Ron Paul on Real Time with Bill Maher

Channel: HBO
Show: Real Time
Host: Bill Maher
Date: 2/20/2009


Bill Maher: […] here is the 11th term U.S. Representative from Texas, 14th District, a former presidential candidate, you all know Congressman Ron Paul. Congressman, look at that, the economy is so bad you can’t afford a jacket.

Ron Paul: That’s right. They took it away from me. Maybe next year.

Bill Maher: So, Congressman. I wanted you on this first show because of course we’re spending a lot of money and you have always been the guy who stood up in Congress and said, “this is what’s going to be the death of us”. But my question to you I guess is, now that we’re in this fix, what is your alternative plan to spending a lot of money and how would that be better?

Ron Paul: Well the real problem is, that we need to do a lot less. We should be doing hardly anything in Washington. But politically that is unacceptable. But that’s the right thing to do, because when you develop a financial bubble and have too much investment and too much debt, and too much mal-investment, you have to liquidate it. In 1921 we had a severe depression; it was over in one year. A little bit later in the 30s we had another one but then the government decided to do all these things, bail everybody out. Exactly what we’re doing now and it prolonged the correction. So, it’s sad, but the whole thing is you should let these banks go bankrupt, you should let all the companies go bankrupt that overextended themselves. The politicians would feel like they’re, you know, not necessary. And they wouldn’t like that so they have to do something but everything they’re doing is wrong so far.

Bill Maher: But if that’s true why do so many economists say they should do the opposite?

Ron Paul: Well, you’re listening to the wrong economists if you think they’re serious. All Keynesians and socialists welfares would say you have to do something, but if you believe in the free market and if you understand the business cycle, the business cycle is caused by the Federal Reserve System, you know that you have to get rid of the mistakes that were built in the system. The real cause is created by the Federal Reserve, and yet very few people are even talking about the Federal Reserve.

Bill Maher: But isn’t the free market what got us into this situation? You know, it must be a hard pill for you to swallow because I know free capitalists like yourself hate socialism, but it’s this screwing up of the free market and capitalism that now has brought us socialism.

Ron Paul: Okay, now you touched on the most critical question ever in dealing with that.

Bill Maher: Thank you.

Ron Paul: But in the 30s they said the same thing, that capitalism and the gold standard caused our problems. It was an absolute false to it. It was the Federal Reserve and government intervention that caused it. Today, we haven’t had capitalism. We haven’t had capitalism. We’ve had too much regulation, too much spending, too much debt, too much inflation by the Federal Reserve. We weren’t even close to capitalism.

Bill Maher: But that’s in the past. I mean we’re in this fix now. My question to you is if we did nothing as you are proposing or even cut taxes and spending, give me a realistic estimation of what these countries would look like in 6 months, in a year, in 5 years.

Ron Paul: In 1 year, in 6 months and a year it would still be tough, but it would be over. But the way we’re going now it’s going to last for 15 years. That’s where the real problem is. But, the whole thing is, my argument won’t work unless you cut. And I say, you have to cut and balance the budget, but we’re spending $1 trillion on overseas maintenance of our empire. I say, bring all our troops home, quit spending this money, save hundreds of billions of dollars, cut the deficit, spend that money at home but you can’t keep printing money.

Bill Maher: Right. If you want to get serious we have to really get serious which would be, I agree, ending things like our overseas empire. What about, you know, when FDR came into office in ’33, one of the first things he did was repeal prohibition. He said we can’t afford this anymore. Well, we have prohibition in this country.

Ron Paul: That didn’t cause the depression.

Bill Maher: What’s that?

Ron Paul: That didn’t cause the depression.

Bill Maher: No, but when he was making radical changes. He said look, we’re serious now, we’re going to get serious and people like liquor. Well, in this country people like pot. If we ended that prohibition that would be a giant boon of money.

