John Stossel: We’re back live after the Republican debate, and now joining us is presidential candidate, Ron Paul. Dr. Paul, I think you’re making some progress, Newt Gingrich seems to be moving in your direction.
Ron Paul: Yea, that was pretty neat, they’ve been kidding me about me going mainstream, but maybe mainstream is coming my way. And I like it and they’re doing a little bit of that on foreign policy now, and I like that, too. But one of these days the country is going to wake up and do the things we need to do and I understand you had Steve on there a little while ago, and you know he and I worked on the gold issue, so I think we’re making progress.
John Stossel: Though he was snickering on your foreign policy points, but I say a snicker is not an argument.
Ron Paul: That’s right, we’ve avoided that because we are good friends, so we don’t look for battles on foreign policy. But we do talk about monetary policy and spending and taxes and these other things. But, you know, my argument with others who talk about the war – and I’ve always argued that I’ll win this argument not because I’m going to give a great speech or because I’m going to persuade a lot of people, but I think the economics will finally bring over a lot of the conservatives who have been anxious to fight these wars because we can’t afford them anymore. And I threw out that number tonight and it literally is into the trillions of dollars that we’ve been spending over these 10 years and they’re going to go on for decades.
When you think of the hundreds of thousands of people applying for help at the veterans administration, and that just tears me up to see the tragedy there, because I just don’t believe these wars are necessary and financially we can’t afford them and I think our country is going to come around to saying, “Enough is enough, and I think we’ll bring our troops home”.
John Stossel: What did you mean by the 6th war?
Ron Paul: Well, you know, it’s hard to keep up with them. We’re in Iraq, we’re in Pakistan, we’re in Afghanistan, we bomb Yemen and we go into Somalia. Whether it’s 5 or 6 or 7, you know, there are so many places that we’re engaged. And I think when you start bombing a country, you’re engaged in a war, and this has been going on for years; building the case for attacking Iran. And how many troops does Iran have out of their country? I didn’t get a chance to make that point, but their tradition for thousands or at least hundreds of years is not to invade neighbors.
John Stossel: And they haven’t attacked anybody for more than a hundred years, Iraq attacked them. Alright, I’m with you on that and our audience is generally with you, and we’re going to go to the audience in a moment, a couple of them would like to ask you a question. But I just want to argue about a couple of issues: immigration. You say, “No amnesty, no entitlements”, I agree with that. But no amnesty ever, don’t let them vote? We’ve got 10 million illegal immigrants here and we’re just going to keep them illegal?
Ron Paul: You know, that can be qualified, and I do that in my book where I have quite a few pages to describe that. But I take the position that you cannot round them up, there are 15 million, there is no way you can do it. If they commit criminal acts and they’re here illegally, I think it’s justified to send them back home. But I have too many cases that I’ve worked on where people are illegal technically, and they’ve been living here for 20 years and they hardly even speak Spanish. I have no interest in sending them back, I have no interest in punishing them. They asked me about punishing the businessman and the churches because they help immigrants, and I think that is wrong. But I am not too anxious to reward them with citizenship.
You and I have to wait till we’re 18; when I was growing up, I had to wait till I was 21 to vote. So I’m not anxious for them to get to vote, because that is very controversial because there’s a lot of antagonism over the idea: “get the illegals in and they’ll all vote for the Democrats”. Believe me, that exists. It exists in California, and it exists in Texas. So that is a reason I am not anxious to reward them with citizenship.
But I have a special status for those who have been here and they do not commit crimes and I do think that we should have guards at the border. We should facilitate it, we should have a better work program. But before the recession hit, half the business people that would come to my office – half the people that come to my office to talk about immigration – one wanted more immigrants because they didn’t have enough workers, and the others wanted to send them all home. The welfare state affects us as well because it is true, there are some that are not anxious to get off welfare and go to work for 6 or 7 dollars an hour. And I think the welfare, the economic policies have a lot to do with the problem of immigration.
John Stossel: Let me go to my audience, a couple of people have questions for you, the first person has a criticism. Go for it.
Audience Member: Congressman Paul, I agree with you 90% of the time, but I want to ask you, don’t you think it’s a little naïve to believe that bringing the troops home and allowing Iran to have a nuclear weapon will make them abandon their desire for Jihad into an act of a second holocaust?
Ron Paul: Who have they committed Jihad against? You know, there is somebody, Robert Pape, has done the research, the ultimate research on Jihad and suicide terrorism around the world. And the Iranians have had nobody commit suicide terrorism. They are radical Islamist and they follow Sharia law and it’s a place where you and I might not want to live, but they haven’t gone 6000 miles from their shores, and invaded and occupied countries. That’s where the resentment comes from. No, I do not worry about them, like I said in the debate, they don’t even know how to make enough gasoline, they don’t have a navy or an air force or anything. They are not capable of attacking anybody. And here we’re putting up anti-ballistic missiles right up on the borders of Russia because the Iranians are about to launch weapons against us.
It’s the same type of war talk that preceded going into Iraq. There are too many people for too long who have wanted to go to war against the Iranians. We opened the door of trade with the Chinese and we have done much better. And in Vietnam we walked away from there and that country has become unified, it has become westernized and a lot more has been achieved in peace than at war. I believe the founders and their admonitions that if you trade with a country, you are very likely not to fight a war with them. And I want to stop the wars because we flat out can’t afford them anymore.
John Stossel: Alright, just quickly, you wanted to say something nice.
Audience Member: Dr. Paul, a quick question. When I try to spread the message, I get resistance because you do not support welfare or Medicare or universal healthcare. How do you address this, because it does sound like we’re cold?
John Stossel: Cold and cruel. Just a quick answer, we’re almost out of time.
Ron Paul: Well, it takes a little bit longer, but true free markets is the only humanitarian system. Just look at the failure of the system today; the poor didn’t get houses and the poorer are not going to get their checks because the monetary system has been ripped up and the deficits don’t matter and they know they’re not going to get it. So there is a clear failure of the do-gooders’ effort to take care of the poor and have a safety net for everybody. So the facts are going to win that case for us. Morality should win it, because everybody should have a right to their life and a right to keep the fruits of their labor.
John Stossel: Thank you, Dr. Ron Paul, I don’t agree with you that it’s unlikely that some state might legalize polygamy, but we’ll have to talk about that another time.
John Stossel: Coming up, we’ll hear from our libertarian panel and more from the candidates. That’s next.