Presidential candidate Ron Paul answers questions about the top issues in the campaign.
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TV Voice: WMUR, The New Hampshire Institute of Politics, with financial support from AARP, New Hampshire, present this Commitment 2012 special; Conversation with the Candidate. Tonight, Congressman Ron Paul.
Host: Good evening, and welcome to Conversation with the Candidate. I’m James Pindell. Out guest this evening is Congressman Ron Paul. For the half hour we’re getting to know who the candidate is and where he stands on key issues. At the start tonight, questions will come from me, then after a break we’ll bring in questions from our studio audience in a Town Hall format. But before we deal with the questions, it’s time to get a quick look at the candidate’s biography.
TV Voice: Ron Paul’s first campaign stop after announcing his candidacy was Exeter.
Ron Paul: I am a candidate for the presidency in the Republican Party primary.
Host: Paul was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on August 20, 1935. He and his wife, Carol, now live in Lake Jackson, Texas. They have 5 children and 18 grandchildren. One of those children is Rand Paul, a Junior Senator from Kentucky. Paul got a degree in biology from Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania where he was also on the track and swim teams. He then went on to Duke University School of Medicine. The Congressman served as a flight surgeon in the U.S. Air Force in the 1960s, and after his time in the military, he focused his medical career on obstetrics and gynecology. Dr. Paul has delivered more than 4000 babies. Congressman Ron Paul has represented Texas’s 14th district since 1997. He was also elected to serve Texas’s 22nd district during the late 1970s and early 1980s. This is Paul’s third run for the White House; the first came back in 1988 when he ran as a Libertarian. He also ran back in 2008, finishing 5th in the New Hampshire primary, getting national attention for his fund raising and grassroots support.
Host: Well, Dr. Paul, thank you for coming in.
Ron Paul: Thank you, nice to be with you.
Host: So this is your third time running for president? Why are you running again?
Ron Paul: To win. And the country has moved in the direction of the constitution and limited government out of desperation, because the things we’ve been doing for so many years, and especially since the bailouts started, and the crisis that we’ve had in the last couple of years, the people have looked at it and said, “Our policies are wrong, they were wrong in leading us up to the problems we had, and they are wrong in trying to get us out of it”. The people are frightened and concerned and they’re very worried about the economic crisis and I’ve been talking about this for 30 years, worrying about it and saying, “You know, we’re in for big trouble”, and people are looking for answers. So I think it would be very appropriate that they are now looking at free market economics and the constitution to find our answers.
Host: You’ve been described as the godfather in the Tea Party Movement. Do you embrace that sort of a title?
Ron Paul: Well, I don’t know whether that’s negative or positive. I haven’t invented it, I don’t use it, I don’t deny it. If it means that I help start it, yes certainly. And it wasn’t me personally as much as the supporters in 2007, because it was during that campaign that the supporters of the Ron Paul Presidential Campaign got together and they were going to have a day of celebration of the original Tea Party event, which was the 16th of December. So in 2007 and they raised 7 million dollars and broke all kinds of records. So that was really the modern day origination of the Tea Party Movement. Today, it’s much bigger and there are more and more fissures and a lot of different people are involved and anybody who is concerned and unhappy with what’s going on with the federal government can call themselves a Tea Party member.
Host: I read that you first really got involved in politics right after the U.S. got off the gold standard. In plain language, why was that such a big deal?
Ron Paul: Well, it was a big deal because I’d been involved in studying free-market economics, which is called Austrian economics, throughout the 1960s. And the predictions were made back then that it was unsustainable, because the system was set up, interestingly enough, at an organization meeting at New Hampshire, and it was called the Bretton Woods New Hampshire, and it was called the Bret Woods agreement. And it was deeply flawed from the very beginning because it was a pseudo gold standard. The American people weren’t on a gold standard, they weren’t even allowed to own gold, but the American dollar was backed by gold to foreigners. So there was some restraint on our spending and the printing of money, and that kept things under reasonable control. But in 1971, Richard Nixon said, “No more running out of gold, we can’t do this, we need tariffs”, and all these other things. So it was a big event. It meant, to me, that there would be no limits on spending, and no limits on the printing press machine. And just look at what’s happened in this last 30, 40 years. Spending has skyrocketed, size of government has skyrocketed, our exposures around the world have skyrocketed, the inflation of the currency, the depreciation of money has skyrocketed. And it comes because there are no restraints on the creation of money. When it happened, I said, “Wow, we’re legalizing counterfeit to the politicians”. They’re supposed to protect the value of our money, and they’re legalizing counterfeit. And the world trusted this, and they still do to a large degree, but less so than they used to. As long as you print the money, we can spend it, and that has led to this horrendous bubble that has now burst and we’re trying to deal with it.
Host: Let me ask you about another topic that is really on the minds of a lot of Republicans, particularly this cycle, which is immigration. Do you believe that immigration is fundamentally a federal issue, or do states have the right to come in when the federal government doesn’t do their job?
