Ron Paul Slams Cavuto on Earmarks

After giving a speech on earmarks to Congress, Ron Paul was interviewed by Neil Cavuto on Fox News.

Channel: Fox News
Host: Neil Cavuto
Date: 3/10/2009


Neil Cavuto: He’s being targeted as maybe spending the most or at least earmarking the most for his constituents. He says it isn’t fair, but we thought it only fair to give him his due and allow him to explain what’s going on. I’m talking about Texas Congressman, former Presidential candidate Ron Paul. Congressman, the rap is that you’re a porker. That a lot of pork; 73 million plus, went to your district. Is that true?

Ron Paul: Well, it might be, but I think you’re missing the whole point. I never voted for an earmark, I voted against all appropriation bills. So, this whole thing about earmarks is totally misunderstood. Earmarks are the responsibility of the Congress. We should earmark even more. We should earmark every penny. So that’s the principle that we have to follow, and is the responsibility of the Congress. The whole idea that you vote against an earmark… you don’t save a penny. That just goes to the administration and they get to allocate the funds.

Neil Cavuto: But then, who proposes the bridge or the highway or the school? How does that even get in there?

Ron Paul: I have no idea, but the most important thing is to have transparency. If you don’t earmark something then somebody else spends it and there is no transparency. So, the principle of the earmark is very crucial.

But we need more earmarks. The reason that we didn’t have earmarks on that 350 million dollars on TARP funds. We needed to earmark on every single thing. We need to earmark every single thing the Fed does. So this whole thing is a charade, just a charade.

Neil Cavuto: No, No, I understand. But it just strikes people as a little weird, Congressman, because you know, you champion and rail against government waste and I know you rejected and voted against this package. But yet your constituents are going to benefit to the tune of 73 million dollars in various projects from this package. So, it’s kind of like you are having your cake and eating it too.

Ron Paul: Neil, you’re missing the whole point. The principle of the earmark is our responsibility. We are supposed to…. it’s like a tax credit and I vote for all tax credits, no matter how silly they might seem. If I can give you any of your money back, I vote for it. So if I can give my district any money back, I encourage that.

But because the budget is out of control, I haven’t voted for an appropriation in years.

Neil Cavuto: But would you argue then, sir, that when John McCain was here he was saying the whole earmark thing itself is what’s out of control.

Ron Paul: No, no. He totally misunderstands it, that’s grandstanding. If you cut off all the earmarks, it would be 1% of the budget. But if you vote against all the earmarks, you don’t cut one penny. That is what you have to listen to. We’re talking about who has the responsibility, the Congress or the executive branch. I’m saying, get it out of the hands of the executive branch.

Just listen again to what I said about the TARP funds. We needed to earmark every penny. Now, we gave them 350 million dollars, no earmarks, and nobody knows.

Neil Cavuto: No, No, I know you are right about that. Are you saying then, Congressman, that the monies that you appropriated, whether for the Gulf Intercoastal Waterway, the Texas City Channel, Wallisville Lake, the City of Bay City rehab center… that that’s money in the aggregate that you would have called waste?

Ron Paul: It’s the kind I don’t vote for because I don’t believe the Federal Government should be doing it, but if they’re going to allot the money I have a responsibility to represent my people if they say, “Hey look, put in a highway for the district”. I put it in, I put in all their requests because I’m their representative.

But, if you put an earmark for a bridge in Iraq, it’s not called an earmark. If you build military equipment in somebody’s city….

Neil Cavuto: So you don’t think their requests are waste? You don’t think their requests are waste?

Ron Paul: Well, no, it shouldn’t be done. There should be a better way to do it. But if you’re going to spend the money, the Congress has the responsibility to say that it’s better to spend it on a bridge here than spend it on a bridge in Iraq and then blow it up and build it up again. These are the kind of earmarks that don’t count. You have to look at the responsibility of the Congress to earmark every single penny.

Neil Cavuto: Congressman, thank you very much. We will have more after this.

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  • Martin Gough

    Ron ; I have a plan that will change Congress forever and for the better. However it will require a man full of Boldness and God like Principles

    Are you the man ? If you thank you can make a difference , Keep Reading.

