Ashley Martella: We’re pleased to have with us on the line now, Texas U.S. Representative and GOP presidential candidate, Ron Paul. He was one of 5 Republicans from the Texas congressional delegation to vote against the so-called Budget Control Act of 2011, which is the debt ceiling increase. Thanks for joining us, sir.
Ron Paul: Thank you, good to be with you.
Ashley Martella: You write on the Hill’s Congress Blog, that there were no real cuts in the legislation, only cuts in projected spending increases. Please explain briefly.
Ron Paul: This is one of the most annoying things about the reporting on what we’ve been trying to do in Washington and what we pretend to be doing. They’re always talking about cuts, cuts, cuts and everybody is screaming, “You can’t cut this, you can’t cut that”. But there are no cuts, there’s a baseline CBO projection that automatically goes up year after year after year. And what they’re talking about is just cutting some of these proposed increases. So it’s a real misleading definition when they talk about cuts. If you had a cut, you would actually have to cut this year. Because anything we do for future years doesn’t hold water anyway, because you can’t tell the next Congress what to do. So it’s basically a fraud.
If they were serious about it and wanted to do it and make a point of changing the way we operate, they could freeze the budget and give everybody the same amount of money they got last year, and that would be, according to the way they calculate, a big cut, because we would be cutting all the proposed increases for the next years to come.
Ashley Martella: Well, you say if we were to go back to 2004 spending levels, we would have a balanced budget right now. Please crunch the numbers for us a bit.
Ron Paul: That is, 2004 would give us enough money to balance the budget right now, that’s like 2.4 trillion dollars. And even now if you freeze the budget, within about 5 years it would be balanced again. But nobody’s quite willing to do that because they think they have to have steady increases. But there’s a strong appetite for government and that is where the problem is. People don’t want to cut back on the militarism and the people don’t want to cut back on anything that looks like it might cut into their check they’re getting from government, and you know a lot of people are getting checks from the government.
Ashley Martella: Our budget has doubled in 10 years, you ask why. Why do you think it has?
Ron Paul: The appetite for government never ends, there are more retired people because of the demographics, less people are coming into the workforce, unemployment rates go up, they can’t control that. So the benefits go up automatically. And it’s endless, there’s always new programs; this week, after we passed that budget, there was a new program, brand new program out of thin air to go around the world and tell other countries what they should do about their religious freedom. And it was a small program, but the first year was going to be a million dollars. And I thought, “Well, why are they starting a new program in the midst of this?” But that is only one little program, I mean there are hundreds and hundreds of programs that are brand new and they keep doing it. They just won’t stop, it’s like an addiction. And they don’t stop because I don’t think they even realize the seriousness of how big this problem is.
Ashley Martella: The Tea Party helped elect candidates it thought would vote to end reckless spending by Congress. Yet, most of the Tea Party backed Republicans voted yes on the bill. Where’s the disconnect here?
Ron Paul: Yea, that’s a tough one, because I think the Tea Party people have helped because it has changed the atmosphere and at least they’re talking about this. But then it has to be awfully discouraging for all of us if they’re not voting against these kinds of programs where we raise the national debt and increase this Super Congress. I mean, it’s a real mess. It represents the fact that there are no easy solutions and people realize that when you do cut, there’s a political liability there. The Tea Party people got there because there was political liability to continue the spending. So that has to be ironed out and it will be ironed out pretty soon because we cannot maintain what we’re doing.
Ashley Martella: You expect there to be a backlash by the Tea Party against the Congressmen they backed who voted yes on this deal?
Ron Paul: Yea, I think there will be, but I don’t think it will be quite the same thing that happened last year when so many were routed. And there are going to be so many people who will be disenchanted. They’ll say, “You mean we did it, we worked hard, we changed the Congress, but we didn’t change the votes?” And I don’t know whether you can keep the people up, I think the people are going to get pretty discouraged one way or the other. But I think if things don’t improve and we don’t get our house in order and get control of this budget, I think there will be a lot of people who are saying, “You know, we sent you over there, but you kept voting for more spending”.
Ashley Martella: If Republicans should win back the Senate next year, as many predict, will that change anything regarding reckless spending?
Ron Paul: Let’s hope so, but it’s no guarantee. Just like I was complaining about when George Bush was in charge and we had the Senate and the House, we didn’t do a very good job. Then the battle becomes between the two factions within the Republican Party; you know, the conservatives versus the big spenders in the Republican Party. So you don’t know, it just depends on who shows up into the Senate. But certainly, the way it’s formulated right now, there’s no way that the conservatives can win a fight and have the Senate support it and then have the President sign a bill.
Ashley Martella: You announced a while back that you were retiring from the House after your current term. Why?
Ron Paul: Well, I wanted to concentrate on the race for the presidency. Last time I ran, I did both and it was distracting and I wanted to make sure that people knew I was very, very serious about the presidential run and I was also content to know that I would be, and am ready to leave the Congress too.
Ashley Martella: The latest Gallup polling shows you with 8% ballot support among all Republicans. Now that compares to 17% for Mitt Romney, and 15% for your fellow Texan, Governor Rick Perry, who hasn’t even announced yet at the time we are recording this. How do you get your numbers up?
Ron Paul: Continue to do what I am doing and just more so, because the numbers depend on which poll you look at. They have been improving, but it is not easy. That means we have to continue to campaign, we have to continue to raise money. We have had some TV out, we hope to have a lot more TV out and the numbers certainly will go up if we do well at Ames next week.
Ashley Martella: Texas congressman and Republican presidential candidate, Ron Paul. Thanks so much and good luck on the campaign trail.
Ron Paul: Thank you, good to be with you.
Ashley Martella: And thank you for watching Newsmax TV.