One of my favorite Ron Paul stories.
From the Congressional Record, U.S. House of Representatives, May 20, 1997.
RON PAUL: Mr. Speaker, I rise today in opposition to H. R. 1650. At the same time, I rise in total support of, and with complete respect for, the work of Mother Teresa, the Missionaries of Charity organization, and each of Mother Teresa’s Nobel Peace Prize-winning humanitarian efforts. I oppose the Gold Medal for Mother Teresa Act because appropriating $30,000 of taxpayer money is neither constitutional nor, in the spirit of Mother Teresa who dedicated her entire life to voluntary, charitable work, particularly humanitarian.
Because of my continuing and uncompromising opposition to appropriations not authorized within the enumerated powers of the Constitution, several of my colleagues found it amusing to question me personally as to whether, on this issue, I would maintain my resolve and commitment of the Constitution — a Constitution which, only months ago, each Member of Congress swore to uphold. In each of these instances, I offered to do a little more than uphold my constitutional oath.
In fact, as a means of demonstrating my personal regard and enthusiasm for the work of Mother Teresa, I invited each of my colleagues to match my private, personal contribution of $100 which, if accepted by the 435 Members of the House of Representatives, would more than satisfy the $30,000 cost necessary to mint and award a gold medal to the well-deserving Mother Teresa. To me, it seemed a particularly good opportunity to demonstrate ones genuine convictions by spending ones own money rather than that of the taxpayers who remain free to contribute, at their own discretion, to the work of Mother Teresa, and have consistently done so. For the record, not a single Representative who solicited my support for spending taxpayer’s money, was willing to contribute their own money to demonstrate the courage of their so-called convictions and generosity.
It is, of course, very easy to be generous with other people’s money.