Ron Paul: Like I always say, I never get applause on the House floor, so I’m glad to be here. It’s great to be with you tonight. As you all know, this Campaign for Liberty has been doing quite well and I appreciate all the work and effort that you’ve all been involved in because it has made a difference. I think you heard a little bit about what’s been going on with the Audit the Fed bill. On the very positive side, the impact of the Campaign for Liberty on the Audit the Fed bill has been magnificent. I just never believed we could get this far off.
But I’ve never been over-confident that tomorrow we’re going to audit the Fed and we’re going to find out all the things that they’ve been doing. They have still much to hide and they have so much power. It involves the presidency, the leadership of the Republican Party, the Democratic Party, and so I’m not on the verge of thinking that we’re going to learn everything we need to learn. But I’ll tell you what. There are a lot more Americans that know about the Federal Reserve today than they did two years ago.
I work on the assumption that probably they’re going to self-destruct. They’ll destroy the system before we have our chance to do any revamping of the system and get back to sound economic and sound monetary policy. You know, it isn’t all that complicated. All we need is is enough people, the majority of over there in Congress to believe in the Constitution, then we would have some money. I think what will happen to our country will be something like the Soviet system. It collapsed, we didn’t have to fight the Soviets. We ended up with winning the Cold War not so much because we won anything as much as they failed. But our system is not a whole lot healthier. Economically, very unsound. Keynesian economics has failed, I think that is the whole message. You know, I was so amazed during the presidential campaign, to go to some of the campuses to bring up the words Austrian economics or Mises and actually get an applause. That to me was amazing.
I just wonder if any other candidate ever went to a college campus and said “Yay Keynes!” and get some kind of rally. “Karl Marx!” But no, I think it’s been great progress. But it didn’t just come. A lot of people say “Oh, it came with your campaign. You did this and that.” The campaign had something to do with bringing this all to light, but this has been going on for a long time. You’re all political activists now and you’re disseminating this message and that’s very important, but it took a lot of people in the last 50 years to keep these ideas alive. These aren’t brand new ideas, we have to reform the ideas of liberty and make progress all the time. These aren’t brand new. They’ve been trying to understand the principles of liberty since the time of Cicero. It’s a lot of baby steps and backward steps and of course we’ve had a giant step towards liberty, probably the biggest in our history with our revolution and the Constitution.
But you know, after about a hundred years, it sort of ended in the last hundred years, I think back to the 1900s, last hundred years, we have been slipping away from the defensive principles of liberty and individual freedom and I know tonight we just talked a little about medical care, but if we have an understanding about freedom and the marketplace and our Constitution, we would certainly be operating on this over the Hill with the assumption that everybody has a right to medical care.
We don’t have a right to anything that is material. We have a right to our life and our liberty and we have a right to pursue medical care, but we don’t have a right to demand that somebody else provide us certain care.
What we have witnessed during the last couple of years is the results of the last 40, 50 years of the people who held these ideas together. But even when I started studying there was just a few think tanks and a few individuals that really did the hard work. Our universities are still infiltrated with the teachers who teach bad economic policy. But not like it used to be. There are a lot more professors now and teachers, and now we have the Internet and the textbooks and Amazon selling books. It’s just fantastic what is happening. So I think the Campaign for Liberty has just come upon us at the right time because the need is so great.
Yes, there’s been the quiet teaching going on for decades, and there’s been all this explosion of information, spreading information with the Internet, but at the same time the failure of our system is readily apparent. It’s readily apparent whether it’s the medical care system… That’s been a failure and they’ll try and tell you “Yeah, it’s a failure of the marketplace, that’s why we need socialized medicine. That’s why we need single party payer.” But what has failed in medicine has been managed care. The managed care started by the Republicans in the early 1970s where they changed the Orissa law, the tax code, where they introduced the mandates on HMOs and BPOs and we’ve had now the managed care corporations involved. We’ve had organized medicine. The AMA hasn’t defended free market medicine, and we’ve had drug companies involved and insurance companies and trial lawyers all interfering and having control over medical care.
But that system has failed. It is very interesting that medical care has brought this to life. The current system that we have, the recognition that there’s a problem and then a great debate going on, and for the moment, we’ve lost the debate because we’ve taken another step. We want to have a victory by them not getting total socialized medicine and single party payer. So there’s been just a holding action there and they backed off a little bit.
