Ron Paul: “I wouldn’t vote for Bernanke”

Host: Poppy Harlow
Date: 12/03/2009


Poppy Harlow: Ben Bernanke is facing confirmation hearings for a second term on Capitol Hill. A loud critic of the Federal Reserve, Congressman Ron Paul, joins us now from Washington. First question to you, Congressman, and thank you for being here: should Bernanke be confirmed? I think I can guess your answer.

Ron Paul: Yeah, he’ll be confirmed. But I’m delighted with the discussion and the controversy because it calls attention to all Americans that the Federal Reserve is very, very important, it’s controversial and we ought to be studying and learning a lot more about it. People like to personalize things and they’ve done this well with Bernanke. But you know, we could personalize it and put a lot of blame on Greenspan as well. But the subject is very, very important. But I do think when the votes are finally counted that he will be voted back.

Poppy Harlow: But do you think he should be confirmed?

Ron Paul: I wouldn’t vote for him, but there are probably not very many… I couldn’t vote for anybody because I don’t believe in the system. For me that isn’t an issue, it’s not a personal thing. But I wouldn’t vote for him. But the next guy will be endorsing the same viewpoints because the people who believe in sound money wouldn’t be running for the job of running the Federal Reserve, unless they did it to be the caretaker or something like that, or just develop a policy where they refused to set interest rates and, of course, nobody would consider them.

Poppy Harlow: You know, looking back a year and a half plus at the height of the financial crisis, there are many… and I’m sure a number of your constituents would argue that Ben Bernanke, the Fed, the New York Fed and his peers, the treasury, did a good job in at least preventing the system to fall off the cliff. Given that, why the push back now?

Ron Paul: Yeah, we’re moving towards a cliff and they slowed it up a little bit. But we’re still moving towards the cliff. It’s sort of like saying, there were few things done in the 1930s that seemed to be helping. Roosevelt comes in and says, “Oh, we’re going to take care of all this” and there seems to be temporary improvement. But literally the economy never grew in the true sense of the word until after the war was over. So it just prolonged the agony.

So because you see a few statistics that are improving, to me, that just means that they are prolonging the agony. Just think of what will happen when they pull out all these regulations that they’re talking about. That is just going to stimulate the exporting of jobs and businesses and investments overseas because other places in the world are much more competitive. So no, that isn’t the answer and we shouldn’t be […] It’s sort of like giving a drug addict a shot and he’s feeling better. He says, “Oh, so it’s all going to be okay”. But before we know it we’re going to probably kill the patient if we’re not careful.

Poppy Harlow: Kill the patient if we’re not careful. That’s an interesting point of view in terms of getting support if, let’s say, Bernanke was not conformed someone else would take his seat. You argue that wouldn’t make a difference in policy. And wouldn’t it be at least symbolically difficult for the American public to see at this critical time in terms of economic recovery the head of the Fed ousted?

Ron Paul: Yeah, I think it would send a strong signal and even though it wouldn’t be dramatically different, Bernanke was probably one of the biggest inflationists. He’s been kidded about because at one time he said, “I can always bail everybody out because if necessary I can drop the money out of helicopters”. That means, “I can destroy the money faster and better than anybody else”. So maybe there is somebody else who would do it a little less so. But because of the system being in place and it’s not going to go away anytime soon, the people may be reassured for a little bit. But I think if he weren’t reconfirmed that would disturb the markets and the people maybe even a little bit more.

Poppy Harlow: Yeah, that’s what many people are saying. Alright, Congressman Paul, we appreciate your time. Thanks for joining us today.

Ron Paul: Thank you.