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Interviewer 1: We’re certainly glad to have you.
Ron Paul: Thank you.
Interviewer 1: We got about an hour and we thought about perhaps using at least the first half to talk about jobs and the economy. On our front page today we have a story about the President calling, without too much details so far, for big job creating infrastructure building projects to get people back to work. I’m wondering if you think that’s a good idea.
Ron Paul: I haven’t looked at it, but it’s probably not. When government spends the money, the decision is made politically. We need more spending, but we need more spending in the private economy. People need to make business decisions on how to allocate their resources; that’s been our mistake, that’s how we got into the trouble. Government got into the business of spending way too much money and borrowing too much money, and it was all misdirected. Our big problem is mal-investment, misdirected investments, and excessive investments. So when governments direct it, like they did in housing, it leads to bubbles. I would say that even though he might be able to point at some short term near benefit by channeling funds in there, where’s he going to get the money from?
Interviewer 1: Well, if it’s for roads and bridges, and there are roads and bridges falling apart all over the country, isn’t that a good use of public money?
Ron Paul: Yea, but the big question is where is he going to get the money from, and he has no money, the country is broke and the economy is weak. To just borrow more money when debt is the problem, doesn’t solve the problem of liquidating the debt. You can’t liquidate debt, which is a necessity, by piling up more debt.
Interviewer 2: Define “broke”. You’ve said that before, and yet no economist that I know would agree with you that we’re broke. We are paying our bills, so how do you define “broke”?
Ron Paul: I disagree with that. If we were a company and we had to pay our bills and we don’t have any money in the bank, so we’re broke. But that’s the problem, you demonstrate the problem. People don’t want to admit it, that’s why we’re not getting anywhere because you have to admit we’re broke and we don’t have enough assets to pay off our debt. Nobody even knows what our obligations are; we have like 65 trillion dollars worth of obligations, the unemployment rate is high, the income is crashing, and we can’t pay our bills so we’re broke.
Interviewer 2: But we are paying our bills
Ron Paul: But we’re paying our bills by printing the money and further borrowing. So yea, we’ll always pay the bills, but you don’t pay it with real money, you just pay it with counterfeit money. But that’s not paying a bill, that’s cheating people.
Interviewer 2: Counterfeit money, how do you define counterfeit money?
Ron Paul: You just print it when you need it.
Interviewer 2: It’s not legal tender, so they’re doing something illegal?
Ron Paul: Well, it’s unconstitutional because very clearly the constitutional convention said, “Do not emit bills of credit”, and that’s paper money. Today it’s not paper money, but it’s computerized money. So it’s illegal under the constitution.
Interviewer 2: What would you pay for, say, World War 2 or any of the attacks on the country if we couldn’t issue debt?
Ron Paul: Well, maybe we wouldn’t go to war quite so often.
Interviewer 2: But we were attacked.
Ron Paul: We would have to borrow the money.
Interviewer 2: So it’s okay to borrow?
Ron Paul: Under the constitution you’re allowed to borrow, but you’re not allowed to print. There’s a big difference. We’re in a crisis because we are living beyond our means and we’re depending on taxes. We can’t tax any more, we can’t borrow anymore, so you have the print the money.
Interviewer 2: But taxes are lower than they’ve been since the 1950s.
Ron Paul: Not the rates, but the revenues are because the economy has collapsed because of the debt burden. The debt burden collapsed the economy, so the revenues go down. It compounds it but you can’t solve the problem by spending more money and raising your debt. It’s the debt burden that’s killing us.
Interviewer 2: So you wouldn’t raise any taxes to, say, the pre-Bush level or Eisenhower’s level or Reagan’s level?
Ron Paul: No, that’s the problem. Government has been spending way too much. The people have to spend the money. Because governments cause a misdirection, a mal-investment and excessive debt. So they for years thought that the panacea was, “Everybody should have a house”; that’s a noble goal, who’s against everybody having a house. So we print the money, create the credit, interest rates at 0% when the market says interest rates should have been 5%. They say, “Oh, there’s a lot of savings, we’ll have a community re-investment act, force people, force the banks to make bad loans in essence. There’s a housing bubble, it was destined to collapse. But it’s only the free market economist that recognize that and predicted it. But now, too often in Washington they don’t want to look at the people who predicted it and that’s how you solve the problem.
Interviewer 1: So back to the jobs, if the idea of a government-sponsored infrastructure building program isn’t the way to deal with unemployment, what should the President be doing right now?
Ron Paul: Lower tax rates, bring capital back home, have a strong currency. We chase capital out, and when you chase the capital out, the jobs go with it. We issue the reserve currency of the world; we’ve had that privilege and it’s fun when you can issue money and you can buy stuff from overseas. But there’s no reason to work if you can do that. So you buy cheap products from China, so the capital leaves the country. Strong currencies bring capital in. We have 1.5 trillion dollars of profits overseas, why should a corporation bring it back? They get charged 35% to bring their money back, they’ve already paid taxes. So they say, “Oh no, it’s much easier, the government will spend it and the Federal Reserve will print it.” It’s a cycle that’s ended. I mean, we got away with it for 40 years, but the big bubble has burst and we’re only at the beginning of the collapse of the bubble. 2008 till now is only the beginning of the change. We’re in the doldrums now, the revenues continue to go down. So we’re in a catch 22.
Interviewer 2: You say cut taxes, George Bush cut taxes dramatically and the economy tanked, it was the worst job creation under any modern presidency.
Ron Paul: Spending did get cut.
Interviewer 2: Reagan raised taxes, Clinton raised taxes, George H. W. Bush raised taxed, the economy did fine.
Ron Paul: Well, why don’t we tax them 80%.
Interviewer 2: Well, we did until Eisenhower it was 90%.
Ron Paul: Everybody, why don’t we tax everybody 80%? There would be no economy.
Interviewer 2: I’m just saying that your argument about cutting taxes, what is your evidence, what specific era or presidential term can you show that lowered taxes?
Ron Paul: Kennedy did a pretty good job, he lowered the tax rates, so that was pretty good. But I would say the period of economic growth was following the Civil War period up until we had the Federal Reserve, and there was 3% average growth all through that period the time. We had no tax, no income tax. Governments can’t make decisions that you can make. You are the only one that can make decisions.
Interviewer 2: I can’t defend the country.
Ron Paul: Defense, we’re not talking about that, we’re talking about the economy, we’re talking about the entitlement system.
Interviewer 1: We can’t build a bridge.