The argument is there is failure, they blame the market and we need more government. They did that in the 1930s. They blamed the free markets and the gold standard for the Depression and never regulations and the Federal Reserve that deserve the blame. No, they went and made that decision, so since then they have systematically kept undermining the free market system and came up with all the regulations. The Federal Reserve can make mistakes and Congress can make mistakes and it won’t work so well, “we’ll just have more regulations”.
That’s what we’re talking about over on the Hill now. They’re just pouring on regulation, all this financial reform legislation going on and just more regulation. More on medical care or government, more spending, but it’s coming to an end. It just won’t happen because we got into our mess, no matter what, whether it’s education or medicine or whatever, we got into this mess because there’s too much government, too much spending, too much borrowing, too much debt, too many regulations, too much printing press money, and they believe that the solution for this is spend more money, run up higher deficits, regulate the people, print more money, more regulations. It won’t work.
The goal ought to be exactly what the goals have been set for the Campaign of Liberty, and that is to get enough people in the right places to intellectually influence the country and the taxpayers as well as to influence the politicians who are writing the laws. And this is where we’re making a lot of progress. If we did it systematically, we can have a pretty smooth transition. We won’t have to close anything down, I don’t even argue that you should close the Federal Reserve down tomorrow. I’d let them self-destruct.
What I would do is let you have the choice. If you want to use constitutional money, something that you can get in trouble and say “I’m only holding this gold and silver, it’s legal tender.” Yeah, you can go to jail, they can confiscate your gold and silver if you do that and say that you’re going to have your contracts in that manner.
So there’s so much we can do in a transitional fashion but I’m not that optimistic. Everything we’re doing is very important and we’re gaining a lot, but ultimately, I think the system is going to quit working. And we had a taste of that two years ago when the financial system came unglued. That’s still ongoing and that is a big event. I think a bigger event is arriving today and that is the currency crisis that’s coming.
Today, I mentioned this already to some that the markets are very shaky and the stocks are going down and ordinarily everything that has happened today usually says “Well, go to the dollar and the dollar will rescue, and even sell your gold and whatnot.” It’s not happening anymore. In the last week, something has shifted. What is happening is that people are still going to the dollar, but there is a limit. The dollar is next to the gold. The people gravitate to their most important liquid asset, and right now the dollar still works as a liquid asset. So that the dollar and treasury bills is still a haven.
But next to it is gold, and so far people have gone to gold because it’s a commodity. But today and this week, it’s been noticed that people are going to gold because it’s a currency. This was first noticed in November of last year when the IMF – and their usual notion is that gold is not money, let’s get rid of our gold, besides that will keep the price of gold down, this will make those gold-bugs suffer, so they dump 200 tons of gold on the market. Guess what, one central bank – a country that we think is poor – like India, they brought the whole lot of gold in one shot.
So significant events are occurring and the other thing we must remember is that economic events, especially when they’re associated with currencies, move rapidly. Just like today, for a while the stock market was down by almost a thousand points, gold was soaring and everybody was buying dollars. And here just a week or two ago, they were looking at, “new heights in the stock market. The recovery is here and every statistic looks great”.
And now there’s a different attitude which makes the work that we’re doing even more important because the crisis will be on going and a currency crisis is worse than a financial crisis. And we have to lead the charge of what we’re going to replace it with. We’re not going to let them pin the blame on too much freedom. And that is what they’ll charge; they’ll say “There is too much free, too much markets, not enough spending.” What we have to do is get the message across that our answers can be found not in anything other than “we need more freedom, not more government.”
You know, a lot of people ask about the Republican may well take over the Congress, or at least the House, this coming year. And the odds of them really cleaning up their act, I’m reluctant, I’m not going to write it off, but hopefully they can do a bit better than the group that’s running the show over there right now. But that’s not much of a challenge. So when people talk about cutting, especially on the Republican side, they tinker around and say, “We’ll cut this, cut this, we should have balanced budgets”; everything except welfare and warfare.
You know, they like to protect that. So nobody’s challenging it on principle, nobody gets up and says – maybe one or two of us will get up and say, “The federal government’s involvement in medical care is unconstitutional and people don’t have a right to demand that they be taken care of”. And right now what we have is that the consensus is, we just keep going too far too fast; you don’t challenge the welfare state.
