintroduce and rehabilitate the word 
``socialism,'' in part by prepending to it a word that has a much 
better reputation and an infinitely better historical record: 
  Voters should not be fooled by the rebranding, for there is no sense 
in which socialism can be made compatible with democracy. At worst, 
socialism eats democracy and is swiftly transmuted into tyranny and 
deprivation. But, at best, socialism stamps out individual agency, 
places civil society into a straight jacket of uniform size, and turns 
representative government into a chimera.
  The U.S. Constitution is crystal clear on the appropriate role of 
government. And government that it permits is incompatible with and 
insufficient to sustain socialism.
  Just as the individual right to free speech is widely comprehended as 
part of what we mean by democracy rather than as an unacceptable 
abridgement of majority rule, so the individual rights protected in 
property and by markets are necessary to the maintenance of a 
democratic order in this deeper sense of the word.
  In the West, choosing to trade with a person in another country is, 
itself, a democratic act.
  Electing to start a company in your garage with no need for another's 
imprimatur is, itself, a democratic act.
  Banding together to establish a cooperative is, in itself, a 
democratic act.
  Selecting the vendor from which you source your goods and services 
and choosing which to buy from, it is, itself, a democratic act.
  Keeping the lion's share of the fruits of your labor is, itself, a 
democratic act.
  So, when the government steps in with their bayonets and say no, they 
are, in effect, keeping your choices off the ballot.
  Democratic socialism, to me, is about democratic control of every 
single facet of our life. That is one way of putting it; certainly, 
another is tyranny.

                              {time}  1815

  So during the last 3 years through tax cuts, deregulation, unleashing 
America's energy and easing restrictions on credit markets by rolling 
back Dodd-Frank's one-size-fits-all rules, we have witnessed a rebirth 
of freedom and free enterprise. We have witnessed a reinvigoration of 
America's first principles and a very fortunate move away from 
socialism. The result has been an American worker boom, but if we 
retreat from these hard-fought gains, we will return to the road to 
  The socialist policies of today with populous names like: Medicare 
For All, the Green New Deal, the Lower Drug Costs Now Act, the Wall 
Street Tax Act, the Stop Wall Street Looting Act, these pieces of 
legislation are all a danger to a free society. They are nothing more 
than central planning schemes that accumulate power in the government 
at the expense of the people, and in ways that rely on administrative 
coercion, force and discrimination, and through measures which are 
entirely incompatible with a free society.
  If you think that a transition to socialist policies won't pose a 
danger to our economy, I would urge you to review the so-called 
Accountable Capitalism Act, offered by Senator and candidate-for-
President, Elizabeth Warren.
  The bill is a wish list of socialist ideas aimed to shackle 
government enterprise with government control. The bill would require 
any company over $1 billion in revenue to be chartered by the Federal 
Government and allow the Federal Government to relinquish that charter 
at any time through opaque rules. The bill gives control to the 
government to determine who serves on a company's board and whose 
interests that board must satisfy.
  Senator Warren went so far as to send letters to CEOs of some of 
America's largest and most successful businesses stating that she, 
``expects them to support her bill.'' With this burden of government 
control over its operations, where is the incentive for business to 
expand? Where is the incentive for Americans to innovate? Where is the 
incentive for Americans to risk their capital in entrepreneurship? 
Where is the incentive to increase revenue or create new jobs?
  Presidential candidate, Bernie Sanders, said that we should wage a 
moral and political war against corporate leaders.
  The gentlewoman from New York, our colleague, Ms. Ocasio-Cortez, 
called capitalism, ``irredeemable.''
  These arrogant attitudes of our Nation's elected representatives 
threaten the very principles of limited government and individual 
freedom on which

[[Page H10008]]

