Dina Gusovsky: After a historic health care reform bill officially became the law of the land, Washington DC is still buzzing with excitement, but not everyone is celebrating. Some politicians here, including Congressman Ron Paul, warn that America may be heading in the wrong direction as a result. Well, the Congressman joins me today for more discussion. Dr Paul, thank you so much for being here.
Ron Paul: Thank you, good to be with you.
Dina Gusovsky: So I want to quickly address the topic that has all of Washington DC, probably all of the country, on its feet really talking about it and that is of course health care. You have said before that you feel that health care is not a right. Can you justify that?
Ron Paul: I think very easily. You have a right to your life, and you have a right to your liberty, and you ought to have the right to keep what you earn in a free country. But you don’t have a right to stuff, you don’t have a right to services, or things like a house or a job, because in order to get that the government would have to take it from somebody else. If somebody claims you have a right to a car, and they don’t have one and the government gives him a car they have to take the money or the car from somebody else. So it’s a contradiction in terms. If somebody has a right to something, they have to violate somebody else’s right. So the most you can expect in a free society is for government to make an attempt at protecting rights, not to try to redistribute wealth. If you do that, all people lose their rights.
Dina Gusovsky: Now you have also said before that you believe that this bill will be repealed because it will drive the country into bankruptcy. Can you just elaborate a little bit on that?
Ron Paul: Well, I’m not optimistic that it all of a sudden will get repealed. I think in economic terms it gets repealed because it won’t function, because it will drive us to bankruptcy, and it won’t be efficient, and finally the people will have to change it or give up on it or just slip into some horrible situation because it’s not viable. You can’t create a program that’s going to cost a trillion dollars in the midst of an economy that’s weak and our national debt’s going up two trillion dollars. It’s just impossible to happen. And then they tell us that it won’t cost anything, that it will actually cut the deficit. Now most Americans don’t believe that. It’s going to make health care more expensive and it’s not going to increase the quality at all, it will cause a lot of rationing, and if the people are unhappy now wait until they get this program and they’ll be a lot more unhappy.
Dina Gusovsky: So you’re saying as a result of this a bigger economic crisis is coming?
Ron Paul: Yeah, I think we’re in the midst of one and we’ve had some blips on some government statistics but I don’t think we have had the full correction as is necessary. And this will help to push the economy back down again in hopes that the economy corrects itself, but the government has done everything wrong. They’ve done everything that they did to get us into this mess that is by spending too much, borrowing too much, regulating too much, and printing too much money. You can’t get out of that problem by doing exactly the same thing. And this amplifies this. A bill like this just emphasizes that too many people in our government believe the government can solve these problems and yet they’re the ones who created the trouble.
Dina Gusovsky: So because of some of this legislation and also the economic situation in general, you have all these different grassroots movements really springing up – the Tea Partiers, you know, the Libertarians, so as far as the GOP goes, is the GOP sort of splitting at the seams when you have all these other candidates vying for power, who is really in chare of the GOP here?
Ron Paul: Well, I don’t know if it is any one person, but actually the GOP is more together now than they have been for a long time.
Dina Gusovsky: Really? How is that, when you have the neoconservatives, you have the liberty candidates, you have the Tea Partiers. They seem not to agree with each other so much.
Ron Paul: But yeah, you ended up having everybody, every congressman that’s a Republican voted against this bill, plus some Democrats.
Dina Gusovsky: Good point.
Ron Paul: And probably all the Republicans in the Senate will be voting against it so yes, but I don’t know whether that should be reassuring because when Republicans are in opposition they do a pretty good job of sticking together, challenging the incumbents, but unless they change their way they will not restore confidence with the American people, because the people got frustrated four years ago and two years ago and said Republicans weren’t doing a very good job because they were making government much bigger. So the big test now is can the Republicans get their credibility back and right now they have a chance, but there’s reason to be a little bit skeptical. I’m hoping to make sure the Republicans stick to what they’re doing now and try to take a principled stand against the encouragement of big government.
Dina Gusovsky: So as long as they’re all opposed to something they can come together and make something happen or not happen in that case?
Ron Paul: And that’s only halfway because they should get together and propose the alternative and that’s what I’ve tried to do in the past, is offer something that would replace government programs because there’s lots of ways you could deliver services and goods other than through government mandates and government spending because inevitably that fails.
Dina Gusovsky: Let’s switch gears and focus on foreign policy for a second. When it comes to the war in Afghanistan, Congressman Dennis Kucinich recently introduced a privilege resolution that pretty much brought the debate over the war in Afghanistan to the House floor and he said, “Look it’s not the President, it’s Congress that’s supposed to declare war,” at least according to the Constitution. And in response to that you read a very interesting article entitled “Supporting the War Instead of Supporting the Troops.” Many would say that it’s the opposite. If you support the troops you’re supporting the war. If you support the war, you’re supporting the troops, right?
