Source: Texas Republic News
Date of Interview: 2/9/2009
First Part of Interview with Congressman Ron Paul:
Question #1: What is your current legislative agenda in Washington DC?
Ron Paul: Well, the usual thing; I’ve had an intense interest in monetary policy, fiscal policy as well as foreign policy. So I’ve already introduced what I do every two years, the bill to get out of the UN and de-internationalize. I don’t like this internationalization whether it’s financial or political so that usually gets a lot of support from the conservative community and everybody expects me to do it. But also I’ve had a lot of interest in monetary policy and I’ve already introduced bills dealing with the Federal Reserve.
Ultimately we should get rid of the Federal Reserve, that’s not going to happen soon. It might self destruct the way it’s going but there will be another bill introduced shortly that I’m working on that will be at least allowing Congress some oversight and some legal permission to audit the Federal Reserve. Right now we’re not allowed, they’re exempted from audit and under today’s circumstances we’re there literally creating trillions of dollars out of thin air and subsidizing and helping their friends in the banking industry and corporations. It’s time the American people knew what was going on but it’s up to the Congress to demand that.
So those are the events that I spend time on. I’m on the financial service which is the old banking committee; I’ve always been on that committee. I’m also on the joint economic committee dealing just with economic policy and for instance next week Paul Volcker will be before our committee and Bernanke, the Chairman of the Federal Reserve, comes both before the joint economic committee as well as the banking committee.
Also I’m on foreign affairs committee international relations and I find that very important because I think it’s the overseas commitment which has been one of the major financial burdens to us that help precipitate our crisis. Of course the welfare state here at home is a major burden as well but a lot of times neither Conservatives or liberals want a deal with overseas expenditures. Generally it’s endorsed by both parties and yet I think the traditional conservative constitutional position is that we should be very careful with overseas spending as well.
Question #2: Is there anything good in the recently passed stimulus bill?
Ron Paul: You know there’s some tax cuts in there. You know they estimate maybe 30% our tax cuts and most of those are probably very, very good. If that’s all we we’re doing I’d have been anxious to vote for it but even that isn’t the best way to do it. My suggestion was just to suspend and as far as I’m concerned, for the purpose of making it permanent to suspend income taxes and payroll taxes; do that for a year or two. I would put money right into the hands of people rather than putting it in the hands of the government.
The government doesn’t know how to spend this money and it supports a special interest but even with these tax decreases that they have in the stimulus package we didn’t have all the spending, it would be best done by cutting spending at the same time. Cutting spending so much that you literally could reduce the deficit and then take care of the tax cuts as well. I think politically it will eventually be easier to cut spending overseas than it will be here at home. Why we have to pay to blow up bridges and pay to rebuild them and then have nothing but corruption and people steal the money from us and nobody even has oversight of that money.
So my suggestion is that we cut the spending overseas, cut the taxes and recognize the fact that people ought to save money and pay their debt down rather than saying “Oh this is good. Keep prices of houses high de-stimulate houses” and these encourage people to buy houses. Why not buy houses when the prices go down? But we didn’t stimulate anything with that bill other than the growth of government.
Question #3: Do you think Governor Rick Perry and the State of Texas should be taking the stimulus money?
Ron Paul: I personally wouldn’t take it. I don’t think it’s a good idea because the obligation is always so much greater than it would be if you didn’t have to take it. Money should come back to us but it should come back to us through reduction of taxes. It’s sort of like talking about the highway fund; should we take our highway funds back? They take highway funds from us and they gave it to Washington and then they dimmy them up and I say yeah we ought to get some of our highway funds back. But the better program would be never take the money, all the highway taxes stay in Texas and let us take care of our own highways, that’s what we should do.
So under these circumstances I personally wouldn’t do it and wouldn’t want it but I’m not highly critical of somebody that said they’d taken so much from us. I’m against the bill but if they’re going to send that money back they may retake it. But the real downside to that is the strings attached and I’ve had small cities in my Congressional District where I would talk to them along this line and they say “Well I’m not taking it because I don’t want the strings attached no matter how you might want to justify,” and I admire people that take that position and soon it won’t matter because the Federal government is broke and the dollar’s not going to be buying much anymore so it’d be better that the states concentrate on how they’re going to manage their affairs when the Federal government is totally bankrupt.
