Interview: Time Magazine – 10 Questions for Ron Paul
Michael Scherer: Hi, this is Michael Scherer from TIME and I’m here with Congressman Ron Paul, Texas Republican, two-time Presidential candidate, who has a new book out this September called “End The Fed”. Thanks for joining us, Congressman Paul.
Ron Paul: Nice to be here with you.
Michael Scherer: Brad Thomas from Kalamazoo, Michigan asks: What role does the Federal Reserve have in our current economic downturn, and how would auditing the Fed improve our situation?
Ron Paul: Well, the Federal Reserve is the key element in the formation of financial bubbles. The Federal Reserve is the culprit and if we can get an audit we could reveal exactly what they do. Because they deal in trillions of dollars of extending loads to special interests, special banks, special corporations and make deals with other central banks and other governments of the world. So they’re a government onto themselves and they print their own money. So if people have any concern whatsoever about the business cycle and serious financial problems that we have, that we are in the midst of… and now we’re facing a dollar crisis, they have to know about what the Federal Reserve is doing, how it operates. And then we can get to the bottom of all our financial troubles that we have.
Michael Scherer: Jacob Schans from Silver Spring, MD asks: Do you think you were treated fairly by the mainstream media during your 2008 Presidential primaries?
Ron Paul: Well, I know if you’d ask my supporters that question then you’d get a pretty strong answer. I guess it wasn’t too shocking to me because I expected it. I really don’t think I have gotten a fair shake over over 30 years. But in spite of it all I was very pleased, you know. Even though I didn’t get much time in the debates and not much attention during the campaign, we had a rally in Philadelphia, we had 5,000 people early in the campaign and got zero coverage. So no. But, all in all, a tremendous amount of people were able to hear the message. It got on the Internet and YouTube and right now if the three majors or the five majors don’t give you much coverage it’s not as relevant. All you have to do is have a message that touches on the issues that the people care about and evidently the people will listen and respond.
Michael Scherer: Craig Thomas from Longview, Texas asks: Why do you support the decriminalization of marijuana?
Ron Paul: Why support the criminalization of marijuana is the better question. I mean, this is a substance that grows in a natural way and some people use it for different reasons. In a free country you ought to have the right to do that. And another good reason is that the war on drugs is a total failure, and it has created a monster of a problem for us, and we spend hundreds of billions of dollars. Prohibition is absurd.
Michael Scherer: Matthew Thacker from Bowling Green, OH asks: How do you feel about the way you were shown in the latest Sasha Baron Cohen film Bruno?
Ron Paul: Well, I don’t feel good about it because I was a subject of a trick and nobody likes to be tricked, especially when fraud was involved. You know, lying to us and a few other things and making fun. So you feel badly that you weren’t on your toes. But then again, most of life is dependent on a fair amount of trust with people. You trust your employees, you trust your friends and almost anybody can trick you eventually. But if you refuse to accept any trust with anybody it’s a miserable society.
Michael Scherer: Kevin Tuma from Pillsburgh Texas asks: Do you feel that fearmongering from conspiracy theorists helps or hurts the cause of liberty?
Ron Paul: Oh, it depends. If there is true conspiracy, that’s a plan behind the scenes. You could call the Federal Reserve a conspiracy because they’re conspiring to run the whole economy secretly. So I would say that’s a pretty good conspiracy we ought to understand and we ought to look into. I think there is a conspiracy of bad ideas and I’d like to participate in a conspiracy of some good ideas. So I conspire all the time. I conspire with my friends on how we’re going to move the cause of liberty along.
Michael Scherer: Why do you oppose the income tax?
Ron Paul: Because I have a right to my life, I have the right to the fruits of my labor; and government does not. If you concede the principle of the income tax, you concede the principle that the government owns all your income and permits you to keep a certain percentage of it. And I believe in natural rights, God given rights to our life and our liberty, it doesn’t come from government. Equivalent to that idea is the idea of the government owning your life when you become 18. You have to sign up for the potential draft in case they need you to go over and die for some worthless cause. So it’s always there, it’s always there saying the government owns you. This, to me, is very clear in the income tax. I just think that some day we won’t have an income tax because when the dollar crashes the system won’t function and there is going to be so much chaos that people probably just won’t bother sending anything in.
Michael Scherer: What do you make of President Obama’s approach to Iraq and Afghanistan now that he’s in office?
Ron Paul: Every bit as bad as the last administration, maybe even worse. Because he’s not getting out of Iraq, that’s a pretense. And he’s expanding rapidly what’s happening in Afghanistan. He’s continuing the bombing of Pakistan, he has not changed his attitude about Iran. They’re talking about denying any shipments of gasoline to the people of Iran just to further antagonize the situation. What he is doing is a little more dangerous because he has neutralized the anti-war left. The antiwar left has just left. At least Bush was honest, I mean he was upfront. He believed in pre-emptive preventive war but everybody was hopeful that Obama would do differently, but he hasn’t. So he has quieted down the left and there is a very weak anti-war movement in this country now. And that obviously is something I hope to participate in reviving and it has to be coming from the old right as well as true progressives who believe that all this warmongering and killing makes no sense whatsoever.