Judge Napolitano: Tonight on The Docket, the economy, oil, and personal freedom. The DOW plunged early today amid a slew of troubling news on the economy. It did come back at the end of the day on news that the deal is closer on a bailout in Greece. But here at home, the International Energy Agency said it would release 60 million barrels of oil, 30 million of which are coming from America’s strategic petroleum reserve. The stated purpose: to ease the oil shortages in Libya. The move is surprising, because Libya doesn’t produce that much oil. And oil prices have already been falling over the past month. So why this sudden move, and will this market manipulation pay off, or is it just a political ploy to please voters? More on that later in the show. Also, troubling Wall Street today is news that House majority leader, Eric Cantor, and Senate minority Rep John Kyl, both walked out of the deficit reduction negotiations with Vice-President Biden. Could this mark the beginning of the end of the Vice-President’s talks? And without these key Republicans, can a bi-partisan deal be reached? Add to all that, the Republicans in the House who want the United States out of the war in Libya, and add to that, a new bi-partisan move to legalize marijuana. Here now to tell us more of what all this means, for the fate of the nation’s debt ceiling, for our foreign policy, and for personal freedom, is Texas Republican Congressman, Ron Paul. Congressman Paul, a lot to talk about, it’s a pleasure, welcome back to Freedom Watch.
Ron Paul: Thank you, Judge, it’s good to be with you.
Judge Napolitano: Let’s start with what happened not too far from where you are today. How do you read the Republican’s politely but firmly leaving these negotiations that the administration put together in an effort to cut some deal that would persuade people in the Congress that it’s actually a good thing to raise the debt ceiling and let the government put us deeper into debt?
Ron Paul: I’m not a bit surprised, I would have predicted that would happen, because the problems we face are so overwhelming and some people just aren’t willing to cut the spending and some people just want to raise taxes, and they’re at logger heads. So that’s why this is going to continue and we’re going to continue to have our economic problems.
Judge Napolitano: In your view, do your Republican colleagues in the House have the personal and political courage simply to say to the President and the Treasury Secretary, “No, we’re not going to authorize you to borrowing another 2.4 trillion dollars. You’ve borrowed and spent enough, we don’t trust you to spend less. The only way you will keep the government living within its means, is if we make it unlawful for you to borrow”. You think that will happen, or is this a pipe dream that I have?
Ron Paul: Ah, you’re back to dreaming again, Judge, I don’t think it’s going to happen. I think there is going to be a lot of debate up to the final moment, and then there’ll be a decision and the Republicans will get something. There’ll be some promises, and they’ll say, “Okay, yes we really will. We will cut some spending”. And maybe they’ll even cave in a little bit on taxes, but they won’t call it raising taxes. It will be called “tax reform” or something to get more revenues, and that would be different. I think something will happen. I think they will frighten the members of Congress enough to say that a default, which is the default on paying interests on our securities, is so, so devastating. But what they won’t admit to is we default continuously; we’ve been that way for many, many decades, because we just pay off our debt through cheap money. And the Fed, as a matter of fact, I think is looking forward to more inflation so that the real debt goes down by the depreciation of our money.
Judge Napolitano: Most of your Republican colleagues who’ve come on Freedom Watch have indicated to us that a tax increase is dead-on-arrival on the House. Are you suggesting that the Republican leadership might somehow raise taxes, but not call it a tax increase?
Ron Paul: Well, they’ve done that before. It will be reform and I’ve heard things like that; they cut some here and cut some here. So when we look at those bills in my office when we have to do it, we add and subtract. You get the benefit here and a subtraction here and, of course, my rule is that there is no net new revenue. But sometimes they’ll make the bill very complicated and hard to figure out because, well, they’re giving a tax break here, but they’re closing loopholes. You know, they close loopholes, but you don’t raise taxes. So I think they’re quite capable of doing that, the Republicans have done that in the past. But I’m hoping they stick to their guns, and with the help of the freshmen, maybe we will. But I’m still predicting that they will raise the debt limit, they will not go down to the wire and default in the way they argue that they might.
Judge Napolitano: I’m sorry to hear that, but obviously you have your thumb on the pulse of what your colleagues are talking about. I want to switch gears: how is it that the unlikely pair of Ron Paul and Barney Frank came together to propose legislation to keep the federal government out of the issue of marijuana and to leave it to the states.
Ron Paul: Well, actually I’ve done this for a long time. I’ve worked with Barney Frank on auditing the Fed and some other things, and then for cutting some of the military budget. So on this issue, we have worked together. It’s got a little bit more attention this time, but I think I like the way you worded it, because it’s not taking a national control of an issue and saying all states will do it. What we are really doing is returning it to the states and trying to treat marijuana like we treat alcohol and maybe we wouldn’t have quite so many people imprisoned and that would be a little bit adaptable. One thing that has strongly motivated me with the marijuana issue, is I am convinced that there have been a lot of people helped medically by taking marijuana where ordinary drugs haven’t helped. Because if a person has cancer or they’re on chemotherapy, many, many people have told me they’ve been greatly helped. But isn’t it a shame that if you have a loved one that’s dying of cancer, and I’ve come across these cases, and I always say, “You know, maybe the marijuana would help them”. So what are you going to do? Tell him to go out and find it. It’s so sad. So I think we should have a little bit of compassion on this issue, follow the constitution. The difficult problems can be solved at the state level.
Judge Napolitano: I am understand that at the Republican caucus today, or wherever the Republicans get together on the House to speak, there is some strong energy there to enforce the constitution with respect to Libya; that President can’t start a war on his own, whether the War Powers Act is constitutional or not, he must at least comply with the laws that have been written. Question: Is there going to be a move on the floor of the House of Representatives in the next few days to force the president to take the troops out of Libya.
Ron Paul: We’re going to have some votes tomorrow and so far I don’t see that type of resolution, which is the right one; take the troops out and deny all funding. Matter of fact, there is one that sort of follows McCain’s proposal and grant him authority to do exactly what he’s doing and be explicit, that will not pass, I believe. I don’t believe there are the votes for that. But then there is another one that sounds good and it’s said that we can’t use any funds except 4, and they list 4 things that they’re already doing. So it’s a trick piece of legislation and it actually pretends they’re doing something but it is an authorization for the president to keep doing exactly what he’s doing and, hopefully, we can stop that. But on the surface a lot of people are assuming, “Well, this looks like a good piece of legislation”. It’s not the McCain approach of endorsing the whole notion, it is a statement of denial, and at the same time the exceptions are endorsing exactly what the President’s doing. So I hope the Congress does not pass that tomorrow.
Judge Napolitano: Sounds like a trick to me. Keep them honest. Congressman, it’s always a pleasure, thanks for joining us.
Ron Paul: Thanks a lot.
Judge Napolitano: Secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, met…