Ron Paul appeared on CNN’s Situation Room today to discuss his positions on Social Security privatization, the planned Quran burning, and the latest Rand Paul poll.
Wolf Blitzer: Joining us now is a Republican who comes to this debate with his always unique and outspoken point of view, Congressman Ron Paul of Texas. Congressman, thanks very much for coming in.
Ron Paul: Thank you, Wolf.
Wolf Blitzer: When it comes to the president’s economic policies, his tax policies, is there anything in there you like?
Ron Paul: Well, I understand there will be some tax credits and that means there’ll be lower taxes for businesspeople and encourage investment, although they are short term and we don’t know what would happen after a couple of years. No, anything that will cut taxes I’m for, the fact that he’ll be raising spending, but also because he doesn’t plan to raise taxes on the lower income people under $200,000 or $250,000, I think that’s good. It’d be horrible if he did raise the taxes at the first year on all those. So I have to say that is a little bit of relief to know that those taxes won’t go up.
Wolf Blitzer: Because you’re a deficit hawk, you hate this huge national debt, the annual budget deficits. The White House says if you eliminate the tax breaks for the wealthy Americans, those families making more than $250,000 a year, about 2 or 3% of all Americans out there, you’re going to save $700 billion over the next 10 years. $700 billion, that would be good to have that reduction in the national debt, wouldn’t it?
Ron Paul: Well, it would be, but it would be a horrible way of doing it. That means taxes are going up $700 billion. I could think of a much better thing to do and that would be to read that article by Stiglitz this morning. He said he made an error last year when he did that report that he said the Iraq war was going to cost us over $3 trillion. He says it’s going to be much higher than $3 trillion. Why don’t we stay out of these wars and save this money, that’s what we need to do. We need to cut the spending and we don’t have to tax people and we could solve this problem, but nobody wants to give an inch on these overseas expenditures, the Republicans don’t want to cut overseas expenditures and war, neither does Obama. So, but the American people, the ones I talk to at least, are all for it.
Wolf Blitzer: I know you were…
Ron Paul: So that’s where it should go, we should cut spending overseas.
Wolf Blitzer: We had you on recently with Congressman Barney Frank. You guys have some ideas to save hundreds of billions of dollars in defense related spending, we discussed that. The president also went after some Republicans for wanting to privatize Social Security, listen to what he said.
Barack Obama: As long as I’m president, no one is going to take the retirement savings of a generation of Americans and hand it over to Wall Street. Not on my watch.
Wolf Blitzer: Do you agree with the president on that?
Ron Paul: Well, I have to know what he is thinking about on privatizing what others think about privatizing because it’s two different things.
Wolf Blitzer: He doesn’t want to privatize it, he wants to keep it the way it is now.
Ron Paul: Yeah, but I want to know what privatize means. If we could turn this money over and give the individual money like an investment retirement fund that they manage, that’s a little bit different. But I think most people, what they think about privatizing and I’m not for this type of privatizing, that’s when the government manages accounts and gets involved in the stock market, if that’s what he’s thinking about, I don’t want any part of that. But I want to privatize the retirement funds and put the responsibility on the individual. That to me is a lot different type of privatization. But for government bureaucrats to get involved in the stock market, I don’t like that.
Besides, if you truly have privatization, you can make your own choices, but it’s when, the way we have it now, you only can buy government debt, that’s really not a very good investment. But I think these are academic arguments because, talking about 5 or 10 years from now, we’re facing up such a serious crisis with our dollar and our financial situation. The next 2 or 3 years, this is going to be resolved because we’re going to have a financial crisis based on a dollar devaluation and that to me is going to change all the rules in the game. And talking about the tax code for a year or two I won’t have a whole lot of meaning.
Wolf Blitzer: I’m curious what your reaction is to this pastor in Florida who wants to burn copies of the Quran on Saturday.
Ron Paul: Well, I put a little statement out about that because everybody was talking about it. It’s a shame he’s getting this much attention, and Petraeus made this statement that I agreed with, he said “this could endanger our troops” and I agree with that. But I also went on to add the point, as much danger as burning the Quran might be, what about our invasion, our bombing, collateral damage, arrests and secret prisons and pictures of torture, drone attacks, do you think that isn’t an incitement to violence overseas? I mean, they already have so much.
Yes, we should recognize that this is not good for us, it’s a bad image. Of course nobody is challenging his right to do this thing, I mean we’re even allowed to burn flags in this country, so that isn’t the issue as much, for me it was the issue of saying what kind of a reaction would this be, and I say our foreign policy has a much, much more negative reaction than burning Quran would.
Wolf Blitzer: Very quickly, because we got this new CNN Time Magazine poll in on the race for the Senate in Kentucky, your son Rand Paul is running. Right now we have it as a dead heat among registered voters, Rand Paul 46%, Jack Conway the Attorney General there 46%. Are you surprised by this poll, how close it is?
Ron Paul: I think that’s pure fiction, that’s the biggest surprise of my life. If that happened, it happened within the last 12 hours, I think we better check that one out. But no, the race will be hard for, and hard run and he’ll run as if it’s tied. But those aren’t quite the accurate statistics that I’ve been hearing about.
Wolf Blitzer: Yeah, I’ve heard other polls that had your son way ahead. But this is among registered voters, CNN Time Opinion Research Corporation poll; we’ll stay on top of this race and all the other races. Always to have you in the Situation Room, Congressman, thanks for coming in.
Ron Paul: Thank you, Wolf.