Ron Paul: About the bridges, I argue the case that I never attack infrastructure. Matter of fact, what I say is there was one time that we were voting for this war going on and I wanted to cut a billion dollars, I said, “Take a billion, put half towards the deficit, and put the other in our infrastructure”. But you just can’t add on. It makes no sense that debt is the solution to debt. The financing of the debt … we’re not able to do it. And there’s a pretty good rule for a country, that once financing the debt gets over 40%, it’s unsustainable, and that’s why the markets are crashing, that’s why the world’s in shambles. But it’s also in shambles because all currencies are backed by paper money: the dollar. And people are getting tired of it, and when they reject it, believe me, you’re going to see some real fireworks, we’ve seen nothing yet. Because we’re going to see a collapse of the dollar, we’re going to see prices rapidly rising. The only true measurement of a currency for thousands of years has been the relationship to gold. Gold is market money and you can’t say, “Oh, legal tender laws will force you to use depreciating currency”, they can’t overcome the natural law. And the market says that the dollar is losing value. In the 1970s when they went off the gold standard, Nixon devalued the currency and it went from $35 to $38 and then to $42. And we ushered in a decade of devastating stagflation; high unemployment rates and high price increases, interest rates up to 21%, and he only did a little bit. Then the dollar(?) was 1/35th of an ounce of gold, and now it’s 1/1800th of an ounce of gold. That’s bad news, very bad news, and there’s no way you can repeal that economic law, it’s been around too long. And also the economic law says paper money doesn’t last. Who wants to go back and use the continental dollar, it had no backing. I mean, this faith in paper is, to me, just astounding, and you can’t force people to use something that has no value. But you can fool people for a long time, but you can’t fool the people forever.
Interviewer 1: Was Standard and Poor’s correct in there downgrading of the credit rating?
Ron Paul: I think they’re irrelevant.
Interviewer 1: Why is everybody so freaked out about it if it’s irrelevant?
Ron Paul: Because people think it’s important, and as long as they think it’s important. But if they were worth their salt, they would have warned us, as the free markets warned us for a decade, about the housing bubble. Did they warn us about Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac? They never said a word. My personal assessment is the rating should be a lot lower because the debt is not going to be paid and this is a denial that we’re not in real serious trouble and that someday we’re going to all of a sudden pay our bills by raising taxes. That will just destroy the economy if you raise taxes now. We need to repatriate our money. But the money that’s been overseas, why bring it back? 1.5 trillion dollars, why bring it back if we’re going to sock them for 35%, let them stay overseas. And that’s what appropriation and businesses are doing.
Interviewer 2: But we don’t really sock them for 35%, using GE as an example, but they’re not a typical… the effective rate is much lower than that.
Ron Paul: Yea, this is true, this is always what countries do so they can get around it. But in the other countries it’s much lower than they claim, too. But our capital gains taxes is 35%.
Interviewer 2: No, 15%, not capital gains, corporate tax.
Ron Paul: But other countries claim the same thing, too, so they get around it as well. So if you’re comparing apples with apples … but it’s still a reason why they don’t come back home.
Interviewer 2: You, of course, don’t have to answer this, but do you personally keep your resources in gold? And if it’s gold in stock, what faith do you have in that piece of paper?
Ron Paul: Well, I have put my money in American money, which under the law is still legal tender, and that is gold coins. And that’s legal tender. But if I use it, you and I use it, we could go to jail. There are some that want to practice using gold coins as legal tender, they’ve been charged with terrorism and counterfeiting; that’s how insane this thing is. You know, if you buy American coins …
Interviewer 2: I wish I had.
Ron Paul: August 15, 1971 was a big day in my economic life because I said, “They’ve embarked. I mean, this is going to lead to a disaster”. And at that time, matter of fact, it was illegal to buy American coins up until 1975 or 1976. But you could buy Mexican coins, it was legal to buy Mexican coins. But $35/ounce, it wasn’t the worse thing to understand monetary history because now if you would have bought – we don’t have 40 year bonds, but let’s say we have a 40 year bond or a 30 year bond – just think of what a 30 year bond would be worth. What if you we’re saving in 1971 to send your kids to school and you had $50,000. Well, let’s say school is $10,000, so you need your $10,000. And what’s the cost of education today? $40,000 dollars. What if you had put it in a gold coin, you can pay for school and you would have had money left over. So no, the laws of economics are much more powerful than the money manipulators. I moan and groan about the power of the central bank and all this stuff, but ultimately they don’t have the power, and that’s why the gold standard broke down because they tried to say that the dollar has to be backed by $35/ounce. But if you keep printing money … all that stuff we were doing under Eisenhower and everybody else. So they knew it, like Henry Hassett, a famous financial writer after World War II, said, “This thing won’t work, it’s going to break down”. And he was absolutely right, it broke down because you can’t defy the law that says there’s a relationship of a dollar to gold at $35/ounce, and just keep increasing the supply of money. I mean, there’s no way you can violate that law, only temporarily, but you have to use force, you have to say you must use the legal tender. But now, we have silver dollars as legal tender, gold dollars as legal tenders, now these new silver ounces are legal tender.
Interviewer 2: Rick Perry says that Bernanke is almost treasonous for what he’s done with printing money. Do you think he’s treasonous?
Ron Paul: No, I don’t use such words. I think they’re misinformed on monetary policy, and that’s the more important thing.
Interviewer 2: Was it appropriate for him to say it?
Ron Paul: It’s his business, he evidently thought it was good politics to say it, I don’t know. I have never met the man, so I don’t know what his monetary policy is. I’m not disappointed that he addressed the Federal Reserve, but he doesn’t address it the way I do it. I challenge Bernanke and I did Greenspan, but I don’t attack them, I attack the system of money, the silliness of constantly creating new money when you need it. I mean, a grade school kid can understand this. They say, “Oh, you mean if the government needs money, they just print it and they create new money?” I mean, the logic is so overwhelming that I cannot understand how people have put their trust into it. But they trust the force of government: government will use legal tender laws, they’ll force these people to use it. And what it does is it eventually forces people into the underground economy. Because when you see the further deterioration, people are going to survive with real money, and it will drive people into the underground economy and they’re going to use silver and gold coins; that’s what will happen.
Interviewer 1: This morning you said that the free market can regulate things far better than regulators and the government can. But using the gold industry as an example, is it just sort of a byproduct of the free market where there were gold mines last year there were 400 children in Nigeria that died from lead poisoning downstream from a gold mine. And there are other issues, tuberculosis has been linked to it. Are those just natural byproducts of the free market system?
Ron Paul: No, I don’t know the circumstances over there, but they obviously don’t have property rights. In free markets you have no right to pollute a stream.
Interviewer 1: But who would protect that?
Interviewer 2: Who would enforce this law?
Ron Paul: Well, it’s the government that has to enforce property rights, the role of government is to enforce property rights and contracts.
Interviewer 2: So the EPA should get involved?
Ron Paul: No, the EPA are just a bunch of bureaucrats serving the big industries. They protect certain industries against others. Regulations are written for the benefit of the big companies. The FDA helps the drug companies, medical care helps insurance companies.
Interviewer 2: Should we have no regulation at all and just allow ….?
Ron Paul: By the market, by the market. If you live upstream and you dump sewer in your stream and you pollute my water, I should take you to court and make you quit.
Interviewer 2: Can an individual sue DuPont or BP?
Ron Paul: There, I think you’re touching on the problem. In the past you had collusion between the big corporations and the government. I lived in Pittsburgh, big government, big steel, and the city dumped their sewers in the river and the corporations dumped their sewers in the river. And finally it was cleaned up, but it had nothing with the EPA, it had to do with local ordinances of property rights. They said you can’t do it anymore. But the bureaucracy in Washington is not the most successful way to do it. If we would have had a strict understanding of property rights during the industrial revolution, you wouldn’t have had such a disaster. But it was the corporations and big business that worked together. And that’s what you have to break up.
Interviewer 2: So do you agree with Mitt Romney that corporations are people?