    It has been my pray ,that the truth , of the depth , of corruption in our Government at all level , will be exposed. Tell the Citizen the truth.. Never forget, the citizen always has the last Vote !

    With that thought in mind , it is time to revisit a idea floated about 15 years ago , but never got traction .

    Start talking about term limits! The reason the Idea never got a foot holt previously was the wrong approach to it. Could not agree on the number of terms. If they get 2 or 3 ( 2 year Terms ) we get nothing.

    Consider this… One 12 year term !, Stager the term so ever two years there are new members coming in. This will give the new member time to learn the job , and how it works. The big payoff to this approach is it will shut down the lobbyist and their bribes , in the form of campaign contributions.

    The hope is the will enable out reprehensive to focus on the thing that really matters .

    That is doing the right thing ,,, What is best for the country !

    You have studied our History , you know our founders believed that we should have a citizen form of government , our elected reprehensive will serve a limited period of time , then return home ; not spend a life time there.

    Ask yourself this, What will Harry Reed think about this ?

    Thank You for the work you do ! Think about it ! See ,I told you I will rquire Boldness.

    Martin Gough / Thornville , Ohio

    • To Martin Gough.

      Here we go again with term limits! Either you are very young or you fell asleep for a long time.

      One 12 year term? What if the Rep is doing a great job? With 12 yr. term limits Ron Paul would be gone. And some jerk would still be there after 4 yrs. So why did this stupid idea never get traction?

      Our votes are the term limits.

      Why “shut down” as you say, my personal contributions to my candidate. It is a Constitutional right to Lobby Congress. The problem is the lack of transparency and out of control spending by the Federal Govt. and the Fed Reserve printing fiat $$ to keep the bubble inflated.

      Earmarks should be made more transparent. All expenditures should be earmarked. At least our tax $$ are coming back to us and we know on what it’s spent.

      Get rid of the Income Tax & giving tax rebates to those who pay no income tax. This Dimocratic Party practice along with entitlements is defacto vote buying. We won’t get rid of the income tax any time soon. But we can stop this vote buying of the Dims by editing the 3 words at the end of the 24th Amendment “or other tax.” The original purpose 24th Amendment was to eliminate the Poll Tax.

      Since 99.9% of what Congress does is spend our tax $$ why do those who pay no income tax get the same voting power on how it’s spent.

      How about a NEW DEAL. No ante, no cards.


      Adopting the Fair Tax would then give them their vote back. Incentive? Not! No free lunch.

      Who cares what Harry Reid thinks. I guess you do! Vote the poser out. Oh wait, under your plan he might have another 8 yrs, left.

      Also Martin Gough, please give us a break and read your post before pushing the Submit button. It’s a mess.

      RON PAUL 2012. JB.


  • Keenan

    No he doesn’t. For all you claim to know about Ron Paul you sure are clueless about his positions. If you watch what he said in every interview about earmarks, you can see he disapproves of the way the money is spent and votes against it. Why should he be derelict in his duty as a congressman to stipulate how the money will be spent? Especially given his sharp disagreement over most of the administrations’ desired uses of the money (e.g. imperial military spending, foreign aid, bailouts, etc.), how could he ever morally justify leaving it up to them to decide how it is spent? Of course he should work to have it spent in better ways. Why do you want him to ignore what’s said in the Constitution? As he pointed out, it’s the Constitutional responsibility of the legislative branch to determine how taxpayer money is spent–not the executive’s.

    Perhaps you’re forgetting provisions in spending bills that “reserve[] any unspent portion of the [already predetermined earmark money]…for projects of interest to the President.”

    Even the Heritage Foundation, in an article criticizing earmarks acknowledged the truth of the point that “an earmark simply is a congressional decision to allocate part of appropriation for a particular purpose. Eliminating the allocation doesn’t reduce the appropriation, it simply leaves the allocation decision to a federal department or agency rather than to Congress.”

    The recent stimulus bill has provisions which stipulate that “any unspent funds [will be] reprogrammed by disbursing agencies.”

