Matt Patrick (Houston Morning News): Joining us, twelve-term Congressman, Dr. Ron Paul. And Congressman Paul, it is an absolute privilege to have you on Houston’s Morning News this morning. Welcome!
Ron Paul (R-TX): Thank you. Thank you very much.
Matt Patrick: And you’re calling us from Iowa this morning? How are things in Iowa this early Monday morning?
Ron Paul: Well, I’ll tell you what: I’m actually on my way out the door to get on a plane to get to Iowa. But I will be there! I’ve been doing that pretty routinely lately.
Matt Patrick: Good for you! Now listen, you have said that you believe that this country will go into bankruptcy first—as we talked about—raising the debt ceiling, cutting the federal deficit. Just over the weekend on Fox News, you said that you believe we’re going to see bankruptcy in this country.
Ron Paul: Well, in many ways, I think, most people would admit, we’re insolvent. If you or I had a bank statement like our government does, we wouldn’t be solvent, because we couldn’t pay our bills, and the income isn’t good enough. So we’re already there. It continues because there’s an illusion that our dollar is strong enough to maintain, and our economy is strong enough, so people still trust us, and they still take our dollars, and we keep printing them. But in many ways, we’re in bankruptcy, because we don’t pay our debts. What we do is, the government pays off the debts with money that is not worth as much. So the debt is going down; we are liquidating debt, as you would in a bankruptcy. But the government’s just do it differently. The People recognize this, seeing the prices going up.
Matt Patrick: Uh-huh.
Ron Paul: Everybody’s complaining about that—and I think that’s going to get much worse. I don’t think we’re going to tinker with the budget and all of a sudden get back in solvency. So I think we’re going to go through the ringer. And then we’ll have the opportunity to come to our senses.
Matt Patrick: Congressman Ron Paul joining us here this morning. And Congressman, if you would hang on for just a couple of moments, we’ve got a debate in Houston over Sanctuary Cities. And I want to get your thoughts on immigration, and how you see that. And we’ll grab Congressman Paul just on the other side of our “Traffic-and-Weather-Together”—right now.
Announcer: Back to Matt Patrick!
Matt Patrick: 5:22 right now, KTRH, and we’re talking with Congressman Ron Paul, and it’s a privilege to have Congressman Paul on with us. Congressman, here in Houston, several Texas business leaders are being accused of helping kill legislation to ban Sanctuary Cities. SB9 kind of died on the vine here in Austin. I’m interested: your thoughts in immigration. You have some very very distinct opinions about what we should do about our borders. Give us your thoughts here this morning as you see them.
Ron Paul: Well, I think the immigration problem is in many ways a complication from our weak economy, because people get hysterical about immigrants coming in. But I think the first thing we ought to do is enforce our laws. I’m sick and tired of spending all our energy and money overseas, worrying about other people’s borders and not our own. So I would beef up our borders, but I wouldn’t grant citizenship or amnesty. And I wouldn’t have mandates on the states, as they do here in Texas. But the problem really is an economic problem. When we’re doing well, I have a lot of people come to my office looking for workers—and they can’t get enough workers. But now with the bad economy, there’s a lot of resentment. So we have a long way to go from that, but we could start off by enforcing our laws.
Matt Patrick: Do you believe that illegals are needed to keep labor costs down? That is our poll question on our website this morning. Do you believe that? Do you believe businesses are using illegals in order to keep their labor costs down?
Ron Paul: From my experience, the people who come to get more immigrants in, that is very secondary, that is not their goal. Because a lot of people who come, who want immigrants in, are looking for experienced people. So a lot of people aren’t trained well enough. Some of our people don’t take jobs, if they’re getting a pretty good deal not working, on welfare, and they’re getting a thousand bucks a month, they’re not going to work for $900 a month. But then the big problem is, when the immigrants come in—and they come in illegally—then we entice them by more welfare and say the families can have free health care and free education. So the economy and the welfare system complicates the issues a whole lot. I imagine there are some. But if we had a free market here, labor costs would be down; you wouldn’t have labor costs propped up. Look at how the labor unions destroyed the jobs up north. And they come to Texas.