Ron Paul: You know, I don’t understand that big discussion, but no, people have rights, corporations have contractual arrangements. But corporations as people, as a person, has a personal right, that is not true. If you’re a person, you have rights, all rights are individual, not by a group. And the corporation is set up as a contract. The contract then becomes important, the government then has an involvement in enforcing contracts. So it would be handled that way. But I think I don’t quite understand the discussion about whether corporations are people or not. I mean, people create corporations by contracts, the contract is what is important.
Interviewer 1: I thought there was a pretty remarkable moment in that Ames debate from last week when you and all the other candidates were asked about this 10 to 1 deal: would it be a good deal if you could get 10 dollars in spending cut for every one dollar in revenue or taxes. And to a person, you all said that was a terrible deal, no, you wouldn’t take it.
Ron Paul: Actually you can’t trust the people who wanted to cut, it’s not contracted. The only thing that counts is your first year. You raise taxes this year, then nobody’s obligated to cut spending next year. It’s never been done. Ronald Reagan was so disappointed.
Interviewer 1: So you just wouldn’t trust the Congress to do it, is the point.
Ron Paul: No, I wouldn’t trust, there’s no example of ever fulfilling it. And Reagan, in his memories said that he was really, really naive because he said, “I raised the taxes, and I’m going to get 3 to 1”. He didn’t get it, he’s was just totally naive. He was a good guy and hopeful, and he said that they really played quite nasty tricks on him. So they had tax cuts and amplified the problem because they didn’t have any spending cuts.
Interviewer 2: Because of defense, largely. He was afraid of cutting defense.
Ron Paul: Yea, that’s still the problem today. Democrats and Republicans don’t want to touch it, and we have an empire and if you don’t deal with it, you can’t touch this problem. Great countries are brought to their knees because they do empire building. And we’ve embarked on this for quite a few years now, it started really with Woodrow Wilson, but especially since World War II, we have never withdrawn. After the breakdown of the Soviet System, instead of getting some benefits and have a peace dividend, we expended more and more and got involved in 3, 4, 5 wars and we’re looking for another one.
Interviewer 2: So you would, I believe, close a lot of military bases overseas?
Ron Paul: All of them.
Interviewer 2: All of them, how much money do you think that would say?
Ron Paul: Well, you know, it depends on how you do it, when you do it, where do the troops go when you cut down and downsize. But we do know that it’s about 1.4 trillion dollars we spend on maintaining our militarism, and I don’t call that defense. Military expenditures have very little to do with defending our country, it seems to get us into more trouble by just getting involved over there. I guess we’re well over a billion dollars in Libya; undeclared, no constitutional or Congressional authority, under NATO resolution; totally out of control.
Interviewer 2: So would you close all military bases in the United States also?
Ron Paul: I think eventually, but I wouldn’t do that now. I’d bring all those troops home and let them spend their money here, that would give an immediate boost to the economy. Bring them home from Japan and Korea and Germany and the Middle East and put them in these bases here. But then I do think it should be downsized. But I was in the Congress when they did those base closing things in the 1990s, I was opposed to it. It was one of these commissions they set up. And Congress doesn’t have the temerity to actually go and do their job, so they said, “We’ll set up this commission and we’ll do what this commission tells us”. I was opposed to that because I didn’t think the process was right. But why are you closing bases down here even if you could argue they’re not serving that much of a function, I can accept that argument. At the same time, we’re building them up overseas; that was the time we were expanding bases in Saudi Arabia and these different places. We just made enemies when we built bases overseas. Just think of what we’re building in Iraq today.
Interviewer 1: So we don’t need a single base anywhere on the planet?
Ron Paul: What would we need them for?
Interviewer 1: Well, others would say defense, right?
Ron Paul: I mean, we’re just getting killed over there, shot at, and wasting our money. There’s no authority for it, there’s no authority for us to do be the policemen of the world, it’s an absolute waste, it gets us involved in these wars. And this is where the American people are, and this is where I’m getting the most acceptance now, both on the monetary issue and the foreign policy and the militarism. And I can quote quite a few Republicans on this, too, because they think only Democrats do this kind of stuff. No, but Eisenhower and Robert Taft and H. R. Gross and all these people back in those days argued against all this militarism. And it’s a racket, it really is. All this expenditure is their making. Billions and billions of dollars of building weapons we don’t use, still dealing airplanes with jet engines that fly around. And which engines are we going to use, we can’t agree, so let’s use two engines, let two companies build them.
Interviewer 2: Republicans would argue, most of them would argue that that creates millions of jobs also. If you eliminate these expenditures …
Ron Paul: Yea, and that’s called military Keynesians, and other people believe in domestic Keynesians, I don’t believe in any Keynesianism. But conservative Republicans are wrong on that issue. And the argument goes, “Well, we’re going to build this weapon and we’re going to have five thousand people here and the unions can get their extra pay, high pay, companies making money”, and they say, “Isn’t this an economic benefit?” Well, no it isn’t, because let’s say we’re building cruise missiles or something that we take, somebody made some profits, there are war profits. And we take the bomb in a plane or helicopter, take it overseas, and it gets blown up. The GDP went up, but the American people had less money to spend. The money that gets blown up overseas didn’t help education, it didn’t help medical care, somebody has some war profits, but there were no new houses and no better education, there are no benefits, the standard of living didn’t go up. So you have to look at what you see on the surface: you know, jobs here, and that’s easy. I think your argument is political, you would be good in politics. Politics is easy because you say, “What do I do, I have to create jobs? Oh, I’m going to build this housing for the poor, oh it’s good.” But then you say, “Where might that money have been spent?” Maybe it would have created a more productive job and maybe this won’t last very long. And it doesn’t raise the standard of living. The most dangerous thought right now comes from people like Paul Krugman who says and believes that war is an answer to depressions, and that you can spend this money. He said, “Well, just look, unemployment rates went down with World War II”. But they drafted 16 million people, and people got killed, the country got poorer, I remember it. The war times were bad, no cars, nothing, rationing. You couldn’t go out and buy a pound of butter without rationing stamps. The standard of living went way down until finally the debt was liquidated that was accumulated over those years, and finally the soldiers came home. They slashed spending, spending went down, spending was cut by more than half drastically, and taxes went down drastically. Tax revenues went down by a third. Because the debt had been liquidated, they could go back to building again. And that’s when the depression actually ended in about 1947.
Interviewer 1: Let me go back to that 10 to 1 deal you guys were offered, I’ve been thinking about it all week. And what struck me, besides the specifics of that deficit reduction proposal, what struck me was American people watching the debates saw all of you raise your hands, and I wondered if they wouldn’t have seen you all as uncompromising. Is that a good quality in a president?
Ron Paul: Absolutely, if you come up to me and you say, “Oh, there’s a first amendment to our constitution”, do you want me to be a compromiser and say, “Well, I want prior restraint on information(?) I don’t want to come in here because you might say something about me.”
Interviewer 1: I don’t think that’s the same thing as different ways to reducing the deficit.