Ron Paul: Okay, I don’t like pot, but I hate the drug wars so I would repeal all the prohibitions, but I won’t even bother taxing it. I would just say that people have the right in a free country to make important decisions on their own lives. If they want to make mistakes, they can. They just can’t come crawling to the government to be bailed out or taken care of if they get sick. But I believe in freedom of choice in all that we do, as long as the individual never hurts anybody else. So that means I would get rid of the federal laws. I would dispose with the drug war. We’re spending tens if not hundreds of billions of dollars on this, then we march into places like California, override state laws, arrest sick people and put them in prisons. It makes no sense whatsoever.

Bill Maher: Amen, stoner. So, let me ask you. You say you don’t like pot, but, you know, it kind of ended up where you looked like you did. But, okay. So, the Republican Party is about as popular as peanut butter right now. And they are the ones who are arguing for this fiscal-conservative approach but you know, do you guys have any credibility? You’re the ones who ran up, you know, couple of wars on the credit card and drug entitlement thing for the Medicare. You know, that’s where the money goes. It seems like in my lifetime, Bush, the second Bush and Reagan, these were the guys who broke the budget. Clinton’s the one who left it okay. How did your party get to be the one who is preaching about fiscal-conservatism?

Ron Paul: Well, they preach it but they didn’t practice it. So they have absolutely no credibility. I hope I have a little bit. But you know, the democrats haven’t been in charge too long yet, but they’re going to lose credibility if they extend the war. What about sending 17,000 troops into Afghanistan. I mean, that’s not the way to have change. I want the troops all to come home. I don’t want to expand the war in Afghanistan. So we need to do that or you’ll lose the credibility too as all the democrats will.

Bill Maher: Right. I’m with you on that one. Thank you. Congressman Ron Paul everybody. Alright. Thank you very much.


  • lmdslam

    We are assuming that John maynard keyens economic ideals went into effect right away after the Great crash of 1929. Roosevelt finally “Primed the pump” fully in 1938, when monopolies were begging him to stop spending to create demand to save small business. There hasnt been a depression since. Long live Keyens saving the middleclass.

    • SS

      Oyeah, thanks for that infected bandage, JMKeynes

  • Tom

    Wow, Matt. You seem to post articles by our government and the Fed. Those are neutral documents, lol. You probably work for the government, a large bank, mortgage company, or Wall Street.

    I agree with one of your points. People who took out bad mortgages should not receive any taxpayer money. Banks and Wall Street firms should also not receive a dime. Let these people and companies fail. They made very bad choices and they should fail. Competent banks and firms will take their place. The new companies will create needed jobs and the market can function on it’s own. Never let governement including secret bankers of the Fed intervene in the free market. Otherwise, it’s not a free market genius. How can a few people at the fed determine what a billion people are going to do. Let the market determine interest rates which will prevent these bad cycles. Real tangible items are the only real wealth. Fiat money is paper, paper, paper, paper, paper, paper, paper. Your using paper to pay for items of real worth (house, labor). If you used a tangible commodity as a currency, the economy would be far more stable. I guess you haven’t learned much from history. People have warned for hundreds of years about central banking and the monolopy of the Fed which is controlled by major stockholders of the few major banks. We need to learn from history.

    I also saw your article about FDR. Corrupt people can cause a commodity to lose some of it’s value. I still would rather have someone decrease the value of an item that will always have real wealth then paper I can wipe my ass with. The dollar has no real value now and it’s about to collapse. Your beloved Fed has caused the depreciation of the dollar. I’ll take my chance with Gold anyday and we can have this talk in 5 years. You do realize that the Fed prints up money. It only costs them about 3 cents to print a 100 dollar bill. They lend that to govt and other banks with interest. That is a disgrace. They are making $97.97 for that one hundred dollar bill and they didn’t even have to use $100 of their own money. Wow, if you like the system, how about you give me $100 plus $5 interest and I’ll give you 3 cents in exchange. Are you ready to embrace your system, I have my 3 cents for you. Now, picture the billions they are printing and the amount of money they are making.

    They need to line up the Fed, Bankers, Wall Street employees and have a execution. The world would be a better place.

    This is from someone who saw the Depression of the 30’s. It was a horrible time. This was way before your Mom sat on your Dad’s cum at the last second barely forming you as a fetus. The sad thing is that it was created by the Fed. They intentionally created a false panic to destroy small banks which created the Depression. The small banks failed, the Fed took over property, and the bankers of the Fed had more control and more money. FDR tried spending his way out of the Depression. This didn’t solve anything just leaving us with more debt. Obama is already on the same path.