our country was founded, and they compromise the path to prosperity 
that a capitalist system creates.
  Tonight, Mr. Speaker, we will explore the extent to which socialism 
destroys freedom and crushes the human soul, and we will examine how 
socialism, far from delivering on its promise to help people struggling 
in poverty, that socialism itself produces poverty. It produces famine 
and misery and corruption.
  And we will also, on the flip side, in contrast, we will examine 
capitalism and how free enterprise and the benefits that it creates 
helps individuals and businesses thrive, how it is the American Dream 
and how pro-growth, free and fair market policies beget innovation, 
opportunity, and prosperity.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield to my colleagues, beginning with the gentleman 
from Louisiana (Mr. Johnson), my friend and the chairman of the 
Republican Study Committee, a champion of free enterprise and a proud 
opponent of socialism.
  Mr. JOHNSON of Louisiana. I truly thank my friend, Congressman Barr, 
for hosting this Special Order. I applaud the sentiments that he just 
shared. I associate myself with them and the conviction that he has. I 
certainly share it, and I know so many of my colleagues, at least on 
this side of the aisle, do as well.
  In 1923, there was an average, middle-class family man named Roy Otis 
Martin, who bought a rundown lumber mill in Alexandria, Louisiana. He 
worked hard. He established it, he expanded it. He ultimately 
transformed it into one of the largest economic generators for our 
  This is what makes America great. This is true freedom. This is real 
opportunity. And it is a story that has been repeated so many countless 
times throughout our Nation's rich history. However, many Americans, 
particularly our younger generation, seem to be losing hold of these 
  There was a survey that just came out this past March; we all 
lamented the findings: 49.6 percent--almost 50 percent--of millennials 
and members of Generation Z responded to this poll and said that they 
would, ``prefer living in a socialist country.'' It is shocking.
  Just last month, there was another poll that came out. It found that 
70 percent of millennials say they are likely to vote socialist; 15 
percent of millennials think the world would be a better place if the 
Soviet Union still existed. Only 57 percent of millennials believe the 
Declaration of Independence better guarantees freedom and equality over 
the Communist Manifesto. These are just shocking numbers, and they are 
really frightening, because it is this mindset that is the antithesis 
of everything that our Founders fought for.
  What do we stand for in America? We stand for core American 
principles, the principles of individual freedom and limited government 
and the rule of law; things like peace through strength, fiscal 
responsibility, free markets, and human dignity. And those are all of 
the values that socialism steamrolls. Those are the ideals that this 
country was founded on, and they have to remain the foundation for 
everything we do because it is central to our identity.
  Unfortunately, now more than ever, there is this false message that 
has taken root, one that says government is better, that more 
government is even greater. Most of those running for President in 2020 
on the Democrat side of the aisle are promising free healthcare and 
free education, and some are going as far as actually promising free 
money to every American on a monthly basis for those who put their 
trust in the government.

  The problem is, the government was never intended to be our savior. 
Our Founding Fathers built this Republic on strong convictions that 
every American is entitled to individual freedom and they should never 
be controlled or owned or dictated to by the government. In fact, 
Thomas Jefferson said the following during his first inaugural address:
  ``What more is necessary to make us happy and a prosperous people? 
Still one thing more, fellow citizens--a wise and frugal government, 
which shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them 
otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and 
improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it 
has earned.''
  There are two competing visions for America today, and that is the 
bottom line. The contrast is becoming ever more crystal clear. You 
simply cannot be for individual freedom and liberty and also be for 
socialism. Those are mutually exclusive pursuits. You simply can't have 
  Socialism is the antithesis of everything we stand for in America, 
beginning with our national motto, inscribed right there above the 
Speaker's head.
  Do you know that socialists sneer at the motto ``In God we trust?'' 
You know why? Because as social Democrat-turned Communist hero and 
Soviet Union Premier, Vladimir Lenin, explained in 1905, this is what 
he wrote: ``There is nothing more abominable than religion.'' Every 
socialist is, as a rule, an atheist.
  But now is the time for us to articulate with clarity, conviction, 
and consistency exactly what our Founders stood for, what America is 
for, who we are, and why we are exceptional.
  I close by just thanking, again, the gentleman from Kentucky for 
putting this Special Order together at such a critical hour in our 
Nation's history.
  And we will continue to fight wholeheartedly against socialism, so 
that all Americans can have the same opportunity that our forefathers 
had to turn lumber mills into legacies.
  Mr. BARR. Mr. Speaker, I thank my friend, the gentleman from 
Louisiana for that stirring story, and I appreciate what he had to say. 
Every generation in America has had to fight for freedom and fight for 
free enterprise.
  And I am reminded by a couple generations after the Founding Fathers 
when our 16th President, Abraham Lincoln, in fighting for capitalism 
freedom said this:

       You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich. You cannot 
     strengthen the weak by weakening the strong. You cannot bring 
     about prosperity by discouraging thrift. You cannot lift the 
     wage earner up by pulling the wage payer down. You cannot 
     further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred. You 
     cannot build character and courage by taking away people's 
     initiative and independence. You cannot help people 
     permanently by doing for them what they could and should do 
     for themselves. Abraham Lincoln.

