Megan Hughes: Joining me now is Congressman Ron Paul, Republican from Texas, also a presidential candidate. Thank you so much for being with us here. You are a “no” vote tonight, talk to me a little bit about your vote and what’s at stake.
Ron Paul: Well, I’ve been worried about the spending and the deficit for about 30 years, believing we’d get to this crisis. I’ve never voted for an appropriation bill because of that, other than some minor ones, believing that if we keep spending, the debt’s going to be too big and we’re going that to have a crisis. So we’re there. So the last thing in the world I would ever consider, is raising the debt limit so they can keep spending more money. Because the expenditures are what the problems are, and the debt is secondary to that. But when governments spend the money, the people don’t have the money.
So what we should be doing is not be talking about whether we’re going to get a temporary reprieve and raise the debt limit and continue to do what we’ve being doing. We got to ask, what should our government be doing. Should our government be the policeman of the world, should the government be running an entitlement system which they can’t afford, or should we obey the Constitution and just live up to our promises? So I want people to start talking about that, rather than the technical arrangement of adjusting for paying our bills which is not the main issue, because the bills are going to get paid for. The big thing is, we’re going to pay with bad money.
Megan Hughes: We did hear a lot of concern from the business community, we had a letter sent to the members of Congress and the President today from CEOs of all the major banks, we had another letter sent specifically to the House of Representatives, supporting Speaker John Boehner’s bill from the Chamber of Commerce, from a number of industry groups. Are they wrong to be worried about August 2nd?
Ron Paul: No, they should be worried, but they’re afraid we might cut spending, and they’re all on the dole, so often so many of them getting contracts from the government. We should be cutting back on that. They could be calling from the military-industrial complex. What if we changed our foreign policy and we didn’t just spend on weapons, what if we took care of sick people instead? You know, they would feel like they might be losing out, so they do have an interest in perpetuating the status quo, but we need to change the status quo because this deficit financing, big government spending cannot be maintained.
Megan Hughes: And getting back to this vote tonight, and sort of the divide that we’re seeing within the Republican Party, do you think that it’s going to pass, do you think that ultimately House Speaker John Boehner is going to win enough Republicans over to get this thing through?
Ron Paul: I think there’s no doubt that they will raise the debt limit and we will go back to spending again. Whether it’s going to be a vote tonight, if he calls a vote tonight – we’re not absolutely sure yet – if he calls a vote tonight, he’ll pass it. He won’t call that up and it goes down, that doesn’t happen. So he’s working on a few more votes to make sure it does pass. But whether it’s tonight or tomorrow or the next day, before August 2nd, because they have a lot of trips to make. I mean, August 2nd is more related to the month of August being off because there’s nothing magic about August 2nd. It is a bunch of fear mongering going on that the checks won’t come to the Social Security beneficiaries. But what they ought to worry about is all of us getting checks in money that has less value; that is the default this country ought to be worried about.
Megan Hughes: Treasury Security Tim Geithner has issued a lot of calls of concern about that August 2nd deadline, but you’re not buying it?
Ron Paul: No, I think it’s artificial. He’s already 200 billion dollars over the limits right now, and he’ll get the increase. But they have to put pressure on people, they would like the technicality of the laws changed. But just think of what they did for bailing out foreign governments. They came up with 5 trillion dollars from the Federal Reserve to bail out other countries and other banks, so they’re not going to let anybody fail. We’re not going to fail to pay our interest and take care of the bond market, but we’re going to fail to protect the value of our currency.
Megan Hughes: And there has certainly been a lot of talk though about this August 2nd deadline. Do you see there being some kind of compromise bill, even if this vote doesn’t happen tonight, even if House Speaker John Boehner’s bill does not pass? What do you see happening in the next week?
Ron Paul: Oh, it might be short one, but they’ll do something, I mean, something will happen before August 2nd. They built up too much anticipation for this. So whether it’s Obama who would have to compromise and say well, he wants to go through the election and people can see through that pretty easily. But he might have to say, “Well, get me something for 5 months” or something like that and settle some of these arguments some other day.
Megan Hughes: Do you think that Republicans have already taken a lot off the table, especially in terms of the tax overhaul that the White House was originally pushing for?
Ron Paul: Oh, I think so, but they haven’t touched the issue, because nobody is talking about any spending cuts. This is not real spending cuts, they’re just talking about the CBO increases. All these cuts are fictitious, so if they’re going to give up some spending cuts, they’re not giving up anything.
Megan Hughes: Now, House Speaker John Boehner has 915 billion dollars, I know it is discretionary spending, why do you say that’s not real?
Ron Paul: Because they’re cuts from proposed increases according to CBO. There are no cuts in the next 10 years, it’s all cuts in the proposal. If they were serious, what they should do if they said this is a serious matter, just freeze the budget from last year and you’d cut about a trillion dollars out.
Megan Hughes: Congressman Ron Paul, thank you so much for being here. One of the dissenters tonight. House Speaker John Boehner needs 216 Republicans to get his plan passed, and again, we’re still waiting on that vote.