Addressing issues of economic responsibility and big government, Reps. Ron Paul, R-Texas and Michele Bachmann, R-Minn. spoke at a student town hall meeting in Northrop Auditorium Friday night to an audience of more than 600 people.
Bachmann and Paul highlighted the war on drugs, income tax and the government’s interference with the free market as policies that need to be changed in the United States.
The date of the speech coincided with the introduction of a bill Paul sponsored in the U.S. House Committee on Financial Services.
The bill, the Federal Reserve Transparency Act , calls for an audit of the U.S. Federal Reserve to be completed by the end of 2010.
With wide-spread support including 271 co-sponsors, the bill calls for an end to the secrecy surrounding the acts of the Federal Reserve.
“Today, Ron Paul achieved a 26-year dream,” Bachmann said.
Both Bachmann and Paul blamed the Federal Reserve for the collapse of the dollar, citing its ability to print money without accountability.
“You can’t just print dollars,” Paul said.
Conservative groups, including Young Americans for Liberty and the College Republicans sponsored the event.
Minnesota College Republicans Chairman Abdul Magba-Kamara said Minnesota’s 5th and 6th Congressional districts have a strong Ron Paul following.
Chris Huxtable , president of Young Americans for Liberty – known as Students for Ron Paul during his 2008 presidential campaign – emphasized the importance of presenting opposing views on a campus like the University of Minnesota, which he views as liberal.
“It’s good to have rallies and events like this because they give people energy and something to look forward to,” he said. “If times seem dark, there is a hope for freedom and Ron Paul is the movement.”
Paul said the federal government does not have the right to tax a person’s income or dictate the way in which people live their private lives. He said it is the citizens’ duty to protect themselves from big government.
“The good patriot sticks with the people and questions the government,” Paul said.
He addressed the government’s use of fear to push its own agenda, pointing at the PATRIOT Act , the recent bailout and the wars in the Middle East.
Bachmann said today’s economic issues will be handed to the next generation to fix.
Following the speeches, which were met with both positive and negative outbursts from the crowd, there was a question and answer period. Most questions centered on the current health care reform debate.
Bachmann and Paul stated succinctly their belief that health care is not a right.
Karen Zaklika , 61, of St. Paul said she attended the event to show support for a public health care option. She said she would have liked to hear more of their stances.
Zach Holmquist , a sophomore English major, said the speakers did not need to talk more about the subject because that statement summed it up.
When Bachmann posed a question to the audience about whether they wanted health care under a system like those in the United Kingdom or the Soviet Union , those in the audience who, like Zaklika, support universal health care shouted, “Yes!”
Bachmann mentioned the Soviet Union’s health care system several times Friday in present tense – the Soviet Union collapsed in the early 1990s.
Despite naysayers, the event raised excitement in furthering a belief in individual freedom. Organizers said this will help gain more support for Ron Paul.
“It’s important that we understand that we have not gained a lot in Washington yet,” Paul said. “We have a long way to go, but we’re making progress.”
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