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Judge Napolitano: Tonight, on The Docket, leadership and what Americans really want from the government. A new Gallup poll finds overwhelming dissatisfaction with the federal government. 81% say they’re not satisfied, and just 19% have said they like the job being done by the federal government. Clearly, Americans are unhappy with their leaders, and it’s not just at the federal level. Government overreach is taking on absurd new levels. Just listen to New York City police commissioner, Ray Kelly, last night on 60 Minutes.
Ray Kelly: In an extreme situation, we would have some means to take down a plane.
Interviewer: Do you mean to say that the NYPD has the means to take down an aircraft?
Ray Kelly: Yes. I prefer not to get into the details, but obviously this will be in a very extreme situation.
Judge Napolitano: In a very extreme situation. Commissioner Kelly also acknowledged that the NYPD is armed with snipers and surveillance cameras to protect those living and visiting the city he considers as the No.1 terrorist target. New York’s top cop has a very difficult job, but should fear of a terrorist act give local police carte blanche to snoop on anyone and to shoot anyone. If the cops can do this in New York, can they do it anywhere else? Is there a way to bring conservatives and liberals together on issues like these? Perhaps my next guest can. He’s been nicknamed “Dr. No” for rejecting bills that let big government get even bigger, he’s a staunch defender of the constitution and sound money, and he wants to be the President. Earlier, in front of the national debt clock, a few blocks from here in New York City, I talked to him about big government interference with our freedoms and our property, and how that can be stopped. Take a listen.
We’re sitting on the corner of West 44th Street at 6th Avenue in the middle of New York City with Republican Congressman Ron Paul. We happen to be seated right across the street from the national death clock, which, Congressman Paul, as I read it now, says 14.6 trillion dollars. Is that the true number, and if it were, is the American government capable of paying that back?
Ron Paul: No, they can pay it back and it’s much bigger if you look at all the entitlement obligations. Nobody knows, that number is 67, 80 trillion dollars; that would be the obligation. You know, if you were and insurance company, you would have to have money in the bank to pay off the people that brought insurance. But in our case, all these promises and obligations, all depends on future tax collections, and they can’t do it, its’ way out of control. They’ve been (?) for these many, many decades, and the country is really, technically is bankrupt. They should admit it. Just like Greece is bankrupt, shouldn’t they admit it? The sooner they liquidate their debt and default, the better. But we cannot pay this debt, we should make the effort to pay our way out of it, and that, of course, is what I talk about: that we should absolutely make the effort by cutting spending and changing foreign policy and these other things I’ve talked about.
Judge Napolitano: Cutting spending, changing foreign policy: what could the President on his own do to cause us to stop spending money and to respect the personal liberties of individuals in America?
Ron Paul: Well, the President has a lot of prerogatives. First, he could use the Veto pen constantly, and that would send the message to the business community that the end is coming, we’re not going to continue to spend like this. But he also could use the power of enforcement. I don’t know why a President should feel obligated to enforce unconstitutional laws and regulations, he should just back off.
Judge Napolitano: Or even to spend money that he believes is unconstitutionally unauthorized.
Ron Paul: Yea, and he spends money that he doesn’t have. I mean, starting a new war, like in Libya, he didn’t even have the courtesy of mentioning it to the Congress. I mean, that has to stop. It’s an attitude, it’s the psychology that’s been around, not just with this president, but it’s been around and it’s been developing for many decades. So it’s out of control.
Judge Napolitano: I think that that psychology and attitude sometimes pervades into other parts of the government. For example, just this past weekend, the police commissioner of the city of New York, Ray Kelly, who once was the head of the federal Drug Enforcement Administration, said that the New York City police have the hardware and the will to shoot down planes or enemies from the sky that, in his view, might be attacking the city. Question: is it the job of local police to be shooting down planes in the sky, no matter what evil they may think is coming from them?
Ron Paul: You used the word “might”, it might be. Well, it sounds rather aggressive and abusive power, it’s scary. When you think of the judicial system, you know a lot about that, just think of what they do illegally and the way the system works and how they talk about assassinating American citizens, not giving proper Habeas Corpus protection. So it really has gotten out of control. But this is where I’m encouraged, especially when I’m talking to young people. They’re tied of it all, they understand it, and they want their freedom. They know they’re not going to get taken care of by the government. I think that’s the best thing that’s happened: the attitude of young people. They have realized that they’re not going to be taken care of. And you know, the way they talk about opting out of Obama Care, I talk about opting out of the whole system, and that’s what the young people like.
Judge Napolitano: Were you scandalized, as I was, when you were standing on the stage in a couple of those debates and the crowd wouldn’t let you answer a question. They roared as if to suggest that somebody should die because they couldn’t get healthcare, and the crowd roared when one of your opponents suggested, “Well, we execute a lot of people in our state”, and the crowd booed at a serviceman in Iraq because he acknowledge that he was gay. Did that type of behavior, from a part of people from whom you want votes, disturb you?
Ron Paul: It really does, and I tried talking to myself and said maybe, hopefully it’s not quite that bad. And I don’t think it is, because at the same time I hear that, and this is a certain group that goes to these debates. But when I go to the campuses, where the young people are thinking about liberty, they don’t boo that stuff, they cheer my positions on this that we shouldn’t be talking like that at all.