Question #4: Will the stimulus accelerate the growth of the deficit and where do we go from here?
Ron Paul: Well yeah it’s going to make it much worse. We got into trouble because we spent too much, and we borrowed too much and we printed too much and they think they’re going to get out of the trouble by spending and borrowing and printing money. And outside of what the congress does, we have to realize that the interference in the market is done in a major way by the Federal Reserve System. They’re the ones who are ejecting trillions of dollars and we never know where it’s going or what it’s accomplishing; for the most parts it’s only lining the pockets of a few special individuals and hurting the people. The stimulus package, this whole thing is just making it much worse and the deficit is exploding and the only thing that hasn’t exploded yet is inflation but we just had inflation statistics yesterday; produces prices are much higher than they anticipated. Last month’s increase were going up annual as 9% rate. This is very, very significant; most people think if you have a very, very weak economy, demand is so low prices will go down but that’s not necessarily true. All you have to do is go into a third world nation and you can have runaway inflation and you can have a very weak economy and you can have a Zimbabwe type economy and they all nod in United States that isn’t going to happen; well if you keep printing money it can happen. If the confidence is lost in the dollar we could end up in the same kind of mess that a third world nation has ended up in.
Second Part of Interview with Congressman Ron Paul:
Question #1: Are we on a “slippery slope” toward socialism, and if so, how do we slow it down?
Ron Paul: Oh yeah we’re moving in that direction but I don’t think it’s in the direction that some people think; that all of a sudden the Federal government’s going to own everything and have some type of a system like in Communist Russia or other countries where the government own all the businesses. But it’s going to be something probably a little bit worse and we right now don’t have free markets. Yet all the problems by the majority of people in Washington are blaming freedom and free markets and capitalism and deregulation for the prices we have and that has to be refuted.
But what we’ve had is an interventionist economic system and that is a centrally planned economy through regulations and subsidies and spending and manipulation of interest rates so it has nothing to do with free markets. But it’s not socialism because prices still fluctuate in the market place but we’re on the verge of tipping over into a social system where the pricing structure breaks down; in a way housing pricing structure has broken down. First the housing prices were artificially high through the inflationary policies of the Fed and now they’re kept artificially high by all the policies that we’re doing. So we don’t have the market information to tell us what our houses are worth so that’s why there are 19 million empty houses because people are anticipating “Maybe they’ll go down more. What are we going to do?” and that sort of thing, so we’re on the verge of it.
In 1971, when wage and price controls were put on this country, the market collapsed within a day or two, nothing functioned because of these controls. We actually experienced a bit of overall socialism because there was no pricing structure. What I fear is not where it’s open socialism where government literally owns all the businesses but something where the government and the business people have partnerships and you hear it all the time. We have to be a partner with the government, in partnership with government and that introduces the notion of fascism and fascism is a form of socialism. Even though there might not be outright ownership, it’s outright control.
And because it leads to chaos and we’re experiencing this chaos because we’ve had a lot of that you know the Halliburton’s of the world and the other companies and the military industrial complex, the banking industry; it’s a buddy system government, and business and governments and banks and that’s collapsing. So the big question is how much authoritarian approach will we accept? How much more government rules and regulations? Right now we’re getting a lot more and that’s very scary because this could land and lead to tremendous political chaos and actually lead to dictatorship.
Question #2: What are some ways that Conservatives in Congress can move back towards small government?
Ron Paul: Well they had their increase when they made their promises and Democrats have messed things up so badly that the people in the country wanted a change. It really started with Goldwater and then Reagan and then Gingrich in ’94 and of course George W. Bush in the year 2000 and yet we had all that evidence and that’s what the people wanted. So when the Conservatives finally get in charge, we have the presidency’s Senate and the House and we couldn’t wait to act like Democrats; spend more, run on deficits.
I mean, Bush ran in 2000 condemning nation building and pleasing the world. So what did he do? He doubled and tripled that type of stuff. So Obama now he runs and says “Well what we need to do is come home and bring some troops home from Iraq,” and that sort of thing; so basically he sends more troops in Afghanistan.
