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.

  • jayrod59

    That’s my Ron Paul, saying all the right stuff. What a great man he is.


  • AngryPenguin27

    I got into an argument with somebody today about what Dr. Paul talks about here. I don’t understand how the president has become responsible for every little thing that goes wrong in this country. Even fighting obesity has become an issue in the White House. This is crazy. The president’s job is to command the Armed Forces, defend the Constitution, and act as a diplomat. What ever happened to concerns being addressed by state governments and the private sector through the courts?

  • leafwatch

    BP was given permission by the government to drill, so it was not criminal in the sense of acting outside the laws. Problem is, governments are not abstract, pure agencies; they are big bureaucracies run by self-interested people — not the most moral, wise, insightful, knowledgeable, truthful, principled among us, far from it. So if we depend on these flawed bureaucrats to make all the decisions, we are always going to find corruption, waste, carelessness, cronyism, and stupidity

  • lucasboden

    Rand Paul should learn more from his father rather than just using his family name to get elected.

  • CurtHowland

    “There are limits to what governments can do.”
    What other politician EVER says that?

  • JoeyPencils

    RP 5 stars…Erin 111! she is hotter than Cramer’s bald spot in July…but back to RP…nice analogy with the newspaper owner and the 1st amend.

  • awarepatriot

    This man NEEDS to be president!

  • awarepatriot

    What on Earth is Obama supposed to do about the oil spill? Get a sub & stop it? Does the govt even have equipment to stop it? LOL.

  • Intervene

    Go Ron Paul!!! Excellent as always

  • followwheremarygoes

    i think bp did do it on purpose

  • chestersimpson

    the real question is how much is gonna come out…. figure out how much is down there…. on sept 11 09 O_o…. the ny times posted a story about bp finding a huge oil field under the gulf.. In the story “BP declined to estimate the size of the new reserve, but a company executive said that it could be bigger than the three billion barrels of oil equivalent, combining oil and gas stocks”. If it can be stopped then it needs to, there is no time for bickering about political position. fix it now

  • LibertaerUeberAlles

    Can we clone him?

  • nonaCbarC

    You are such a moron bitch. Dr. Paul buying gold & advocating gold is called sincerity or true conviction. Sps I tell ppl to buy gold or tell ppl that I believe in the gold standard, but sps I don’t buy gold. Then what does that make me?!!! LMAO. This is what the collages produce these days. LMAO.

  • nepheleim

    BP is a British company. They don’t answer to the state or the federal government.

  • metsone

    they did commit a criminal act.

  • rockhuddy

    BP answers to the Rothschilds. I’m guessing that this spill will continue to get worse for a long time and that the media coverage won’t stop. They’ll use it to pass cap and trade.

  • jcompt666

    Man, I HATE politicians, but I loves me some Ron Paul!

  • mikebcnu

    Its a TRAVESTY that this man is not president

  • k3v1av

    The states are to take care of their land the states need to keep BP responsible if they can’t then the Federal Government should step in. Like it was prior to the depression STATES TRUMPED the feds. This is why our country is known as the United States of America. Not the federal states of America.

  • trekkerperson

    Its the mindset of the masses. “Give me” and “do something” are the common insights into their mind. Liberty is the path. RP is the future.