Ron Paul: I think in a guarded way, yes, the states have some responsibilities. But borders and border guards and bases and passports; that is a federal matter. But in some ways, even private land owners should have something to say about trespassing, because if you’re in Texas and you own a big ranch and thousands of people are coming over, even the ranch owner is allowed to call the police and say, “Hey, there are hundreds of people on my land and they’re trespassing”. So there should be some responsibility to the state and they’re willing to do it. But they’re usually inhibited by the federal governments and they’re not allowed to do it.
Host: What would you describe to be as a greatest career accomplishment?
Ron Paul: Calling attention to something very important, and that is what should the role of government be. To me, the role of government ought to be the protection of liberty, and it’s done through the constitution, and the constitution was written to restraint the government and not the American people. And from that basic principle that more people are looking at and understanding, comes the free market and sound money and prosperity and peace. And those are the consequences of understanding that basic principle, the founders understood it clearly. And I think I’ve helped to get people’s attention and also to emphasis the fact that freedom shouldn’t be chopped up into pieces. You shouldn’t have personal liberty and economic liberty; it’s all one. Because you have a right to your life, you have a right to your liberty, and you have a right to your property and to pursue your happiness and take care of yourself. So I want to put that all back together, and I think I’ve gotten a lot of people to understand that, because when they realize how important that is, you realize that the solution to many of our problems can be found in that basic principle.
Host: Great. Well, that does it for this segment. Coming up right after the break, we’ll bring in our studio audience into this conversation. Stay right with us, we’ll be right back.
Welcome back to Conversation with the Candidate. Congressman Ron Paul, it’s time to bring in questions from our audience. I’ll jump in from time to time if I need to, for a follow up. But for now, let’s get right with our first question. Joe from Bedford, go ahead.
Joe: Thank you, and good evening, Congressman.
Ron Paul: Good evening.
Joe: I was wondering if you could share with us what your thoughts were relative to what the most pressing priorities to solve the federal deficits are?
Ron Paul: The best way, and as far as I’m concerned, the only way, we should solve the problem of the deficit, is to cut spending and not raise taxes. I don’t believe in that, taxes are too high, government is too big, and we’re doing too many things. And the only way you can really cut spending is for the people to understand what the role of government should be. And the proper role of government ought to be to protect our freedoms, not to police the world, and not to run an entitlement system. So, as long as the people demand that, it’s going to be virtually impossible for the politicians to do the right thing. A lot of people are now saying, “You guys better balance the budget and do the right thing, but don’t mess around with what I’m getting”. So my proposal in the order of preference is, I think we still can have priorities. For instance, I think it would be much easier for us to look at the spending overseas rather than to cut child healthcare. And, therefore, we can have priorities. And not too many people are willing to. Instead of cutting back on our wars around the world, we’re adding to them without permission of the Congress. We’re involved in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Libya, Somalia, and we’re building bases, we’re in a 130 countries, we have 900 bases. We are blowing up bridges and infrastructure in a country, then we go in and we have to pay to rebuild it again. At the same time, our infrastructure is falling apart. I say, cut that massively and then there are quite a few other programs I’d cut in this country, a lot of departments I would get rid of, too. But there is room to cut without putting on top of the list healthcare.
Host: We now go to Bill from Nashville.
Bill: Thank you, Representative Paul, it’s a real pleasure to be with you this evening.
Ron Paul: Thank you.
Bill: Recent headlines indicate that our economy is slowly making progress with the exception of some recent headlines. Do you see a continuation of that progress, and if so, are there any obstacles we should be aware of?
Ron Paul: I’m not as optimistic as some of the statistics. Yes, there are some numbers that are mostly government numbers. But the people who are unemployed are not waiting for double-dip, they’re in one big dip. And the numbers are fudged, I’ve been around and checked these figures, and if the government tells you you have a 2% inflation, I don’t think a lot of people believe that anymore. Because, go and look at your gasoline prices, your cost of medicine, your cost of food is going up much more rapidly. They say unemployment is at 8.9%, 9.1%, like it’s a big difference. If you go back to the old measurement of unemployment, it’s probably over 20%, and that’s why the people feel badly. So these statistics that seem to be slightly improved, they’re improved because you pumped in a lot of money. The tax-payer and the Federal Reserve, by diluting the value of the money, pumped in trillions of dollars. So Wall Street did better and a couple of businesses got better. The people who should have gone bankrupt, didn’t go bankrupt. But the people are poorer for it, because all these bad assets that had to be bought up and they had no market for it, instead of liquidating them and getting them off the books, they’ve ended up our books. And it’s all done because the Federal Reserve can spend trillions of dollars in secrecy, and we’re not even allowed to know about it. I’m doing investigation of that right now on a sub-committee I chair. And a third of the money the Fed printed, which went into trillions of dollars, went to overseas banks. That is what’s so bad about it. So I’m not optimistic about the statistics, I think we’re in for big trouble, I think next year there’s going to be a horrendous tax placed on the American people in the form of higher prices, which means that the devaluation of the currency. But I’m very optimistic that more and more people in this country are awakened, and they know what the trouble is, and they know we should bite the bullet and decide on a new policy, new monetary policy, new fiscal policy, pay attention to the constitution. And there’s a good reception there, and I know the younger generation, the college people, have been very supportive of what I’ve been talking about. So I’m very optimistic that so many people have been introduced to the ideas … the ideas that aren’t new and that aren’t mine, the ideas that made America great, and we’ve given up on it. We don’t have the trust and the faith in the free markets that we can take care ourselves and we don’t need the nanny state, the government, to tell us everything and take care of us from cradle to grave. So, in the short term, in rather pessimistic, especially for next year. But in the longer term, I’m optimistic.
