Ron Paul in the Katy Tea Party Debate

Location: Katy, TX
Date: 02/20/2010
Full debate here: Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5Part 6


Opening Statement

Ron Paul: Thank you, I appreciate being here today. I am a physician from Lake Jackson. My wife is with me. We’ve been married for 53 years. We have 5 children, 18 grandchildren, and a few great grandchildren. But I’ve practiced medicine off and on in Lake Jackson for 30 years, I’ve delivered 4,000 babies. But in the 1970s I got pretty worried about the trends I saw and I believed at that time that it would lead to a financial disaster.

I ran for Congress, I served 4 terms, and decided that I didn’t want to make a career and stay in Washington, so I left Congress and went back to practice medicine for 12 years. But then in 1996 I thought maybe there would be hope. Maybe we could actually cut back and get some sense up there and get the budget balanced. And I went back into Congress and I have been struggling.

And right now I think the country is coming around and they’re getting ready. Thank goodness for the Tea Party Movement, the people are waking up in Washington and hopefully they’ll get the message.

Moderator: First question. The United States provides over $50 billion a year in financial aid to foreign governments and organizations around the world. So no. 1, do you approve of this level of expenditure? And no. 2, are there particular foreign governments or organizations that we should support with our tax dollars? For that we go to Mr. Ron Paul.

Ron Paul: I think you’re referring to foreign aid – $50 billion dollars. I’ve never voted for one penny of foreign aid, and never intend to. I’ll tell you what. The number is much bigger than that. Because there are so many other budgets where the people get money sent overseas, and it’s hidden. For instance, the CIA budget: that money is foreign aid to go over and prop up a lot of types of dictatorships. There’s a lot in the so called defense budget, the military budget, which is nothing more than foreign aid to other countries. And then worst of all is what the Federal Reserve does. Because they’re allowed to give loans and make grants to foreign governments and foreign central banks and they literally do it. It’s off budget, and it is done with the Congress not knowing about it, and we’re not even allowed to audit the Federal Reserve. So if we ever want to get to the bottom of the problems we have in Washington, not only do we have to look at the appropriation process, we have to look at the monetary system, and come up and rein in the Federal Reserve and make sure they’re not doing some of the things that they have been doing, and that Congress gets control of this process once again.

Moderator: Now returning to Dr. Ron Paul.

Question: The examples of pork barrel spending are as numerous as they are legendary, right down to the $1.3 million spend on swine odor and manure management research. What roll should earmarks play in our federal government and what would you do with regards to earmarks as our representative in congress?

Ron Paul: … whether the congress should designate the spending, how the money should be spent? Everybody would say, “Yeah, that’s in the constitution, you’re supposed to designate it.” But if you put an earmark, they say, “Oh no, that’s not right. We don’t want to earmark it.” But that’s what earmarks are: designation. So the principle of earmarking is correct. The Congress should earmark or designate every single penny. If you vote against earmark, you put the money in to the executive branch, and the executive branch usurps the prerogatives of the Congress. And that is not the way the Constitution is written.

Pork barrel spending is something like, you know, I’ve heard a little bit of criticism over the last couple of years about, “Oh, I didn’t vote for the money for the hurricane.” You know, if you want to talk about pork barreling, it was in the bill 686 billion dollars of continuing resolution. They had money in there to bail out the car industry, they had money in there for foreign aid, and it was just a big, bloated budget. But they did put in the money for the hurricane relief. So in one sense they say, “You should vote for that, but we’re against pork barrel spending”. I say the best principle to take is to protect the interest of the Congress to designate how the money is spent, and defend that position, but then vote against the appropriations because they’re out of control and the bottom line is vote against big government spending.

Moderator: Alright, thank you Mr. Graney. We now turn to Congressman Ron Paul.

Question: It’s been estimated that the financial impact from illegal immigration to the United States has cost the taxpayers over $300 billion per year. Please discuss your position on illegal immigration and how the issue effects Texas and this congressional district.

Ron Paul: I think it should go without saying that if something is illegal, we shouldn’t permit it. So that should be settled. We shouldn’t have illegal immigration. But what encourages it is, I think, the welfare state; the welfare state here as well as providing welfare for illegal immigrants. And this is what’s bankrupting so many hospitals and school districts. Because illegals come over and you, the taxpayer, have to pay for their education as well as their medical care. I have introduced legislation that would abolish the whole concept of federal mandates. I happen to still believe that the states should run these things and not have federal mandates from the federal government.