  And now, I yield to the gentleman from Virginia (Mr. Wittman), my 
friend from the Commonwealth and a great patriot.
  Mr. WITTMAN. I thank the gentleman from Kentucky for his stout and 
devout effort to highlight the differences between socialism and 
  Just as you have heard, this really is a stark difference. It really 
is about what was this Nation founded upon. What was it that our 
Founding Fathers had in mind that was so important to who we are? What 
were they doing to escape other systems of government to come here to 
create what has been and will continue to be the most accommodating and 
perfect form of government ever created? And why has it survived longer 
than any other form of government?
  It is because it highlights and allows the human spirit to prevail in 
all situations. And if you look at just what the definition of 
socialism is, it does, I think--for anybody out there who looks at 
this--it does give them pause.
  If you look at Merriam-Webster, the definition of socialism is: ``Any 
of various economic and political theories advocating collective or 
governmental ownership and administration of the means of production 
and distribution of goods.''
  So rather than an individual saying: Hey, listen, I have got an idea. 
I am willing to risk my resources. I am willing to put everything I 
have into this to succeed under a system of capitalism. Under a system 
of socialism it would be: No, no, no, sorry. The government is going to 
be in control of this, and if the government sees this as a good thing, 
then it will allow it to go forward.
  Another definition: ``A system of society or group living in which 
there is no private property.''
  Think about that. I want everybody out there to think about this, 
millennials and otherwise, a system where there is no private property.
  Think about what your life would be if there were no private 
property--your home, your automobile, all this idea of collectivism is 
the underpinnings of socialism.

[[Page H10009]]

  Another definition: ``A system or condition of society in which the 
means of production are owned and controlled by the State.''
  So if you have a business and you are very good at what you do, just 
as Mr. Johnson pointed out, that business in Louisiana that the man was 
very good at building a company that met the needs of folks that needed 
building supplies. Sorry, if it is under socialism, the production 
there at that company is going to be controlled and owned by the State.
  Now, think about that. Think about those elements and what has made 
this Nation great. This Nation has not been made great by having things 
under government control. It is the innovation, it is the creation, it 
is the willingness to take risks by individuals across this Nation that 
have provided for the Nation we are today, and I believe it is the 
greatest provider of human needs. In fact, our system of capitalism 
which operates in a free market system, in what we know as the free 
enterprise system, is the most productive supplier of human needs and 
economic justice.

  You hear a lot today about economic justice. Oh, my gosh, there has 
to be economic justice. Economic justice is provided by the will and 
creativity of individuals in being able to pursue what falls within 
their realm of talents. How can they take what they have as 
individuals, whether it is resources or talents and make the most of 
those? That is what has made our Nation great. That is the system of 
government that beyond all others has shown through history to be 
extraordinarily successful.
  It has made us the Nation we are today. And it is our job as 
legislators to point that out, to make sure we enable this system of 
government to do even more. We look at our economy today, and we 
understand that government needs to get out of the way. Government 
needs to be an enabler, government needs to make sure that we allow for 
the creativity and innovation that again makes this Nation great. It is 
our job to encourage those businesses to thrive instead of subjecting 
them to additional regulations.
  You know the element of deregulation has been phenomenal. And if you 
talk to businesses today, they love it because they say, Listen, you 
unleash that entrepreneurial spirit. You unleash the willingness for us 
to take a risk. You unleash us being innovators and creators and doing 
things that otherwise wouldn't be possible under a system of socialism.
  We just saw here recently the jobs report. We have a record 
unemployment rate being at record low levels. We look at employment in 
all sectors of our society being at record highs. We look at wage 
growth increasing--all of those things happening under our system of 
free enterprise.
  I will go to Virginia and look at what is happening in Virginia. 
Virginia was named as one of the top places to do business in 2019, and 
it is because the State legislature has enabled businesses to prosper.