Bill: Thank you.
Host: Dr. Paul, we’ll now move on to foreign policy. We have a question from Helen.
Helen: Welcome, Congressman. You’ve been concerned about defense mission creep overseas, and in the recent Defense Re-authorization Bill, I know that you objected to failure to define “enemy” in that bill. You were concerned that the mission was so vague, money was being given without accountability. If something like that crossed your desk as chief executive, would you veto it and send it back for language like that?
Ron Paul: I would absolutely veto it. That whole bill was way too much militarism and very little national defense. But the provision she’s referring to is the changing of the definition that allows the president to go to war. It was opening up doors and it was … the word I think was “associated groups”, anybody associated, and it was indefinable. It was so vague, that if you happen to belong to a peace group, and you’re participating in a peace group that really wants peace, and you work for it, and you don’t make money, you may be put on that list. So they were going to allow the military to target you, as well as anybody in the world. It’s bad enough already that our presidents go to war without the consent of the people through a declaration of war, but this would have made it much worse. It’s passed the House, not the Senate, let’s hope the Senate doesn’t pass it. But I absolutely would prohibit it. If it were on the books when I was there, I would never use it.
Host: Dr. Paul, I was just thinking the other day, you are the only candidate running for president these days who has actually served in the military. What happened to the idea that you need to have this military experience to be a Commander in Chief. Is that one of your main arguments, one of your new arguments?
Ron Paul: I don’t know, I would think that it’s good that the American people know that, and my staff keeps telling me, “Why don’t you tell them about your military experience?” But I was in the military for 5 years, and I tell my veterans groups that I was grafted and went in. I was taken out of my residency, I went in with a lot of reservations, it was at the height of the Cuban Crisis. I figured, “I’m going to make the best of it”. I have to respond and this is the way the system works and I was very obedient. As a matter of fact, I stayed in 3 extra years, so I had a total of 5 years in the Air Force. But now, I tell my veterans groups, not in the presidency position, but as a member of Congress and in International Relations, I have a responsibility with dealing with policy. So I see it differently. But I would think yes, that has helped me a whole lot. At the time it was a great burden raising my family and little kids and being drafted and all. But, I did travel a lot. As a matter of fact, I had been to the Middle East and Pakistan and Afghanistan, and Iran at that time when we could go in there, and Ethiopia and Turkey and all these places. So it was an experience that was well worthwhile. And you do understand how the military operates. I think it’s a very worthwhile experience.
Host: Let me move back onto some fiscal issues. I think Alexander has some questions about entitlements.
Alexander: What is the first step you would take to transition from our current state of entitlements towards your idea?
Ron Paul: Well, that that one is tougher politically. It’s tougher politically to just get rid of the entitlement system. But there’s no authority in the constitution for entitlements. But the reason why this is so overwhelming, is we have been taught and we have been conditioned and the majority of the American people believe that entitlement means rights. It sounds like a right; “You’re entitled to this”. But you’re not entitled to somebody else’s life and property, and you can’t go to your neighbor and steal, but you shouldn’t be able to send the politicians to your neighbor to steal. So the moral principle and the constitutional principle is so clear. So you have to get people to understand that, but what’s going to probably end the entitlement system is when we go flat out broke, and that’s what we’re approaching. But no, you should do your best. I would pick the priorities, I’m for cutting out the foreign entitlement, the foreign welfare, and corporate welfare, because it’s easier. But then we have to look and say, “Look, the entitlement system isn’t going to work, we’re broke”. And we should, at the least, start nibbling away at that and condition people, why wait until we go totally bankrupt. But we should do our very best. But a president can’t do that, he can do more in foreign policy because he’s in charge of the troops. You don’t have to keep troops in 900 bases. The entitlement system has to be withered away through legislation and through the encouragement of the Congress. The president’s obligation would be to, if necessary, veto bills, or encourage the Congress to pass more reasonable legislation.
Host: Dr. Paul, we now have Jane from Manchester to ask you a question about healthcare.
Jane: Welcome to New Hampshire. How would you make long term care more affordable and accessible to our aging boomer population?