    Another reason for the congress to spend through the transparent “hard earmark” process is that it reduces the much worse “soft earmarks,” which are completely hidden, and encourage corruption, cronyism, and behind the scenes deal-making. In the end, soft earmarks only serves to strengthen the control of the national government’s agencies over the states.

  • Sean
  • Sean

    “Economic historians such as Barry Eichengreen, author of Golden Fetters: The Gold Standard and the Great Depression, 1919-1939, believe that the commitment to the gold standard was a key factor that prevented governments from taking the necessary actions to fight the Great Depression, such as expanding the money supply to encourage business growth. Fearing a bank run, the U.S. finally abandoned the gold standard in 1933 but returned to a modified version of it in 1945, when the Bretton Woods international monetary system of fixed exchange rates was established.

    In fact, under the gold standard, there’s a tendency for countries that run trade surpluses to prevent their money supply from expanding when gold flows in from countries with trade deficits by boosting their sales of government bonds and retiring the money they get for them. This disrupts the natural rebalancing of trade and prolongs the suffering of countries whose currencies are under pressure.

    By the early 1970s, U.S. fiscal policy was in disarray, American goods had lost their competitiveness in international markets and the balance of payments surplus of the late 1960s had reversed to a soaring deficit. Worried that it wouldn’t be able to meet increased demand by foreign central banks to convert their growing dollar reserves into gold at $35 per ounce, the Nixon administration ended the Bretton Woods system. In August, 1971, the U.S. closed the gold window that allowed foreign governments to convert their dollar assets into gold. A few months later, the imposition of a temporary 10% surcharge on all imports helped convince U.S. trading partners to let the value of the dollar drop against their currencies. The dollar was devalued by roughly 10.4% on average against the currencies of 14 countries with which the U.S. did about two-thirds of its trading.

    “It’s been an extremely long time since we’ve been on the gold standard and it’s hard to remember the problems that were associated with it,” says Andrew Bernard, director of the Center for International Business at Dartmouth University’s Tuck School of Business.”

    -David Bogoslaw
    Buisness Week

    • Nate Y

      You (and the economists/professors/writers you quote at length) are arguing aginst positions that Ron Paul and Austrian economisits do not make. It is yet another straw man argument. It is not being advocated that we should go back to the gold standards of past decades. What IS being advocated is the legalization of competing currencies. That is, allowing people to use what they want to use as money. Let the market decide what money is best. If it turns out to be dollar bills, well then so be it.

      Although I think it doubtful that would happen in the absence of government coercion.

      • observer

        Good to see Ron Paul has finally quit on his silly Gold argument. At least he is only 70 years behind the times in terms of economic theory.

        NATE Y says: “What IS being advocated is the legalization of competing currencies. That is, allowing people to use what they want to use as money.”

        Name the arbiter for global currency exchange, that would be, ummm THE FREE MARKET. How in the hell are currencies not competing?

        Further, wth is this competing currency you refer to, as advocated by what CURRENT ‘economisits’ (sp) and how? please elaborate and cite your source.

        • Nate Y

          Oh no! I made a typo on a public forum and you called me on it! I really thought that economists was spelled “economisits” until you pointed it out. Oh i’m so embarrassed.

          “Competing currencies” refers to privately issued currencies WITHIN a nation. What currencies compete legally with the dollar in the US? None. Are contracts denominated in currencies other than dollars? Nope. Can they be? Nope. Could they be? Absolutely (repeal legal tender laws). Should they be? Well that depends on what you want. If you want the power to be with the government then no. But if you want power in the hands of the people/market then yes.

          Also, I don’t know what the competing currency is. Why? Most importantly, because it doesn’t yet exist. It hasn’t yet been allowed to come into existence. But I also don’t know what it would be. Best to let the market sort it out. I can pretty much guarantee it wouldn’t be paper backed by nothing though.

          • Sean

            I dont think you understand legal tender laws… Any exchange between parties is made on the agreement of payment in our country. I guess you didn’t know that.. Who could and would start their own currency? Why would anybody start a currency? Why would businesses accept a currency other than what they could pay their loans back with?

