United States House of Representatives
Remembering Jack Kemp
May 7, 2009
Madam Speaker, I support H.Res. 401, which honors the legacy of former Representative Jack Kemp. I became friends with Jack when we served together in the House of Representatives from 1976 to 1985. Our friendship was based on our shared conviction that low taxes and sound monetary policy are essential to liberty and prosperity.
Jack is probably best known for the key role he played in the “supply side revolution” that led to the tax rate reductions of the early eighties. However, what I most remember about Jack was that he was one of the few politicians I have met who understood how fiat money harms Americans. Jack was passionate about reforming monetary policy so America would again have, as Jack memorably put it, a “dollar as good as gold.” It was largely due to Jack’s efforts that the Republican Party platform of 1980 endorsed a return to the gold standard. Jack’s support was instrumental in me being named to the U.S. Gold Commission in 1982. While I was not always in total agreement with Jack’s views on monetary policy, I always appreciated his interest in the issue.
In his later years, Jack was critical of the idea that the best way to promote human liberty was through an aggressively militaristic foreign policy. In his 1996 campaign for Vice President, Jack attacked the Clinton Administration’s aggressive foreign policy, famously quipping that the United States government should not “bomb before breakfast.” In my last conversation with Jack, he shared with me his opposition to the Iraq war.
In conclusion, I urge my colleagues to support H.Res. 401 and honor the best of Jack Kemp’s legacy by working for low taxes, sound money, and a sensible foreign policy.