Matt Patrick: Right.
Ron Paul: So yes, the labor costs are important, and the goal is to keep all prices down, because the purpose of the businessman is to sell his goods and to give the best deal to the consumer. So when labor costs are artificially high, he can’t compete; and the consumer suffers.
Matt Patrick: Congressman Ron Paul joining us here this morning. Real quick, final question, Congressman. And again, thanks for your time. We’ve got to deal with these entitlement programs, don’t we? Democrats do not seem to want to talk about that in the budget/deficit reduction talks. But that is something we have got to address, is it not?
Ron Paul: Absolutely. But on the other side of the coin, we have to talk about a trillion dollars we spend overseas, too. So, my goal has been to try to bring both sides together; not to raise both, as they’ve been doing for decades, but I think we have to cut both. Eisenhower told us to watch out for the military-industrial complex—and they have a great deal of influence. But you’re absolutely right: if you look at dollar terms, the entitlement system is in worse shape than the money we spend overseas.
Matt Patrick: Congressman Ron Paul, thank you for joining us this morning on Houston’s Morning News. Best of luck to you, sir. We certain—
Ron Paul: Thanks. Thanks for having me.
Matt Patrick: Oh, absolutely.
Matt Patrick: And joining us now, Kentucky Senator, TEA Party favorite, Rand Paul. Senator, welcome to Houston’s Morning News. Great to have you with us!
Rand Paul (R-KY): Good morning, Matt. Good to be with you.
Matt Patrick: Good morning, Senator. We had your father on a bit earlier this morning; he was up early, on his way to Iowa. And I know you’re going to be doing some stumping for your dad in Iowa, as well, aren’t you?
Rand Paul: Yeah. I’ve already made one trip to Iowa, and I’ve been to South Carolina and to New Hampshire. And I’ll probably go back to all three for him, as well.
Matt Patrick: Senator, let’s talk a little bit about the budget deal—or lack of a deal—the debt ceiling being increased. I have watched you; I admire your positions on fiscal conservatists, being fiscally conservative. And Senator, do you feel the Democrats are being completely honest when they ask for tax hikes but will not address the entitlement programs?
Rand Paul: Well, I think that really both parties haven’t done a very good job managing our money. The deficit is really going through the roof. And to my mind, the only reform that would be worthwhile, that would change the course of our history would be a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution, because all the deals of the past always fall through. You know, we’ve had “Pay as You Go”; we had “Gramm-Rudman-Hollings.” And then the Congress just doesn’t obey their own rules, and they evade the rules and move on. The other thing that’s deceptive about this deal they’re talking about is they say, “Oh, they’re going to cut four trillion off the debt.” But you have to realize what they’re cutting from. The President’s 10-year plan would add eleven trillion to the debt. So all that means is, he’s now going to add seven trillion to the debt over the next ten years. It’s too much, and I don’t think our country can withstand that burden.
Matt Patrick: Kentucky Senator Rand Paul joining us here this morning. And Senator, real quick, final question: Would we ever get to a point where a fair tax or a flat tax would be something that we might see in our lifetime, and abolish the IRS altogether?
Rand Paul: Well, I’d be all for it. A flat tax would be great, and it’s probably easier politically, to come by. The problem is, we have about half of our country that don’t pay any income tax anymore. And because of that, they’re not really inclined to pay any taxes. So if you give them a sales tax—that’s going to be a significant sales tax—they’re not going to be too excited about it; if you give them an income tax, they’re not going to be too excited about it. But the bottom line is, if we want to balance our budget, we need a growing economy again. Most of the problem with less revenue right now is because the economy’s in shambles and there’s less people working and less production going on.
Matt Patrick: Kentucky Senator Rand Paul joining us on Houston’s Morning News this morning. Senator, thanks for taking the time. We sure appreciate it.
Rand Paul: Thank you.