Ron Paul: Oh, it is absolutely the same. You’re talking about compromising. And I think believing in something, I think counterfeiting money is compromising. Paper money is bad and gold money is good. So we compromised and said, “Well, we’ll wean ourselves on”. That is a compromise that is devastating. So property rights … okay, we’ll have property rights unless we have (?) come in and take your property and give it to a big corporation; that’s a compromise. See, I use another term, I work coalitions to bring people together, you’re supposed to bring people together. So I work with the Left probably better than any other Republican, because I talk to the Dennis Kuciniches of the world, the Bernie Sanders, and they understand foreign policy, they understand corporatism, and they understand corporate welfare. So these are the issues; they understand civil liberties, they understand my position on the Patriot Act. So I work with them to fight some of these battles. But they don’t have to sacrifice any principle, I don’t ask them to sacrifice principle, but I don’t have to sacrifice principle. That is the way you solve our problem.
Interviewer 2: That’s called “my way or the highway”.
Ron Paul: Oh, common, my way or the highway? So you’re criticizing Bernie Sanders for saying it’s his way or the highway?
Interviewer 2: No, I’m talking about legislation.
Ron Paul: Well, no. I mean, you pass legislation because you bring people together. I can’t see how you could write it off so casually.
Interviewer 2: You’re saying no compromise, so …
Ron Paul: I made my point. Do you think I should compromise on the first amendment, on property rights, on your property rights? Should I sell your house because a business man wants it and he can pay more taxes? Why don’t you want somebody to stand on principle? Why?
Interviewer 2: So, then tell me how you have used that stance to pass significant legislation with bi-partisan support? What bill… ?
Ron Paul: Okay, I have a good example, at least through the House of Representatives.
Interviewer 2: No, no, I’m talking about into law.
Ron Paul: Well, under the circumstances that I’m trying to repeal a lot of bad ideas of about a hundred years, just holding the line is a major achievement. But give me the benefit of getting something passed in the House.
Interviewer 2: No, into law.
Ron Paul: No, I haven’t because there’s too much misinformation, too many people have learnt Keynesian economics, too many people believe in big government, too many people believe in more taxes, too many people don’t care about personal liberties, too many people compromise and say, “Well, we have to give up some of our freedoms to be safe, so that’s why we need the Patriot Act and that’s why we need the TSA agents prodding and probing and x-raying us”. So that’s all a compromise that we don’t need. But let me give you my example, even though you won’t accept it. Last year, you know, we had the bill to audit the Federal Reserve, and Barney Frank worked with me and helped me to get it passed in the House of Representatives. But it was Republicans and Democrats that came together. Now what is so terrible about that? See, I don’t understand how that could be criticized and say, “Oh no, that’s uncompromising”. But no, you bring people together with liked mindedness, and this whole idea that there’s this rigid Right and a rigid Left and they can’t talk to each other and they yell and scream at each other”, well, why aren’t there issues that we can come together on; on the war and civil liberties and the monetary policy. I had a coalition put together outside of the Congress including Ralph Nader and the Green Party and everybody else agreeing with me that we ought to have a balanced budget. I think it’s fantastic. And also attacking the Federal Reserve, civil liberties and foreign policy. We had a group of libertarians, conservatives, Ralph Nader and Green Party, and they agreed on a statement I wrote up.
Interviewer 2: Here’s my concern, and I think a lot of the American’s concern is the lack of the willingness to compromise. This country was founded on some really horrible compromises; whether it about slavery.
Ron Paul: Right, good point.
Ron Paul: And it wouldn’t have existed had they not made some pretty tough compromises, and you are never willing to do that.
Ron Paul: See, I would have never compromised on the slavery issue. I think you make my point, because we did that, we did the compromise, and we became relative-value on rights. We said, “We’ll sacrifice this whole principle”, and what did it do, it led to a civil war. So they should have stood firm.
Interviewer 2: And then there would have been no United States, you’re okay with that.
Ron Paul: And we would have had a lose knit group of states that may have come together later on. But why give up and plant the seeds of disaster? Just think of the harm done because of that that there was relative value …
Interviewer 2: I’m not arguing that it’s good.
Ron Paul: Oh no, but your arguing the case for compromise.
Interviewer 2: No, for democracy.
Ron Paul: Yea, democracy is very dangerous, because that’s mob rule. If you get 51%, then your rights become relative. 51% come and vote and say, “Well, we can do anything we want”, how do you protect the minority?
Interviewer 2: So you think democracy is dangerous?
Ron Paul: Well, yes it is dangerous, because with 51% rule, that’s how the minority gets cheated. In a free society you have to protect the minority. 51% said slavery, that’s horrible. So no, to protect the minority, you cannot say that the majority can dictate rights; that is very, very dangerous and the founders were very, very clear on this. They said, “We don’t even want a democracy, we want a republic”. It is extensively written how dangerous they considered a democracy in which 51%. But (?) pointed this out as well; that it would be the dictatorship of the majority. The majority, when they are wrong, are very dangerous.
Interviewer 2: So you get elected President, how are you going to get anything done without compromise?
Ron Paul: Building coalitions, arguing on principle and showing that an uncompromising position of bringing the troops home and a sensible foreign policy is the best thing for this country.
Interviewer 2: So how has that worked for you in all your time in Congress?
Ron Paul: Well, that doesn’t discredit the views if I’m right and correct; they’re good views.
Interviewer 2: No, no, just effectiveness, I’m not saying if you’re right or wrong.
Ron Paul: Like I say, when you’re trying to reverse a 100 years of history and 40 years of bubbles being blown up that’s bursting now, and that’s devastating to our whole country; well no, we haven’t achieved it. But right now people are paying attention, they really are.
Interviewer 2: Do you have any hope for the super committee to move this forward at all?
Ron Paul: Super Committee? Oh, I’m not optimistic about that. Why should we listen to 12 people, where are they going to get their wisdom from? Somebody did a study, and all I’m going to do is quote the study because I haven’t checked it out, but they said all 12 had some relationship to the military-industrial complex. So are they going to cut any military? No way. I don’t approve of the committee, but where’s their wisdom going to come from? I’m just not very optimistic about that because they’re not going to deal with how bad the debt problem is.
Interviewer 2: I think from your point of view, unless we deal with the debt problem, we can’t move forward. But right now, appropriations are sitting on trillions of dollars in cash and not spending it, not hiring. What, as President, would you do to get them to invest in the economy?
Ron Paul: You have to change the environment, and they feel very negative about the environment, they’re worried about their future, everybody’s worried. But this is characteristic of what a recession/depression is like; people lose confidence. And it’s the restoration of confidence and that’s no easy task, there’s no doubt about it. But my belief is that you have to do what I’m talking about: change the monetary policy, change the spending policies and liquidate debt and change the foreign policy; the whole works. Otherwise people have to believe you’re going to do it. But writing more regulations and more taxes – we did it in the depression and Republicans and Democrats had done it. They write more regulations, they see that the bubble is a consequence of not enough regulations, and that’s just not true. And therefore they don’t allow this correction to occur, which is a necessity. So the market will liquidate the debt, unfortunately, unless we did. But I’m suggesting start cutting all the unnecessary spending, starting with militarism, corporate-welfarism, subsidies to rich farmers, the whole works.
Interviewer 2: I’m with you on some of those, at least, but on the entitlements, and Medicare and Medicaid particularly, what would you do in those areas?
