Ron Paul Defends Obama on BP Oil Spill, And Himself on Owning Gold

Ron Paul tells it like it is: Obama is not to blame for the BP oil spill; the people responsible for such an accident should be completely responsible for cleaning it up. Paul also discusses his $1.5 million in gold stocks, a day after two staff writers for a Washington newspaper were stunned that a politician has the audacity to walk the talk and actually put his money where his mouth is.

Channel: CNBC
Date: 06/15/2010


News Anchor: The president has been criticized for his response to the oil spill. But he has an ally in a rather unlikely place. Here now is that ally: Congressman Ron Paul, Republican from Texas. Congressman Paul, it’s wonderful to see you again, I appreciate it.

Ron Paul: Thank you.

News Anchor: And I know, sir, that you have come to the defense of the president on this issue. You’ve described yourself as a pretty strong critic of him and his administration. Why do you think that he’s done an okay job when it comes to the oil spill?

Ron Paul: Well, in its entirety, I guess I would dissect that out. But in general, I would say that it has been unfair for him to get all the blame for an accident committed by an oil company. And at the same time I said that I think we overly blamed George Bush for the hurricane. I mean, there are sort of limits to what governments can do. I did suggest that he could have done more to get out of the way and allow the states and individual property owners to do what they could to protect their property. But to blame the president for everything that has gone wrong down there; I just think that we’ve developed a culture where everything is to be solved by the government, you know, anything that goes wrong, the president is responsible, he has to take care of it. So I think even his Democratic alleys have come down pretty hard on him, and at times unfairly. I’d much rather have them talk about why the war is continuing and why are we target American citizens for assassination and a few other things like that, and not come down hard on him for not doing enough about the oil leak.

News Anchor: Let me just follow up on your point about how everyone is saying they want the government. We did a non-scientific survey today on CNBC, asking, “Who do you blame more for the oil spill?” And our results were: 41% of our viewers said they blamed BP more than the government. 59% blamed the government more than BP. And I guess my question to you is this: you mentioned the Democrats. But what the great irony seems to be is that a lot of people on the right, a lot of Republicans are the ones criticizing the president for not doing enough. The very people who, a few weeks ago, were saying, “Government should get out of things,” are now saying government should get in.

Ron Paul: Well, I think there is a lot of partisanship. I like to think of how this would have been accomplished if we would have had a freer market and property rights. If we had property rights, somebody would have owned the fishing rights and oil drillers couldn’t go in there unless they got permission from the fishermen. And there would have to be provisions, there would have to be bonds put up and there would have to be provisions for accidents like this. But no, government gives them permission, they limit the liability of the oil companies and then they say the taxpayer will pick it up. That’s a moral hazard by saying the government is going to inspect and give the license and protect everybody. So it’s the system that is wrong, rather than saying, “Well, the government just hasn’t done enough”. They probably did too much, too soon. And we should think about another approach to problems like this.

News Anchor: Would you remove limits on liabilities then, the cap?

Ron Paul: Oh, absolutely. I mean, they shouldn’t have any limits, it’s a rich company. The people on the left who think they want to protect some of these people who have suffered by bankrupting the company and not buying their oil – No, you don’t want to bankrupt this company, this a healthy company. But they should be held a 100% liable for anybody who is lost, and those are the kind of contracts that would have been designed in the market place rather than having the government give the permits and have the inspections and set them up. So I think that process is wrong.

News Anchor: I guess people are concerned if you do that with the oil industry, you could do it across the board. And that hits the broader issue of court reform and whether we’re too sue-happy of a country and companies would be so busy worrying about losses if they don’t go ahead and do needed investments. How far do I take your argument of getting rid of the liability cap on oil companies?

Ron Paul: Well, people should be liable for the harm they cause. The question is who is going to pay? The people who were responsible, or the taxpayer who wasn’t responsible? So those are terrible choices. I would say it would easy to say, “Well, the people who were responsible, the oil companies should pay.” Because I think it’s terrible to limit their liability and dump it on the tax payers. That doesn’t make any sense to me.