    • Matt

      Wow. Having been a redneck in a counterculture hippie environment in Mendocino, CA i learned that humility and being outspoken is a strength. You completely failed in that respect 🙁 The free market will weed you out once time passes you by.

      Balance man. It’s ok to argue but you have to balance. Personally I blame a lot of our parents for not kicking our ass. But thats just me. Its also my fault for being lazy. But I got semi-lucky in terms of philosophy. As in i want kids in gloves cleaning out spiders in my barn.

      Numbers aside, I often wonder what, and I do argue with my father that idolizes hunter s. thompson. 🙂

  • Pingback: We talked about some old times. « The Edge of the American West()

  • Joshua

    I see a lot of fear that China will “wise up” and stop buying our debt. I asked a Chinese person why they keep buying our debt and she explained they will always do it because they are so risk averse. “But don’t they understand we are inflating our currency and that investment is going to lose money?”, I asked. She replied that they do understand that but also understand that everyone else is doing the same thing, but to a much larger extent. The dollar is losing less than other currencies. It also helps that they know that the more debt they buy, the more we will buy their crappy exports at Wal-mart.

  • I feel sorry for Bill Maher who doesn’t understand that Free Markets are non-existent in America. Free markets only exists when you have sound money and as little government intervention as possible. Right now it’s insanity to start up a business and hire employees with the amount of government regulation there is. It doesn’t matter what these so-called economists say in the end it’s about our dollar crashing and having no way to stop it , it will only crash faster if you continue to borrow and spend.

    “The biggest enemy to the U.S. Constitution is the U.S. Government.”
    -Peter Schiff

    • Matt Stone

      Since you have the monopoly on understanding, where are the free markets these days? Where will they be a year from now?

      Where is the sound money? Please name me a single, relevant, currency you define is ‘sound’.

      If there is no sound money, and all money is based on implied value, is that not a truly free market within a global system?

      Please extend me your sympathies and guide me.



      • Matt Stone does not make any sense

        I having a hard time understanding some of you arguments. When talking about sound money it is not about the value of the money it is how it is used.

      • Matt Stone

        Ohhhhh. so that is what sound money money means. I am an idiot!!! I think I will stop posting comments on the ron paul website because I don’t think I am going to win over any of these ron paul supporters I am not a genius after all.

    • lee duncan

      the reason why the market is distorted is because the competition among business is distorted. What is happening is business is lobbying the govt. to regulate its competition which in turn creates monopolies. Big business is regulating small business through our govt. When a business does become big enough to compete against a monopoly, they are either bought by the bigger company or merged with the bigger company.

  • I just have to say how much I love and pray for Ron Paul every day.

  • “U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged China to continue buying Treasury bonds to help finance President Barack Obama’s stimulus plan.”- Bloomberg

    This is the precise problem here; China lending unlimited amounts of money for the American consumer and for a President who will spend it on the spot to a stimulus plan that will never work and has never worked in the past (The Great Depression). What happens when China figures out their money will not be paid back? America’s consumer spending will dry up and fall, and the last bullet the Government has left is a printing press which will led us into a hyper inflationary spiral (Just one of many easy ways to kill a economy). What happens to GDP when consumer spending falls dramatically? (By the way 70% of GDP is consumption; I’m sure you can do the math). I’m sure the Government will try once again to prop up the GDP numbers by showing false numbers like they have done for the years if not decades before. Barack Obama will make this Recession into the Greatest Depression if he keeps up interventionist techniques. He looks up to Franklin Roosevelt, who by the way happen to himself make a recession into a Great Depression and is looked upon as some sort of savor. It’s all just simply wrong. For example take a look at the recession of 1921, the government was informed not to do anything to the ailing economy. It happened to be a highly deflationary environment, where the global economy also fell sharply. By 1923 the recession was over and quickly led to the famous boom leading up to the Great Depression. If the Government did exactly what they did in 1921 (nothing), there was the booming 20’s , then the 1929-1932 downturn, and then another booming decade in the 30’s.