                              {time}  1830

  They have created the right mix of leveling the playing field through 
regulation for businesses, not being over regulatory but making sure 
that we create a fair and level playing field. That is, indeed, the 
role of government.
  That will not happen under a system of socialism where a government 
is in complete control. That is counter to what made our Nation great.
  We know that the proposals being made by the other side that espouse 
these elements and underpinnings of socialism include things like 
Medicare for All, which is a taxpayer-funded, government-run healthcare 
system that, by conservative estimate, would cost tens of trillions of 
dollars and would force 158 million Americans off their private or 
employer-based healthcare plans.
  As I talked to folks, they said, ``Listen, give me the choice. I want 
that individual liberty and freedom,'' that which comes to them under 
our Constitution. They want to be able to choose. They don't want the 
government in control. Yet, under socialism, the government is in 
  Other measures that include the Green New Deal and a plan to require 
taxpayers to subsidize Federal elections put the government in control, 
the government in the driver's seat.
  So, the ability to self-determine, the ability to say, ``Listen, 
there are some things that I can do if the government would just make 
sure that, in the regulatory realm, they level the playing field, make 
sure they don't take too much of what I earn in order to run the 
government,'' so that they can, indeed, be successful.
  Those are the underpinnings of a successful government, a successful 
system of free enterprise, a system of capitalism that provides for the 
needs of citizens of our Nation.
  The Green New Deal would dictate what Americans can eat and where 
they can travel and how they can power their homes and what they can do 
to make a living and what they can buy and so much more. It controls 
  Again, the idea under the Green New Deal is the government is in 
  Let me tell you, if we are going to be a nation where we have energy 
independence, where we look at having cleaner air, where we look at 
making sure that we do things that are environmentally responsible, it 
is unleashing the innovation and creation that comes to us under a 
system of free enterprise that will do more than, I argue, any 
government-dictated system.
  So the Green New Deal, saying government is going to mandate this and 
mandate that, actually, I think, takes us longer to get to the place 
where we need to be to make sure that our environment is clean and we 
are doing the best job possible in using our energy resources.
  In total, the cost to the taxpayer is unbelievable: $93 trillion, or 
$600,000 per family, across the Nation. That is not the highest and 
best provider of human needs, and I understand human needs.
  Socialism threatens to destroy the very foundation of our great 
Republic, the foundation that men and women, since our birth, have 
fought and died for, that idea. That idea that has made our Nation 
great and will continue to make our Nation great is an idea about 
individual liberties and freedoms, that is, unleashing the power of 
individuals to pursue their dreams, to take their innovative and 
creative skills and do more.
  And they have made this Nation what it is today. It is through this 
capitalist idea of limited government, of limited regulation, of 
unlimited opportunity that creates economic prosperity.
  As all of us look at where this Nation goes, we ought to be looking 
at enabling individuals, and the system of capitalism does that.
  Our Constitution, the greatest governing document ever put together, 
is the roadmap for that continued greatness. You won't find anywhere in 
the Declaration of Independence, anywhere in our U.S. Constitution any 
mention of any principle of socialism.
  You will find throughout that, though, preserving individual 
liberties and freedoms, making sure that we are meeting the needs of 
individuals and making sure the government is there to protect those 
individual liberties and freedoms that we received from our Creator.
  That is what has made our Nation great. That is what will continue to 
make it great. That is what we all need to make sure that we 
communicate so that we can continue what is and will continue to be the 
greatest Nation the world has ever known.
  I thank Mr. Barr so much for the opportunity this evening to speak 
about what truly is a contrast between the principles of our Republic 
that operates within a democracy, that system of capitalism versus 
socialism, and why we know it has made and will continue to make this 
Nation great.
  Mr. BARR. I thank my friend from Virginia for his passionate defense 
of free enterprise and illuminating the true cost of socialism, and not 
just the $93 trillion price tag that he mentioned, but the true cost, 
which is the cost of our very freedom by empowering government at the 
expense of the people.
  At this time, to continue our discussion, Mr. Speaker, I would like 
to recognize a true capitalist. Who better to defend the system of 
capitalism than a man who is, himself, a businessman, an entrepreneur, 
a risk-taker, a capitalist: my good friend and a terrific member of the 
Financial Services Committee, Congressman Roger Williams.

[[Page H10010]]

  Mr. Speaker, I yield to the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Williams).
  Mr. WILLIAMS. Mr. Speaker, I thank Mr. Barr for yielding time to me 
and for being here today with us so we can talk about what really makes 
this country so great.
  I rise today to make the case against socialism because it is not 
compatible with freedom. If you have got it, they want it. Socialists 
want the free stuff; capitalists want the good stuff.
  Let's look back in history at the divide between those who destroyed 
human potential and those who empowered others to stand on their own 
feet and make a difference.

