News Anchor: He has been outspoken on the debt issue, and tonight, Republican Ron Paul brought his anti-government message to East Aurora. As Aaron Saykin explains, the man labeled as a fringe candidate 4 years ago seems to be gaining some steam this time around.
Ron Paul: Thank you, thank you.
Aaron Saykin: He’s 75, a doctor, a libertarian, and a very unconventional Republican who wants to abolish the Federal Reserve, legalize pot, repeal the PATRIOT Act, and pull our troops out of the Middle East.
Ron Paul: The federal government was there to protect our liberty, give us a national defense, give us a sound currency, permit interstate trade, but other than that, stay out of our lives and stay out of our wallet.
Aaron Saykin: He also lambasted the deal to raise the debt ceiling.
Questioner: Were you prepared to let the country default on its debt?
Ron Paul: Well, the country is going to default, it’s just a question of how they default. And I was positively opposed to doing what they were doing, and that is to raise the debt limit, keep spending, dig a bigger hole for ourselves. So that makes no sense.
Aaron Saykin: When Paul ran for President in 2008, many considered his views extreme. 4 years later, his message is resonating, particularly among this crowd of several hundred supporters at a rally organized by the Western New York Tea Party Coalition. Republican strategist Michael Caputo was there.
Michael Caputo: If this primary election were about enthusiasm abd grassroots, Ron Paul would have a really strong shot at it. The problem is, the Republican primary system is stacked against a guy like Ron Paul, and I believe that his chances are pretty slim.
Questioner: Realistically, do you think you have a shot at the Republican nomination, or do you think you may end up playing the role of spoiler?
Ron Paul: I got a real shot.
Aaron Saykin: Right now, the frontrunner for the nomination is Mitt Romney who’s name drew boos when mentioned to this conservative crowd.
Questioner: Do you think Mitt Romney is conservative enough?
Ron Paul: For whom?
Questioner: For the Republican Party.
Ron Paul: Well, the votes will tell us.
Aaron Saykin: Indeed they will. Now, next week there is an unofficial straw poll vote in Iowa, home to the first presidential caucus. Some suggest Paul actually has a chance of being very competitive this time around. He’s running 3rd or 4th in some of the recent polls, behind only Romney; Texas Governor Rick Perry; and Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann.
Aaron Saykin, Channel 2 News.
Ron Paul’s Full Speech:
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Ron Paul: Thank you very much, what a nice crowd. Sometimes I think the image of New York is undeserving because a lot of people don’t believe you exist up here, you get outnumbered and out-noised by some others. But this is a demonstration, I think, that shows that there are a lot of people in New York that still love freedom. I know this was rather on the spew of the moment, that’s why this is especially nice to see such a grand crowd. But I would like to introduce my family that is with me today. Over on this corner my wife, Carol is there; and my son, Ronnie, and his wife, Peggy, and two of their daughters, Lisa and Linda. But it is great to be here, and a lot of activity has been going on and I know everybody keeps up with the internet and the campaign, but a lot of people have been making comparisons to where we are now compared to the last go around, and believe me, we are way ahead of where we were 4 years ago. I don’t know whether they’re serious or whether they’re joking, but a lot of people are trying to say that Ron Paul is now mainstream. Well, maybe those on the mainstream that used to be in the mainstream have come our way and incorporated this into the system. Now there’s a big, big difference and it was occurring during the last campaign, but it was dramatic. And when the financial bubbles burst and the housing bubble burst, things that we’ve been talking about for so long in Austrian economics explained many, many years ago, and when that occurred, a lot of credibility was gained for our views. And this, to me, was nothing new or sensational or special because I was motivated to get into politics in the 1970s. When I saw the final breakdown of the gold standard in August of 1971, I just knew that this would usher in an age of big spending and big deficits and financial bubbles and eventually a big collapse. Unfortunately, the Austrian economist were right, because nobody headed them, and here we are in this mess. They were right. The real tragedy is, of course, that nobody had been listening to free market economist that knew exactly what was going on and knew exactly what they should have expected. So we now in this country are very much engaged in trying to clean up a mess, and unfortunately, since 1987-1988 with the discovery that we are in deep trouble, we have done everything wrong. And it’s time we figure out how we got here; how can you come up with the solution if you don’t know how we got into the problem. So basically, the problem had been that we’d been living beyond our means, we spent too much, we taxed too much, we borrowed too much, we regulated too much, we undermined personal liberty too much, and then we print too much money. So with the great wisdom of Washington, what did they do as soon as they discovered there was a crisis? They spent more, they taxed more, they inflated more, they regulated more, and then all of a sudden they said, “Well, we have to print a lot more money.” We have QE2 and QE3 and who knows what. So, so far everything that they’ve done in Washington has been wrong. The truth is, is when we have a crisis this way and you understand it, what you want to do is correct the mistakes, and we haven’t done that; you have to liquidate debt. Under those circumstances, what would have happened if the free market people were in charge in 1988? Guess what, those banks and those corporations that have been ripping us off and making a ton of money with all their wheeling and dealings, and the military-industrial complex; the whole works, if they got into trouble, guess what the free market says? Liquidate them, let them go bankrupt; that’s what should have happened.