Ron Paul: How do we make medical care more affordable with the aging boomer population, which is growing rather rapidly, and the costs are growing even more rapidly. Well, the cost of medical care is not so simple as saying there is only one cause. It isn’t because so-and-so charges too much money. It’s much more complex. You have the problem of (?) law, the lawsuits, that makes doctors do twice as much as they need to do. But they have to do it out of defense. And I’ve been on the receiving end of that, and said, “Boy, what if I don’t do this c-section in 3 minutes”, and I’m looking at this curve, “What is this attorney going to do to me?” So it puts all kinds of pressures on you, and it does everything in the emergency room. So that’s one problem, and I can’t go into details, but I have several pieces of legislation that would deal with that with a free market approach, where you could get the attorneys out of getting most of that money. And that’s where our big problem is. The other thing is, inflation is when you increase money supply and devalue your currency, and then it goes into higher prices, and you say, “Well, how would it just do medicine more than anything else?” It can. When you devalue a currency, some prices go up, some prices might even go down. You’re computers and cell phones and TV prices might go down. But if government gets involved in allocating services, they don’t give you better services, they give you higher prices. So where have we been most involved? The housing industry; we had a big bubble there. Medical care; we have huge costs there and so they have to regulate prices, and education; they have pushed money into that. And it usually never improves certain services, but it increases prices. So you can’t solve your problem until you deal with the monetary issue. But then again, you need a lot more competition. I’ve spent a lot of time in my recent book dealing how you should have more competition. You should have an opportunity for people to have alternative healthcare rather than making it illegal. And if the medical profession does it, the insurance company does it, the drug companies do it, and management companies do it. And now we have corporation medicine, both Republicans and Democrats have pushed this. And you have to reject that. You need more competition, and there are ways of doing it. The medical profession has it so that anybody outside with a medical degree can’t prescribe anything. And that is not necessary, and there are a lot of options in alternative healthcare that are actually prohibited, and they shouldn’t be.
Host: Dr. Paul, I want to get quickly to an email question we have. It’s from Edward from Moultonborough. He says, “We are very dependent on foreign oil. Would you eliminate the current restrictions to the development of our own oil reserves, in the ANWAR, and other areas within our boundaries?”
Ron Paul: Did he say, get rid of the reserves? Get rid of the restrictions?
Host: Get rid of the restrictions, yes.
Ron Paul: Oh yes, the market should be determining. The market should determine, we shouldn’t have restrictions on drilling. The restriction should be dealt with through the market phenomenon. A lot of people want it restricted because of the so-called environmental reasons. But in a free market, you can protect your environment without having the bureaucrats telling you where to drill where not to drill, because you don’t have a right to pollute anybody’s property or anybody’s air or anybody’s water. So we should have a lot more drilling. I mean, if you looked at all that we have in this country, everything from coal, nuclear and oil, I mean we have tremendous amounts. So we don’t have to send our troops over there to protect our oil. And that’s what I think is so criminal. But the market works, and if for a while the prices go up… prices are very important. If it’s a market, prices go up, we might drive less, there might be alternatives. All of a sudden, the market helped us get natural gas prices down. You know, a few years ago, in my district, they had a port they were building for importing natural gas because our prices were too high. And all of a sudden there were a lot of discoveries, so they turned that into an export of natural gas because it’s unknown what we can do when the market operates. And I happen to think that if the price of gasoline and hydrocarbons got too high, we’d have electricity maybe generated by nuclear fuel and maybe have electrical cars or something like that. But let me tell you one thing with certainty, I don’t know all the answers, the politicians in Washington don’t know the answers, the bureaucrats don’t know the answers, but the market has the answer. You have to find out which is the best product and how to deal with it. But the fact that you might have imports shouldn’t frighten us because that’s the way the markets are supposed to work. But if they cut it off and prices go up, believe me, as long as the people in this country have the freedom to develop alternatives, they’ll happen. We shouldn’t be frightened about freedom, it works.
Host: Dr. Paul, I want to ask you a question about your previous profession. You delivered 4000 babies, what do you think is the biggest misconception that first time parents have about pregnancy, in a few seconds?
Ron Paul: Oh boy, I didn’t know I was going to get a medical question.
Host: Maybe it would be more psychological.
Ron Paul: Well, I don’t know, I think woman who are pregnant are pretty smart and they know what to expect. I think sometimes they’re a little more frightened than they have to be, that’s a misconception, especially in this age. You know, they could hear stories, people have heard stories about how terrible some things could come about. But in a modern age, there’s just no reason to be fearful. So basically I think I’ve always considered my patients pretty well informed and hopefully I kept them well informed.
Host: I’m sure you did. That does it all here for what we have in this program. Coming up next in our series of Conversation with the Candidate, Fred Karger will be making his appearance next Friday night. Karger is a former White House consultant, best known now as a gay-rights activist. There’s still time to send in questions via email, just head to the politics section of www.wmur.com and click on the “submit a question” link. You can also pick a question for a specific candidate, or for them all. And while we’re signing off on television for tonight, this conversation with Congressman Ron Paul continues online. There you’ll find a full 30 more minutes of questions from our studio audience. You can also re-watch this half hour in case you missed something. Thanks a lot for watching, and check out www.wmur.com
Thanks for clicking on the extended Web Conversation with the Candidate, Congressman Ron Paul. The next 30 minutes are all commercial free, so we can get through as many questions as possible. And let’s get started.
Dr. Paul, you have been in Congress for a very long time. Why shouldn’t people consider you a career politician?