  I have created an all-star team tonight. On the socialist all-star 
team, you will recognize names like Vladimir Lenin, Karl Marx, Hugo 
Chavez, and Fidel Castro, all proponents of socialism who promised 
their people would be provided for if small amounts of individual 
liberty were forfeited.
  Instead, they left men, women, and children starving in the streets 
and stuffed their pockets with money from other people. These failed 
socialist regimes drove their countries into the ground, some of which 
have never recovered.
  On the capitalist all-star team, you will recognize names like Adam 
Smith, Ronald Reagan, George Bush, Jack Kemp, Henry Ford, and Donald 
Trump, all proponents of capitalism who promoted the ideas of 
individual responsibility and free enterprise.
  Now, this team recognized that what sets America apart from the rest 
of the world is the drive to reach our fullest potential, coupled with 
a free-market economy.
  Risk and reward are a big deal to capitalists. They want a hand up. 
Guarantees are a big deal to socialists. They want a handout.
  Capitalism is about taking responsibility for what you create and 
making it even greater. We are a nation of opportunity and incentive, 
and because of those principles, we are a nation of hope, where 
everyone can benefit.
  Capitalists believe in individual integrity and the dignity of 
reaping reward from hard work. It is the greatest force in the history 
of our world for lifting people out of poverty, and we must instill 
this value in future generations.
  Now, the version of shiny, progressive socialism that we see touted 
by Democrats promises equality and prosperity. They sell these lies to 
everyone, that everyone can succeed if there is a central power 
regulating fairness. Well, that central power, remember, runs Amtrak 
and it runs the post office.
  Now, fairness could not be further from the truth. The government 
should never, ever be in the business of picking winners and picking 
  I serve on the Financial Services Committee, and I ask most witnesses 
who testify before us if they are a socialist or a capitalist.
  Mr. Speaker, can you guess the results?
  They are, overwhelmingly, capitalists because, under capitalism, 
individuals own their work because they are incentivized by greater 
gain. It is a system that rewards innovation because it maintains 
demand for the best products and demand for the best price. These 
ideals translate into the core of the American economy.
  Capitalism is the American Dream; socialism is the American scheme.
  Neighbor-owned businesses like bakeries, coffee shops, florists, auto 
repair stores, and boutiques are the lifeblood of our communities. In 
short, they are simply called Main Street America. And it was built by 
men and women who wanted to reach for more because, at the end of the 
day, we inherently possess a desire to dream bigger and to dream 
  Socialism doesn't work in our small towns. What is happening in 
Caracas, Venezuela, is not what we want in Cleburne, Texas.
  In the end, socialism fails because it is based on the false promise 
of certainty. It is a failed system because it is unable to excite the 
human spirit.
  The bottom line is it is a downer. It is a total loser. America will 
never be a socialist country because the fabric of our Nation is soaked 
in the moral imperatives of responsibility, pride, and discipline.
  In closing, I want to ask this body and the millions of people we 
represent: Which team do you want to be on? Do you want to be on Ronald 
Reagan's team, or do you want to be on Fidel Castro's team?
  Let's take the days on, not take the days off.
  May God bless Texas, my State, and may God continue to bless the land 
of opportunity, the greatest land in the world, the one we love to call 
home, the United States of America.
  Mr. BARR. Mr. Speaker, I thank my friend from Texas for his terrific 
statement in defense of the American Dream and capitalism and freedom.
  Mr. Speaker, if I could inquire how much time I have remaining.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentleman from Kentucky has 25 minutes 
  Mr. BARR. Mr. Speaker, at this time, I would like to recommend a true 
patriot to his country; a veteran who has served his country; a man, 
quite frankly, who has fought communism and socialism in Southeast 
Asia; a great American hero from the great Hoosier State of Indiana, 
Congressman  Jim Baird.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield to the gentleman from Indiana (Mr. Baird).
  Mr. BAIRD. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for the opportunity to 
express my thoughts about the rising trend in socialism.
  We have seen the effects of socialism, and you need not look very far 
to see the disastrous results that socialism has brought to countries 
across the globe.
  From the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 to the political and 
humanitarian crisis unfolding in Venezuela, socialism has brought about 
mass suffering, human rights violations, and rampant corruption. No 
other form of government has brought about such tragic results.
  Capitalism has stood the test of time, fueled by individual freedom 
and free market competition. The United States has flourished because 
of capitalism, becoming the world's largest economy and providing 
economic opportunity for hundreds of millions of citizens.
  We must stand for capitalism. Without it, humanity will recede and 
our progress will slow.
  I call your attention to the thousands of men and women who have 
served in uniform and some who gave all in an effort to protect the 
freedoms that we enjoy.
  Mr. Speaker, I never thought that I would feel the need to speak out 
against socialism before this great body, but I will do so so that 
generations to come will enjoy the same opportunities for prosperity 
that my generation was afforded.

  I thank the gentleman again for this opportunity.
  Mr. BARR. Mr. Speaker, I want to personally thank the Congressman and 
millions of Americans of his generation and those servicemen and -women 
who answered the call and served their country and fought to defend our 
freedom. Future generations of Americans are eternally grateful for his 
service and sacrifice.
  Mr. Speaker, at this time, I look forward to hearing from my good 
friend from the State of Texas, Congressman Jodey Arrington, who, once 
again, joins us in defense of freedom and traditional American values 
of limited government and free enterprise and stands firmly in 
opposition to the bankruptcy of socialism.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield to the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Arrington).
  Mr. ARRINGTON. Mr. Speaker, I thank my dear friend from the 
Commonwealth of Kentucky, a stalwart when it comes to freedom, a 
champion of free people, free States, and free markets. And I 
appreciate my dear friend for hosting this very important and timely 
discussion to articulate the virtue and the values of freedom.
  It is hard to believe we can stand in this great Chamber with any 
need to distinguish between a free system and a free country and what 
happens when you lose those freedoms.

