Show: Imus in the Morning
Host: Don Imus
Channel: Fox Business
Don Imus: Welcome now to the program, Texas Congressman Ron Paul. Good morning, Congressman Paul.
Ron Paul: Good morning. Nice to be with you.
Don Imus: How are you, Sir?
Ron Paul: I’m doing fine.
Don Imus: Happy New Year and all that.
Ron Paul: Thank you.
Don Imus: I thought you were from Texas. But then I read you were born actually in Pittsburgh, right?
Ron Paul: That is right. I was born and raised up there, and the military sent me down here during the Cuban crisis and I decided that the weather was a little better.
Don Imus: Are you a Cowboy’s fan or Steelers’ fan?
Ron Paul: Well, I have to confess I don’t get too involved. Some of the kids I have knew about the Steelers. They still like the Steelers. But I haven’t paid a whole lot of attention to it.
Don Imus: Well, there are other better things to do with your time, Congressman.
Ron Paul: Well, I do. I sort of get fascinated with the exchange stabilization fund and a few things like that. I find that interesting.
Don Imus: Did you read >Frank Rich’s op-ed in the New York Times yesterday?
Ron Paul: No, I did not. I’m sorry.
Don Imus: I’ll describe the thesis of his column, and that was about Wall Street. And he’s essentially suggesting that Wall Street is more dangerous to regular working class Americans than Al-Qaida.
Ron Paul: Well. Some parts of Wall Street and the banking system are very, very dangerous. I don’t know whether he compared military danger to financial danger. But overall, it is. See, I’m not afraid of big companies and Wall Street and even the big banks if they’re making it on their own and providing a service. But when they’re getting their benefits from government – either protection through regulations or through the financial system or monetary system – then I think it’s very, very dangerous because you create bubbles and the bubbles burst and a lot of people suffer. There is some truth to that but I’d like to separate the two from corporatism and big banks and big business on Wall Street, versus those who are big because of government benefits.
Don Imus: I know a lot of folks who think that probably what Frank is getting at was that the American people feel like they’ve been played for suckers by a lot these folks, you know.
Ron Paul: I think today there is some truth to that. They made a lot of money doing a lot of speculating throughout the financial system. And then when they got in trouble, the little guy had to bail them out, not through direct taxation but by printing money which means that the money gets devalued, costs will go up and jobs don’t come back. So the people do really suffer from the system that we have, and that’s one of the reasons I’ve argued that we should know more how that works behind the scenes a long time before the bubble bursts. Because after it bursts a lot of people get very frightened. You know, when this happened a year or so ago, the people were told that the end of the world would be here and it would be a total disaster and it would be worse than the 1930s. And therefore they did whatever the government told them to do. They said, “Okay, bail them out”. And, of course, I think all that did was delay the inevitable which means that we have a long way to go before the correction actually happens.
Don Imus: We’re talking to Congressman Ron Paul here, till the hour. I spend 4-5 months a year out in Northern New Mexico. And once a while I drive through the town of Madrid. We were driving down a highway and we saw the sign that said most people would say “Madrid”. But I saw a lot of “Ron Paul for President” bumper stickers. How was that experience like?
Ron Paul: It was an experience that, as a matter of fact, was sort of surprising to me to find out so many young people, especially, were interested in things I have been talking about. I’ve tried to get the attention of others for a long time. But it was during that campaign where the college kids became fascinated with sound money, talking about the Federal Reserve, talking about personal liberties, and especially talking about a different foreign policy, about trying to avoid getting involved in these undeclared, no-win wars. So the college kids know about this and they like this and especially now that they’re very much aware that they’re inheriting a big problem financially; the deficits and the debt that they have to deal with. Those signs are usually put up by young people, or people who have young ideas. So I was fascinated and really pleased with the reception.
Don Imus: And it’s getting worse with the stimulus packages. Did you support that, by the way?
Ron Paul: The stimulus?
Don Imus: The stimulus package.
Ron Paul: I don’t think so. No way.
Don Imus: I didn’t think so. Well, here’s what we discovered: that this had absolutely zero impact on local unemployment.
Ron Paul: Oh yeah. Well, it did have an impact, probably a negative impact because it took the money away from where this money might have been used by productive individuals. If we would have used maybe one-tenth of the money we spent by just cutting taxes – maybe getting rid of the income tax for three years straight and the inheritance tax and all that, it probably wouldn’t have cost this much. And I think that money would have been better directed. It would have solved the problems quicker because people would have used the tax money to pay down their debt and get ready to go back to work again.
