During his stay, Ron Paul was interviewed by WZZM 13 News.
Reporter: First of all, reminisce with me a little bit, if you would, what is it like to be a candidate for President of the United States, and how has it changed your life?
Ron Paul: Well, it has changed it a whole lot, because I’ve been talking about a certain philosophy in government for a long time… for 30 years or so. It seems like during that campaign and I remember after about six months I said, “wow, I’ve got more attention in 6 months of the campaign than I got in 30 years”. So all of a sudden, you know, it was more noticeable. But it has changed a lot. Because a lot more attention is given to these views in Washington. Not only because of the attention we had during the campaign and the fact that we had a lot of enthusiastic people who raised a lot of money, but also because it coincided with the economic crisis. And I have been talking about the economic crisis for a long time as it was approaching.
As a matter of fact I was even motivated in the 1970s to run because I was concerned that we had embarked on a bad situation, and now this is what is what has happened to us; because we have lived way beyond our means, spent too much money, run up too much deficits, printed too much money. So I really expected what’s happening. So I’m pleased that now they’re paying more attention and even thinking about the Federal Reserve System and how they contribute to our crisis.
Reporter: What do you think about the actions the Federal government has taken to deal with this economic crisis? Are they approaching this the right way?
Ron Paul: No, they’re doing completely wrong things. They are doing exactly what brought on the crisis. They spent too much, they borrowed too much, they printed too much, and it is not going to solve the problem. They over-regulate; they think they can compensate by overregulation. But, the country is changing. I notice a big difference after having traveled and being on so many interviews, that the people themselves are awakening, and especially the young people. And the campaign was filled with people between the age of 15 and 25. They’re enthusiastic, the very group the Republican Party have in trouble appealing to. And they’re very interested in limited government, personal liberty, a different foreign policy, and actually, believe it or not, young people are interested in what the Federal Reserve is doing. That fascinates me to no end.
As a matter of fact, I made the first discovery in the campaign when I was in Michigan doing the debate in Detroit. I was in the University of Michigan campus, and these young people started shouting “What about the Federal Reserve?” How did they ever know about this? So I was very pleased that I learnt something a whole lot here in Michigan during that campaign.
Reporter: So do you feel like your candidacy has made a difference and that your message has gotten across?
Ron Paul: Well, it remains to be seen, I don’t know. Hopefully it will. Right now, I’m optimistic that a lot of people are rallying around this message. But it will take a long time. It took us a long time to accept the idea the government has to take care of us from cradle to grave, that the welfare state is permanent, that we are to police the world. So I’m not talking about minor changes, I’m talking about something so radical, it’s going back to the Constitution. You know, it’s that dramatic.
So yes, it might take a generation, it might take these young people to come up with better ideas as this evolves. I think things will get worse before they get batter. But right now the message of freedom is alive and well, it’s growing, it’s very popular, people are understanding it. So for the long term I’m optimistic. For the short term on expecting the government, the Congress, the President, and others to do the right things in Washington, don’t hold your breath.
Reporter: What suggestions do you have? What do you think is part of the answer, at least, to get out of the economic situation that we find ourselves in right now?
Ron Paul: For the long term it’s education so the people understand why free markets work and why sound money work. On the initial stage on what I would do immediately right now, I mentioned that I thought they were doing everything the wrong way. Well, if an individual gets into trouble, has too much debt, and they have lived beyond their means, the individual knows, “Hmm, I’m going to have to work harder, I’m going to have to have two jobs, I have to quit spending, I have to save money, I have to pay off debt.” And then they can work their way out of that.
A country has to do the same thing. They have to get rid of the debt. But we’re not doing that, we’re increasing the debt. And we’re doing exactly what we shouldn’t be doing. So unless we decide to live within our means we can’t solve the problem. I would immediately cut spending in order to move in the right direction.
But instead of attacking some favorite programs here at home, medical care for children or the elderly, I would cut all the overseas expenditures first. I would say, “We can’t have a world empire.” No great nation can remain rich that maintains a world empire. It was the reason the Soviet system collapsed and every other empire collapsed for this reason. So I would say, “It is time to come home, time to cut the money and save money, cut the deficits, take care of the people at home.”
You could do it, but not when there are too many special interests, like the military-industrial complex. They love our foreign policy because a lot of people are still making money, a lot of people are convinced that we won’t be safe unless we’re over there fighting and killing and spreading the war. I happen to believe the opposite. I think we’re less safe because we’re over in the Middle East fighting all these wars. So the sooner we wake up to that reality, the sooner we can get back to cutting our spending
Reporter: And now let me ask you, since you’re here in Michigan, with the big three and some of the struggle they’ve been going through; Chrysler’s bankruptcy and GM’s bankruptcy. Do you think those were the right moves for the government to get involved there?
Ron Paul: No, absolutely wrong. I think the companies that lived beyond their means or maybe paid too much in wages or whatever they did, and they didn’t have enough cash to tie themselves over, they should go bankrupt. I happen to somewhat like some of the GM products. I’ve been thinking very hard about buying one of these Impalas. But now I don’t know what to do. The government owns it! Can I trust them to fulfill the contract? I’m skeptical of government, but if the good products would have been put into a new company a year ago… just because they filed for bankruptcy doesn’t mean the company is gone.
But the government now has propped up the bad assets and they’re dumping the assets, they’re getting more involved. Congress will decide what cars to build? I’m sympathetic to Ford, you know. Looks like they’re going to survive. I happen to have a General Motors product and a Ford product. But right now because I am uncertain about what’s going on, I might more likely buy my next car from Ford. But I think the bankruptcy should have occurred, we shouldn’t have bailed out anybody, because what happens is when you bail out companies, some who aren’t as friendly with the government, like Lehman, they go bankrupt, they get wiped out. But then we go in and we protect Goldman Sachs and these huge salaries and all.
So, that is just the wrong way to do it. It all becomes a political football. Bankruptcy is a national law and it should be regulated and it should be enforced, but it shouldn’t be politicized and we shouldn’t play favor.