Ron Paul: Well, I guess it’s because of my motivations. And, in some ways, if you spend a lot of time and you want to say it’s a career, in a way it’s a second career. But if it’s meant as a pejorative and a negative thing, most people will defend me and say, “Well, you know you aren’t the typical politician”. But yes, it’s sort of being a career after I left medicine. I was in Congress for a while, I was in for four terms, and I knew I didn’t want to be the career politician. So I went back and I missed medicine. As a matter of fact, the first time I ran for Congress, I figured the American people weren’t quite ready for me because I was talking and saying way back then and it wasn’t nearly as popular. But I say, I wanted to go back to medicine, so I went back in 1984 and didn’t run again and got back into Congress into 1997. So it was sort of breaking it up. But I was always motivated to try to solve some of these problems and not play the role of the career politician. But technically speaking, when you spend a bunch of years you could argue, “Yea, that’s a career, that’s a second career”. And, as a matter of fact, I feel very fortunate that I had the opportunity to practice medicine which I love and I think it has helped me in my second career because the people had rejected me in Congress. I always felt like I had a career and I would feel very good about practicing medicine, so I think it gave me a little bit of leverage to say what I actually believed in and say the things that I thought were best for the country.
Host: You know, Congress itself is one of those easy punching bags. We have all these jokes about Congress, but given your philosophy, and frankly your experience there, what does Congress do well?
Ron Paul: Boy, you really stumped me.
Host: Does it represent well, is it a place where people can get the great debates, is it nuts?
Ron Paul: Well, this is a negative doing well. They do very well in following what they’ve being taught and what they believe. They have been taught the wrong things. They follow an economic system that I am challenging, I’m challenging the Keynesian interventionist central economic planning, the funny money fiat system, and rejection of the constitution. They do that very, very well, but they’ve been taught that. And I would think that they do well in serving their constituents, in the sense that government is so big. I have two types of constituents: one that want to get something from the government, and if it’s a legal thing, if they’re getting Social Security or veterans benefits, I work very hard to help them. And I think all members of Congress do a very good job there. But then there’s another group that come to you and they just want more stuff, and I’m less enthusiastic in supporting that.
Host: Let’s go back to our town-hall format here. We’ve got Ann from Auburn who has a question about job creation.
Ann: Yes. What steps would you propose to deal with the need for more jobs in many areas of the country?
Ron Paul: That is the key question, and you’ve made it very simple and clear: how do you get jobs? Because everybody wants them and everybody can’t … I don’t think you’re going to have a candidate come in and say, “You know, I’m not concerned about the jobs, and I’m going to produce the jobs”. Well, I think I approach it more analytically and almost like a physician. You have to know why we don’t have jobs. We have to know why we have bubbles and why we have collapses. That’s why you can’t ignore the monetary system, because the Federal Reserve creates the bubble, this artificial wealth, and it’s doomed to collapse. And so if you don’t understand that, you can’t solve it. If you don’t understand that, the politicians who don’t understand that in Washington, they keep doing the same thing. They keep printing money and spending money and running up deficits and borrowing money and printing money, which was the cause. How can you get out of that problem by doing the same thing? So you can’t get jobs. So I want people to understand the business cycle so that you can do the proper things. But the most important thing is getting back to the concept of capital. Capital investments create jobs. But right now, we have given up, even though we call ourselves a capitalist country, we don’t have true capitalism because capitalism comes from savings, not out of a printing press. But there is capital out there, it’s just not being utilized because of the conditions. We chase capital out of the country; weak currency countries send capital out. So we buy stuff because our money is cheap. So our best export is money. So we send all our money to China, that’s where our capital is; they have 3 trillion dollars in the bank and we owe 3 trillion dollars to the various countries around the world. That has to change. But you’d have to change some tax ideas; there are trillions of dollars, or at least a trillion and more, of money held overseas by our corporations. They made the money overseas, they’ve been taxed, most countries don’t tax you when you bring your money home. So I say why are we going to tax people just for bringing their money home? Why don’t they bring the money home and we wouldn’t have to print the money and pretend the government can spend the money. We have to encourage them to invest in it. But you have to do more than to get them confident enough. You have to liquidate debt and get rid of all the mistakes and get all the houses that were over built, which the bubble caused, you have to do that. But you have to have a change in the tax code, you have to encourage your capital to come back, you have to discourage the Federal Reserve from just printing more money. But then you have to deregulate. You just can’t keep adding on regulations. One thing that I am proposing is that if I am to be the President, I’m not going to add to the Federal Register. I want to be the first president ever to shrink the Federal Register, because if you’re in business, I don’t know how in the world you can keep up with the tax code and the Federal Register; that is a real handicap and that’s why nobody’s investing.
Host: I’m going to go back to Roy from Manchester. Go ahead.
Roy: You have said that you would pull back the military forces. How would you decide which ones, or would it be all of them?
Ron Paul: Well, how would I decide on which troops to bring home? And basically I want them all to come home, but you can’t get them all home in the next week, so you do have to have priorities. I would think that the least controversial should come first. The troops went in to Korea when I was in high school, and they’re still there. We don’t need troops in South Korea. I mean, they’re 10 times, if not 50 times, richer than North Korea, and that’s a fourth world nation, and here we are subsidizing the South Koreans. Bring them home. Japan; why do we subsidize Japan? Why do we take care of them? Bring them home. Why do we provide this defense for Germany, and they then have more money to take care of their entitlements and we have less money to take care of our sick people and our elderly. So bring them home. But I’d immediately back off from the Middle East. I would say, “We are not in a declared war. Why fight these wars. Bin Laden is dead, and even our CIA says the Al-Qaida are basically not in Afghanistan anymore. The most recent report from the CIA says that there is no evidence that the Iranians are building a nuclear bomb. So we don’t need all this. So there’s no place that I would think should be exempt, I think we should just come home and we should never allow the president, and I would never go to war without the permission of the Congress. The president has an obligation to defend this nation in emergency conditions if you’re being attacked; that’s been very clear throughout our history. But to engage in war like in Libya now and our president now says, “Oh, I got permission from the United Nations.” We shouldn’t be doing any of that, we should be quitting that. We could save 100s of billions of dollars by doing that.