So the stimulus not only doesn’t create jobs. If somebody claims it does, it just meant it took a job away from somebody else. But even by their statistics it doesn’t show that they’ve created any jobs. And they have just propped up a very, very weak system and what they have done is they have delayed the correction that is very necessary.
For instance, you know, in Washington we’re still trying to keep interest rates extremely low and stimulate housing when there might be millions and millions of houses sitting out there to be bought. So we’re doing everything wrong and we’re just following the old tricks that they tried in the Depression which delayed the correction, and Washington hasn’t yet awakened. They follow Keynesian economics and it’s a failed system and it has nothing to do with free markets. It has to do with central economic planning through…
Don Imus: Congressman Ron Paul here on the Imus program. Well we asked for 5 songs, we got two. “Unknown Soldier” that’s a pretty good record – and “Alice’s Restaurant”. When was the last time you listened to “Alice’s Restaurant” all the way through?
Ron Paul: I caught it on the radio about 6 months ago.
Don Imus: Really?
Ron Paul: Yeah. But that’s on satellite radio, it’s not likely to be on regular radio.
Don Imus: I guess 17 minutes to listen to satellite radio.
Ron Paul: In the car, probably driving.
Don Imus: Well, why not?
Ron Paul: Yeah.
Don Imus: What kind of doctor are you?
Ron Paul: OB/GYN.
Don Imus: Really?
Ron Paul: Yeah.
Don Imus: Well, if you’re going to be one, be that. Anyway, what do you think about this healthcare plan the guys in Congress passed, and want to pass in the Senate? Where is that heading?
Ron Paul: Well, they’ll probably pass something. Obama’s not going to get socialized medicine. I don’t think his goal ever was to socialize it. It was to give the government more control and keep in place the drug companies and insurance companies and the management companies and make the AMA happy. So it’s more management, we’ve been doing it steadily since the early 1970s. And, you know, even under the Republicans prescription drug programs were always expanding the role of government.
And they don’t ask a very important question: why does the cost of medicine go up and why do the conditions get worse? At the same time, even though we’re having inflation throughout our whole system, if you come up with a cellphone or a computer, the quality keeps going up and the prices keep going down. And when they ask that question and find the answers, then they’ll realize they’re on a wrong track and that they can expect a lot more problems in the delivery of healthcare.
Don Imus: So they’ll pass something, you’re suggesting?
Ron Paul: I think they’ll pass something.
Don Imus: But it’s just to pass something, is it? It’s not to really…
Ron Paul: Yeah, they’re at this point now, because they still have the “Right to Life” issue to deal with and they still have the one-payer system to deal with; the public option.
Don Imus: What did you think about Harry Reid’s comments about the president?
Ron Paul: Well, you know, when did he say this? Years ago?
Don Imus: Well, he said it, apparently, according to these two journalists, Mark Halperin and John Heilemann, one works for Time Magazine, the other works for New York, so, you know, they’re pretty much communist.
Ron Paul: Well, I think sometimes more is made of these kind of comments than they it should. And I’d be really comfortable if the subject didn’t come up.
Don Imus: Well, I guess we all would, but it has come up. I think Senator Reid said it and he claims that he thought it was off the record and they even acknowledge in this book Game Change, which I actually read. He essentially said stuff about the campaign that is all this gossipy kind of stuff, you know.
Ron Paul: Yeah.
Don Imus: But I think he thought he was saying it in private, so.
Ron Paul: Well, they’ll emphasize this and there’ll be a lot of talk in the last few days and people will have to apologize. But there’s very little talk about why does Obama’s foreign policy follow George Bush’s foreign policy, and this involves trillions of dollars, it involves kids going oversees and dying. And those issues are the issues that should be really debated and consummated. But they’re fluffed over, they don’t even want to talk about the similarities between the Bush administration and Obama’s administration on foreign policy. And I think that is so crucial.
Don Imus: Well, thanks for appearing on the program. Happy New Year and all that. We’ll call you again, okay?
Ron Paul: Thank you very much. Nice to be with you.
Don Imus: Congressman Ron Paul there on the program. It’s 14 to the hour.