    • Matt Stone

      There are so many inaccuracies with this statement, it scares me. I… don’t even know where to begin.

      If i were you viresh i would stop spending money on an internet connection, convert it to gold, and move to northern idaho.

      Or, cite your source. How about this for fun:

      “A striking example from U.S. history is Franklin Roosevelt’s 40 percent devaluation of the dollar against gold in 1933-34, enforced by a program of gold purchases and domestic money creation. The devaluation and the rapid increase in money supply it permitted ended the U.S. deflation remarkably quickly. Indeed, consumer price inflation in the United States, year on year, went from -10.3 percent in 1932 to -5.1 percent in 1933 to 3.4 percent in 1934.17 The economy grew strongly, and by the way, 1934 was one of the best years of the century for the stock market. If nothing else, the episode illustrates that monetary actions can have powerful effects on the economy, even when the nominal interest rate is at or near zero, as was the case at the time of Roosevelt’s devaluation.”

      You get bonus points if you actually read something about this topic. More bonus points if you find out how the moniker ‘Helicopter Ben’ was coined, and is structurally inaccurate.

      – Matt

  • Chris

    We can sit here and play the blame game all we want. We could find something bad to say about every one and every thing given enough time. To say any particular individual or group is to blame for our ills is rediculous. However, it is a combination of multiple groups and individuals making poor choices that have bad effects. We must realize though that only Government can make laws not us. The democrats are in power now ready to fix all our ills. The republicans had their chance but started spending like crazy. My fear now is that the democrats will really blow it and the american people will be fed up with both parties not knowing who or where to turn and this whole thing will come crashing down. “A Republic ma’am if you can keep it”…

  • Considering all I ever hear now (mostly from the right) is “Boston Tea parties” and Revolution etc…
    I’m surprised the only person with any credibility on this, Ron Paul having “Revolution” (Love) as his campaign slogan. Also having the intellectual honesty to have opposed Bush on the war and spending i.e sticking to the principles you’ve declared.

    Surely Ron Paul is the most principled and credible of anyone in the current opposition party. That is not to make any judgment on whether it is actually the right stance. But on credibility and principle alone, why isn’t Ron Paul more visible and possibly even the head of this movement. It seems like the rightwing pundits who laughed off Ron Paul are shamelessly trying to remake themselves to appeal to the audience that Paul attracted the first time around. Am I wrong here?

    • Sean

      Well the republicans realized they weren’t fiscally responsible and they are trying to change their attitude. Thats about it, i’m sure they aren’t going to change their viewpoints on the war, on the federal reserve, or on civil liberties.. What nobody understands or wants to talk about is the trade deficit. You should read half or so of that post up above on trade deficits.

  • Matt Stone

    Sometimes I think the media, like commercial Ron Paul sites, loves to blame anyone but the people.

    Not once have I heard Ron Paul say ‘if you the people entered into contracts we can pay off, and you paid on the contracts you agreed to, we would have never gotten here’

    No, but it is a politicians right to serve its master and appease the little peeps by shifting blame. That is shifting blame from people and their overspending, unpaid debts, and sense of entitlement, why not transfer that anger to the bastards that are the government and the Fed?

    Yes, instead of fixing yourself, fix THEM.

    Its good to know that you know better than the free market… Or the people…

    Sometimes its just not that simple.

    • Replying to the Troll

      I don’t think you quite understand what the austrian economists are trying to teach. You can’t just watch these short interviews on youtube and fully understand their viewpoint. People are greedy but you have to understand what has allowed the greed to flourish in our country. One major factor is the fed. The low interest rates that were set and the fact that banks knew that they would probably be bailed out caused more and more riskier and subprime loans to be given out to very speculative investments such as houses that people thought would always continue to increase in value.

      And is it not the current leaders in government except for ron paul and other like minded individuals who keep saying that we need to keep spending ourselves into more and more debt so that the economy can prosper. The idea that the people and the government can keep going into an infinite amount of debt and the fed can just print more and more money is ridiculous. Other countries are and will become more wise and they will eventually stop buying all our debt because they will realize that we are not going to pay them back or that we are going to pay them back but with worthless paper.