So what happened? Washington felt the tremendous urge to have to do something, just as they did in the depression. I guess they figured the last depression (the big depression of the 1930s) wasn’t big enough, so they’re working on one much bigger. So this is a desperate struggle for us to come up with a common sense answer. But politicians can’t keep their hands off. But what they ended up doing was they took all this bad debt and all this speculation, all the derivatives, and guess what, they dumped them on you, they dumped them on the American tax payer. What did they do with your money? They further destroyed your money and they did this by buying them out, putting it in the Federal Reserve and buying the treasury. And guess what, who got bailed out? The people who were benefitting; they get the bailouts and at the same time who got the penalty? We the people ended up owning the derivatives, the middle class got smaller and poorer and the jobs were lost and the houses were lost and they said that when the crisis hit in 2008, they said, “You know, if we don’t do something, it’s going to be a depression”. Well guess what, they did it, you ended up with the depression, and the people who gave it to us, got bailed out. There’s something awfully wrong with that system, and it needs to be changed.
But basically, the problem is much bigger than tinkering with the budget. The budget is very important, but I see that as a symptom. The budget is big and the deficits are big because we’re living beyond our means. But the basic question comes from what should the role of government be. The founders of this country understood that question, did not like the role of the king, did not like the role of the British Government; they wanted to change it, there was a revolution and they did their best in writing a documents that worked fairly well, and has been abused. They did this and they asked the question what the role of government should be and they came up with the inclusion that at least at the federal government level, the federal government was there to protect our liberty, give us a national defense, give us a sound currency, permit inter-state trade; but other than that, stay out of our lives and stay out of our wallets. So that is the question I believe we are required to ask: what should the role of government be. Luckily for us, we’ve had a good suggestion, and that is our constitution. It’s not a perfect document, there is room to make changes when necessary. But the tragedy we have now is that there are a lot of people in Washington and around the country that have had so little respect for the constitution. So what we have chosen to do is allow those individuals just to ignore the constitution. And so if they can ignore it here and there – such as in the monetary issue or declaring wars or writing laws – if they do that, there’s nothing left to the rest of the constitution. So along comes a crisis, 9/11 was a major crisis time. So they say, “Well, yes, we’re having some problem”. So, rapidly right after the 9/11 event, they rushed a document to the floor that they had basically written many years ago where they were looking for the opportunity, and they said, “Well, what we need to do is we need to repeal the 4th Amendment”, which they did with that unbearable Patriot Act which should have never been passed.
Personal liberty has been challenged and that is very natural. The one thing that we must remember, Randolph Bourne when he wrote during the First World War, the title of his book was, “War is the health of the state”. And we have too many wars going on, not only the wars overseas, but there’s a war against the American people, there’s a drug war going on and, believe me, all of these is the health of the state and the detriment of our liberty, that is what we have to get reversed. Some areas that I have noticed while campaigning in the last several months is the difference between a few years ago, and you notice it even in the rhetoric of some of the opponents and other candidates; and that is they’re beginning to know and hear from the people that ten years in Afghanistan is enough and we ought to come home. I’ve been arguing the case for that for a long time, I believe in a non-interventionist foreign policy, something that the constitution permits and dictates, at the same time we got strong advice from the founder to mind our own business, not get involved in the internal affairs of other nations, and not to be the policemen of the world. It seems like the majority of Americans are slowly learning now, but the people in Washington are still not learning the lesson very well. And that is that if you look at great empires and great countries in the past, they usually self destruct by expanding themselves around the world too far and they finally just destruct and their empire ends. But you would think in recent history we could at least remember back to the 1980s when we saw the collapse of the Soviet Empire, because what were they doing? They were engaged in an unwinnable ridiculous war in Afghanistan; you’d think we’d learn by now.