But the welfare system also works at home. I know we want to put all the blame on the illegal immigrants. But believe me, the system here at home encourages some of us, some of our American citizens not to take the jobs that are available because it’s actually pretty easy to get the welfare; your jobs go begging. Half of the people that come to my office say, “Don’t let the illegals in”. The other half, especially when the economy is doing better, it was the businesspeople saying, “We need workers”. And we still have some of that. So the welfare system, big government, is at fault so often. If we had a truly free prosperous market, I’ll tell you what, there would probably be a demand for a labor and it would be quite right for us to be generous with work permits. Not illegal immigration, but let them come in and fulfill the role. They wouldn’t have the incentive to bring their families. So a free market and a constitutional government would go a long way to solving this problem.

Moderator: Alright, thank you Congressman Paul. Congressman Paul wants one of his 30 seconds right here. Congressman Paul, you got 30 seconds.

(Dr. Paul responds to the statement of: You must work with the other 434 representatives with you. In the last 12 years Dr. Paul has had only 3 bills get out of committee.)

Ron Paul: That whole comment is based on the fact that the he likes the way the country is going. If you play ball and do what they do, then you can do that and get some bills passed. But it takes time to change the course of history, to change the course this country has been on for so many years. Take, for instance, the understanding about the Federal Reserve System and the importance of auditing the Federal Reserve System. We have 317 people on that bill, it’s bi-partisan, and it’s already passed the House of Representatives. That’s a lot more important than having a bill that you work with the establishment and you get it passed and you say, “Oh, look at me, I passed 5 bills”.

Moderator: And for his response to this question, Congressman Ron Paul.

Question: Congress recently extended the US debt limit to $14.3 trillion. President Obama just submitted a $3.8 trillion budget. There seems to be no end to the red ink coming out of Washington. How would you propose to balance our budget and get our financial house in order?

Ron Paul: The debt is obviously a very, very serious problem. And unless we get it under control, we’re going to have a dollar crisis, a currency crisis. We’ve already had financial crisis. But just printing the money to pay these bills is devastating. And it’s real hard to get things in check as long as we endorse the idea of a secret bank that can print money out of thin air. Everything has to be cut. Everything. And if we really had a good rule, we could say, “Well, if you’re 10% over budget, cut 10% across the board.” But the rate at which we’re going now, we’re going to spend ourselves into oblivion. And this is going to be a major, major crisis for us.

But we first have to realize that it is the attitude of the people, what they think the role of government should be. If you think we should have the welfare state, fine. But if you think we should run the world and have troops in a 140 countries, have 700 bases overseas and don’t think that we can cut a one trillion dollar empire around the world. It doesn’t even contribute to our national defense. It makes us in greater danger because we’re overseas doing these things. It’s not defense. It’s what Eisenhower called a “military-industrial complex” who’s running the show now. There are too many people who think that the military budget is sacred and it creates jobs. War never creates a good economy. We need to cut back every single thing we’re doing up in Washington.

Moderator: Alright, thank you, thank you.

Question: What will you do as a member of Congress to address the health insurance reform and what will you do to assure your constituents are adequately informed and consulted on this issue?

Ron Paul: One thing is, we don’t need more government in medicine. Our problems have all come from big government being involved and it’s been there since the 1970s. We’ve had managed care. It’s managed care along with the inflation that has pushed the cost up. The medical care is reasonably good, but the main problem that the people have is they can’t afford it, and they can’t afford it because government has been involved.

I’ve introduced a fair number of legislations that would return us to a more market delivery of medical care. There is no reason why services can’t be delivered in the market place just like other goods and services. And unfortunately we make an exemption for medical care. We think the government has a right to do this and people claim they have a right to medical care. You have a right to your life and you have your right to liberty, but you don’t have a right to a job, or you don’t have a right to a house. And you don’t have a right to medical care.

But what we need to do is we need to change the tax code and make sure that individuals and small companies get the tax deduction just like big companies. We need to change tort law, we need to legalize the sale of insurance across state lines, and there are quite a few things that we could do without dismantling what we have today. But eventually, though, it’s going to be dismantled because the way we’re going right now is more government involvement, and that means rationing. They are talking about rationing. If that Obamacare ever got passed, believe me, there would be rationing and the services would just crumble. So we have to stop Obamacare, and I work real hard on trying to prevent that thing from passing.