                              {time}  1845

  America is the most powerful, most prosperous, and most generous 
nation in the world, and it is because America is the freest nation in 
the history of the world and on the face of the planet. The quickest 
way for America to lose her shine, her brilliance, her exceptionalism 
is for her to lose her freedoms.
  Mr. Speaker, when our Founding Fathers were framing the more perfect

[[Page H10011]]

union, they made the central determination that our constitutional 
Republic would limit the Federal Government's role in our lives. They 
believed that if they limited government, they would unleash the 
limitless potential of the American people, free people created in the 
image of God.
  While we recognize the challenges of our fallen human condition in 
any system of government, nothing has been a greater force for good, 
save and except the love of God, than freedom. Indeed, nothing has 
elevated and empowered the human spirit in this country and across the 
globe like the free enterprise system. Over the course of the 20th 
century, we can see the profound impact of free markets on the lives of 
  In 1900, the average life expectancy of Americans was 47 years. By 
the end of the century, it was 78 years.
  At the beginning of the 20th century, 56 percent of American families 
were considered poor, but by 1967, before the expansion of the American 
welfare state through the Great Society programs, the number of 
American families considered poor was only 13 percent.
  I would also insert there that we have spent trillions of dollars 
since the advent of Big Government welfare programs, well-intended, of 
course, over $20 trillion since the 1960s. We spend 16 times today what 
we spent in the 1960s on welfare programs, and we haven't moved the 
needle a bit. The poverty rate is the same.
  If we look at the 20th century alone, we can see that free markets 
have given Americans the most opportunities, the highest standard of 
living, and the best quality of life anywhere in the world.
  Contrast this with Venezuela, previously one of the wealthiest 
nations in the hemisphere, blessed with an abundance of oil and gas 
reserves, which is the basis of their economic prosperity. Today, 82 
percent of Venezuelans live in poverty, thanks to the legacy of 
socialist policies implemented by the late dictator Hugo Chavez and his 
successor Nicolas Maduro.
  Contrast that with what we have been doing recently with President 
Trump over the last few years and in my first term in the 115th 
Congress. We have promoted freedom, freer markets, and fairer trade. We 
have put in place progrowth, free market policies that have unleashed 
even greater economic potential of these United States. We have seen 
historic unemployment rates, historic wage increases. We have seen 
trillions of dollars in wealth created in the stock markets for those 
who need pensions and 401(k)'s, for folks saving for retirement.
  The list is long, but the message is that if you get off the backs 
and out of the way of our entrepreneurs, our innovators, our risk-
takers, they will do what they do best, and that is create 
  But all of these opportunities, this record growth, and these 
benefits for American families are at risk. Our country, my dear 
friend, Mr. Barr, is at an ideological inflection point. We can 
continue to build on the success and prosperity from free markets, or 
we can go down the road to serfdom that you mentioned.
  I don't think we need to look any further than the poll that Mr. 
Johnson mentioned where 7 in 10 millennials are ``somewhat or extremely 
likely to vote for a socialist candidate.'' Eighty million strong, and 
70 percent of the generation that will make up the largest voting bloc 
in the next election is leaning toward voting for a socialist, not in 
Cuba or in Venezuela, right here in the United States of America.
  John Adams told us: You will never know how much it cost my 
generation to preserve your freedom. I hope you will make good use of 
  Folks, right now, we are in grave danger of forsaking the freedoms 
for which our Founders fought if we go down this ruinous road of 
socialism. The choice we make as Americans will determine our Nation's 
identity for the remainder of the 21st century. It is a choice between 
whether our future will be forged by freedom and faith both in God and 
in our founding principles, or whether we are going to submit to the 
rise of socialism and the tyranny of Big Government.
  We have to be vigilant and do everything in our power to ensure the 
arc of the future bends toward freedom, not government control over 
every aspect of our lives. Only if we do this, only if we protect these 
precious freedoms, will we give our children and grandchildren the 
freedoms and opportunities that every generation of Americans has 
  I thank Mr. Barr for the opportunity to join in this Special Order. I 
thank him for his intentionality to bring this topic for discussion and 
for including me.
  Mr. BARR. Mr. Speaker, I thank my friend from the great State of 
Texas for his vigorous defense of freedom, limited government, and 
capitalism. I certainly appreciate his words and his friendship.
  Mr. Speaker, may I inquire as to how much remaining time I have.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentleman from Kentucky has 16 minutes.
  Mr. BARR. Mr. Speaker, in the remaining time I have, I want to 
address a couple of additional topics, one of which is that the 
defenders of socialism and those who are trying to infect a new 
generation with the lie of socialism, that it is somehow good for the 
poor and that it is a system that is targeted to help the poor, this is 
the greatest, perhaps, of all the lies of socialism.
  We talked about the lie of socialism, that it could possibly be 
democratic. We talked about how it is totally incompatible with 
democracy. We talked about how it is incompatible with a free society. 
But so many of the proponents of socialism and central planning say 
that we need to address income inequality, that we need more equality, 
more social justice.
  As an author recently pointed out, socialism has been terrible at 
helping the poor. It has been terrible at helping women advance. It has 
been terrible for civil liberties. It has been terrible at helping the 
environment. It has been terrible at attracting immigrants. It has been 
terrible at tolerating and protecting minorities. It has been terrible 
at fostering technology, architecture, and art. It has been terrible at 
producing agriculture. Worst of all, it has been terrible at sharing 
power and resources.