Ron Paul: Well, you know what, as much as I see those programs as being poorly chosen at the time – because it would lead to a bankruptcy, and it has – there’s no money in Social Security. So no matter how much you love it, it’s not there anymore, the money has all been spent on wars and other things. But I’ll tell you what, I’ve done more to preserve Social Security than anybody else, because I have never spent 1 penny of Social Security money. I would say we got to keep it there, we got to be responsible, it’s an insurance program, I want the money to be there, I’ve introduced legislation. No, it didn’t get passed, but it’s there, that’s the program. If that money would have been there, we wouldn’t have had this crisis. My other answer to it, because I do have deep concerns about child healthcare and the dependency of the elderly. So soon we’re going to have runaway inflation and nobody’s going to have anything, so that’s one option. The other option is doing what I suggest, and that is cut where I want to cut. Now, if I can cut 50 billion dollars in the first year from the military, I’d put 25 billion dollars against the deficit, and I would shore up any program where we have taught the people to become dependent for their healthcare, and the elderly. Because you can’t take the elderly all of a sudden, and say, “Okay, you go back to work and save your money”, that’s not going to happen. But not one person, Democrat or Republican, is willing to cut that military money, that’s the problem.
Interviewer 2: Gates is, the former Security of Defense.
Ron Paul: That’s right, and he said, “Anybody who wants to start a new war, needs their head examined”. So I’ll tell you what, there’s room for a lot of psychiatrist down there in Washington, because a lot of people are itching at the bit for another war, whether it’s Libya or Iran or wherever. And then with the Krugman argument that war gets you out of depression; this is dangerous. But believe me, I have concern, I have philosophic positions, I know I’ll never see it, but I know where the goal should be and I know what we should strive for, and therefore you have to start moving in that direction. So I have my priorities and that would not be one of my priorities for cutting.
Interviewer 1: So would you not look to change the eligibility rules, the generosity of the programs?
Ron Paul: I would look at that, I think so, because it’s not truly an insurance program, we might as well admit it’s welfare.
Interviewer 1: Medicare, you mean?
Ron Paul: Well, in a way that is a transfer of payment, and even Social Security. I argue we should run it like an insurance companies. I don’t want to buy negotiable securities and just give it to the government to spend on these other programs and try to have real value there.
Interviewer 2: So would you privatize Social Security?
Ron Paul: I would let the young people get out of it. I don’t like some of those descriptions of privatizing it, I think that’s another invitation for government and corporations to get involved. I mean, what if they change the rules and say, “Well, you can buy this particular stock but not this other stock”. That, to me, is too dangerous, you get too close to the corporations.
Interviewer 1: But you would allow young people to just opt out of it altogether?
Ron Paul: I think so, I think that would be the best way. I haven’t said what year and what date, but that’s what I would advocate. And, believe me, I go to the campuses – and I don’t get just 20 or 30 people out, I get a lot of people out – and that’s one of the loudest applause lines. They know there’s no money there and they will assume responsibility for themselves, and they will invest on their own, so I would say it’s necessary right now because the money is being used up. The only thing that we can go for now is trying to preserve some of this, and that means back to your question about how to clean it up. Even though we’re supposed to be entitled to it because we paid into it, but the money has been spent. So therefore I think that changing of the rules: maybe the people who are making 10 million dollars a year, we don’t need to be still taking care of their Social Security benefits. That was funny when one time many years ago when I was watching an interview with Warren Buffet, and they asked, “Do you have Social Security?”, and he said, “Yea”.
Interviewer 2: But he’s calling for higher taxes on people like himself.
Ron Paul: I liked his father’s politics a lot more than his.
Interviewer 1: Would you, like the other candidates we’ve heard from, seek to repeal Obama care, as it’s called, the healthcare reform?
Ron Paul: I didn’t vote for it.
Interviewer 1: Is that a priority to get rid of it at this point?
Ron Paul: No, not my top priority, but it’s one. But a real top priority for me and anything I deal with is the opt-out principle. Whether it’s the public school system, you have to have a right to opt out, you have to have a right to go to a private school or home school. Once you close those doors, we’re in big trouble. And in monetary policy I want you to opt out you have real money, in medical care I’d like to see you opt out. To be forced into that program and support it; that program was basically written by drug companies and insurance companies, organized medicine too was very much involved. So it’s the corporations that are making the money on this. And the worst part about all that – and I went through the transition, I practiced medicine when there was no government involvement and when there was no law – but it destroyed the doctor-patient relationship is what’s happened. And that will get a lot worse, there’s sort of a wedge being driven.
Interviewer 2: How would you bring healthcare cost under control?
Ron Paul: You have to get rid of the inflation, that’s the number 1 cause of high prices.
Interviewer 2: But we don’t really have much right now.
Ron Paul: What, inflation?
Interviewer 2: Yea.
Ron Paul: Well, the cost of medicine is going up.
Interviewer 2: Oh yea, medical inflation is crazy.
Ron Paul: We have inflation in housing, we have inflation in education. Just because the government says there’s only 2% inflation and CPI, they deceive us because they use new figures. If you go to the old figures, it’s 9%.
Interviewer 2: But for healthcare in specific, what would you do for hospitals, everyone buying MRIs or spending …
Ron Paul: Well, they do that because the government is providing them funds, it’s mal-investment, it channels money over there. The more money you put into something, you don’t get higher quality, you’ll just get more expenditures. In education a lot of money is gone in education, just like in housing. So if everybody’s prices went up and wages went up the same, printing money wouldn’t be a big deal. But it always hurts the poor, it always wipes out the middle class, it pushes some prices up at the expense of others. The big corporations, the banks, benefit, politicians benefit, but eventually the poor like … the best example is of how the big spending plus inflating the currency bailed out Wall Street and the mortgage companies and the derivatives markets. It was dumped on the American tax payers, now we own that debt. And what happened to the middle class? Many people lost their jobs, they lost their medical care, they lost their houses. So all this wonderful effort to take care of people just really didn’t work.
Interviewer 2: Although the congressional budget office would say the stimulus and TARP saved 3 million jobs. There was 9% unemployment, it would have been 12% or 15% instead.
Ron Paul: There might have been a couple of jobs created, but what are they doing? Are they doing the right thing, are they spending the money the right way, did they invest it in a new company, did we get new businesses in our country?
Interviewer 2: Corporations are doing fine and profits have never been higher.
Ron Paul: That’s right, but the environment is bad, so they don’t invest, it’s the destruction of confidence that is happening because of this worldwide bubble. And the bubble is because with every currency, their base, their reserves are held in paper money and there’s no reason to have confidence in that. They’re skittish.
Interviewer 1: I think there’s a really quick caricature that we often see in the Tea Party, which is both activists on the outside and some of the people who got elected in the last wave at the federal level and at the state level and all over the places are really angry, really extreme, perhaps uninformed. Is there any truth to the sort of cartoon version of the Tea Party that we often get?
Ron Paul: Not a whole lot because I, of course, have attended a lot of these meetings, but you’re going to get oddballs in any group you ever see. And since this is a spontaneous group and anybody can declare they’re Tea Party people if they want, so you’re going to see that. But you can go to Republican and Democratic parties and find a few odd balls too. But to pick out a few and say this represents them, I think is not fair.
Interviewer 1: What’s been in general the effect of the Tea Party people, the people that call themselves members of the Tea Party, on the public debate and on politics in the country?