I remember one time many years ago, there was a bill on the floor which we challenged; I think it was about the Export-Import Bank. And another member of Congress had an amendment up that was going to cut the Export-Import Bank, because it was so called ‘welfare for the rich'; it was supporting big business. So they were going to cut it by 10% or 20%. And it didn’t pass. But I had an amendment immediately afterwards, which should have come first – it went in the other direction – but anyway, my amendment right afterwards was to abolish the Export/Import Bank and to just cut the whole thing out of the budget. And the member who had the previous vote voted against me. I said, “Why are you voting against me, I thought you didn’t like this corporate welfare?” And he had a reputation for being a champion against corporate welfare. I asked, “Why are you voting against my amendment?” He said, “Ron, you always just go too far.” Well, we need to go just too far when it comes to …
So our job is to be prepared because it will come to an end and I think that’s where we should be optimistic. The Soviet System came to an end. But I saw some statistics the other day that showed – and this also is a reason I worry a little bit about our CIA being too involved in everything that they do. But it turns out the all the officials in the Russian government right now, all the important figures, 70% of them used to belong to the KGB. So, you know, that’s what they have to contend with. Of course, we also have to contend with our CIA. We worry about not auditing the Fed, believe me, we don’t audit the CIA either. I doubt whether the president even knows what the CIA does. Sometimes they get very much involved.
But our traditions are better: private property and markets, sound money, constitutional laws and all. And if and when we have economic chaos, we see in Greece the consequences that people want their stuff, they want their checks. They say, “No, don’t cut mine. We’re going to burn down the city”. There are a lot of people in this country that don’t agree with us. They think it’s owed to them, they think they do have a right to your life and to your property, they do have a right to be taken care of. And when we’re flat out broke, which we are, there’s going to be a lot of problems going on.
Our government now admits that our deficit in this particular year will be about $1.5 trillion, which is horrible. But if you take all the additional entitlement altercations that we’ve added on, the current deficit this year would be between $4 and $5 trillion. It’s unsustainable. It’s crazy to think that you can have an economic system where productive jobs go overseas and we depend on consumerism by just borrowing money for ever and printing what we need and think it’s going to work.
Right now, the world still trusts our dollar and they trust us and we’re still a wealthy country. But if it works, it will defy all laws of economics and it would mean that for us, as Americans, if they continue to trust the dollars, then really none of you have to work anymore. Because all we have to do is print the money, the world will take our dollars. But that will end, and that’s what the challenge will be, and that’s why our work is so important.
I think that the think tanks that have taught and are teaching Austrian economics and sound policies – and actually I think it’s very important we have a different foreign policy as well. This is available to us, and we have to be in a position of influence where we can influence the majority of the people in the Congress to do the right thing. Because this is unsustainable and this is where I think we are making progress.
I was first amazed and impressed with the interest that we got in the presidential campaign; it was very encouraging to me to know that people did care about this. And Campaign for Liberty followed through, and I was surprised by not only what happened in the campaign, but also what happened afterwards. Because, in a way, I thought I need to try to keep this going because we have a pretty good organization and let’s have something official, and that’s what came out of that: the Campaign for Liberty. But this, to me, is even more amazing on what’s happening.
I talk to a lot of people, a lot of young people come to the office and I asked them how did they get interested. And lot of high school kids and college kids coming in, and they bring their parents and they got their parents interested in it. But lately, I am meeting a lot of people who have, since the campaign – time goes so quickly, it’s almost been two years since that campaign. So a lot of people still are getting our message; the message that you’re spreading, what Campaign for Liberty is doing. Some of the old videos still exists. And they’ll come in and say, “Oh no, I didn’t pay any attention during the campaign, I just got something recent, came across a book or something like that.”
So the numbers are still growing, we have no idea. I keep thinking of it being like the remnant, we can’t count the remnant, we don’t know where we are. And I thought, through the campaign, it was just wonderful because it seems like people came out of the woodworks. Not only did we get new converts, we had a lot of people who had been sitting around for years thinking they were the only ones that ever thought this way. So the rest of us… and I think our numbers are growing. I think John Tate is doing a great job with Campaign for Liberty. And if we continue to do our job, there is no reason not to be optimistic. Because I think there is no doubt that ideas do have consequences. Bad ideas have bad consequences. I would like to think that we have good ideas.