  Indeed, it has done precisely the opposite, creating new ruling 
classes that are far less adept, far less responsive, and far less 
responsible than the ones they replaced.
  Socialism is good at distributing poverty, sharing poverty, creating 
and producing poverty. It is the worst possible solution to curing 
  My friend from Texas made an allusion to Venezuela and how good of an 
example that is to illustrate the moral bankruptcy of socialism when 
actually put into practice.
  The Venezuelan President is now a ruthless dictator who has cracked 
down on free speech, prohibited mass political protests, and 
confiscated firearms from anyone who is even remotely critical of him. 
Thirteen percent of the country's population has now fled. Those who 
have remained have been left so degraded by the government's price 
controls that they have gone years without toilet paper, meat, and 
other basic necessities and, as a consequence, have taken to eating zoo 
animals for sustenance and scouring garbage bags for supplies.
  According to the Pharmaceutical Federation of Venezuela, the country 
is suffering through an 85 percent medicine shortage and a 90 percent 
shortage of basic medical supplies. The child mortality rate has 
increased 140 percent.
  Ninety percent of Venezuelans now live in poverty. This year, the IMF 
predicts inflation will hit 10 million percent. All of this is in a 
country with the world's largest oil supplies, reserves greater than 
those of the United States by a factor of 10.
  Mr. Speaker, Venezuela is the classic example of how socialism 
doesn't cure poverty. Socialism produces gut-wrenching poverty, misery, 
deprivation, and shortages, in addition to the lack of liberty that it 
affords its subjects.
  I am certain that my colleagues on the other side, even those who 
profess an allegiance to socialism, share our goal of lifting up those 
who are struggling and providing them with security and with an 
opportunity to live happy, healthy, and prosperous lives.
  Those who say they want Medicare for All because they care about the 
health of people or they want the Green New Deal because they believe 

[[Page H10012]]

an environment worthy of our children, I don't question the sincerity. 
What I fear from my colleagues who advocate these disastrous policies 
is that they do not fully comprehend that the means they are asking the 
government to employ to achieve those goals will produce the 
deprivation, the environmental degradation, and the poverty which they 
believe can be cured by disrupting market forces.
  Indeed, the central planners believe prosperity is best achieved 
through government intrusion into the market, socialization of 
industries, and a redistributive model that disincentivizes personal 
achievement and responsibility.
  But tonight, we, the Republican Study Committee, come together in 
this debate to express that we believe that the best way to achieve 
economic security and prosperity is to expand opportunities, allow 
innovation to thrive, and create an environment where hard work pays 
off. It is not about giving each person an equal piece of the pie. It 
is about growing the pie as much possible so that more people may 
  A growing economy that produces a strong labor market is the best way 
to lift up people. This administration's current progrowth economic 
policies continue to produce blockbuster job creation, higher wages, 
strong economic growth, and upward mobility, the American Dream.
  Last week, we saw another string of positive jobs reports, with 
unemployment falling to 3.5 percent, a 50-year low. Unemployment for 
African American males is at a 50-year low of 5.1 percent, and wages 
continue to grow.
  In every category of demographics, people are doing better because 
they have been liberated through policies that unleash the creative 
spirit of the American people and free enterprise.
  If you care about the poor, if you really care about solving poverty, 
consider the words of Catholic Priest Robert Sirico, the president and 
cofounder of the Acton Institute. He sums it up nicely in his book 
``Defending the Free Market: The Moral Case for a Free Economy.'' If 
you want to help the poor, he says, start a business.
  Employ people. Give them a job. Allow them to achieve their God-given 
potential by learning that work means an opportunity for them to 
realize their God-given potential and help other people through their 
own labor and their own creativity.
  Free markets not only increase economic prosperity in general, but 
they also provide better standards of living. This concept applies in 
the United States and in jurisdictions around the world.
  There is data to support this idea. Each year, the Cato Institute and 
the Fraser Institute in Canada copublish, in coordination with 70 think 
thanks across the world, the ``Economic Freedom of the World'' report. 
The report measures economic freedom via five metrics: the size of 
government, the legal system and property rights, the soundness of 
money, the freedom to trade internationally, and the amount of 
  The United States ranks in the top five countries for economic 
freedom while Venezuela ranks dead last. The most recent report finds 
that the nations in the top quartile of economic freedom had an average 
per capita GDP of $36,000 in 2017, compared to $6,000 for bottom 
quartile nations.
  The poorest 10 percent of citizens in the most economically free 
nations actually have an income that is two-thirds higher than the 
average income in the least free nations. In the top quartile of 
economically free nations, 1.8 percent of the population experiences 
extreme poverty, compared to 27.2 percent in the least free nations.
  If you want to cure poverty, unleash free enterprise.
  The benefits of economic freedom do not just apply to wage and 
employment metrics. Life expectancy in the most economically free 
nations is 14 years longer than the least economically free nations, 
and infant mortality is significantly lower.
  Medicare for All, is that what you are for? Because if you are for 
health, you should be for capitalism.