News Anchor: Would you support big changes in our energy policy now, I guess, permanently and as quickly as possible – deepwater drilling?

Ron Paul: No, I wouldn’t want to end it. I would make it stricter so that they would have to promise to protect anybody that was involved or exposed, like the fishermen on the shorelines. Rather than having the government give them contracts, they would have to have an agreement with the people who might get hurt. So we would change the conditions. But, you know, how many thousands, like 30,000 wells have been drilled out there?

News Anchor: Yeah.

Ron Paul: I mean, it’s a horrible accident, but it’s an accident. Do you think BP likes this kind of stuff? It’s not like they committed a criminal act, it’s the fact that there was an accident and yet I think it was the conditions of dependency on government and the government being the lender and the protector and the investigator of the last resort that brings on problems like this.

News Anchor: One final question before we go. Yesterday the Washington Post had done a story about how you invested in gold-related names. And they’ve given, as an example, how people in Congress could have conflicts in interest investing in what they’re regulating or voting on. Certainly it would seem that way in the case of a defense contract; for example, congressmen investing in a company that’s up for defense contract. In your case it really did seem different. You’re simply putting your money where your mouth is. And Jim Cramer just had a question for us. He says he thinks you should stay away from gold stocks and just buy the bullion via the GLD. Would you take his advice?

Ron Paul: Well, I’m not going to take his advice, but it’s not the worst advice in the world. You know, this idea that this may be a conflict of interest is sort of like if I owned a newspaper, and I defended the first amendment, it was a conflict of interest to defend the first amendment because it protected my right to publish a newspaper. No, I think that you can go one step further if you want to be real conservative. Go one step further, don’t just buy the GLD, but buy the coins themselves; they’re legal tender. Isn’t it ironic they suggest a conflict of interest by me buying something the government makes legal tender, gold coins … They say, “Oh, what’s he doing wrong? He’s buying this” only to make the point that if they ever had sound money and balanced the budget, the dollar would be fixed to gold. There would be no incentive to invest or speculate in gold.

News Anchor: One final question to you on that point of conflicts of interests, though. Do you think it’s fair – you know, you’ve been part of writing the Financial Reform Bill – that you, as someone who’s been part of that legislation, would have the right to buy, say, shares of Goldman Sachs and then go in and fight tooth and nail and fight regulation on Goldman Sachs. Shouldn’t it be that if you’re on a committee that regulates an industry, you shouldn’t be allowed to buy individual companies in that industry?

Ron Paul: Well, the whole problem is that we’re involved in so much. It’s because government is so big and they regulate, there are so many conflicts. But if you add men and woman of character that wouldn’t do anything for their special interest by writing regulations that might benefit them, then you wouldn’t have this problem. But the biggest problem is that the government is so involved in the economy. But the most important thing that is all that is out in the open. If I’m going to write favorable regulations for Goldman Sachs and I own Goldman Sachs stock, it should be well known. And that gets pretty shady there on the proper role of ethics in that situation.

News Anchor: Alright, Congressman Paul, thanks so much. Good to see you again, sir.

Ron Paul: Thank you.

  • Ragnar Danneskjold

    And if the government had not been subsidizing oil for all this time, then the entrepreneurs of the free market, with no disruptive government subsidies or regulations, would have worked hard long ago to develop alternative fuels and other sources of energy to fuel cars, others would have developed cars to run on them, and development and availability would have made these things widely available to the consumer. Without the distortion from the government, the big oil businessmen, not wanting particularly to build huge oil rigs for cost effectiveness concerns, might now be solar panel tycoons or who knows what. In a sense, the overwhelming pressures of an unregulated capitalist economy would have prevented a catastrophe such as this.

