Show: Real Time
Host: Bill Maher
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.