Show: Larry King Live
Larry King:… Ron Paul, Republican of Texas. He ran for president this last election. He is here to react to what we’ve just heard. Concerning healthcare, Mr. Moore believes that universal healthcare is everyone’s right. He threatens that the Democrats will lose seats if they don’t support it. What is your stand on it, Congressman?
Ron Paul: I think it’s a fallacy to say that people have a right to somebody else’s services. Now, you have a right to your life and you have a right to your liberty and you have a right to earn a living. You ought to have a right to keep it, but you have a responsibility to take care of yourself because you don’t have a right to get something from government because government has nothing, so the government has to take it from somebody and give it to you, so it’s a failed policy. It is a form of socialism and socialism doesn’t work. It leaves to a big kind of…
Larry King: So if you have no money and you fall down on the street with a heart attack, you have no money and no one should take care of you? The government should not provide an ambulance or treat you?
Ron Paul: Well, no, but we don’t have a history in this country of that happening, even before government started managing healthcare. I practiced medicine in both circumstances in the early sixties. We didn’t have managed care and I worked in a Catholic hospital. I made $3 an hour and nobody was ever turned away and there were many, many church hospitals and you had Shriner’s Hospitals and a lot of free care was given. Today, even with managed care, they complain about, “Oh, somebody doesn’t have health insurance and somebody is going to die because they don’t have health insurance.”
But really, people don’t get turned away. I mean, accidents happen. Man is imperfect, but for the most part, anybody including anybody illegal can go to the emergency room and they always get taken care of. They just don’t get thrown out in the street.
Larry King: Are you saying you like the current system?
Ron Paul: No, I probably dislike it as much as Michael Moore does. But he’s complaining about it being part of capitalism. It has nothing to do with capitalism. This is corporatism, the corporations. I agree with him. Corporations run things; the drug companies’ lobbyists, the insurance companies’ lobbyists and the hospital managements’ lobbyists, the AMA lobbyists and that’s all managed care and we have a system where money and bigness influences the government, but that’s corporatism. That’s not capitalism. But we want our free markets…
Larry King: Okay, how do you change that?
Ron Paul: Allow free markets to work. There is an example of free markets and I might have even heard it on CNN today of the example of somebody that was going to charged $100,000 for surgery and they went to Singapore and got it for $25,000 and the main reason they gave why they could afford to do it was that they didn’t have horrendous malpractice payments to make and there was a market. There was a market necessity. Patients are leaving this country. They’re going to India, but that’s the market working. So we have put our charity hospitals out of business, at the same time, because of inflation and management and all the mischief of government, we have pushed these prices up. Pumping money into a system doesn’t improve quality. It increases prices. Look at our educational system. We pump it with money, prices go up. The quality of education goes up and the quality of medicine has not gone up by just pumping more money in.
Larry King: Lyndon Johnson once said, “The probable answer is that the government is going to have to be half-capitalistic and half-socialistic. You have to have some social security, i.e. socialism. You have to take care of those who don’t have. Pure capitalism can’t work.” Would you agree with that?
Ron Paul: No, not really. It’s sort of like I practice OB-GYN and I never could tell my patients they have a touch of pregnancy and you know, you’re either pregnant or you’re not. You either have government intervention messing up the markets or you don’t. You either believe in freedom and believe in voluntary choices. I mean, just look at this disaster with the swine flu vaccine. They take over the whole project. We pump in billions of dollars and they come up with shortages. Distribution is lousy and they’re talking about forcing people to take them in places like New York and no one has even proved that it’s necessary yet. We have still a lot of deaths from ordinary flu far surpassing swine flu, so managed central economic planning in anything fails and especially in medicine it fails.
Larry King: But Congressman, everyone in line getting it, who is getting it free is not standing there complaining about government involvement.
Ron Paul: Yeah, but I have a daughter that practices medicine and I was just talking to her about it and she says, “Oh, yeah, dad. I can give shots and it’s for free, but we don’t have anything.” So when something is free and you don’t have it, it’s irrelevant and some of the people who don’t want it are being forced to take it. We have lost our faith and confidence and understanding of how free markets work. We turned it upside down by saying anytime corporations get benefits, we call it capitalism and freedom and it is corporatism. It’s the military-industrial complex. It’s all the special interests and this is where Michael Moore gets it all wrong. He works, he believes diligently in free markets because he believes in the First Amendment, he believes in making films. He doesn’t believe in prior restraints, so why should he condemn capitalism?