Judge Napolitano: It might surprise a lot of people watching us to know that there’s another group of young people who support you overwhelmingly, and those are members of the United States military. In fact, there was recently an editorial called, “You want him”, and this was in a military newspaper, and the “him” was referring to you. And in this editorial it reflected that you get a larger percentage of political contributions from active duty and retired military than the other Republican candidates combined. How can that be, are they telling us something?
Ron Paul: their lives are on the line, and they’ve been ripped off, they’ve been sent over there. You know, I was in the active military, and then I was in the Guard. But the Guard is supposed to guard us, reserves are supposed to be there in case we were attacked. But now, the servicemen are so worn down, they send some of these Guard Units and Reserve Units overseas, and they’re worn out. And nobody talks about the cost in human life. 8000 Americans have died in these wars that are illegal, not declared, 40,000 severe injuries. And all I do is talk about, “Look, if we need to defend this country, we do”. I’ve tried my best when I was in the military. But we just can’t continue to do that. I think the military like the idea of somebody being cautious, I certainly was looking for somebody cautious in 1965 when LBJ escalated the Vietnam War; I wasn’t all that happy about that. So I can identify with why active military people are sympathetic to what I’m saying.
Judge Napolitano: As wrong as it was for George W. Bush to have invaded Iraq and Afghanistan, wasn’t that evil compounded by paying for it with a credit card? Stated differently, in a year or so, we’ll be gone, we’ll still owe 2 trillion dollars for a war that in history will not have made us any freer or any safer.
Ron Paul: First, they went into war the wrong way, the war wasn’t necessary for our national security. And what you mentioned is paying for it. But history is pretty accurate in that most wars are paid for through debasement of the currency, inflating the currency. So that is pretty traditional. So that’s why you should be absolutely cautious about going to war because that has economic consequences.
Judge Napolitano: How fearful are you about debasement of the currency? The great empires throughout history, which America aspires to be -wrongfully, in your view, and in mine – have collapsed when their dollars worth anything and people couldn’t even buy food with the amount of money they had in their pockets or their banks or under their beds.
Ron Paul: Hundreds and hundreds of times. In my lifetime I could name a dozen countries that have gone through this, so it always happens. And this whole idea … what I’m surprised with is how aggressively people defend paper, like paper is saintly. They say, “You mean you would attack the Federal Reserve and the paper standard?” But most of those people have benefits that they’re going to derive, they might be on the receiving end of those funds in the military-industrial complex or the entitlement system, so they don’t want those funds to be cut off.
Judge Napolitano: But do you think that if we keep up as we’re doing, if the Fed continues to print money, if the government continues to spend trillions that it doesn’t have, that our currency eventually will become so debased and a loaf of bread might cost $100?
Ron Paul: Oh, absolutely. I mean, just think of what’s happened since 1971, gold was $35/ounce. The dollar is continuously debasing. The big question is, is it going to totally destroy and go to zero, which would be really a tragedy. I hope we come to our senses and that we say we better cut back and come home and we better live within our means. So I think we should work for it, but we better be prepared for runaway inflation, and that’s a lot worse than what we’ve just gone through financial. It’s much, much more serious.
Judge Napolitano: You have consistently remained, throughout this pre-primary period – we’re now at the end of September, the first caucuses and primaries are in January and February. You have consistently remained between 10% and 14% of the Republican vote in all the polls. Whether people want to reveal the outcome of the polls or not, you are there. We actually saw a poll the other day in which you were second, and it said, “Mitt Romney, Rick Perry third, Michele Bachman fourth”. They don’t even know how to count. Is the Republican Party starting to take you seriously, do they recognize that your ideas and articulation of them have caught fire amongst young people, or even people my age, throughout the country?
Ron Paul: I think so, and I think some of them worry about it and maybe they don’t want us to get that message out too strongly, so they’re sort of trying to water it down, and they take the message. That’s not an unknown thing in history: water down a message, and take hold of it and say, “I’m attacking the Federal Reserve” or something like that. But they don’t really believe it.
Judge Napolitano: We’ve seen a little of that from some of your opponents who said, “We favor auditing the Fed”, they didn’t say that 4 years ago.
Ron Paul: That’s a good sign. And some of them are saying, “Well, maybe it’s time we ought to think about bringing those troops home from Afghanistan”. Yea, it’s about time we started thinking about that.
Judge Napolitano: Before I let you go, what are you doing here in the middle of New York City?
Ron Paul: Oh, don’t ask me that, I don’t know, why would I come here? No, I’m going to be on a show tonight, I don’t know if I can mention that show or not.
Judge Napolitano: Oh, you can mention that show, because he’s very fond of you, and of your night-watchman chatting with you.
Ron Paul: I think his name is Jon Stewart or something like that.
Judge Napolitano: There you go, Comedy Central.
Ron Paul: Oh okay, you’ve heard of that show?
Judge Napolitano: I have, yes. Well, I wish you the best of luck there, and it’s a pleasure chatting with you, Congressman Ron Paul. Back to me in the studio.