Jan Mickelson: Let’s go right to our Newsmaker Line and Congressman Ron Paul is joining us. Good morning, welcome back to Iowa, sir.
Ron Paul: Good morning, good to be with you.
Jan Mickelson: You’re a busy fellow. I’ve been watching you all weekend long. I don’t understand where you get your energy from.
Ron Paul: Well, all I know is I am blessed and I feel good and I feel very energetic. So I feel very lucky.
Jan Mickelson: And probably because you’re a doctor, you can get some really, really interesting drugs too, right?
Ron Paul: Oh, that’s it. But my theory is that you do need to do a lot of exercising, both physically and mentally. It helps me.
Jan Mickelson: Yea, you do a lot of writing, too. I’ve got a copy of your most recent endeavor, you’ve put a number of your think pieces and speeches in it, and it’s extremely well done. And people ought to read that book before they start considering you and anybody else for presidency, because you expended a great deal of your life pondering on how stuff should work.
Ron Paul: Well, thank you for saying that, and I hope people will take your advice.
Jan Mickelson: We talked earlier this morning with some folks from the Tea Party who were advocating the gold standard. You have talked about a variation on that, as well been an ongoing critic of the Federal Reserve System for as long as I can remember. Walk me through what needs to be done.
Ron Paul: Yea, well, I have. And I was on the Gold Commission even back in the early 1980s when Ronald Reagan was president and we talked about the issue. And since that time onward, my position has been that this system is not viable, and eventually it will collapse. We have to have an alternative. But I’ve also proposed that we not wait for the collapse, nor do anything too radical. That is, even though I’m for getting rid of the Fed, I’m not for closing it down in one day. So my position is that we should legalize the constitution, legalize competition, allow people to use gold and silver and repeal the taxes on money, which is the gold and silver. And just let the chips fall where they may, because I think as time goes on, more people are going to be very upset with the current banking system as well as our monetary system.
Jan Mickelson: Tell me, because right now, the economy is number 1 in everybody’s mind, and over the weekend I think I saw your colleague, Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, say that we ought to thank Obama for turning the economy around. Do you believe the economy is turned around, sir?
Ron Paul: She’s a dreamer. And that’s why politicians lose credibility. But, you know, that is pretty traditional for most politicians: if they’re in charge, they put a positive spin on it, if they’re not in charge, they put a negative spin on it. But no, people say, “Well, we might have a double dip recession”, but I don’t even claim it’s a double dip, I think it’s a continuation of the problems we had. And the only thing we’ve seen are some government statistics that have improved, but they also spend about 3 trillion dollars trying to get a stimulus. So I would say it’s very, very poor results. The people who were unemployed are still unemployed, and there’s no reason to be optimistic because they haven’t been honest with themselves and with the people on how this thing came about. And if they don’t know how the bubbles are formed, they’re never going to know how to handle it when the bubbles burst.
Jan Mickelson: I was reading an article last week, and I didn’t see this as this as occurring, but apparently our Treasury Department has been dipping into the pension funds of retired federal employees in order to keep the money coming in, and have borrowed 80 billion dollars from the pensions of former federal employees. How did that happen, and what are they going to get, an IOU like the Social Security system has?
Ron Paul: Yea, and they’ve done that over the years when the national debt has not being increased, and it needed to be so they always fudge it by borrowing from these funds. So it’s just a trail of funds, it’s shifting funds from here and there and putting IOUs in it. And they just depend on the fact that eventually they’re going to borrow and spend and print money in order to cover themselves. But just looking at this technicality of the debt limit, they’re avoiding the restraints placed on them by doing these kinds of things. But it’s not brand new, but they’ve never done it to the extent they’re doing it now.
Jan Mickelson: Well, if you were a retired federal employee, would you be worried?
Ron Paul: Well, everybody should be worried, whether you’re getting Social Security or these retirement benefits, because even when they put the money back, it doesn’t have real value. They are computer entries, but they are obligations and they’re supposed to put restraints on people. But the computer entries for Social Security or Medicare and all these pension funds, what they should be worried about is when they get their checks, which they always will, what the purchasing power of that money will be. That’s where real default comes. They will not stop sending the checks, but they’re only going to cover it with these … pretty soon it will be QE3 and QE4. They’ll just keep massively increasing the money supply, which means devaluation and depreciation of the money.
Jan Mickelson: If right now, you were the president of the United States, and you had a majority to work with and you could actually get done what you want to do, how would you repair the American economy?
Ron Paul: Well, there is no snap reason to do it, and politically it’s difficult because the one thing you have to do is get your hands off it and allow some of the liquidation of all these bad investments and bad debt. But we are doing everything to prevent that from happening because politically it’s not acceptable. But in the bailout what we did, was the people that were holding all this bad debt and these derivatives and these mortgages, they were worthless and they didn’t want the companies to go bankrupt and didn’t want the banks to go bankrupt, so we the tax payers ended up buying these through the Federal Reserve, and they created the money out of thin air. So in the old days the Federal Reserve held gold, then they held a lot of treasury bills, now they hold these mortgages that have no value. It’s probably the biggest fraud in the history of mankind when you look at the trillions and trillions of dollars of fraudulent holdings. But to say that you have to change things, means that you have to allow the liquidation of debt, you have a bad year, but then you go back to work again. But you’d have to do some other things, you have to massively cut the spending, you’d have to decide we’re not the policeman of the world, you’d have to get the Federal Reserve to quit monetizing debt, and you’d have to de-regulate the economy. But, like you say, if I were President and we had a Congress, you could achieve this. But today, they’re not even suggesting it. They’re only doing the things over and over again that caused our crisis and they think we’re going to get out of our crisis by doing the same thing over and over again.