      • Matt Stone


        How many people really believe this? Please cite your source:

        “The idea that the people and the government can keep going into an infinite amount of debt and the fed can just print more and more money is ridiculous”

        Do you ever hear the word ‘infinity’ in the deficit conversation in the manner you professed? Are you really in the minority saying ‘OMG don’t print infinity dollars!!!’ while everyone else is saying ‘OMG we HAVE to print infinity dollars to survive’. Silly statement.

        Yours, and my, intentions might be closer than they seem. However, I dispute the train of thought that got you there, and the seeming pretentiousness that prevents you from adapting.

        AS MENTIONED BEFORE TO THE ‘I HATE FIAT CURRENCY PEEPS’, if I were China and the United States went on the gold standard, I would liquidate my treasuries and simultaneously buy the Rand, fire up South Africa’s gold mines, ship bodies and technology (basically colonize it like we did Iraq), devalue our currency via increased gold production, and to cause even more chaos, take black-market gold and trade it for dollars (remember im China, not US) and just burn the dollars.

        Conversion rate goes sky-high on the gold production and dollar linkage, and even more chaos ensues as paralyzing money destruction occurs. Pysical money destruction. That the free market can’t compensate for because it is happening illegally.

        OK, your thoughts?

        • I shouldn’t have to explain sarcasm

          Wow you really took the word infinity literal there didn’t you and why the hell are you even talking about the gold standard? did I say that it needs to be reinstated?

          That statement that you quoted above is called sarcasm. My point was that everyone in government in both parties think that we need to start spending more and get the credit flowing more. Getting the credit flowing more is essentially people going into more debt. This is the time that we need to save so that we will have the money to spend in the future but I do think that the people of America are starting saving more despite what the leaders of the government are saying.

          Also what happens when other countries are going to want to get paid back for all the money that they lent to us? Are we going to default or are we just going to print out more money to pay them back. Again sooner or later other countries will realize that the dollar is fading in value and will stop buying up all our debt.

          • Matt

            Wow, my bad i am simple and more concerned with you totally using the word ‘infinity’ incorrectly and only for the purpose of firing people up?

            If being incorrect is now vogue, can I say I ‘tortured robert murdoch’?

    • Replying to the Troll

      I don’t think you quite understand what the austrian economists are trying to teach. You can not just watch these short interviews on youtube and fully understand their theory. People are greedy but you have to understand what has allowed the greed to flourish in our country. One major factor is the fed. The low interest rates that were set and the fact that banks knew that they would probably be bailed out caused more and more riskier and subprime loans to be given out to very speculative investments such as houses that people thought would always continue to increase in value.

      And is it not the current leaders in government except for Ron Paul and other like minded individuals who keep saying that we need to keep spending ourselves into more and more debt so that the economy can prosper. The idea that the people and the government can keep going into an infinite amount of debt and the fed can just print more and more money is ridiculous. Other countries are and will become more wise and they will eventually stop buying all our debt because they will realize that we are not going to pay them back or that we are going to pay them back but with worthless paper.

  • Vegas

    In short, it isn’t the government, etc. We need to get our young people and change their mindset. Teach them things like, the word, “No” and phrases like, “We can’t afford it.” Low or no credit cards and living within our means. Period. That would eliminate most of our problems. Pay for things with cash, if you don’t have the cash, you cannot buy it. It needs to be second nature. And no, you don’t have to live like a poor poor person. If you live that way, you won’t be poor and you’d probably have less stress, less to worry about. You can buy the things you need and even some of what you want. How? It’s called saving. No loans for vacations, etc. It is not mean, just correct. Think about if most people did this…we wouldn’t be in debt personally and our nation would thrive! No politican has an answer, I don’t care who they are. It is all about starting at home and if you’re a Christian, in the Bible. The borrower is slave to the lender. Sounds true to me. I wish everyone would stop acting surprised about the “trouble” we’re in. We could turn it around overnight if we are all as proud as we say we are to be Americans. We could get our country back on track with basic common sense. Having said that, I do support President Obama. He inherited a GIANT mess. There will be ups and downs. Hang in there and do your part. Tighten up at home and teach our kids, etc. We’ll get there, I’m not the least bit worried.