      • Sean

        Who cares if ron paul or austrian economics can’t counter argue very valid points.. haha, that proves that you don’t think for yourself and you let ron paul and mises dictate your thoughts and you can’t open your mind.

        • Nate Y

          Neither of the books I linked to were written by Mises nor Ron Paul. They were written by Austrian economists though. I happen to believe (for very good reasons) that the Austrian School is correct in its analysis of the business cycle and economics in general. So of course I’m going to quote them and reference them. What would you have me do? Should I quote Paul Krugman and Keynes? Develop my own economic theory?

          Anyway, here’s a short quote from Mises about sound money:

          “It is impossible to grasp the meaning of the idea of sound money if one does not realize that it was devised as an instrument for the protection of civil liberties against despotic inroads on the part of governments. Ideologically it belongs in the same class with political constitutions and bills of right.” – Ludwig Von Mises

          As for me not being open minded…well, there’s such a thing as being so open minded that your brains fall out. Also, as I already stated, I held different beliefs for most of my life. My mind has been changed in the past years for a number of reasons that are of no relevance here.

          • sean

            I thought you said this wasn’t about sound money, this was about competing currencies. but i guess now your going back to sound money, because you don’t know anything about legal tender laws..

            “You (and the economists/professors/writers you quote at length) are arguing aginst positions that Ron Paul and Austrian economisits do not make.”… again, who cares if austian ecomosists don’t give explanations over valid points of why we got rid of sound money.. It just shows that austrian economics cannot fully relate to a 21st century economy.. I’m not against austrian econimcs, its more of microeconomic science than anything.. I’m just saying that you can’t apply certain rules under certain circumstances.. You obviously think your smarter about money than the history of banking, so we should just rewrite a sytem 90 years in the making.

          • Nate Y

            Well competing currencies are a way back to sound money. Since you suffer from many economic misunderstandings, it’s not shocking you don’t see the connection between competing currencies and sound money.

            The argument that Austrian economics cannot relate to a 21st century economy is complete nonsense. There is no such thing as a “modern economy” or a “21st century economy”. A market economy functions under the exact same principles regardless of when it exists.

            Apparently you do not understand what strawman arguments are. I guess that makes sense because if you knew what they are and why they are fallacious, you wouldn’t constantly make them.

            Also, it is much more accurate to say that the government abandoned sound money principles. We (the people) did not get rid of sound money. The reason why the government doesn’t like sound money is not immediately obvious. Which is exactly why I included that Mises quote in my last post. However, like reason and logic in general, it eludes you.

            Nice attempt at painting me as a pompous ass who thinks he’s “smarter about money than the history of banking”. As if being smarter than history is even possible. If one cares about liberty and economic efficiency, history demonstrates that sound money is the only way to go.

          • sean

            Its very clear why the government got rid abandoned sound money principles. Our 21st century economy has a complete dependency on oil. Where does austrian economics talk about that? The only way to finance oil is thru deficit spending.. I think you meant to say that competing currencies can be used as sound money, but legal tender laws don’t say that floating currencies are not allowed. Legal tender laws say that businesses must accept legal tender. That does not mean that businesses could not accept any other foreign or domestic currency. I don’t think you understand the magnitude it would take to create a currency that would be able to gain repuation, because it must come from the private sector like all non-commercial banks. THat’s why there is not hardly any around. There are barter systems within small local communites. THey create their own system of money, its not law bounding..

    • SamFox

      “The Gold Standard and the Great Depression, 1919-1939, believe that the commitment to the gold standard was a key factor that prevented governments from taking the necessary actions to fight the Great Depression, such as expanding the money supply to encourage business growth. ”

      So how could the govt have expanded the $ supply without causing inflation? Sounds like the gold standard did it’s job. The GS is hardly the only factor in the great D that caused it to last so long. Govt intervention was a big factor.

      Look up ‘The Depression You Never Heard Of’ that took place in the ’20’s. That was a short lived one ended rather quickly because govt reduced spending & regulation. The free market was cut loose & citizen entrapeouners created the Roaring 20’s.