One of the problems that I think we face in getting the true changes that we need is if you look at these spontaneous movements, which I consider very healthy, like the Tea Party Movement, it’s that there are a lot of views in the Tea Party Movement that aren’t exactly the views that we promote in the Campaign for Liberty. Because we’re very strict constitutionalists and that tells us about economic policy, it tells us about monetary policy, and really it tells us something about foreign policy as well.
I do not believe that we can resolve our difficulties without a change in foreign policy. I would like to think we could do that rather calmly and deliberately without an economic crisis. But an economic crisis will force us to have a change in our foreign policy, because it is well known that countries that get too big and become empires that spread themselves too thinly around the world – and we certainly have done that; we’re too far, we’re in too many countries, and even if some people disagree with this and say, “Oh no, we have this need to be over there”, it doesn’t matter, we’re not going to be able to afford it. So it is, to me, so much easier to deal with necessary major cuts, and say, “Look, let’s not cut the medical care from the elderly” even if we argue that should have never started this unconstitutional system. It is not very wise politically to say, “We’re going to balance the budget over the elderly on medical care.” Why don’t we start balancing the budget by saying, “Let’s quit spending all this money overseas and let’s bring our troops home”.
There are a lot of troops overseas and it costs a lot of money, and the estimates are that it’s up to a trillion dollars that we spend maintaining our empire. And that would go a long way in helping. It doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t cut the rest; we should. But I just think that we can get a coalition in the country to endorse spending overseas. There would be stronger resistance by both the political and the special interests, the military/industrial complex, and others who benefit from this type of spending. But there are also some very sincere people that think that our enemy now is radical Islam, and the only reason they want to attack us is because we’re free and rich. I think about that, we’ve been told that for so many years. So they’re working really hard to make us less free and less rich. I don’t know if that’s a terrible strategy, as far as I’m concerned.
But that’s not the way… if we don’t change that, we can’t change our policy. That is not the reason people have such anger and willingness to commit suicide in order to make a point. “You know, if I kill myself, maybe that’ll make a point that we don’t like Americans because they have too much prosperity and they have too much religious toleration and too much freedom.” You know, this is the most absurd thing I’ve heard. So this whole attitude has to change, and one of the things we have to contend with, whether it’s a challenge on our civil liberties or foreign policy, is that if you oppose what the government tells us what they want to do, then we’re unpatriotic. And I would say that it’s time that we define what patriotism is.
I would say that patriotism is much closer to defending what the people want, protect the rights of the people, and individuals who are willing to stand up to our own government when our own government is doing the wrong thing.
Let me conclude by, once again, complementing you for participating and being active in Campaign for Liberty. Hope you remain that way and spread the message. And do this in an optimistic way, believing that what we do is very, very important. It’s not that we know exactly what the outcome will be. But we know what the outcome will be if we do nothing. That, for sure, is something we can know. So what we do is very important.
The other thing is we have to spend our time doing something. And obviously you’re involved because you at least get some sense of satisfaction that doing this is worthwhile. And I actually believe that associating with other individuals who have the same interests, will have some satisfaction. And a lot of people have met other people in the last couple of years that are interested in the freedom philosophy, getting politically active. And I think that is all very, very positive. So it is best for us to not say that tomorrow is doomsday, we can’t even think about it, what are you going to do, where are you going to go? Some people do leave the country. But I’ve chosen to stay here and fight to my best.
Because the goal is to preserve our freedoms and live as free people, bring people together. Our Constitution brings people together and if we want our right to our life and our liberty, we have to defend that and then we have to be precise in defending the rule of law. And in that case, instead of appealing to others in minority groups and saying, “Well, why don’t we just compromise and say that we can pass out all the welfare here, welfare here, bring in minorities to be part of our movement.” I am absolutely confident that that’s the wrong way. And the Republicans do this and are always saying, “Well, we’ll be like many Democrats and we’re going to try to mimic what Democrats do.” I think this message is a message that is powerful enough to bring all people together and that we shouldn’t be bashful about it, and hopefully, especially, as it becomes much more apparent that the government is failing, they can’t provide handouts, that the most important thing is whether we belong to majority or minority or whatever. The best thing you can do is take our position and say the defense of liberty is the best thing we can do for ourselves.
Thank you very much.