So, of course, we want to stop those wars. Just think that we have not had a declared war since World War II. The constitution says you only fight a war when the Congress declares it, the Congress is supposed to reflect the will of the people. But we haven’t declared a war, and we haven’t won a war since World War II. But not only should we stop these wars and come home and defend this country and not defend all those other countries or the special interests of all those other countries, but economically, just think about this economic mess that we have and spending is a big problem. And all that talk we heard last week, barely was there a whimper about cutting militarism. You know, they talk about, “Oh, we can’t cut defense”. I say there’s a big difference between defense and militarism, you can cut militarism and actually help your defense. Not only should we bring the troops home from the Middle East, what about Germany, do you think we should be defending Germany anymore? And what about Korea, do you think South Korea can’t handle North Korea? Matter of fact, I’m quite confident that Korea would be a unified state if we weren’t over there and they would finally come together. That’s what happened in Vietnam, we finally had to leave Vietnam. Of course, we were warned that, “Oh, there would be a domino effect and communism would roll us over and take over the entire world”. Well, what happened? They became more westernized. China tends to do pretty well in the banking business, they have us as a customer now. So, in Vietnam, just think of the foolishness of that. The French and the Americans, how many people were killed. They believe that over a million Vietnamese were killed, plus 60,000 of our people were killed over there. And now, all of a sudden, we have to leave, we come home, and they become more westernized; we trade with them, we talk with them, we travel there, we invest over there. My argument is, much more can be achieved in peace than with war.
So we don’t need to be in Korea or Japan or Europe, and if we bring those troops home immediately, there could be some immediate benefit to us, rather than boosting the economies of Germany and these other countries. So a lot could be done, but first we have to change the attitude of the people and the understanding that their best interest are served not by depending on government, because governments fail – and they are failing, which is helping our argument right now – they fail and therefore we have to look to something else and we don’t have to defend it; it’s called liberty. It’s called liberty, and it works. A lot of people have told you over the last several years in looking at this, they say, “Yes, it’s true, the budget’s out of control, we need to do something, but everybody has to sacrifice”. You know, I don’t buy into that. If I came to you and said, “I’m going to give you your freedom back, I’m going to get rid of the income tax, I’m going to give you a sound currency, I’m going to enforce property rights, and I’m going to leave you alone, and you don’t have to sacrifice anything”, would you feel like you’re been sacrificed, or would you feel energized to go to work? So we do have to change our attitude about the monetary system and the financial system and the foreign policy system. But the monetary issue is something I have dealt with for many years; matter of fact, it was the issue for me in the 1970s, believing that the loss of the link to gold would lead to the problems that we had. But we have not followed the constitution on the monetary issue. There is no authority in the constitution to have a central bank, which means there is no authority to have a Federal Reserve System.
Audience: End the Fed. End the Fed.
Ron Paul: And if we don’t end the Fed quickly, we should do exactly what we’ve worked so hard on during the last couple of years, and I actually had it passed last year in the House of Representatives, and that is Audit the Fed and find out what they’re doing and who they’re bailing out and who their buddies are. When the first TARP fund bailout came up, it was in the middle of the election of 2008, so two major candidates were rushed back to Congress to vote for it. It shows you that, generally speaking, both parties accept the same principles. But the idea of the Federal Reserve being involved – the TARP funds were huge, close to a trillion dollars – but the Federal Reserve was involved in manipulating and rotating 15 trillion dollars, 1/3rd going to foreign banks. And then when you ask them questions, they say we don’t have a right to know, they don’t want the transparency that we demand. So we need to know what they’re doing. I think if we get the transparency we need – and we’re getting a lot compared to a few years ago – that when the people know about it, they’ll know, especially when they see their money losing value like we’re in the middle of doing, they’re going to say, “Enough is enough”. But the constitution is clear: no central bank. But what is legal tender under the law? Gold and silver are legal tender. But what happens if you go out and say, “Yes, that’s a good idea, we have American silver dollars and gold dollars”. And what if we went and started exchanging those, like some have? What has happened to them? They get put in prison, they get charged with counterfeiting by using American money. But what happens to the true counterfeiters? They’re heralded as the saints, the ones that run the Federal Reserve, they give us our prosperity and they get us out of trouble when we get into trouble. But they’re the counterfeiters, and right now, the American people are starting to realize that the Federal Reserve is responsible for so much of our economic harm. I believe we’re now at a stage where we’re going to see rapid deterioration of the dollar. You say, “How could that be, this week the markets were in turmoil and everybody was buying dollars in treasury bills.” But when you go to the grocery store, your dollars are not doing as well as it used to, and that, I believe, is going to get a lot worse. I think prices are going to start to go up a lot more and this will be a big issue. Now what we have to do, though, is make sure that the blame is put on the right people. Of course, the government spending money and debt is facilitated by the Fed always buying this debt, but there is a limit. As powerful as the opposition is, whether they’re in the government or in the Federal Reserve, the market is even more powerful. And the market can win, and we can win this fight as well. We can win this fight when we point out that its liberty we need and we need sound money, we need property rights, we need responsibilities for ourselves. That will help us and take care of us, and we don’t need the government. The government’s failure is giving us credibility. It’s not only with we who might consider ourselves conservatives and libertarians. We are gaining the respect and we are gaining support from a lot of independents and even a lot who call themselves progressives and liberals, because they like the idea that we’re tired of these wars and we want to end these wars. They have a very open mind to the Federal Reserve and transparency of the Federal Reserve, they like our position on the fact that we believe in liberty, that we allow people to run their lives as they please, and we don’t want to dictate to people their personal habits, their religious habits, or their intellectual habits.