Ron Paul: I think it’s calling the attention to an important issue and that is the debt, because they know that the debt is unsustainable, and I think that’s that the biggest thing. But the Tea Party Movement, of course, started during our last campaign. We had very precise viewpoints involving monetary policy and foreign policy and corporatism and all this corporate welfare that went on. But, when there was an explosion of Tea Party sentiments and actually people who moved in to sort of get hold of all that, they wanted to set the agenda for the Tea Party people. But it’s very amorphous. I mean, there are so many different views that I think that it’s hard to say that the Tea Party people have a list of things that they believe in. I know what I believe in, I know what supporters believe in, but the only thing that seems to bring them together was the insurmountable debt and what it’s costing us just to pay the interest on the debt and watching these other countries going bankrupt; I think that’s been the unifying issue.
Interviewer 2: Let’s switch to climate change, I believe you are skeptical.
Ron Paul: No, I think there’s a lot of climate change.
Interviewer 2: You think man has a role in that?
Ron Paul: A little bit, I think nature has a lot of trends. I always wanted to be really sympathetic but I have trouble because I read both sides of the story and I think there is pretty good science on both sides of the argument that nature and trends and cycles and things like that. When people produce of names who are very worried, and I don’t blame them for being worried if they think there’s a crisis. But in the 1970s they might have been very concerned about the new ice age, but now they’re on the other side of the issue. I saw a debate once between two individuals that were really concerned about this, and they were talking about it and they came up with the conclusion that made me wonder, and they said, because most people say it’s all CO2 emission that’s why we’re having it. But their conclusion – and they were very serious – and they said that the CO2 is not it, it’s methane gas. And if we could just get the American people to kill every cow in the country … no I’m serious.
Interviewer 2: Ronald Reagan’s theory was kill the trees.
Ron Paul: That was a lot of credibility.
Interviewer 2: So you don’t think the government should be doing anything to clean up pollution or eliminate CO2 emissions?
Ron Paul: I think if you pollute something, I don’t think he should be taxed to clean up your pollution, no, I don’t think that. That’s generally what’s happening. Yes, I want to do a whole lot about it, but I’m convinced that if we understood – back to our original talk about this – if we understand true property rights, people are not allowed to go to bed together with government and get pollution legalized. And some of this Cap and Trade stuff is actually legalizing it, they say, “I’m going to buy a permit from you, so I can pollute so much”. I don’t buy into that. If you’re polluting, it’s wrong, you shouldn’t do it, and people should call you on it.
Interviewer 1: There is a coal-power electricity plant near Concord, and there are people who live near it who have claimed, for years, that the pollution is horrible and it’s affecting their health. If it was all about just suing, what was the chance that some poor guy dealing living near the power plant …
Ron Paul: I understand they can burn coal pretty well these days, nothing like when I lived in Pittsburgh. I’ll tell you, we couldn’t even see the sun in Pittsburgh because the skies were so bad. So if there is some pollution, somebody is going to have to sort it out, there has to be some type of class action suit or something to find out if its’ really true. But that one’s not more difficult than when you see them literally dumping billions of barrels of sewage into a river, that’s pretty easy. Dumping poisons into rivers, into our lakes, or into our air. I mean, it’s pretty easy now, that must have been more difficult. Do you see people like smoke coming out of there? Probably not.
Interviewer 1: You got some attention the other night in the debate for your comments on Iran; your stance of encouraging a policy of respect and perhaps suggesting that we shouldn’t have any role in trying to stop Iran from attaining nuclear weapons. Can you just talk more about that? It seemed like at least some of your colleagues on the stage were alarmed by what you had to say.
Ron Paul: Well, they indicated that they were ready to go to war to stop the Iranians from developing a nuclear bomb. And I said I wouldn’t do it, why do it. I was drafted, I was in the military for 5 years in the 1960s and I was actually drafted because the Soviets were putting missiles in Cuba, it was a rather serious problem. And I thought, under those circumstances, which were pretty dire, what did Kennedy do? He actually calls up Moscow and says, “Let’s do something here”, and they held a little talk and Kennedy said, “I’ll take my missiles out of Turkey”; not a bad idea. So he backs off. So if we can solve a problem and work with them… and guys like Reagan and all these people talked to people like the Chinese and Russians. Soviets killed millions and millions of their people and they were able to talk to them. Last time I read history, it’s been a long time since the Iranians invaded another country. Last time they were in a war is when we had Iraq, our ally at the time, we encouraged them to invade Iran. So I would say that the buildup, the hysterical war sentiment is just war propaganda because people want to go to war against them. So I don’t want them to have a weapon, I don’t even like nuclear weapons, I don’t even like conventional weaponry, that’s a different story. But there’s no evidence for the bomb being built. Our CIA has no concrete evidence, they have not confirmed it, nor has the UN confirmed that they’re actually working on it. But I also make the point, wouldn’t it be reasonable to assume that they might like one because they might feel a little safer and securer in being attacked, because they’re always been threatened that somebody’s going to attack them. I think there’s a balance of power between the Pakistanis and the Indians, I think it would be worse for Pakistan maybe to have it, or just India to have it; that might get a little bit too rambunctious. So I don’t think considering what we went through with the Soviets, no I don’t think it’s worth us starting another war against them.
Interviewer 2: What would you do if Israel was attacked?
Ron Paul: I’d let Israel take care of it, they have 300 nukes and they’ve done it before. And I think we should not interfere with Israel like we do. At times they want to do things around their borders and deal with their enemies, and we tell them, “No don’t do it, that’s too much”. Sometimes they want to sign peace treaties and negotiate things, and we say, “No, you can’t do that”. So they sell out too much to us, they depend on us for money and weapons.
Interviewer 2: Do you think we shouldn’t give them the money and weapons?
Ron Paul: No, we don’t have any money.
Interviewer 2: The weapons?
Ron Paul: No, why should we. I want to stop them all around. The enemies of Israel get seven times as much as Israel gets. So if we cut it all off, we really help Israel. But this idea that you keep building and building and having the balance of power by us being on both sides, I mean, just look at us propping up Mubarak and all these countries and their dictators finally fall, and we’re really resented by some of the extreme Muslims for propping up governments in Saudi Arabia. That base in Saudi Arabia was a major precipitating factor and motivation for 9/11, the fact that we do these things. So I would say no, it’s not in our interest. We should be friends, we should trade with Israel and I think they would be better off rather than us telling us what they can do or can’t do.
Interviewer 1: Should we be friends with all countries, or do you have lines?
Ron Paul: Anyone who wants to be. I mean, if Reagan set the standard and Nixon set the standard and you can talk to China and talk to the Soviets, I would say that if they’re open it, talk to somebody before you start killing each other.
Interviewer 1: But in terms of trade friendships, we should be trading with countries like …
Ron Paul: Sure, if you trade with them, you’re less likely to fight with them, and people have a right to spend their money where they want; it’s a moral right and it’s good politics, too. We should have been trading a long time ago with Cuba. I think all we did was prop up Castro by having these embargos and not even allowing them to send gifts to their family down there.
Interviewer 1: I’m not talking so much about places where we have political differences, but places were the regimes in charge are actually committing atrocities against their own people. We should just acknowledge them as any other country?
