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Wolf Blitzer: There could be a government shut down as early as this weekend, unless the appropriations bills are passed. What’s going on, why is Congress so dysfunctional?
Ron Paul: Well, this dysfunction seems to be business as usual. How many times have we gone through this in the last couple of years, to me it’s sort of routine. At the last minute, they go down to the wire and they negotiate up to the bitter end, always trying to get one angle over the other one. So I don’t think the government is going to shut down, it hasn’t happened in a long, long time, so I don’t think it’s in the interest of either party to do it. So they’ll probably come up with some compromise at midnight and settle the argument.
Wolf Blitzer: But it does send a horrible message when various agencies of the federal government are told, “Get ready, non-essential personnel may be out of work as early as Saturday or Sunday”. It sends an awful message out there that the people in Washington can’t get their act together. I’m just saying, but if you disagree with me, go ahead.
Ron Paul: No, I think the problem is that the people in Washington that I know don’t admit that we have a serious crisis on our hand, a financial crisis, and they don’t know how bad it is because we’re bankrupt and yet we’re preparing ourselves, through the Federal Reserve, to bail out all of Europe. And there’s no money, and the debt is the problem, so they’re up against the wall and nobody wants to cut anything. But if they knew how bad it was, they would cut and we would start living within our means, and that means looking at all the budgets. But no, they’re going to delay it, they think it’s a football game and they’re going to play it and see who’s going to get the best edge in the next election to see who can maintain or gain power, and they haven’t changed their ways. But they won’t admit the necessary admission that we are bankrupt and we better do something about it, or this condition in our country and throughout the world with the financial system, is going to get much worse.
Wolf Blitzer: Let me go through a couple of the issues on the agenda right now: increasing taxes unless action is taken, the payroll tax cut will go away, the tax rates for a 160 million Americans will go up. Where do you stand on extending the payroll tax cut for another year?
Ron Paul: Oh, I want to extend it, because I see that as a tax increase and the system isn’t run as it should be. You know, we’re supposed to have money in the bank and have a trust fund, and that doesn’t exists, it’s all be spent into the general revenues. And so many of these funds from Social Security have been spent overseas. So I want to pay for it, that’s the whole thing, but I don’t consider paying for it by punishing one group and taking that money and given it to the other group. So I’d pay for it, extend the tax cut and pay for it by overseas spending. For instance, why are we going to pretend that we’re leaving Iraq when we really aren’t, and we’re going to maintain the biggest embassy in the world and have 17,000 personnel there that are contractors that are making twice as much as our military. You can save billions of dollars doing that. So yes, we have to address it, this is the reason nobody wants to give up a nickel on this overseas expenditures, and that’s the best place to cut in order to save our system and take care of our Social Security beneficiaries and the healthcare of the people who are become so dependent. But I have no idea why they won’t consider this, and evidently the lobbyist who are spending this money overseas and the military are so powerful, that neither the Democrats nor the Republicans want to really talk about cutting overseas spending. Bring the troops home, that would save billions of dollars. So the money is there, but this idea that you have to raise taxes on the rich in order to pay for the payroll tax cut, makes no sense and that’s why they’re arguing about it.