So I sense that as time goes on and with so many coming over, and frequently I will have individuals in the crowd who come out afterwards and they’ll quietly say, “You know, I’m one of those liberal Democrats that you’ve been talking about”, and they’ll be very serious and they’re big concern, “Why liberalism has prevailed” is because we have been very wealthy and they could consume that wealth for a while, and it seems like they were helping some people, helping poor people, and who can be against helping the poor people. That’s why I happen to believe in free markets, because that’s what really helps the poor people. I used to point out to those individuals who have this sympathy for helping the poor and having this safety net is that I understand your position, but you have to understand, it’s not working. And if you want to, you have a Social Security system that has no money; you have a federal government educational system that doesn’t work; you have a medical care system that’s just deteriorated and all it does is undermine our freedom of choice and give poorer quality care. So we can win that argument on the practical side of it, but of course, the strongest argument is the principle argument. The principle argument about why this system of government based on personal liberty is so much more superior, is because it recognizes something very basic, and it is not an economic issue, it’s a moral issue. It is, why are we important, why are rights important? It is because we are individuals, we are born with God given rights to our life and our liberties, and they don’t come from our government. If that is the case, what we want to do is legalize your freedom of choice. I don’t know if you’re interested in it or whether you’ve read stories on the internet, but there are quite a few people – more than I ever dreamed there would be – that are interested in making their personal choices on nutritional products. And I think that’s very important; I’m a physician, I have certain medical viewpoints, but on the other side, politically I’m open to all. As the years go on, I’m open to the alternative cares as well, from a medical viewpoint. But you should have choices, you should have a choice to what you want to do. This whole idea that the federal government can come in and arrest you for buying raw milk from another customer made across the state line, that should change. That may not affect all of us, but the fact that they can attack our liberties does affect us, so its’ the principle as well. But what about this whole notion that many states now are saying that – and it’s limited, it’s a very narrow legalization – allow people who are sick to use marijuana for medical reasons. People who’ve had cancer and other diseases find that it helps them. The states actually are sympathetic with that and they write a law and they say it is now legal in this state to do such and such. Why in the world should we tolerate a government, and sometimes they call themselves compassionate conservatives, to march into a state with federal officials, with guns flaring, and go in and arrest sick people and put them in prison; that makes no sense at all and this drug war ought to end.
The whole thing is that part of this argument is that whether its nutritional products and the various items, it is regulated and it is frequently designed by those who are in the drug industry, those are the special interest. Sure, they’ll say vitamins are good as long as you buy them from us instead of you making up your own mind, and this is why whether it’s domestic … and now they’re even talking about internationally regulating these substances through the World Trade Organization, we should not put up with this and we should do whatever we can to stop that from happening.
When we talk about the WTO wanting to regulate substances like that around the whole world, I mean we should look also at what else they like to do internationally. As conditions get worse they think the solution, in our country it’s generally been, “We need more federal government”, and then when individual countries are messing up, they say, “Oh, we need more world government”. So here we are, right now, engaged in what I consider an atrocious amount of entangling alliances. It is the reason why I’ve taken a position that we don’t need the entangling alliances, we don’t need to be in the United Nations, the IMF. A lot of people say, “Oh, you’re a bunch of isolationist, you don’t want to do anything”. But guess what, those individuals that complain about me not voting for these NAFTA and PAFTA and WTO agreements, are the very first ones who want to put sanctions on countries and cut off trade with anybody they say they don’t like. Why is it that we can’t even trade with Cuba, I think it’s about time we started trading and travelling with Cuba. But we have a long way to go, but I think the basic understanding of what liberty is all about. I love the philosophy of liberty not only because I think there is a moral defense of it which is the reason I believe in it, but there is no economic downside to it. So if I could be a free person, but poorer, I’d rather be a free person. But we don’t have to make that choice, the freer we are, the more prosperous we are going to be. So there is no downside to it. But also, what else does it do? It brings people together, because if you believe in liberty and freedom of choices, all of a sudden people come together. We understand this pretty well on religion. We don’t test people to come into a group and say, “Well, you’re going to have different religious views down the line.” But as soon as it comes to economic views, “Oh yea, I don’t want you to spend your money on this, you have to spend on this, you can’t buy this. The best person is very overly regulated.” So when it comes to personal habits, that’s why all of sudden, there are both, conservatives and liberals, saying, “Oh, we have to protect you from yourself”. Governments can’t protect you from yourself, that is your responsibility.
