Ron Paul talks with Don Imus about his son Rand Paul, why so many people are misinterpreting the the Constitution, what motivates the supporters of big government, whether he will run for president in 2012 (he hasn’t decided yet), the U.S. government’s unwavering support for Israel, and what Barack Obama should say to Wall Street when he talks to them.
Channel: Fox Business
Don Imus: From Texas, Congressman Ron Paul. Good morning Congressman Paul.
Ron Paul: Good morning. Good to be with you.
Don Imus: How are you, sir?
Ron Paul: I’m doing fine.
Don Imus: How’s your son doing down there in that race in Kentucky?
Ron Paul: Well, it looks like he’s ahead and doing quite well. He’s pretty optimistic at this point.
Don Imus: Seems like a nice young man.
Ron Paul: Yeah, he takes after his mother.
Don Imus: He’s a conservative, is that what he is?
Ron Paul: Yeah, well, he calls himself a conservative constitutionalist, which is not a bad term. Some people think that means you believe in liberty, and I agree with that.
Don Imus: Well, what does it mean? Can you explain it to me?
Ron Paul: What, conservative constitutionalist?
Don Imus: Yeah.
Ron Paul: Well, conservative means you retain the values that have been around for a while, and indicating that what we ought to do is conserve and follow the Constitution as laid out by our founders.
Don Imus: Wonder why we don’t tend to get back doing that.
Ron Paul: You know, there’s a lot of talk about it. What has happened is everybody takes the same oath in Washington and nobody loses any sleep over not following the Constitution, but it seems like there’s a great bit of diversity about how you interpret it. I think this comes from the educational system that we have for 40 or 50 years, that people have been conditioned to reinterpret the Constitution, that it has to be modernized, that you don’t have to bother amending it. So a certain group has come along and said the general welfare clause endorses the welfare state, and the commander in chief when a war is declared has the authority to do whatever he wants, whenever he pleases and start any war he wants.
So they endorse the welfare state and the warfare state, and there’s no endorsement in the Constitution and there’s no requirement to amend the Constitution. People just, the Congress either ignores it, the president writes laws, he writes executive orders that then become the laws, the courts rewrite the laws and they are there in the legislative business, and the Congress too often just sits still and doesn’t resist it at all and allows the usurpation of all the congressional authority that it was given.
Don Imus: So they do that because they’re driven by special interests? Money? Or is it more malicious?
Ron Paul: No, I think it’s philosophic.
Don Imus: You do?
Ron Paul: I think because they have been taught that, take for instance economics. Economics in this country has been Keynesian economics since the Depression. So Republicans and Democrats both endorse economics of Keynes, which means that if you have trouble the government should spend more money, borrow more money, and print more money.
Now, that’s how we get into our trouble. But both parties basically endorse those views. I mean, it wasn’t Democrats alone that brought about the bailout, the Republicans started it when Bush was still in office. But that’s a philosophic issue and I think it’s a philosophic issue of what the role of government ought to be, and so many believe that the role of government is, to take care of us from cradle to grave, and it is to police the world because the burden has fallen on our shoulders and we have this moral responsibility to spread democracy and our goodness even if it takes bombs and guns to do it.
Don Imus: Philosophical implies to me, maybe wrongly, but implies to me that they’re making these decisions based on principle. When it comes to politicians and principle, I can’t reconcile that.
Ron Paul: I think that’s a tricky question because I think it is all philosophic. But everybody’s philosophical. It’s just whether you have the right ideas or the wrong ideas. But then, if you have a system where government gets big, and you have a military industrial complex and a welfare state, then the special interest, this invites special interest.
If you have a government that is very very limited in scope and they’re not capable of passing out the favors, then you’re not likely to have so much temptation for the special interest to take over. But interventionism, where government assumes this role, it sets the stage for all the special interests to come in, and of course one group says “Well, yes, we need to do this to take care of the poor.” But it just happens that the welfare idea spreads, the wealthy are able to get more welfare than the poor.
Don Imus: Don’t they always say follow the money?
Ron Paul: Do what?
Don Imus: Don’t they always say though, follow the money? The adage.