  • anon

    As long as Ron Paul talks up liberal values– like smoking pot– he will have a microphone. I wish society would have more sources and voices that challenge liberals hard-held views. Liberals have non-stop viewpoint confirmation– from Bill Maher to Jay Leno’s joke writers to the Daily Show to CNN to AP to New York Times to Newsweek to NPR– liberal views get repeated over and over and over again. Anyways, kudos to Ron Paul for talking about SMALLER GOVERNMENT– much smaller government.

  • Julie


    Can someone point me to where I can view and read the full Stimulus Package? There are so many different things I am hearing from the media about it. I would like to read it for myself so that I can truly be informed on what’s in there and when it will take affect.


    • Sean

  • Sean

    “On the Trade Deficit

    These days professional economists, the Executive Department, the Congress, and our media commentators are continually discoursing on the subject of the trade deficit. While we might expect that the debate would have produced some consensus by now, we know that the issue remains embedded in controversy. The reason for this lies primarily in a misunderstanding of the cause of the trade deficit and of its consequences.

    Those who advocate free trade subscribe to the tenets of the “Theory of Comparative Advantage,” which holds that, if all nations dedicate their resources to the production of those economic goods in which they are most efficient and trade their surpluses for the other goods they require, there will be a larger availability of economic goods at lower costs for all nations

    Unfortunately, in the real world the differential costs of production among nations are not determined on the simple basis of productivity alone, but rather on a complex of considerations in which productivity may be a subordinate constituent. Moreover, the theory ignores altogether other important aspects of international trade. The business transactions among nations involve not only the sale of merchandise and services but also transfers of the ownership of physical and financial assets, as well as the extension of credit, and the activities of central banks in international financial markets.

    The so-called trade deficit arises from the fact that the dollar value of our nation’s imports of merchandise and services exceeds the value of our exports of them. Conventional wisdom tells us that this deficit is largely the consequence of our producers not being competitive with foreign ones, of artificial barriers erected by other governments against imports of our merchandise, and of their subsidization of their domestic producers. While there is a measure of truth in these conclusions, the fact is that there really is no trade deficit when we include what has become our number one “export”-the sale of U.S. financial assets to foreign interests.

    In the 19-year period 1980-98 the cumulative U.S. merchandise trade deficit was $2,326 billion while the cumulative increase in foreign holdings of U.S. assets was $4,046 billion. Take note of the fact that the increase in foreign holdings of U.S. assets exceeded the increase in the trade deficit by $1,720 billion. Clearly this evidences that foreign investments in U.S financial assets occur not as some passive consequence of our trade deficit nor as a default phenomenon. There are two reasons for the high level of foreign investment in U.S. assets. The first is that the U.S. leads the rest of the world in supplying high quality financial assets for investors in a free, transparent, and regulated market. The second reason is that the U.S. dollar has replaced gold and much of the hard currencies of the world as principal reserve assets of foreign central banks.

    The funds that have been accruing to foreign interests as a result of the trade deficit have occasioned a diversion of the purchasing power flowing into our commercial markets to our financial markets. This relative shift in the employment of purchasing power is the reason that consumer prices have experienced only modest inflation, that interest rates have declined, and that stock prices have dramatically inflated-all at the same time that the M3 money supply increased by $3,417 billion. While the movement of these prices has been beneficial to our consumers, producers, borrowers, and investors, the employment opportunities in our commercial markets have suffered as a consequence of this reallocation of purchasing power.

    Many U.S. manufacturers have closed their plants at home and shifted to foreign based ones or been driven out of business by foreign producers. The resulting loss of domestic production was not necessarily because foreign resources were more productive in any physical sense but rather because the end product could be delivered in our market for a lower cost in U.S. dollars than if it had been manufactured here. One of the primary reasons for this differential has been the low wages and benefits paid to foreign workers in the lesser developed nations. Because of these circumstances, it can be anticipated that the U.S. will continue to experience a shift to foreign sources for those products that are most labor intensive. Other equally important factors in determining the costs of production are taxes and environmental regulations.