So therefore, this idea of tolerance is a very good idea and you have to remember, tolerance does not mean endorsement. Just because you tolerate somebody’s freedom of choice and religion, you don’t endorse their religion. So if you have less wars saying that you can run your life as you chose and actually if you wanted to play poker or something like that, you shouldn’t be regulated by the government. But today, of course, the government feels like they have to regulate all your habits that you have. So, a free society is so compelling that it brings people together, it causes more prosperity. And a very important reason why I love this philosophy is that if we’re truly looking for peace in this world, this is the philosophy that you have to have. You have to have a philosophy, not only of tolerance of our neighbors and allowing them to lead their lives as they chose, we have to have a tolerance of other countries and not believing that we can impose our will on them. You know, for many years I complained about the fact that we only have two choices on our foreign policy, and I lament the fact that we go around and we push ourselves on other countries and we go in and we always want to have our guy in charge. So we go in and we say, “Look, if you will be our dictator and you do what we tell you, we’ll give you a lot of money”. So we put them on the foreign aid, give them all their weapons, or whatever they want, and every once I awhile quite frequently they’ll switch and then we have to get rid of them and put a new dictator up. But if that individual says, “No, I’m not going to do it” or they switch, like a (?) or somebody, then we have to go in and destroy them or bomb their country. So we offer them either money or bombs. Why don’t we offer them peace and trade and get along with them? I made a mistake in there because there’s actually a fourth option, the fourth option is what we’re seeing in Pakistan, because in that country we’re bombing them and we’re giving them money and at the same time, it makes no sense whatsoever. Now the country is bankrupt and that’s a very dangerous thing to happen because it can usher in serious disturbances politically. But in many ways it’s an opportunity. As a country, we’ve worked ourselves into this bankruptcy, we made the wrong assumptions, and now we owe 3 trillion dollars, and if we can channel this in the right direction, a lot of good can come from it. When we offer them something that has been around, we don’t have to invent it, we can improve on it. The gold standard has been around for a long time, but even our gold standard was far from a perfect gold standard. We can offer them something better, not just going back. Freedom is a very new idea, it’s only been around and tried for several hundred years. And, unfortunately for us, living today, we are seeing the results of a deterioration of the confidence and belief in freedom. So in the last hundred years at least, I would say we have been having a steady erosion of liberty. I mean, starting in 1913 – that was a bad year – the Federal Reserve and the income tax and the change in the foreign policy and the way we elect our senator, all the rejection of the local government and shifting this over to the federal government. So this is an opportunity. The conditions are right for our views to prevail, but it will take a lot of effort.
Today, we’re engaged in a very important election process, even this next week, although in the scheme of things it sounds rather minor; it’s just another straw vote, we’ve had straw votes here and there and sometimes we do quite well on the straw votes. But next week is a bigger straw vote, that’s the one in Ames, Iowa. If we can do well there, it will send a strong message. So we are working very hard there and I know a lot of you have helped and have contributed and encouraged to do that. But if you happen to know anybody in Iowa, call them up, they could make a difference, I’ll tell you that; it can be a close election. There was one straw vote a year or so ago down in New Orleans and we lost it by 1 vote, a single vote. And yet symbolically it would have been nice, because they always announce the winner. So some of these races can be close, so few votes make a difference. But we’re working very hard there in Iowa, we’re going into New Hampshire a whole lot, into South Carolina and now into Nevada. But, believe me, the establishment, the politicians and the establishment otherwise are not going to be complacent, because our numbers are growing and they know it and they know there is something wrong in this country and what they really know is that we have the answers to the problems of this country and it’s just in fully understanding what freedom really means.
So I thank you very much for you being part of this movement, thanks a whole lot.