Ron Paul: Oh yeah, sure. The money will do it. This is why I think some misunderstood this. This is why they tried to put strict rules then that the state should be involved in doing this so much to try to keep the special interest out, but that’s why being a conservative constitutionalist and going back to what the founders tried, I think is a…
Don Imus: You know, we’re talking about Congressman Ron Paul who ran for the presidency. Are you going to run again?
Ron Paul: No, I haven’t made that decision. I haven’t thought too much about that. That’s a while to go yet. I haven’t said absolutely not, but right now I have no plans to do it.
Don Imus: When you ran, did you think you could get elected?
Ron Paul: Not really. I used to kid, I said that that’s the risk you take when you put your name out there. You can get elected. When I first ran for Congress, I was talking to [...] and I thought it was virtually impossible to win even a congressional seat if you were going to defy the status quo and then promise no goodies for your district and only promise to limit government and try to restore a free society, that there wouldn’t be an audience for that. To my surprise, there was. Right now, I’m a bit surprised that as many people are paying attention as they are right now. The country is in desperate straits and maybe looking towards a freedom philosophy is the right thing to do.
Don Imus: It’s kind of interesting how enormously popular you are, particularly with, young Republicans and others and yet not with the Republican establishment. Is that because they don’t like your foreign policy views or what?
Ron Paul: Yeah, you know, the older people, they have trouble being objective, they get locked in a place and they’re part of the special interests. And young people have always been generally more attracted to principle and they like consistency and they’re more idealistic. Also, the young people right now are facing a major problem. It isn’t like when the baby boomers were moving into adulthood, everything was doing pretty well and the country was still wealthy and jobs were available. Now, the jobs are unavailable and the country’s poor, wars continue, deficits have to be paid for, and personal liberties are under attack. Perpetual war exists, and young people say “Hey! What’s the answer?” Freedom is the answer, and freedom does bring people together. Not only am I pleased with young people being attracted to this, some polls show that even independents are very interested in this and even progressive Democrats who like the idea of protecting personal choices and are more supportive of a less aggressive foreign policy. So this is, these ideas really do bring people together. I think young people recognize that more so than those who have been locked into the establishment.
Don Imus: Your son Rand feels pretty much like you do about everything?
Ron Paul: I think so. It’s hard to have strong disagreements within a family, but we have our disagreements and certainly on tactics we would have disagreements. But the basic thrust of limiting government and balancing budgets and have free markets and property rights and along these lines I think we would have strong agreement.
Don Imus: The Obama’s, I guess it is accurate to describe, it is heavy handed relations with Israel. What’s your view on that?
Ron Paul: Well, I haven’t really noticed any real heavy-handedness. I don’t think there’s any doubt about what our country would do if Israel has a problem. I think sometimes these disagreements are more superficial than they really are.
Don Imus: It’s a dog and pony show?
Ron Paul: If push comes to shove, you know what will happen. But I’m sure there are people in the administration who are concerned that the Israelis may act unilaterally and go in there and start a war with Iran, which would not help the world. It wouldn’t help Israel, it wouldn’t help Iran. It wouldn’t help the Americans. I mean, it would be a disaster, but there’s always this threat that this could happen, but there’s also the threat that we’ll condone it too. It would be horrible.
Don Imus: Finally, Congressman Paul, the president’s going to Wall Street Thursday to talk to them. What should he say to them?
Ron Paul: He shouldn’t even probably go and if he’s going to go, what I’d like to hear the president say is we believe in free markets, we don’t believe regulations can compensate for an out of control Federal Reserve system. The regulations should come through the rules of the marketplace, if you mess up and you get into a place where you’re bankrupt, you should declare bankruptcy and get out of the way and nobody bails you out. And if you commit fraud, you ought to go to jail. But regulations per se are not the answer. The SEC is actually a farce. I mean, they were created to prevent the problems of Goldman Sachs. The information about Goldman Sachs has been written in books since it occurred and yet here, politically they come and they explain “Oh, no, it’s all Goldman Sachs’ fault.” Well, Goldman Sachs is responsible and they have been treated in a special way. But we need someone to say that the marketplace can regulate a lot better than the SEC and more government regulations. We need to regulate the Federal Reserve is what we need to do.
Don Imus: Congressman Paul, always a pleasure to have you on. Thank you very much, I appreciate it.