    The Theory of Comparative Advantage holds that a trade deficit will be only temporary because foreign markets will in time turn to us to supply them with economic goods that they produce least efficiently. Therefore, even though some workers may lose their jobs because the fruits of their labor are purchased abroad, they will in time be re-employed in other industries supplying the foreign markets with our economic goods. Regrettably, these results are not being realized. The fundamental reason for the failure of the Theory to deliver its predicted results is that it does not anticipate the impact of what is purchased with the U.S. dollars earned by countries from their export surpluses with us. The implicit assumption is that in time this money will be used to buy U.S. goods and services that will require alternative U.S. production and replacement employment. But this is not what has happened.

    In effect we are trading the jobs of millions of our workers that have been employed in the manufacture of textiles, shoes, electronics, automobiles, and the production of farm products for the sale of our financial assets to foreign investors. While this tradeoff has contributed to a booming stock market, kept interest rates low, and lowered the prices of imported products, it has also contributed to the contraction of employment in domestic manufacturing and farming. There is reason to believe that much of the savings that have been realized from cheaper foreign made goods has been offset by the higher social costs associated with the loss of jobs.

    The U.S. dollars earned by other nations from their trade surpluses with us have in fact been used principally to acquire U.S. financial assets. As foreign interests have accumulated savings, their demand for investment opportunities has grown proportionately; and the United States provides the most rewarding and safest haven for investments.

    We often hear that we cannot expect the rest of the world to continue to provide us with large amounts of their “capital” to make up for our lack of savings. Here it should be noted that our external debt is denominated in U.S. dollars. So, if foreigners ceased investing in U.S. assets, foreign central banks could avoid accumulating increasing dollar balances only by letting the dollar decline in value relative to their currency. If such a dollar depreciation occurred, foreign countries would import more U.S. goods and services and their exports to the U.S. would decline, either of which would decrease our merchandise trade deficit.

    In the end the U.S. dollar has to be spent in the U.S. market-the only place where it is legal tender. Foreign owners of U.S. dollars have only four legitimate choices for their use: they can buy U.S. goods and services, invest them in U.S. based wealth (stocks, bonds, real estate, certificates of deposits, etc.), lend them to others to use for the first two purposes, or hoard them.

    If we really want to make our financial and physical assets less attractive to foreigners for investment, we can do so by applying the same taxes on the earnings they produce as U.S. citizens must pay. We could also make foreign goods less competitive with domestic ones by restructuring our tax system so that imported goods will carry much the same tax burden that domestically produced goods must bear. This could be accomplished by substituting a value-added tax for the corporate income tax and the payroll tax, applying it 100% to imports, and exempting our exports-just as other nations do. This change in our tax structure would also do much to reduce the shift of our domestic production abroad.” – iroquois

  • Eric

    I wish Ron Paul would explain the real cause of this collapse a little better to these people. Appeared as if Maher didn’t understand Pauls explanation. I feel that a lot of people still can’t understand that it was the FED and over-regulation (insurance on bad loans) that allowed all this to happen.

    • Matthew Stone

      Dude, “we haven’t had capitalism”? Really? Ahahahahah. Maybe gladiator wars with double-edged wallets would be fantastic.

      How do you explain the free market, including every person in this country spend beyond their means…

      Bah, whatever, have fun with the Nate and Sean playground.

    • Chris

      Eric I caught that as well. The problem ive realized is Government passes these bills and the corporations, banks, and other businesses have to abide by them or face legal trouble. There are always certain individuals who blow the whistle on these bills but frankly cant prove the bills are bad until they blow up down the road. Just like this problem we are facing is due to legislation passed several decades ago. Then capitalism gets all the blame and Government gets to pass another bill to “fix what the capitalists screwed up” and at the same time gain more power and more regulation that will create another disaster down the road. It’s a viscious cycle.

    • Matthew Stone

      I wish Ron Paul wouldn’t be so dogmatic and, when countered with any question, say something akin to ‘abolish the FED and let FREE MARKETS reign’!.

      Times change, people learn, but as I have intimated, please google Mr. Paul’s 1980 doctrice that was also wildy unsuccessful in predicting what would happen in the 1980’s.