  • There is a media blackout and BP and the government are censoring what you see and what you know about the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

    Learn more:

  • fred the protectionist

    Yes, Ronulans, put your fiat dollars where your mouth is and invest in Gold. Ron Paul did it, so can you.


  • Forest

    I can’t believe Ron Paul called the unmitigated BP disaster ‘an oil leak’.

    Just goes to show the continuing twisting, so we don’t blame Obama, but it is still all the government’s fault because it simply exists.

    Yep, if only BP was self-insured private company (which is their right) then they would have a real reason to not allow safeguards to fail.

    Oh, wait… They are self-insured… They did have all the reason in the world… And private industry AGAIN failed to, by any stretch of imagination, assess risk.

    • Citizen

      BP plugged the leak that Big Government lead by the Big Ego where clueless how to fix in the first place.

      Hey Forest and Fred your new motto … In Gov We Trust

  • If congress pushes Cap and Trade on the Gulf small businesses in the Fishing, Tourism,Transportation, and Oil Industries will go under and the people of the Gulf Coast are already suffering.

  • SoldierofVerity

    May want to put your headphones on for this one. Listen to the fluxuations in the sound quality during the duration of the clip. Why is the sound quality so crappy? It’s not just recorded on low volume, but those sounds deffinitely change.

  • Citizen

    I’m not much of a “conspiracy theory” nut… BUT

    What if the Obama Regime arranged the explosion?
    What if this they did find evidence on the wreckage that indicated a detonation device was present?

    It just seems ALL TO CONVENIENT for the big push for Cap & Tax legislation.

    An investigation may reveal some surprises, we’ll see

    • Forest

      Citizen says: “It just seems ALL TO CONVENIENT for the big push for Cap & Tax legislation. ”

      Yes, saying that actually does make you a “Conspiracy Theory” nut…

  • anyusmoon1

    He’s very clear about “government staying out of the way” and “not acting as though they have the answers (or money) to solve every problem”.

    Owebama will take advantage of every emergency to get his agenda through, regardless. 🙁

  • spol07

    If BP was only concerned about profit then they would fix the damn thing ASAP. Do you know how much money and reputation they are losing every minute?

  • Lukeor

    Idiots wanted to see Obama go down and photo op. Ron Paul is completely right about this.

  • blueshoals

    Essentially… Right now, the Government is a clumsy, incompetent boss that these companies will never listen to.
    Money talks, though. If investors and partners, the ones who actually “write the paychecks,” were in charge, you bet your sweet ass shit like this never would have happened. The company would have been so afraid of losing money that their safety regulations and contingency plans would have been much more effective.

  • majikninja07

    hopefully the government will call shenanigans on bp and use the law to make them pay all of the costs

  • CodeWarriorx0539

    When gross devastation occurs the government should step in…. beyond monetary there is an ethical responsibility. Laise a faire works brilliantly when the risk is only to mitigated to product design but when natural disasters or huge man made disasters occur the government needs to step in. Governments role should evolve to emergency situations only but with out rules businesses will not bring up safe guards nor will insurance companies… and then chaos will be the interim rule of law…

  • DrAnswersPhD

    Paul is completly wrong in this video.

  • BMovieWackiness


  • samtart

    Go Ron, he is speaking always from principile and not partisanship
    we all could learn from him.

  • momerath42

    “Breaking News: People should be liable for the harm they cause.” :P~

  • ORVX

    RP is being true to his principal, the thing is, liberals set the presidence with Katrina, they also are the ones that want bigger gov in their heart. Republicans are mostly pandering partison’s that are trying to play the LIBERAL game. FYI, this accident DID happen under gov watch, but the point to be made is that BIG GOV can’t and won’t fix shit, more then small gov & more free markets.

  • anyusmoon1

    *smiles* @ 22CaliberHitters He’s very clear about “government staying out of the way” and “not acting as though they have the answers (or money) to solve every problem”.

    Owebama will take advantage of every emergency to get his agenda through, regardless. 🙁