Moderator: Alight. And for the final answer on this question, Congressman Ron Paul.

Question: We have a constant graying of the lines between federal power and rights. What are your thoughts on this issue and what specific bills will you submit to preserve the proper roles of government?

Ron Paul: Well, I’m not going to try to say I’m going to spend the least amount of money in this campaign because a lot of people gave me a lot of money and want me to campaign and win the election again. But I can say one other thing, though, I have voted for the least amount of spending and the least amount of taxes of anybody in the Congress, and that’s why they call me, “The taxpayer’s best friend”.

But as far as state sovereignty goes, you know, putting an amendment in the Constitution or what not is not going to make much difference. We need people there that are determined that every single vote they take, they look at the Constitution. And I do that. If it’s unconstitutional, I don’t vote for it. And I have promised I would never raise taxes, and I never vote for it. But article 1 section 8 gives us 20 things that we’re allowed to do, and if it’s not there, I just don’t vote for it. The 9th and 10th amendments are great amendments and we should follow them. But there is a responsibility for the states when we don’t do our jobs in Washington and we need that too. We need nullification and interposition. And if that would be the case, Congress would be much more cautious about passing all these laws. They never intended that the states would be so behoven to the federal government. The states should be almost independent states. The reason we had the convention was to have a sound monetary system, and also have a free trade zone. Those are the reasons we have it. We shouldn’t have a federal government running our states.

Moderator: Thank you. Dr. Paul.

Question: Define “We The People”.

Ron Paul: I think “we the people” means that we’re in competition with the government. The people are supposed to be running the government, but we are at a point now where the government is in conflict with us. Patriotism is closely related to this. So often people think patriotism is obedience to the government, even when it does wrong you can’t say anything. If they do something wrong on foreign policy, don’t say anything, or you’re disobedient and you’re unpatriotic. But we people are people themselves and what they believe in. And if you support the people, then you are challenging the government when they get out bounds.

But unfortunately today we have too many people that think that the government is going to take care of us. A lot of people think that it’s always the majority. But we the people very often just like in this room, you’re individuals who are interested in politics. Most people don’t get interested until the day of the election. But the people have to have leaders, and the leaders are the ones who influence the majority of the people. So there is something to be said that sometimes we the people are represented by leaders who understand what the Constitution is all about, what liberty is all about. And they represent we the people. That’s why I think the Tea Party Movement is so important, because they are representing we the people even though they don’t have 51% of the votes. It’s a small group. But they are speaking out and Washington has heard about it, and you’re getting their attention. So I would say we the people are now having an influence on Washington.

Moderator: For his closing statement, here to seal the deal, Dr. Ron Paul.

Ron Paul: Thank you. One thing I noticed so far in the discussion and debate that we’ve had is nobody up here is really screaming out, “We want bigger government, we want more spending, we want more deficits”. So I think there are quite a few ways we would have some agreement. But obviously there must be some disagreement in order for us to have a contest and challenge me in a race. And I think I understand it, because I’m a stickler. I am a stickler for the Constitution, I vote “No” a lot. And sometimes they wonder why this is the case. And I’m not ashamed of this. I have voted “No” by myself more times than everybody else put together, because I want to make that point that “to get along you have to go along” is the principle up there. So if you give an inch, you have to give a mile to work in the system. But you have to know what you believe in, and you have to be strong enough to stand firm.

That is what we need. We need a full understanding of the Constitution as well. But the ultimate goal for me is the protection of liberty. The Constitution is wonderful, it is not perfect. But what motivates me to get involved in politics has been the protection of liberty. I am convinced that in a free society where you have a right to your life, it’s a god-given right, and we should protect all life. And you have a right to your liberty, you ought to have a right to all the fruits of your labor. If this would be the case, we would be free and prosperous. But to do that endorses the idea that we have to have constant wars going on, wars that are never declared? I mean this is a total neglect of the Constitution. We actually start wars these days. We shouldn’t be starting wars, that’s aggression. And we shouldn’t do it. We should live up to our Constitution. Only Congress can declare the war and the president should never be allowed to go to war if it is an undeclared war. We need to be sticklers for the Constitution.

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