      And remember those were the days we broke the back of inflation, he didn’t predict we would succeed then, he gave a completely incorrect path, and yet you now think his parroting is the anidote?

      Again, if we adopt gold reserve, I would LOVE to see Russia and China inflate and cash in, money so they can buy our pegged currency, then I would just burn it all.

      Then I would watch as hyperinflation occurs because all of a sudden everyone wants to transact money but doesnt have it and they are stuck with deflating gold, noone is prepared to weigh gold in millionths of an ounce, as thus there is no free market, a ton of gold that banks can’t convert, and Ron Paul, Nate, Sean, et al… Start screaming that the Free Market is the way to go!!!

      Let the free market say what our dollar is worth and make that judgement, as we always say, the market knows all!! If the fed inflates, the free market should correct it, as Volcker said…

      Wait you don’t listen to anyone but Ron Paul… My bad.

      • Hans

        Ron Paul doesn’t want to return to a gold standard, because he knows it isn’t possible, he said we’d have to reorganize based on current commodities. If you keep up with it, you would have realized that. Clearly after all this insane, unchallenged and uncontrollable spending, and all the investing in gold, it wouldn’t be a very intelligent move to back to the gold standard. His mentions of the gold standard were only to say we should have never gone off of it, and since we have, we need to generate a new currency, because the American dollar is going to be worthless soon.

        Instead of logging on here to mock everyone, perhaps introduce your $.02 worth and it can weighed in with every other idea.

        • Matthew Stone

          Ron Paul doesn’t want to return to a gold standard, because he knows it isn’t possible, ”

          Really? Don’t just watch youtube my friend, do your research, and add a bit of contrarianism. From what I remember, the 180’s were a comeback and the time when the United States reasserted itself.

          I am not sure if you listen to the guy. When has Ron Paul ever said that? That would be hugely undermining and a shift in policy he has never endorsed. Google ‘Gold, Peace, and Prosperity’ (i can send you the pdf if you like)

          Ron Paul didn’t quite get that too correctly:

          1981 Ron Paul:

          “Today, thanks to 67 years of central bank control over the
          money supply, we face an economic and political crisis greater than any we have faced before.

          We probably will see widespread civil disorder in the 1980s, as a direct result of our faltering economic system. The dollar has been damaged by decades of interventionism, and Congress has legitimized depreciation of the dollar and forced redistribution of wealth through corporate and social welfare schemes.”

          So what is the option Ron Paul supports? Cause it sure isn’t fiat currency.

          • Matthew Stone

            Greenspan did have some gold standard leanings (i too used to be a democrat at that age) and has since supported free markets with the same fervency for DECADES, and was just as wrong.

            Unlike RP, Greenspan learns, explains, and apologized. Capitalism is about creative destruction and evolution, not pointing fingers.

            RP, not so much…

          • Hans

            “When has Ron Paul ever said that?”

            It was rather recently, an interview on FOX or CNN I believe where he said a transition to the gold standard wouldn’t work anymore, but a new currency based on standard commodities would have to take its place. It might have been posted on here, but I can’t say for sure.

          • Matthew Stone

            OK, if you are a follower of Austrian economics and don’t have the elimination of central banks, as RP is…

            How are standard commodities going to be properly weighted or valued when central banks still exist and they cannot compensate for the asynchronychistic means of production (China, Russia, Venezuela)?

            And vice versa, how do you value commodities if they are linked to a commodity that is controlled by governments that do not ascribe to the free market?

          • Hans

            It was something he was referring to when he said that the only way for America to change it’s tune is for the dollar to fail and America to start over from scratch. I’m assuming it was completely hypothetical and I took it out of context. I’m almost certain it was a radio interview… sorry for the misinterpretation. I heard it on this site, and no, I can’t specify which it was, but it took place in the last couple weeks. =\


          • Sean

            Well ron paul has been trying to abolish the fed since the 90’s and return to sound money. He’s written more than several legislations to abolish them without a cosponser. He hasn’t recieved one because all the republicans are for free trade and the federal reserve helps fuel that.