Roy: So eventually, from what you’re saying, you would have all of our forces back in the United States?
Ron Paul: I think eventually we should, because then we would defend this country.
Roy: But then what would you do about the Taliban coming back?
Ron Paul: Well, that would diminish the threat of the Taliban.
Ron Paul: The Taliban is almost a 100% motivated by one thing: and that is us being in their country killing their civilians, bombing their countries. And that is what they get so upset about. Just think of it this way: what if any country, let’s say China gets stronger and we get weaker, and China does to us what we do to these other countries. We don’t have any right to be over there. Just this week we killed many, many civilians in Pakistan and in Yemen and in Libya. You know, we’re killing civilians. That makes people very, very angry. And the Taliban is not the Al-Qaida, the Taliban are people who want to get foreigners out of their country, just like you and I would if any foreigner came here and did anything like what we do in these other countries. And we have to accept that responsibility, because that’s really the way it is. And if we think they just popped up and said, “Oh, let’s get together and let’s go destroy America”. No, we did everything that Bin Laden ever wrote and they’re very, very precise. Bin Laden said he wanted three things to happen after 9/11. He said, “We want to entice the Americans to come over here and get bogged down like we did to the Soviets. We want to bankrupt their country, and we want to cause dissent in America over their foreign policy”. So guess who’s laughing in his grave right now, because we’ve done everything he wanted. And what has happened to this? Iraq now is an ally of the Iranians. We’ve turned it over to the Shiites, it used to belong to the Sunnis. So we have pushed them to the Iranians, the Iranians and Pakistan now are being pushed to the Chinese because of this policy of, “We got to kill every Taliban person in the whole world”. You can’t do it, and that is the motivation. The motivation is occupation and us being on their land when we have no right to be.
Host: We’re going to stick with the military topic. We got Jim from Manchester. Go ahead.
Jim: What cuts would you make in the military budget?
Ron Paul: Pardon me?
Jim: What cuts have you being making in the military budget?
Ron Paul: What cuts have we, this country, being making? What would I make?
Ron Paul: Oh, all the things I’ve been talking about; the cost of keeping troops in Korea, Japan, Germany, and the Middle East. You could cut 100s of billions of dollars. But I don’t call that defense, I call that militarism. I would call that what Eisenhower called it; supporting the military-industrial complex. And they’re making big profits and all. So no, I would cut a lot of that militarism, and I think our country would be stronger. We would defend ourselves, maybe we’d defend our borders instead of the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan. I mean, they’re impossible and I’ve been on that border, you cannot defend that border.
Host: Great. Do you have a follow up?
Host: Lucy now is from Goffstown who’s got a question on healthcare.
Lucy: Thank you very much for being here today, sir. What are the best, most practical ways to begin overturning Obama Care?
Ron Paul: The best way is to have a Congress pass a law to overthrow it, and the President signed the law. We don’t have the votes in the Congress, we have the votes in the House, but not in the Senate. And I don’t think our president is going to vote to overthrow Obama Care. So it’s a political problem and you have to change the nature of the Congress and change the president in order to do that. But in the mean time, there are court fights going on and saying, you know, he’s gone too far, he’s telling you you must buy insurance, it’s a mandate. And there’s being some success in the courts, that would be a good way to do it. I think the other way is for the state governments to stand up for the rights of the people and say, “Enough is enough. We’re not going to do it”, because traditionally in our early history there was such a thing that Jefferson and others talked about, and that’s nullification. There’s a limit to what you can jam down the throats of the states. And nullify these laws, and I’d be in favor of that. But there’s more than just Obama Care. I mean, how many other programs do the mandates come down that we’re forced to be involved in. I have one suggestion to deal with the whole thing, and this is not my promotion of a flat tax of 10%. But I get so tired of the federal government being a big burden on the states and the individuals. But let’s say that you would be willing to take care of yourself, completely and totally, from cradle to grave. You don’t need the government to take care of you. And you want to opt out, not opt out of Obama Care, but you want to opt out of the whole system. Would you be willing to pay 10% of your income just to opt out and expect nothing from the government? Most people I present that to say, “Hey, that sounds like a pretty good idea. Then you mean I get to keep the rest, but I have to take care of myself”. Yes, you can’t go to the government and have the government take care of you. And that’s what a free society would be all about. You get to work, it’s said to be your money, it’s not the government that allows you to keep a certain percentage, and then you get to keep it and be responsible. So I’d like to opt out of Obama Care, but I’d like to have you have the opportunity to opt out of the whole system.