Ron Paul: I don’t think our business is making that judgment, and I think if we traded with them, it would be more help than harm. But what we do, is we do get involved with these countries that are always fighting, and we pick one faction over another and we send them money and food and it becomes weapons of war. So no, the trade is much more market oriented. They go in there and maybe they’ll like what they’re getting, and they’ll say, “Wow, why aren’t we more like the Americans, look at what they have, look at what they can do”. But to bring down a regime, it doesn’t work.
Interviewer 1: Did it work in South Africa?
Ron Paul: Well, they claim that, but I think the time was right. But that might happen, I don’t think it justifies trying to pick and chose all these factions. Because once you do that, you become the policeman, you become judgmental, you have to be the investor, you have to restrict somebody’s right to do something. No, I don’t see any place where we get this authority. We can defend our country, but we’re not told that we have to decide exactly when to interfere in the internal affairs of other nations. That’s what we were precisely instructed not to do: no internal affairs, don’t get involved in internal affairs of other countries. And I think that’s a great plan. And I know there are other problems with civil liberties, but do we have a perfect society here? What if they point out some of our infractions? What if they decided that, “Oh, this administration has announced that they can assassinate anybody in the world when they want to”. What if they decide, “That’s a horrible position, we’re not going to even talk to the United States anymore, we’re not going to trade with them, because they have this program of assassination. It’s even assassinating American citizens, they’ve admitted to this. So that’s pretty bad. But I don’t want people coming down and dictating to us, that’s our problem, we should deal with it. But I don’t want China coming over here and telling us we ought to repeal this particular rule because they don’t want to deal with us. So no, I think it just invites trouble.
Interviewer 2: The last time you ran, you talked about the NAFTA superhighway. Do you still believe that there’s a conspiracy to do that?
Ron Paul: I didn’t use that word, I’ll bet. Anyway, it doesn’t matter. Everybody conspires when you talk, I guess. I guess I’m a conspirator and I conspire for liberty. Yea, it is still there, it’s still there, but Perry got stopped because the state legislature voted it down. But I think those plans are there, they come and go and this is a super highway slashing up; I d know how many lanes it’s going to be, 8 or 16 lanes, and railroads and you can’t cross it except every 300 miles.
Interviewer 2: And I’m confused, who’s doing this?
Ron Paul: Well, NAFTA was making the plans for it, but Perry was pushing it for the Texas quarter, he wanted it to get started. The plan was laid out, the NAFTA people had laid out from Mexico to Canada.
Interviewer 2: But rick Perry was part of the …
Ron Paul: Oh, he liked it and he was voted down.
Interviewer 2: Have you been to China?
Ron Paul: No.
Interviewer 2: I can just imagine a group of Chinese businessmen listening to you and racing to withdraw their money. I wondered about that would do.
Ron Paul: They will. You mean getting out of the dollar?
Interviewer 2: Right.
Ron Paul: They’ve started. Look at what they’re doing, they’re taking our dollar, we’re over there fighting and killing in Afghanistan, they’re actually investing in Iran and in Afghanistan.
Interviewer 2: And here.
Ron Paul: Yea, so they’re doing what we used to do. I mean it’s sort of ironic we were over there in Vietnam because we were afraid of the domino effect. Guess what, we lost and the domino effect was that the free market grew over there and it’s been diminishing over here. It is really ironic.
Interviewer 1: I had a couple of smarty-pants calling us last night, and the headline said, “Three reasons Ron Paul will never be President”. And I thought it was going to be somebody who didn’t like your politics, and his No.1 reason was, “too old”. 75 years; people won’t vote for somebody as old as you. You think that’s a real concern?
Ron Paul: That’s an old fashioned idea.
Interviewer 1: I don’t know how old the writer was.
Ron Paul: In this day and age I think it doesn’t hold much. And I tell people what really counts are your ideas and I think my ideas of promoting liberty and that’s a very young idea, young people love it. But also I also challenge them physically, any time any other running candidate wants to come to Houston, at 12 O’clock noon when the temperature is 100F and the humidity is 102, I’ll ride 20 miles with them on a bicycle.
Interviewer 1: O my God, you win.
Ron Paul: So I think that’s a silly argument.
Interviewer 1: Do you have other questions?
Interviewer 3: I have one. Congressman, your oppositions to the wars are pretty well documented, have the soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan died for nothing?
Ron Paul: That is a really, really tough question, and in many ways it could be that way. And I think about what Reagan said after the troops were lost in Lebanon, he wrote about it and he said he would never turn tail and leave, but he did and he said in his memoirs that he didn’t realize the irrationality of politics of the region. If he had, he would have advocated a more neutral position, he would have followed neutrality. He used those two words. He said that if I had done that, those marines would still have been alive, which means that his policies were wrong, he admitted it, we had to change policy. When (?) wrote his memoirs and before he died, he had to reconcile his support for the devastation of Vietnam. And somebody asked him, “Do you want to apologize for what you’ve done?” and he said, “What good is an apology?” He said, “But if you don’t change your viewpoints, if you don’t understand history and you don’t change your viewpoints, that is the only thing that counts”. So yes, they will have died in vain if we don’t wake up and decide that it was a useless war. We thought we learned our lesson in Vietnam, but it’s constant, it’s endless, it’s killing, it’s bankrupting us. And the real tragedy is that men who go over there and woman who go over there and lose their lives, if we don’t learn something, sadly it is a lost life. So I’m hoping and praying that we can get a message out and that we can learn a lesson. And this is where I get so much support from the young people and the military people, we constantly get letters about, “Your right, you’re right on this.” And they do it by donations. We get more money from the military than all the other candidates put together. So they know that I am on their side and that these wars are useless and I just think that the momentum is building on this. Ten years, that’s enough. It’s a sad story that it even got this far along. How many more years are we going to do it? Are we going to fight for victory for another 5 years and then decide? How many more people have to die before this, before we wake up and admit that these people should not have died? And with the proper policy, as Reagan said, if we only had the proper policy, those marines would still be alive today.
Interviewer 2: But you thought it was right to go after Bin Laden in Afghanistan initially, right?
Ron Paul: Yes, in Afghanistan I voted for that authority, but also shortly thereafter I did two things; I introduced the resolution to reinstate Mark and Reprisal – you have to narrow your target – and I gave a speech, “Keep your eye on the target”. But that was when Bush went from Afghanistan and before even asking the Congress, he took funding for Afghanistan and put it into Iraq. And that’s when things just deteriorated. But that authority didn’t say that you should take over Afghanistan and do nation building and all things we did. The authority was to go after the Al-Qaida, the people responsible for that. But there is one piece legislation passed this year that is not going to be important politically, because it’s probably considered too esoteric. But in our DOD budget this year, we had a section called “Section 10-34” and it took the definition of what we endorse to go after Al-Qaida, and they expanded it, very casually, a few words changed, and they said, “Al-Qaida, Taliban, and associated forces”. And the associated forces and their definitions in there, and it’s “anybody, anybody in the world”. It literally legalizes, say, Libya because we said anybody who may be related in any way. But also many civil libertarians have read this and they said, “Yes, if you happen to be sympathetic to a Muslim mosque or something, and if you put some money in there, and for some reason they say, “Well, we’re suspicious that this mosque might be helping a loose connection”, then you could be targeted as a terrorist. I mean, it is very, very dangerous. Actually, we did a pretty good job; I co-sponsored an amendment to repeal that, and the vote wasn’t too bad. We lost it, but at least it came out pretty close. But I think that was a very significant piece of legislation because, in general, they had ignored the declaration of war anyway. When I brought up this thing about going to war in Iraq, I said, “You guys want to go to war, I’m not going to vote for this, but I’m going to put a resolution in here: declare war, win it and get over with it.” And they ridiculed me and they said, “Oh, that part of the constitution is anachronistic, we don’t deal with that anymore, that’s old fashioned to declare war with”. Well, then they should repeal it, say the king declares war, not the people.