Larry King: Right.
Ron Paul: Because he is condemning corporatism. I condemn it, too. Special privileges to corporation is a big problem.
Larry King: Maybe it’s semantics. More with Congressman Paul right after the break. Don’t go away.
Michael Moore: I think capitalism as it is defined now has completely failed. Yeah, it hasn’t really failed the rich. It has actually helped them, the wealthiest one percent now have more financial wealth than the bottom 95 percent combined, so it’s a really good system for a few people.
Larry King: Hi, Ron, do you disagree with that statistic that Michael Moore just pointed out?
Ron Paul: No, and I’m not complaining about as much as he does, but I think I understand it differently because when a country embarks on deficit financing and inflationism, you wipe out the middle class and wealth is transferred from the middle class and the poor to the rich and when we get into trouble, then the corporations come for their bailout and they get the benefits and the little people don’t.
So yes, there is some truth to that, but it’s the failure of the free market to exist, that is our problem. It isn’t the fact that we don’t have enough government, we have way too much government. The government created this monster. If he doesn’t like what we have, he has to look at what we’ve been doing for 30 or 40 years, it’s called interventionism. It’s called Keynesism. It’s called inflationism. It’s called Big Government. That’s the problem.
Larry King: Here’s what Michael Moore said about Afghanistan. I’ll ask Congressman Paul what he thinks about the war there. Watch.
Michael Moore: Al Qaeda has left there. They booked out of the neighborhood, Larry. They’re long gone, okay? They’re in Pakistan. They’re in parts of Africa. They’re elsewhere in the Middle East. You know, they’re here in the US. I mean there are real Internet operations now as Matthew Hull, the State Department individual who resigned last month over the Afghanistan policy. You should go online and read his letter of resignation. You’ll see he explains it very clearly that for one to deal with Al-Qaeda, the last place we need to be right now is in Afghanistan. That’s just a crazy, crazy making place. It’s unwinnable. It’s immoral. It’s illegal. It’s wrong and what is our CIA doing paying the brother of the president of Afghanistan who is involved in this opium trade that’s funding the Taliban. I mean, where… when does this stop?
Larry King: Congressman, you’re a strong critic of Iraq. Are you a critic of the Afghanistan policy as well?
Ron Paul: Yeah, I sure am. My position is we shouldn’t have gone in and we should just come home, but earlier on, Michael was saying that he was hopeful and sympathetic to what Obama was doing. I don’t think he’s quite willing to criticize Obama like Bush, but I am and yes, there have been a token effort of bringing some troops home from Iraq. Iraq is a mess, but at the same time, we’re sending in contractors to replace the troops and paying them a lot more money, subsidizing the military-industrial complex and Obama ought to be condemned for that. You can’t just pick out, so anytime you support Obama in any of those policies, they’re bombing Pakistan right now, killing civilians and we’re on the verge now of attacking or at least putting on more sanctions on Iran, which will lead to hostilities if we’re not careful because we’re talking about the Iranians just like we used to talk about the Iraqis, putting on tougher and tougher sanctions, making the people suffer, hoping the people are going to overthrow their leaders, and not realizing the tougher the sanctions you put on the people, the more you drive them into supporting their leaders.
Larry King: So you would get out of Afghanistan and Iraq posthaste?
Ron Paul: I would, and my saying during the campaign was “we just marched in, we can just march home.” Nothing good can come of it and it’s an undeclared war. It’s an immoral war. We don’t have any money. The longer we’re there, the worse it’s going to get and we just need to come home. We can’t nation-build and besides, I will win this argument because we are bankrupt and we can’t afford it, so it’s going to end badly if we don’t come to our senses and just say, “Let’s quit this militarism around the world.” I mean, we’re in 130 countries with 700 bases around the world and we cannot sustain these and it is, it’s pumped up by both the Left and the Right in the Congress, “Oh, we can’t do away with this weapon. It will be bad for jobs.” There is conservative Keynesism and Liberal Keynesism, always government management, which always fails and gives us the financial crisis that we’re in.
Larry King: Right. The always thoughtful Congressman Ron Paul of Texas. Thanks. Thanks, Ron.
Ron Paul: Thank you very much.
Larry King: Always good having you with us.
Ron Paul: Thank you.