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David Asman Now, one man who has warned us about all of this is running for president to change all of this, and he joins us now. That is Congressman Ron Paul. Congressman, that’s what scares me the most about ObamaCare; it does increase the coercive power of the Fed. Is that what worries you the most?
Ron Paul: Oh, there’s no doubt about it. But yes, that’s the main thing, but I know the consequence of allowing governments to do that to coerce us into programs like this. It diminishes the quality, that means that you can expect, and you already mentioned that Doctors are quitting and fewer will want to go in. So the quality of healthcare, if that’s the goal, they destroy everything. They destroyed our freedoms of choice, it costs a lot more, and it destroys the quality. And they still argue that they are the humanitarians; that’s what gulls me, the fact that they take the moral high ground. And then we, who believe in freedom and liberty and good quality care and know how to get prices down, they paint us as uncaring. That’s the subject we have to address.
David Asman By the way, for those who don’t know, this man is also a medical doctor. He’s not only a congressman. Would you go in to medicine again today if you were just starting out, knowing that we may be moving towards socialized medicine?
Ron Paul: Well, I thought we were moving in that direction even a long time ago, and we were. And of course, when I got out of medical school we did not have medicare and medicade. But I stayed in medicine and I dealt with this by not participating in the programs. But now you don’t have much choices. Now I have three of my children who have become physicians. I need to discourage them, because they went into medicine for the right reasons. So it’s a shame to want to be a doctor and help your fellow man, at the same time you have to be putting up with the bureaucracy and authoritarianism and undermining the very quality practice that you want to participate in. So, to me, it’s a real tragedy.
David Asman And, you know, people do have vocations, obviously to become a doctor. It’s not just about money but you don’t want to spend your life fighting a bureaucracy instead of fighting to save lives. That’s why a lot of people are turning away from medicine.
Ron Paul: Yea, it is. But to not discourage people too much, but I agree with you a 100%. But the federal government is bearing down on all of us everywhere on everything that we do. What if you wanted to be a quality school teacher and have a little bit of creativity. What do you have to do? You end up spending all your time teaching ‘no child left behind’. So we’re all in this together. As a matter of fact, I stayed off the committees that dealt with medical problems purposely, because I didn’t want people to think I went there to make sure the government stayed out of medicine. Because I think it’s a principle of liberty that affects all of us, whether it’s medicine or education or business. We know all about the regulations and monetary systems. So if you’re an honest broker, it’s pretty though trying to figure out what the government’s going to do.
David Asman By the way, to your point about education, I was teaching in the late 1970s, just a couple of months really after the implementation of the Department of Education. Even then, we were being forced to use teaching methods that, all of the teachers agree, weren’t working. But we had to use them just so they we could the federal grants from the Department of Education. So even way back 30 years ago, the Department of Education was standing in the way of good education. Okay, let’s talk about some of the coercive powers that the government now has, and how we might change it, how you might change it, or how you would like to change it if you become president. First of all, the IRS. I for getting rid of the whole damn institution. What about you?
Ron Paul: I’m with you, and I have something I’ve introduced over the many years, it’s called the Liberty Amendment. It gets rid of the 16th Amendment, it gets rid of the IRS. But it also prohibits that after three years the federal government can’t participate in anything that is designed for the private sector to take care, and it’s not authorized in the constitution. Because you can’t really expect to solve our problem of the IRS and heavy taxation unless we change the appetite of the people for big government. You know, the big argument now is how many people want entitlements and how many people want to quit paying for the entitlements. Right now there are still a lot of people who are lining up for their entitlements. Entitlements now are considered rights by nearly half of the people.
David Asman So let me just make sure I understand. So you’re saying before we put forth getting rid of the IRS, we have to convince the American public, those who have become accustomed to government help, that they shouldn’t get government help.
Ron Paul: No, I think you do them together. It’s just that if you and I had a program where we’re just going to get rid of the income tax, and we don’t cut spending and cut the appetite for big government, it’s not going to happen. They say we did get rid of the income tax and they put a sales tax on us of 35% or 40% that won’t solve our problems. It’s the appetite for money coming from us that makes the big difference. And I think in the long term, the people in this country have to ask the question, “What should the role of government be?” And, for me, it’s to defend liberty and not to run a welfare state and not to police the world.
David Asman You know, a lot of those questions, though … I’ve seen all those questionnaires you’re talking about, the polls saying that essentially Americans are too stuck on what they get from the government to get rid of it. But very often it’s the way you ask the question. If you had a choice between no income tax or no IRS and some of the benefits that you’re not getting from government, I bet people would choose no IRS. I mean, maybe I’m wrong, but that’s what I think.
Ron Paul: You know, I think it might be right, and one angle that I’ve tried in some of my speeches is to say that everybody tells you that you now have to sacrifice for us to get back on our feet again. And I keep thinking, what if we got rid of the income tax and you got to keep everything and deregulate the economy and change the whole system? I don’t think a lot of people would feel like they’re sacrificing, they’d feel like a burden is off their shoulders, so they’ll say, “Wow, this sounds pretty good”. So the only people who would have to sacrifice are the ones who are living off their neighbor or living off somebody else who has work for a living.
David Asman Dr. Paul, we’re almost out of time, but I just got to ask one question about the debt ceiling. If the vote is not made to increase the debt ceiling, what goes first when we run out of money? What goes first, our payment to our bond holders or our creditors, or spending? What do you think will be cut first?
Ron Paul: Well, I don’t think they’ll cut the payments to the bond holders. And I’m predicting they’re going to raise the debt limit because they’re going to drum up enough fear that everybody will have to capitulate, and then there will be a pretence they’re going to cut spending. But let’s say it doesn’t happen. I think they can just say, they could make an announcement, “We’re going to reassure the bond holders and we’re going to pay you first”. Which means that they’re going to have to short change somebody else, and that’s when it’s going to be tough. And that’s the reason why I don’t think it’s going to happen, and I don’t think they’re ready to cut and I personally won’t vote for the debt increase, even if there are promises that 5 to 10 years out we’re going to be serious and cut the deficit. I’ve heard too many of those promises, you have to cut it now. The only budget that counts is this year, and this year our obligation is going to go up 5 trillion dollars when you add up everything.
David Asman Yea, don’t trust these promises, they don’t amount to much. Dr. Paul, it’s great to see you again. Thank you for being here, I appreciate it.