Interviewer 1: How important is religion and your faith to you? It could be easy to hear you speak about Austrian economics the way some of your opponents speak about biblical morality. Do you pray about your decisions before you make them?
Interviewer: I have a very strong faith, I believe in prayer, and my statement is – I think it’s been written down, I don’t know on which page – I don’t carry religion on my sleeve, I believe it’s very personal. If you’re interested in my religious values, I think it’s important if you’re thinking about voting for me, you have a right to know. But I don’t feel comfortable campaigning on it. Because I don’t think that brings people together as much think that I’m moralistic in that sense. I can be a very moral person, but you should judge me by how I live and what I do and what I believe in and what my family values are. And I think that is a reflection of my religious values.
Interviewer 2: You don’t believe of separation of church and state, or do you?
Ron Paul: Well, that’s a broader subject. The Church and state issue is not addressed in the constitution. What is addressed is you don’t have a theocracy and I believe you should not have a theocracy. But, as far as church and state goes, the first amendment gives us a pretty hint: the Congress shall write no law, there are no prohibitions.
Interviewer 2: It’s okay to have prayer in school?
Ron Paul: I think so.
Interviewer 2: Of course, who’s prayers?
Ron Paul: Yea, that’s the problem. You see, in the perfect libertarian society, you don’t have government running so much and you don’t have these debates, because it’s your home schooling, it’s your private school, it’s your church school and you say prayers for whatever you want. But then the public schools become a little more ticklish on what to do. The federal government has no authority to tell your public schools whether you have a prayer in school or not, I don’t believe that for a minute, because the Congress shall write no law.
Interviewer 2: Even if it is, say, a Christian prayer or …
Ron Paul: Yea, that’s where the problem comes in. I was raised in a public school where there read the bibles and prayers and all. But there was no competition in religion, everybody was Christian. But that is the question, so how do you do it if you don’t want the federal government coming down here and saying, “Thou shall not say a prayer before a football event”, and if they put prohibitions I think they’re wrong. But sort of forcing people to listen to a prayer they might not want to, that’s a different story. So if I own the school, I set the rules. If you come to my school, it’s a Christian school and this is what the rules are and we’ll say prayers. But in a public school it gets more difficult. If I don’t what the federal government, the closest thing you could get would probably be your school district. It might be imperfect, but I would want to protect the principle that you shouldn’t force people, either not to be able to say prayers or force them and say “You will listen to things”, and the best way you can work it out, I think, is setting up some rules with your local community and if your community had no problems of no competition, then there’s no problem. If it did, then they’re going to have to work it out. And yes, as wonderful as the free society is, man is imperfect and there is never a perfect answer to all this. It’s just that I’ve lost my faith and confidence, as most Americans have now, in the government doing this. Right now it’s down to 17% of the people believing that the authority the government has is being properly achieved, they do not believe that they have this authority coming from the people. And so that means that most people in this country are just sick and tired of it all.
Interviewer 2: I have one final question, Senator Mitch McConnell said his one goal in life is to make sure that Barack Obama is a one-term president. Would you approve of that, and do you think that it is good to put your party politics above the country?
Ron Paul: I don’t know whether those are the choices, but if I’m running for the nomination to run against Obama how would I be able to say that …
Interviewer 2: If you were elected and a Democratic senator stood up and said, “I’m going to obstruct everything because my goal is to make sure you’re a one-term President. I don’t care what happens to the country”. Do you think that’s appropriate?
Ron Paul: I would detest it and overcome that type of attitude by building coalitions and talking to everybody, because I can talk to everybody across the political spectrum.
Interviewer 2: But is it appropriate?
Ron Paul: I wouldn’t talk like that, you know, matter of fact, there are other candidates even on our side, and that’s what they dwell on. As much as I dislike the Federal Reserve, I don’t dwell on Bernanke and I don’t dwell on the President. If you ask me, I’ll usually say I don’t think he’s done a very good job. But I see it philosophically that people have certain ideas; that as long as they believe these ideas, people in government will react in that manner. As long as the people endorse the idea that they are to be taken care of and we’re supposed to be the policeman of the world and printing money is good idea, we can’t do anything about it. So it isn’t Bernanke, to me it’s the system, it’s understanding monetary policy. It isn’t Obama, it isn’t George Bush, it’s the system on foreign policies that has been around for a long time. It’s the foreign policy of intervention that I challenge. So I probably slip up, but basically I try real hard not to personalize it, I don’t enjoy that at all.
Interviewer 2: Because you’re from Texas and running against a governor who, I believe, has signed more death warrants than anyone in American history, so it makes me wonder where do you stand on the death penalty and do you trust government to administer that?
Ron Paul: That’s a pretty good question, because somebody asked me yesterday, “When was the last time year ever changed your opinion?” And I said, “Well, it’s been a while since I’ve had a major change of opinion, but I try to understand and study and figure out how things work, become better at economics and all”. But on that issue, I did have a change of opinion. And I stated this in the debates in the last go around. They asked a similar question; “When did you change your opinion last?” And that was just not like overnight, but my position now, since I’m a federal official and might be a U.S. president, I do not believe in the federal death penalty and in my book, “Liberty defined” I explain it in more detail but basically I make the argument for being against the death penalty. But I would not come and say that the federal government and the federal courts to tell the states that they can’t have death penalties anymore, I don’t go that far. I think I read an article yesterday on the penalty, and 68% of the time they make mistakes, and it’s so racist, too; I think more than half the people getting the death penalty are poor blacks. This is the one place, the one remnant of racism in our country is in our court system; enforcing the drug laws or enforcing the death penalty. I don’t even know but I wonder how many have been executed, over 200?
Interviewer 2: Over 200.
Ron Paul: I wonder how many of them were minorities. If you’re rich, you usually don’t make the death penalty. So for that reason and the DNA evidence now has proved people innocent over a period of time, all this stuff just builds up, why waste the time on all this? It’s not a good sign for civilization to still be invoking the death penalty, so naturally I would not endorse the death penalty and state-wise I wouldn’t interfere with it. It rather give the moral case against it.
Interviewer 1: Thank you so much, this was great
Interviewer 2: I certainly agree with you on the last point.
Ron Paul: You do?
Interviewer 2: Oh, yes. I don’t think we can progress much as a civilization as long as we … and discourage violence as long as we …
Ron Paul: If you believe in the death penalty, what I really object to in my book are the doctors participating in torture. They have doctors there to make it smooth and sweet, you know, they say, “Oh let’s put him to sleep”. If it’s the death penalty, do it on Times Square and get their head chopped and see how much they like it, make them look at it, you know. I think it’s uncivilized. But, boy, there are some pretty bad people out there which makes it awfully tempting.
Interviewer 2: Thank you, very much.
Ron Paul: Alright.