Host: Thank you. Now we go to Eileen from Manchester, who questions your ability to do all that you just said.
Eileen: Is that decision making ability and power of the presidency as great as it was in the past, or are corporate interests in control of the economy, international relations, and other areas?
Ron Paul: The corporate interests are, they’re really in charge. It’s the military-industrial complex, it’s the corporations that have been bailed out, it’s the big banking system; they are in charge. But one thing is that a lot of people give free markets a bum wrap and say, “See, that’s what capitalism does?” They control it. But that’s not capitalism, that’s not free markets, that’s corporatism, that’s an abuse of power and we have that in medical care. We’re now having socialized medicine. We have insurance companies that are making money and drug companies make money, and management companies make money and medical companies make money. So the corporations do make money on this, and they are in charge. But it’s the system, it isn’t the free market that says that the corporations are in charge because they shouldn’t get any benefits. The marketplace takes care of the consumer. It doesn’t serve the interest of big business, it doesn’t serve the interest of big unions and big labor. It serves the interests of the people because all of us are consumers, and that should be what it’s designed for.
Host: Thank you. We have a question about education from David from Nashville.
David: Yes. Dr. Paul, thank you for serving. As President, what are your plans in dealing with the Department of Education? And working with Congress, how would you reform or repeal the National Education Act, No Child Left Behind, the Individual with Disabilities Education Act, and the new common core standards?
Ron Paul: Well, the proper constitutional position on that, and the one I endorse, is I’d get rid of it all. I mean, I wouldn’t have a department of education. Where does it say in the constitution that the federal government is supposed to take care of your schools? All they do is take control of your schools and take control of your kids. So no, I think it should all be abolished. And when people say, “What else you’re going to cut besides the military and all that spending?” I say cut the Department of Education. Has the quality of education gone up with No Child Left Behind? No. I have quite a few members of my family in education and, believe me, they are sick and tired of all the controls that are put on them, and the teachers are teaching the test, and all I hear are just negative things. No, there’s no authority. If we the people want the federal government to run our education, now that we’ve had this test, we should amend the constitution. Otherwise they’d do anything they want. If you can take over all of the education and all the medical care in the country without changing the constitution, there’s nothing left for the constitution. That’s why presidents go to war without even asking us. I mean, this is a crisis that’s going on. It’s a crisis of the rule of law that we’re really having. So, on education, believe me, we would not suffer, we’d save some money.
Host: But here’s the thing, Dr. Paul. You do all that, and you can have the constitutional argument, that’s fine. We constantly hear about how we, as a nation, are falling behind other developed countries in terms of education. What could we do to improve education in the country?
Ron Paul: Well, I think getting rid of the federal government would improve it. I think the quality of education has gone way down because it diminishes wealth. They spend too much time getting young people to pass tests and holding other people back. No, I think there’s no doubt that the quality of education has gone down. I bet if you draw two lines: quality this way, the role of federal government this way. So if you get rid of that, I think the quality of education is going to go up. There’s still some decent education in this country, but it’s a smaller number of people. It’s designed only to protect a very small number of people. Even in medicine, as bad as our medicine is, there are some parts of medicine in this country that are still the very, very best. So it isn’t like everything is bad. But I think if you want higher quality education, it should be done privately, which would be better, or locally. I was raised in a system where I went to public schools, but they were controlled by our school board in one little town, and that was it. We ended up getting a half-decent education.
Host: In terms of these issues, like the fact that China produces so many more engineers than we do in the country. Is there something you could do as a President in terms of, maybe not policy, maybe not money, but what could we do to make us more competitive?
Ron Paul: I think that is somewhat related to the work ethic, which we’ve forgotten about. I think everything can’t be blamed on the Department of Education and the system, as much as I don’t think we have as much respect for the work ethic. Because many individuals, especially coming from the Orient, come over and they work and study, and we’ve become softies, we’re not quite the disciplinarians with our children that we should be as a whole. But the people who are sick and tired of it, are changing that, because they’re opting out. Thank goodness they still have the right to opt out and they have home schooling and private schooling. And, believe me, as I’ve travelled and visited with people who have been raised in home schooling or private Christian schools, I mean, they’re quality of education is pretty amazing. So I think that’s what it needs. So it’s a personal responsibility as well as the system that discourages it.
Host: Speaking of the way you raised your kids, you have a question from Jarrett from Manchester.
Jarrett: I met your son, Rand, a couple of months ago and I was wondering if you ever considered him running as your vice-president?
Ron Paul: I haven’t thought about it. People might think that’s… what do they call it… I think that would be a little bit too much. But legally it would be illegal, we’re in two different states. But we haven’t had a discussion yet.
Jarrett: What would you look for in a vice-president?
Ron Paul: I’d want to have somebody who’d agree with me on the issues. I certainly don’t want somebody resigning because he says, “Oh, you’re bringing those troops home from Korea today?” And then he resigns. No, he has to agree with me on the position, which means that he takes the constitution seriously, that would be the qualification.
Host: Dr. Paul, we hear Republican candidates all the time invoking the name Ronald Reagan. What grade would you give his presidency?