Ron Paul: Yeah, and I think people are confused on this but I feel very good about the fact that so many military people support me because I want to be very, very cautious about going to war, doing it very infrequently and deliberately, only when the Congress and the people endorse it, and know why you’re there and know what the endpoint is. So if you’re in the military, which I was, I would have felt a lot better in the 1960s to have somebody that was more cautious about sending us around the world. And I think if you just support war, you don’t support the troops. Otherwise the troops would be elated with the other candidates who say, “Well, let’s just spread the war all around the world and let’s bomb this country, bomb that country.” The military per se, they’re not exactly enthralled with that type of a policy.
Dina Gusovsky: But why isn’t Congress more assertive when it comes to matters of armed conflict, when it comes to matters of war, if the Constitution gives the US Congress power?
Ron Paul: Well, they’ve reneged on their responsibilities. The prerogatives of the Congress have been virtually given up, whether it has to do with legislation. Now, if you can’t get your legislation quite right, you ask the President to write an executive order. The administrative part of government, which is on the executive branch, write regulations all the time but those are laws and they shouldn’t be doing that. And the Congress allows the courts to overrule when they could take back some of that jurisdiction. So, Congress in many ways have been derelict. They don’t want to assume responsibility. When this debate came up before Iraq, when I said, “Look, if you want to go to war, you should have a declaration.” Behind the scenes the argument was, “No, if it goes badly we’ll just blame the President.” You know, and they don’t want the responsibility of it.
I think the founders would be astounded to see how much of responsibility the Congress has given up. They intended that Congress would be the most important body, but now it’s probably the least important, and it’s Congress’s fault. It’s also the people’s fault because they allow our Congress to go and start wars and run the welfare state, and run up the deficits and print money and just not pay any attention to the Constitution. So, we’ve been very very careless in having people represent us that actually believed in what America was supposed to be in our Constitution.
Dina Gusovsky: In the case of Afghanistan, you know, it seems that 90 days has turned into almost a decade. When do you think it will end, and what is the ultimate goal for the United States over there?
Ron Paul: Well, the goal is occupation and the control of the oil, and the control of that region, and be the world’s policeman, but it’s going to end when we go bankrupt just as the Soviets ended their occupation for economic reasons. We didn’t have to fight the Soviets. There wasn’t a whole lot of nuclear weapons. And they probably had to just close their tent, you know, because the economic system wasn’t viable, and our economic system isn’t viable either. You can’t run a welfare state and have these kinds of deficits and regulations and controls and endless building of the empire.
It will end but I don’t know when, it doesn’t deserve to exist right now, so maybe next year, maybe two years, maybe three years from now. There will be a panic, and there will be a panic out of a — there’s a bond bubble right now. Because there’s much trouble in Europe, people are buying our bonds and it boosts the dollar, it makes America look good, it’s just because they’re a lot worse. But eventually the markets will give up on our bonds, interest rates will go up, they’re starting to go up right now. When interest rates go up then you invite back the inflation that the American people will then very much know that there’s a bigger crisis going on.
Dina Gusovsky: You have also said, especially after the Christmas Day bomber incident, that you are very concerned about US policy toward Yemen. Why is that?
Ron Paul: Mainly because it’s spreading the war needlessly. It reminds me of the 1960s as we were in Vietnam and it went over into Laos and these other countries and it never helped us; it just got us into more trouble. So yes, it’s the legal aspect of our CIA secretly doing these bombings in a country like Yemen. It isn’t not even our military; it’s our CIA that’s doing this. And every time we kill somebody they call them civilians or innocent people, they’d like to make us think that they’re all criminals out to bomb New York City, which they’re not. They’re the Taliban who are trying to defend their country. And every time we kill one, a lot of times our military will celebrate, “Oh, we just killed 10, 15 people,” but we’ve just created 10 or 15 more families that are firmly determined that they can do whatever they can to hurt us, so I don’t like going out and looking for more enemies. So whether we’re bombing Pakistan or bombing Yemen or occupying Afghanistan or occupying Iraq, token victories mean nothing because long term it will be bankruptcy for us, it will be more hatred directed toward us.
Dina Gusovsky: Now when we talk about foreign policy, especially right now, we can’t forget about China. Lately, whether it has to do with politics or economics, there seems to be a deterioration in relations between the United States and China. What do you make of all this back and forth of these so-called spats between these two countries?
Ron Paul: Our economy is weak but a lot of that weakness is due to our own fault, but we’d like to blame somebody else so we blame the Chinese. We blame them and say, “Well, they artificially fix their currency lower than the market.” It may be true, but we’re fixing our currency all the time. We print a lot of it and we keep our currency very, very weak so it benefits us in trade. So, it’s a matter of who’s going to get blamed, and that would be devastating economically for us to be in a trade war with China because it’s the lack of trade war, it’s the breakdown of those trade barriers, and when we were fighting China that was when we were in great danger. But since we’ve dropped that attitude and we’ve been trading with them and traveling back and forth that’s much better. But now we’re drifting back into telling the Chinese what to do and we’re really not in the driver’s seat. They’re our banker, so we can’t overly offend them or it may backfire and hurt us. We should arge for sound money, market rates of interest and free trade with anybody who wants to trade with us, and friendship with those who offer friendship.
Dina Gusovsky: Congressman Paul, as always thanks for your analysis.
Ron Paul: Thank you.