                              {time}  1900

  The report also finds that gender equality and political and civil 
liberties are much higher in nations with high economic freedom than in 
nations with low economic freedom.
  The ill effects of socialism and their impact on the people subjected 
to it are evident in country after country. Venezuela is the example 
that I just gave, but there are other examples as well.
  We probably don't have time to go through all of these examples, but 
I do want to just say that it was Winston Churchill who famously said: 
``Those who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat it.''
  That is why, as we debate the merits of capitalism versus socialism 
in our political discourse today, it is important that we remember 
history, that we look to past actions of other countries and study 
their results.
  I wanted to get to three case examples--the United Kingdom, India, 
and Israel--to show their experience with socialism and how disastrous 
it was for their people, and, when they changed course and they 
embraced capitalism and freedom, the prosperity that it delivered. We 
will get to that on another evening.
  But suffice it to say that, when you have market-based incentives 
where you have, by and large, free trade, where you have low 
regulation, where you have less taxes, where you have people who are 
able to achieve their potential without undue interference from the 
government, where you have market forces, you produce more, you become 
more productive, and you provide for people who need assistance.
  The U.S. economy today remains a shining example of how opportunity 
and ingenuity in a market-based economy with appropriately tailored 
regulation can drive prosperity for its citizens.
  As we said before, unemployment is at a 50-year low. Why would we 
want to abandon free market economics at a time when the country is 
benefiting from it?
  Industries from technology to energy, to manufacturing, to services, 
they are booming. We are the leaders in innovation. We have an economy 
that draws people from around the world who hope to make a better life 
for themselves.
  I will return to the wisdom of Austrian-British economist F. A. Hayek 
when he said, in a famous warning, that political liberty is not 
enough: ``Even a strong tradition of political liberty is no safeguard 
if the danger is precisely that new institutions and policies will 
gradually undermine and destroy that spirit. The consequences can of 
course be averted if that spirit reasserts itself in time and the 
people not only throw out the party which has been leading them further 
and further in the dangerous direction but also recognize the nature of 
the danger and resolutely change their course.''
  What that warning says, what he means by that warning is it may not 
come in the full-on proposal of socialism; it may come in incremental 
form. But we must abandon those parties that are leading us further and 
further down the road of serfdom in the dangerous direction away from 
freedom and more towards central planning, reject it and move back 
towards freedom.
  Alexis de Tocqueville, when he observed early America, warned of the 
modern welfare state: In a nation that prides itself upon the idea that 
the people are sovereign, isn't it sad that the modern American left 
wishes to deprive the people of that very sovereignty--of that very 
self-government upon which this Nation was founded--and instead impose 
upon the people an insidious form of servitude to bureaucratic rules 
upon rules governing their every action and behavior, so much so until 
the will of the individual is shattered, constantly restrained from 
acting as he or she normally would in a free state, until the people 
are reduced to ``a flock of timid and industrial animals, of which the 
government is the shepherd.''
  Mr. Speaker, I don't think any of us want to go down that road to 
serfdom. I don't think any of us want to stamp out the freedom and the 
self-government, the idea that we remain and must continue to be a 
government only through the consent of the governed.
  Tonight, my colleagues and I are defending freedom, defending 
capitalism, defending free enterprise, defending entrepreneurship, and 
opposing, vigorously, the corrupt and immoral idea of socialism.
  Mr. Speaker, we appeal to the good sense of the American people at 

[[Page H10013]]

time in our Nation's history. We appeal to the people that now is the 
time to reassert the spirit of liberty; to throw out the party of 
socialism and central planning, the party which is leading America 
further and further in a dangerous direction with policies like 
Medicare for All and the Green New Deal; to recognize the danger, and 
to resolutely change their course to embrace the cause of freedom and 
free enterprise.
  And, Mr. Speaker, for anyone who knows any American who is tempted by 
the lies of socialism, I ask that they share with them this debate 
tonight, share with them the truth, share with them the truth that 
freedom and capitalism is the answer to democracy; it is the answer to 
upward mobility; it is the answer to poverty; it is the answer to soul-
crushing deprivation and shortages, that the true way to care for those 
who are less fortunate is to give people opportunity and freedom to 
achieve their God-given potential.
  Mr. Speaker, with that, we contend that we will continue this debate 
until we secure for our children and our posterity the blessings of 
  Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.