This is a rush transcript. If you notice any errors please report them using the “Help improve this post” link at the bottom of this post.
Bill Griffeth: As the major candidates prepare to square off on all the issues about the economy, let’s talk to one of the Republican hopefuls right now. We’re pleased to welcome back Congressman Ron Paul, who joins us on this “First on CNBC” interview. Welcome back, sir, it’s good to see you again.
Ron Paul: Thank you, it’s good to be with you.
Bill Griffeth: Inevitably, when candidates talk about the economy, the first thing is about jobs and what they will do to create jobs. Aren’t we at the point, though, now Congressman, after the years of things that the federal government has tried to do to create jobs – and it just hasn’t worked, we’re still at 9% unemployment here – are we at a point now where the federal government should step aside and let the jobs market grow on its own at some point, whenever it’s going to happen?
Ron Paul: Yea, but they should have done that a lot sooner, they shouldn’t have created the bubble, because it’s the bubble that caused the recession and depression and caused the unemployment. So, yes, they should have done a lot less. But now what they need to do is back off because the market wants to correct the inequities and the too much debt, and yet the politicians (the Congress as well as the Federal Reserve) won’t allow that to happen, they keep propping up the bad debt. Whether it’s international debt or housing debt, our Federal Reserve keeps buying the debt and holding the debt, and they keep propping this up. And as long as you do that, the correction doesn’t come, so we’ve delayed it 4 years. In a sense, that’s what Japan did and they went into the doldrums, and that’s what we’re doing. So actually I think we’ve been …
Bill Griffeth: By the same token, all politicians, yourself included, wouldn’t you look like you’re neglecting your duties if you don’t try to do something to create jobs? I mean, isn’t that what happens when you get candidates together, when you get members of Congress together, when you bring them before the media? And the question inevitably comes up, “How will you create jobs, where will the jobs come from?” You can’t just say, “Well, it will happen eventually”, you have to do something, right?
Ron Paul: Yea, you have to get out of the way. We had a depression that lasted 17 years because adopted that philosophy that you had to get involved. In 1921 they got out of the way, and it was over in a year. So just to do something because politicians are supposed to do something even if it is wrong, that just compounds our problem. What if spending is the problem, that’s what I believe the real problem is; too much spending. So this is why I emphasis cutting the spending and I’ve proposed that we cut a trillion dollars out of the budget, because that’s doing something positive.
Bill Griffeth: Well, let me ask you then, with the super-committee still meeting behind closed doors, their deadline is just a few days away on the 23rd are you convinced they will be able to come up with 1.2 trillion dollars of cuts over the next 10 years?
Ron Paul: No, there’s no way, and that’s a dream. They’re not even cutting anything, they’re just cutting proposed increases that are built into the baseline. If you’re spending too much, you have to cut in reality, but no, they’re only nibbling away on the edges. They don’t ask the question, “Can we sustain a philosophy of government where we police the world and take care of everybody in the world as well as an entitlement system that is totally out of control?” They haven’t even asked that question, so nothing is going to come out of that committee, and I don’t see how very much is even going to come out of the Congress for the foreseeable future until we have a new President and a new Congress in many ways.
Bill Griffeth: What would you cut specifically then to contribute to a decline in the debt?
Ron Paul: Well, my proposal was I would eliminate 5 departments and I would cut a lot of the military expenditures that we use overseas that don’t help us. Like, why do we keep troops in Japan and South Korea and Germany and subsidize their economies? Why do we continue to fight wars that make no sense whatsoever? We’ve been in Afghanistan for 10 years, and the American people are sick and tired of this. Why do we take care of the world when we can’t even feed our people at home and give them medical care at home? So that whole philosophy has to change. Basically, I would cut a lot, but I would also go back to a baseline of 2006, and people get very nervous and ask, “You mean you would cut all the way back to 2006?”. Yes, sure, because we’re spending too much money, and the money that we spend takes it out of the economy; politicians don’t know how to spend the money, bureaucrats make a lot of money spending it. But that decisions have to be made in the economy, so I think there are very few of us in Washington, and essentially nobody else who is running for President, that really wants to cut and change the problems basically and look at monetary policy, look at foreign policy. They just want to pretend they’re doing something to say that they’re doing something, but if you’re doing the wrong thing, what good is it going to do?
Bill Griffeth: Two quick questions. One, I know you’re tired of being asked about it, but it’s incumbent upon me to ask anyway; are you going to run as an independent if you drop out of the Republican race, wouldn’t it make sense to run as a independent at some point?
Ron Paul: Well, it doesn’t make any sense to even talk about it, because right now our polls show we’re doing pretty darn well, both in Iowa and New Hampshire, and we’re striking distance, we’re in a good third place. So for me to think anything other than doing my job that people are sending me money to do, is an impossible thought, so it doesn’t even cross my mind as a possibility.
Bill Griffeth: Alright. Now let me ask you about gold. Going back 30 years when I started my career, you were one of the first guys I ever heard of at an investment conference making the case for gold and, of course, you talked about the gold standard, but I’m not going to go there. But where do you think gold is going right now, how much higher do you think it goes, and why?
Ron Paul: Well, the question is, is how much lower is the dollar going to go in purchasing power, and I say to infinity, unless we change our ways. Because if you look at the gold-dollar at 1913 when the Fed started, we’ve lost about 98% of its value. So if we continue to do what we’re doing, it could go to infinity. It is the best measurement of the value of a currency, there’s no advantage to anybody to have a weak currency. The gold tells us that we have a weakening dollar and a weakening currency, but the whole world does, so it’s hard to sort out. So it’s going to go up a lot more, which is virtually saying the dollar has a longer way to go down on purchasing power. That’s why the middle class gets wiped out, and that is why the standard of living is going down for the people; they already know it, and that’s why there are people who are very unhappy in this country and they’d like to blame a few people for all the problems rather than looking at the philosophy of government, the monetary system and the spending, because that’s where you can find the answers to our problems.
Bill Griffeth: Congressman Paul, it’s always a pleasure to talk to you, sir, thank you for joining us.
Ron Paul: Thank you.