The people are disgusted because of that but dealing with specifically the Conservatives and Republicans we did not fulfil our promises. They’ve lost all credibility; they’re regaining it a little bit now because they’re acting like Conservatives again. Every single House member voted against the Democratic proposal 800 billion dollar stimulus package but when Bush had the first one hundred billion, you know that was peanuts now it looks like peanuts, most of the Republicans voted for it about a year ago.
I think it was January of ’08 when the first stimulus package came on and the large majority of Republicans voted for that and they’ve lost credibility and how they’re going to regain it I do not know. It’s going to be slow and incrementally. I imagine the only way the Republicans will regain credibility is the Democrats will be a lot worse; you know they’re going to be big spenders and get ourselves in the worst war and people are going to be so upset and they’ll have no place to go since there’s so many laws against alternative parties. You can’t have a third party and have it competitive so maybe the American people will be frustrated and say “Well, should we give the Republicans one more chance? Maybe they’ll be Conservatives again.” That’s really to me the only question.
Question #3: How do you describe your personal political philosophy?
Ron Paul: When I have a choice to describe myself, I call myself a strict Constitutionalist because that’s the oath I take. I don’t take an oath to the Republican Party, to the Libertarian Party or anything else. The oath of office is to obey the Constitution. I don’t think the Constitution is perfect and it was certainly imperfect when it began but the rule of law is very, very important; that you follow the rule of the land and if the Constitution says something and there’s a legal way of changing it, you have to change it legally. But today we’ve gone to the point where Congress ignores it, the President defies it and the courts stomp on it and that’s the problem that we have. So I am first of all a strict Constitutionalist.
But what does that lead to? Well that leads to well being very conservative; you want to go back to the values of the Constitution. So I am very conservative in the classical sense but in a personal way and in a Constitutional way I am very libertarian cause there’s nothing in the Constitution that says the Federal government is supposed to run our lives, you know and do all this policing of individual freedoms and there’s no authority to say run the drug war and there’s actually no authority in the Constitution for the Federal Government to be regulating abortion. But I strongly want right to life so I would say you know Roe vs. Wade should have never been heard if Texas had a law against abortion. But then under the Constitution they had a right to this so it was the fact that we ignored the Constitution on issues like abortion and yet too many Conservatives say “Oh there’s a problem let’s just have another law and pass it for social or economic reasons.”
The founders, I would describe the founders as Libertarians but Conservatives like the Constitution, a good Conservative Constitutionalist has to have libertarian leanings; they don’t want big government. But the biggest flaw in the Neo Conservatives and modern Conservatives is they do not understand that the biggest incentive for the growth of government is war and they tend too often to support the war whether the Republicans start the war or the Democrats start it. Generally war conditions excuses spending, expansion of the size of government and abuse of civil liberties.
When you think of the challenges that are going on in the court, the Right of Habeas Corpus, and secret prisons and torture and all these things that should not be part of a Conservative’s view point of the Constitution; the Constitution is there to protect all suspects. So people drift in the idea and say “Oh it’s okay you can beat up and kill and do all these things to terrorists.” Well you’re not a terrorist until you’re convicted of something, so that’s where the argument comes. But people who respect the Constitution and want to follow it are good Conservatives and they can’t do that without good Libertarian leanings.
Third Part of Interview with Congressman Ron Paul:
Question # 1: What do you think of efforts in the State Legislature to emphasize the sovereignty of Texas under the 10th Amendment?
Ron Paul: Well I think it’s wonderful, and there’s a lot more going on around the country, and some are designed to de-emphasize the 10th Amendment, they’re emphasizing the monetary authority; the states are required to use only gold and silver as legal tender. So every state is disobeying the Constitution, because they accept the court ruling and the Federal government’s ruling and the laws that are unconstitutional saying “Oh hunks of paper called Federal Reserve Notes are the only thing that you can use as legal tender.” So I love it when these states do this; I mean Indiana’s been doing this, New Hampshire’s been doing it and more and more states, Liberal and Conservative, are saying “We’re sick and tired of the Federal Government,” that’s very healthy.