Ron Paul: Well, that’s an interesting and a trick question, too. Ronald Reagan was the President who I knew the best, I have more pictures with him, I flew on Air Force One in his helicopter together, he was a gold standard guy. But if you want me to give him a grade, I don’t give him an A, I’ll give him a B. I’d give him an A+ for being a grand person because I really liked him and we got along together. But he raised taxes, deficits exploded, he did a few things in foreign policy that I didn’t approve of. But the thing that I admired him most for is what he wrote in his autobiography after he was out of office. Many of you might remember about the 241 marines being killed in Beirut, which was a real tragedy. I recall it because that was when I was in Congress the first time and there were several of us saying, “Why are you doing this, bring this troops out, get them out of there”. And then the explosion came; they didn’t like us there, we were in their face so they blew them up. And Ronald Reagan, said before he went in, “I’ll never turn tail and run”. But as soon as they got killed, he turned tail and ran. And he admitted that in his biography and said, “I said that I wouldn’t run”, but he says he wrote and said that he never realized how complicated and confusing the politics of that region was. And he says if anybody would have only known this before that, those 241 marines shouldn’t have died. Now that is a very brave statement. So I give him tremendous credit for that, he was a man of character, he lowered tax rates; all this stuff was very good. But I would have liked to not have seen the deficit explode. That was our first big increase, and of course, we raised taxes during that time, too.
Host: Let me ask you another question. Being president is not just a life changing experience, obviously, but it’s a pretty intense kind of a job; everyone has got an opinion, most people are critical of you. What would be more important to you, influencing the next president, or actually being president? What’s better?
Ron Paul: Well, so far I haven’t been offered the choice because I’m running for the presidency. And I would say winning, and then the second choice is influencing the presidency, and that’s very important, too. I think ideas actually drive events, politicians reflect attitudes, so I think convincing people and getting them to understand why these issues are important. I see that my role as a candidate, as a president, as a congressman, always is to persuade people to understand why it’s in our interest not to be overseas, why it’s in our interest to have a gold standard, why it’s in our interest to live within our means. And I think that is probably the most important thing, because government reflects the people, and people have to support a president. So if I’m isolated, and I win, and we don’t get new members in Congress and if I win, people will say, “You know, he’s right,. This is what we ought to do”. Then you have support from the people. But just to put one person there is not going to work. And we’re in a transition right now because the people spoke last time. We have new people there, it’s still very frustrating because we don’t have quite enough and there’s some attempt to change it. And somebody attempts to cut a little bit here and they get lambasted for throwing everybody out in the street. So we’re in tough times because of this, and people have to understand what the government is doing, because we don’t have a dictatorship.
Host: I think over the course of this past hour, viewers at home I’m sure our audience have gotten a pretty good scense of where you’re coming from in terms of your philosophy. Being president is also an executive job, in charge of 2 million federal employees. What have you shown in your past that shows you to be a good executive?
Ron Paul: Well, before I answer that, I would like to make sure I don’t have to manage 2 million people. I want to mange a lot less people. Well, I imagine I’ve had as much experience as any of the other ones. I mean, I’ve had many small businesses at home when I was practicing medicine. Medicine is a business, I have had quite a few employees, and I’ve managed congressional offices and I’ve been in educational foundations and many organizations. So it’s a bit, but I think ideology is very important, too. But I think it’s a record where I have been very much involved and can convince people what they ought to do. People have to be convinced it’s in their best interests, and then I think the job actually becomes easier. Actually, the ideal job for a president, if I could get there, which is not likely because we have to change so much. Actually I should take a pay cut because I don’t want to do all these things, because I think the president should not run your life, so I’ll get that off the table. I don’t think we should run the world and tell everybody else how to live, and I don’t think we should run the economy. We’re supposed to preserve your liberties so that you as people can take care of yourself. And that shouldn’t be that though a job. So if we had that type of president, we should have the Congress meeting about 2 months of the year, and we should be repealing laws, we should cut all their pay, including the president’s.
Host: And to that point, what is more important for you personally, if you have to chose: cutting the nation’s debt, or lowering taxes?
Ron Paul: I think you have to do them both. You want me to say which is more important, I would think lowering taxes. But I would pick another one; cut spending, because spending is a tax. It’s when the governments spend, they either have to tax you, borrow the money, or print the money. And that is the tax and that is the debt. So you got to get back to the spending, and spending is a consequence of the people expecting cradle-to-grave care, as well as responsibility around the world to police the world and get involved in all those entangling alliances.
Host: We have a few seconds left. I don’t want to get you in trouble back at home, but “Live Free or Die” is pretty much your favorite state motto, isn’t it not?
Ron Paul: Oh, absolutely. I wondered how my motto got on your license plates. How did it get there?
Host: Thank you for joining us here on the web. Remind you that you can watch the first 30 minutes of this conversation by clicking on our politics sections. As we continue this series, we’ll archive every program and you can watch it now or you can close to election day. www.wmur.com politics section is also the place to go if you have questions for the candidate. Just click on the “submit a question” link and send them in. we’ll take the best ones and ask them during our program. A special thank you today to Ron Paul for coming in and, of course, a big thanks to our audience who asked such great questions, and for them coming here to hear from the candidate. And thank you for listening and watching, and we’ll see you next time.
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