Jan Mickelson: We’re looking at a very bumpy ride ahead, aren’t we, sir?
Ron Paul: There’s no doubt about it. And the biggest bump that I’m worried about is the loss of personal liberty, because as things get more turbulent, then government gets bigger and it always undermines our personal liberties. And I am so convinced that a society that is free, regardless of where we stand right now … If we’re free to take care of ourselves and free to work and free to keep what we earn and preserve the traditions of America, it wouldn’t take us that long to get back on our feet again. But unfortunately, too many people have lost their confidence in the way the system works. They think the government has to take care of us, they have to be taking care of us from cradle to grave. And it’s that loss of confidence that we have to reverse because if we were allowed to take care of ourselves and we had small government, governments that are designed to protect our liberties and protect free markets and sound money, it would not be that difficult.
Jan Mickelson: We have become, as some people have suggested, a nation of dependents. About 46% of the American people receive some kind of a benefit from one or more levels of the government programs. And a couple of days ago, Obama, through an executive order, decided to grant health benefits to federal employees that are same gender couples. Just executive order, just wrote it into existence and started expanding their safety net. What do you think of that idea?
Ron Paul: Well, I think it’s horrible, I think these laws passed by executive order are illegal. I think the only thing a good president could do, would be to use the executive orders to repeal executive orders that were legislated. So that is wrong. They should not be doing that, and only Congress should be writing laws. As a matter of fact, I don’t even think the executive branch should write any type of regulations, let alone the president just writing executive orders. But regulations are laws, and I would like to think that we need a president someday that will actually shrink the size of the Federal Reserve rather than adding tens of thousands of pages every year.
Jan Mickelson: What about signing orders, what about signing statements when the president decides to go out and actually sign a budget or sign a legislation into law?
Ron Paul: Well, it’s illegal, it’s unconstitutional. If a president doesn’t like a bill, even if it’s a small portion of the bill, he should veto the bill. I mean, he signing statements is sort of like a line-item veto, where he says, “Oh okay, 80% of the bill is okay, but I don’t like this 20% and I don’t intend to follow it”. But the Congress should stand up to that, and for years they’ve just allowed presidents to do it. So that, to me, is what’s so disappointing.
Jan Mickelson: I was watching you chatting with a journalist the other day, and he was inviting you to add to or enhance the War Powers Act dealing with Libya and perhaps even our not so subtle dealing with Syria. Apparently, we’re involved there – to what degree, I have no way of knowing. But your response was interesting: “We don’t need to enhance the War Powers Act, we still have a constitution”. Embellish that”.
Ron Paul: Well, the War Powers Act was designed, supposedly, to restraint the president to go to war without permission. But actually it weakened the constitutional provision because the president literally can go to war for 90 days and then Congress has to be pro-active and demand. And we’re trying to do that; get a coalition in the Congress and it’s very, very difficult. Once the President engages, it’s hard to stop them. So the War Powers Resolution is quite controversial, but the constitution is not very confusing, it’s very clear: presidents are not allowed to go to war without a declaration. And that’s where the problem is.
Jan Mickelson: Alright, you and Denise Kucinich are going to become buddies on these issues pretty soon?
Ron Paul: We’re pretty good friends on some issues, we do work together and I think that’s the way our problems should be solved; building coalitions, not compromising, but coalitions. But he and I wouldn’t agree on a lot of the economic issues. But it’s interesting that he’s been consistent on this issue, just like you have, when it comes to the war and making war and war powers. He says we have this thing called the constitution. He only finds the constitution dealing with war powers.
Ron Paul: But it is a real delight to work with people that work on principles, even though there might be some disagreements. So if his Democratic President is wrong, he will challenge him. And he knows that I’ve been willing to challenge our own party. So those are the kind of people I like to deal with.
Jan Mickelson: What do you think is likely to happen in the Middle East, granted that the Congress is not pushing on this President and making him accountable for expanding? Now we’re at 4 fronts over there rather than 1 and then 2. We are in 4 different places.
Ron Paul: Yea, it’s horrible. Now we’re over there, we’re supporting the rebels in Libya and Al-Qaida is probably a part of that group. But we’re sending weapons to the government in Bahrain to suppress their people. They’re shooting people and trying to break up their demonstrations. So it depends on which one, which country is being attacked. If they’re our buddies and they have something to do with oil, then we support them. If not, then we join the opposition, and NATO goes in and stirs up the civil strife. That’s why I think the non-interventionist policy of staying out of entangling affairs and internal affairs of nations is such a positive step.
Jan Mickelson: Ron Paul, thank you for joining us. I’m sure you’re getting ready for the debates in New Hampshire, and you’re getting ready to do some interviews again. Welcome back to Iowa, sir.
Ron Paul: Thanks a lot.
Jan Mickelson: You bet, see you later. Wow, we got a lot accomplished in a short period of time. I hope you were listening, a lot of good stuff you just heard.