People have kidded, I think kiddingly and have urged me to run for Governor of Texas which I have no intention of doing, but the only thing that would excite me to do something like this to run only on that issue and say “Look, have some type of re-declaration of state sovereignty,” and say that I won’t do anything unless, you know, I won’t accept anything the Federal Government does and I will obey the 10th Amendment. I mean, I would hope that could be a good campaign for somebody.
Question # 2: What would be the result of this 10th Amendment legislation?
Ron Paul: That’s a pretty important thing to think about, because even if we didn’t force the 10th Amendment and we got the states running everything, if their attitude about government stayed the same, you’re just going to have state problems. You know, there’s a lot of people up in Austin that would like to run our lives too, and send down mandates and print their own money and who knows what.
The question that people have to ask is: what should be the role of government be in free society? And the founders answered it pretty well, and it was to provide for a sound currency, it was to have a national defense and it was to protect liberty. The real purpose of government is to protect liberty, and that only works if people understand that the greatest amount of prosperity can come from a system that is based on liberty, and that’s when you’d have the greatest prosperity. But as long as people support politicians, either at the international level or at the state level, they believe that the Federal government should be there as the nanny state and taking care of everybody from cradle to grave. And when a country is very wealthy it doesn’t seem to hurt us so much. Now that we’re getting very, very poor all of a sudden they’re going to ask the question, “Maybe the state can’t take care of us,” and that to me is very healthy and it’s going to be good.
The people make the difference. I can’t just say, “Well I’m going to change the policies and Washington.” No, we need a new generation of young people that would understand this well enough and say, “I’m sick of Social Security. I don’t want to pay it; I’m not going to get anything out of it, besides they’re going to give me money that won’t have any value to it. I want to go alone, I trust myself, I trust my instincts, I’d be better off without paying income tax and having my own Social Security System and having sound money.” You need a whole new generation like that, but that’s where I’m optimistic, I think it’s coming, but it’s not in Washington yet, it’s probably not in Austin either.
Question # 3: Tell us your thoughts on President Barack Obama and are you impressed with any of his policies?
Ron Paul: No, he’s a slick, smart politician. Yesterday he went to Canada, he says, “Oh, I’ve never had any intention on redoing NAFTA.” Yet during the campaign it served his interest that we have to redo NAFTA, but not now, don’t want to do it right now. So not doing it right now means he’s changed his mind.
So, he’s good, he’s smart, but he’s status quo down the line; he is the furthest thing from change and the man in the moon. Welfarism… I guess the only change is he’s going to expand everything that’s been going wrong, he’s going to expand the welfare state and he’s going to expand the warfare state. He’s going to build a bigger army, he’s going to probably have a draft, and probably have national youth service, and the welfare state is just going to grow gigantically. But he’s good, because when you hear him talk, he’s really eloquent, and at some point, well, maybe he should re-assess things; “I mean, I guess I have to change my mind. Oh yeah I did say getting all those troops out in 16 months out of Iraq. Well I got to rethink that, I got to listen to my generals. They have to devise a plan and they’re saying take 3 years.” So, high hopes for that kind of change, and yet I have to admit there’s a lot of young people that supported me that once I was out of the race they liked what he was saying and he did say some good things and he was construed as a candidate that was more likely to pursue peace than McCain, and yet I think it was deception.
Question # 4: Where do you personally go from here with your message of liberty?
Ron Paul: I’m just going to continue to do what I’ve been doing, you know, and right now I’m just amazed that the moment I continued after the presidential campaign. It wasn’t so much you mentioned earlier about me maybe making predictions and anticipating what’s happening, and it’s not so much me as just looking at people who are a lot smarter and knew economics and understood the business cycle and human nature. I guess I understand a little about human nature, and it doesn’t take a whole lot to figure out, you know, which way we’re going. I just hope I’m right on the assessment that we see some real light with a new generation. And at times I have college kids up and refute that with me, “Yeah, let me tell you about so and so,” this is what they really think, so I’m sure there are plenty who haven’t joined us but I know there are thousands that have joined us, so that to me is encouraging.