  • Sean

    There were 35 senators that voted no against the government budget, 28 of them went ahead and put 240 million dollars in spending bill knowing it would pass. Ron Paul did the same thing. He voted against the budget, but put in 70 million+ for himself.

  • Sean

    ear marks are not tax credit! you all are fooled. These are pet projects with money going to the hands of a few people, or government intervention, which should all be done at a local level… Ron paul is by far not the only congressman/senator fighting for fiscal responsibility and against the war.. I doubt any of you people pay attention to any of the other 250 or so congressman, or the much wiser 100 senators.

    • Sean

      ron paul thinks government intervention is okay as long as they have a receipt.. He just said that all of his pet projects are wasteful spending and he wouldn’t vote for them, but since the government is handing money out, he will take his slice of the pie instead of setting an example.

      • Nate Y

        This is a total strawman. Fortunately, the people who visit this site won’t be fooled by your nonsense.

        I wonder, why you take the time to champion the campaign for liberty when you don’t believe in it? Why do you purchase Ron Paul’s book “The Revolution” and distribute it to friends/family if you do not support the ideas presented in the pages? Do you have to add a disclaimer when you hand the book to a pal. It must go something like this: “Here dude. Read this book by Ron Paul. It’s awesome. The book really promotes liberty and the Constitution. Of course, you have to jettison the chapters about economic freedom and monetary policy from your mind. Since the Constitution calls for gold and silver as money, I guess you should toss out that chapter as well. How can you have civil liberty without economic liberty? Well, you can’t. It’s impossible, a horrible contradiction in ideology, and doesn’t make any sense. But I’m comfortable with my cognitive dissonance and well…you know…time makes fools of us all.”

        • Sean

          so your for government intervention?

        • Sean

          I don’t think you know a damn thing about money or liberty. You think everything is that simple and everyones out to get you. grow up twerp

          • Sean

            The federal reserve has been audited like a hundred times in the past twenty years. They are audited regularly by the GAO. The only thing the government can’t audit is the business constructed with foreign banks. This was initiated by congress in the seventies so politics would not effect trade and monetary policy. Our dried up oil reserves forced us out of protectionism, off the gold standard, and into great trade deficits, which is balanced out with security deficits from our central bank.. You may be for free trade, but our country has been against free trade for 200 years and prospered before we ran out of oil and had to open up our borders in the seventies. If you support free trade than you support the federal reserve. Who else do you think funds the gas you put in your car? Think about that next time you drive anywhere, and thank the federal reserve for it.

          • Nate Y

            A devestating counter! Yet, again with the personal insults. Tsk tsk. Tell me, how can it be said that people have their liberty when they cannot even choose their medium of exchange? How are they free when they can’t choose to save because the purchasing power of the currency they are forced to use is destroyed by inflation?

            Seriously dude, the ideas you hold line up so much better with Obama and his administration. Why not post on one of the sites promoting those ideas? It is as if you come here simply to distract people. You think you’re educating people but you are not. We know the arguments in favor of your positions. I’d bet many people here once held them. I certainly did. For whatever reasons (reading, learning, observing reality), the ideas you hold are not convincing to the people here. Of course, you are free to post here but I just don’t understand why you do.

            As for me thinking everyone is out to get me. What the hell? What could have possibly given you that idea? No one is out to get me. You’re trying to make it seem like I’m a conspiracy theorist in order to discredit my position and support yours. It won’t work.

            As for me thinking things are simple. Well they are. The truth is simple. Consistency is simple. Lies are complex.

          • Sean

            so you think we are able to return to sound money and still be able to purchase gas?

          • Nate Y

            Absolutely. How could it not be possible to purchase gas (or anything for that matter) with money that retains its purchasing power? Of course, the retention of purchasing power is only one advantage of sound money.

          • Sean

            I guess you don’t know anything about trade deficits and monetary policy… probably because ron paul doesn’t speak of them.. If you can’t balance the trade, than you can’t have sound money. There have been many many problems with sound money and most economists know this, they know the troubles that comes to countries that run trade deficits with sound money…

          • Jeremy

            Trade deficits are a fictional problem. I’d be willing to bet that there’s “trade deficits” of some kind between Idaho and Oregon, or New York and New Jersey. For that matter, there might be “trade deficits” between Houston, TX and Dallas, TX. So what? What is the magical formula that makes it a bad idea for countries to trade freely just because there are arbitrary political boarders? By that reasoning, we ought to bring the whole world under the boarders of the same “country” and then there won’t be a “balance of trade.” You commit the same fallacies as the 18th century mercantilists, and Murray Rothbard has refuted them soundly. There is nothing wrong with honest money.

            Ron Paul speaks often and loudly about monetary policy. Not quite sure how you missed that one.

  • cynthia78611

    EAR MARKS ARE =====
    T A X C R E D I T S / R E F U N D S !!!!!!!

    thankyou for getting it out of obama’s hands.

  • Ian R

    Dr. Paul did not “slam” Mr. Cavuto, nor was Mr. Cavuto unfair to Dr. Paul. Given the economic bias that exists in the media today, it would be wise to avoid insulting free-market advocates in the media like Mr. Cavuto as has been done on this web page today.

    • Nate Y

      Cavuto is closer than most but he’s not a free-market advocate. Does he talk about abolishing the Fed? Nope.

      Does he promote sound money and the abolition of legal tender laws? Nope.

      Did he support the first stimulus bill (TARP)? Yep.

      Was he cheerleading the Fed with their criminally low interest rates? Yep.

      He has given Ron Paul his due credit but he’s no free-market advocate.

  • Rob

    I will not vote for ron paul for president in 2012 because of this.

    his constituients pay local and state taxes, and those are what should pay for his stupid roads. if he’s going to use federal funds, shouldn’t his constituents get their money back they paid in other taxes?

    Not even an honest man has principles anymore.

    • Nate Y

      “if he’s going to use federal funds, shouldn’t his constituents get their money back they paid in other taxes?”

      Ummm…that’s exactly what he’s doing with his earmarks.

    • MATT


    • Z man

      I believe what Mr. Paul is saying is that he would go ahead and try to appropriate the monies toward his constiuents and toward the things they want he money spent on.
      But, I gather he is also trying to say that the way the states are recieving the monies is not the best or correct way…because, first of all, the money is most likely being made ouf thin air, which is in turn very bad for the economy (the Fed.–read Ron Paul’s explanation of how prining tons of money creates inflation) Also, I believe he is saying that any tax money being given the states should not have to go through the hands of the federal govt. in the first place. Any money from taxes should go from the hands of the citizens and then directly to local and state govt.s, not filtered through the bureaucracy of the federal govt.
      If am understanding him right, then all this makes perfect sense, and is representative his honest and wise perspective.

  • JJ

    During the 24 hours preceding the interview, Fox advance-promoted this interview dozens of times during commercial breaks.

    In those promotions they called him a porker and made him out to be a hypocrite.

    Only a small percentage of those Fox viewers who saw the promotion will have seen the interview as well.

    Fox tried to brainwash the majority of their viewers into believing Ron is crazy.

    That’s what happens when you take on the Fed. Why didn’t Cavuto talk about HR 1207?

    Expect to see more smears in the near future.

  • ARepentantYankeeLivingInOccupiedAlabama

    Dr. Paul is being criticized on this point because he is “looking behind the curtain” again. He is exposing the media and many of his associates in Congress for the long used device of pointing out the splinter in the eye of one person while ignoring the beam in their own. “Representative X wants a new park, but I have devoted my energies to solving the nation’s crisis in healthcare!”

    It is never comfortable challenging “conventional wisdom”. Cavuto sure choked on it yesterday. He surely must have seen the point, but did not like the fact that the media’s hypocrisy was being attacked by logical argument. That is most uncomfortable to pundits and talking heads.

  • TJ

    He didn’t “slam” him. Let’s be honest now.

  • Heather

    Hmm, I was wondering when they were going to start trying to criticize Dr. Paul and discredit him…he’s making too much sense with the American voters and might just be becoming a bit of a threat. Wonder what they’ll say next?

  • Nate Y

    Even with Cavuto twisting words, Ron Paul delivered yet another complete verbal ass kicking. Well done!