Ron Paul: Thank you very much, thank you for coming. It sounds like we’re getting close to an election. Thank you very much for being here, I want to thank all the veterans that are on the stage, and all the veterans out here and the rest who have come. I would like to introduce two family members here, I think they’re up here. I have my two granddaughters are with me, Lisa and Linda, they’re sisters and they’re students. I also want to thank Senator Kent Sorenson for stopping by, that was a very nice visit. But this is a wonderful evening because we’re going to emphasis our national defense, our veterans, and our military, which is, of course, very important. As has been said, and as I’ve said for many years, the constitution is a rather important document, and we should uphold it. And the constitution is very clear on what the responsibilities are at the federal level. At the federal level, defense is a vital function of the government.
OWS Protesters: You don’t care about student education, you want to eliminate student aid, Mr. Paul…
Ron Paul: Freedom of speech, isn’t it wonderful. They deserve attention, there are a lot of problems. And the problems are manifested by a lot of people being upset in this country. And I think a lot of people have that. We’re all upset and we want to change it in Washington, matter of fact, that’s what our purpose is. If you want to change something, you have to know what’s wrong. As a physician, if I didn’t get the diagnosis right, I couldn’t possibly get the treatment right. So, therefore, the diagnosis is very important, because right now, most people in this country know there’s something seriously wrong, there’s something seriously wrong with our foreign policy. And, something is seriously wrong with our economy and, of course, we all know there’s something seriously wrong with our monetary system, and something seriously wrong with our Federal Reserve System
But I think the best way to boil down the crisis that we face, is a debt crisis. We’re in too much debt, it’s unsustainable, our productivity is going down, the special interests have benefitted, the Wall Streeters get bailed out and the debt is being dumped on the people, and that has to be reversed, let me tell you. But we’re in this trouble because we haven’t followed the rule of law, the rule of law is the constitution. Article 1 Section 8 is very clear, it tells us exactly what we’re allowed to do, and we’re not allowed to do anything that is not explicitly given to us in the constitution.
Matter of fact, the constitution is mainly a document of prohibitions, prohibitions against the federal government intruding in our lives and intruding in our economic conditions, and also, there is no authority in the constitution to become the policeman of the world. And though there’s clear evidence that we should have a strong national defense, and that is a vital function of the federal government, we also know that if we do not take care of financial affairs at home, the problems that we can get from the problems overseas may magnify. The Soviet System collapsed for economic reasons, not for military reasons. So we have to maintain a healthy economy every bit as much as we have to have a strong national defense. One of the reasons we’ve gotten into trouble overseas has been because we haven’t followed the rules. It’s been a long time since this country declared a war. The last time we did it, after we were attacked and properly so, we attacked both Japan and Germany and, guess what, it was declared by the Congress, and was supported by the people. And it was over in approximately 4 years. We had proper authority and we were together. Since that time, we haven’t done it. I maintain that a president should never take a country to war unless there is a declaration of war, and fight them and win them and get them over with.
For many years, young men and women have been called to service, some of us have been drafted, others have joined with the purpose of providing defense for this country. But because so many of our young people have in the past, and currently, joined to defend this country, they can become disillusioned if they find out that the fighting and the killing and the spending of the money, doesn’t provide national defense, that we’re not under threat. Sometimes we go looking for trouble and putting our troops in harm’s way unnecessarily.
And because our country is literally bankrupt, we can’t pay our bills and we have to keep borrowing, we keep spending, we keep printing money and we cannot maintain this presence around the world. So, therefore, we can’t even afford to take care of our people back home. So my suggestion is to look carefully at our foreign policy and question whether or not we should be in 130 countries and have 900 bases. I say that’s way too many, it’s time to come home from most of those places. But too often when we’ve been called to duty and so many of us have gone, coming back home has not always been the best of receptions. Think of today, as both a physician and a congressman, and having been in the military, I have to deal with a lot of veterans’ problems. It’s very, very frustrating, because, so often, veterans are shunned, they don’t get the treatment they really deserve and the money is being wasted elsewhere. It took a long time for the victims of Agent Orange in the Vietnam War to finally get all their treatments, we had the Persian Gulf War Syndrome.
And even today, we’re currently suffering from abuse of our veterans when they come home. Hundreds of thousands are looking for help. I had a young man the other day who just got out of the military and, of course, he was sad and despondent about how many fellow soldiers were killed when he was over in Iraq. But he said, “You know what’s happening now? Some of my buddies now are committing suicide, it’s like and epidemic”. So there’s something terribly wrong with the system where it ends up so tragically and the help isn’t available. But I believe that it’s related to our foreign policy. The foreign policy should dictate how we go about, how we go to war. We should obey the constitution, go very sparingly, and we should go to preserve the peace and prosperity and the safety of this country, but not to go looking for trouble in different places of the world. We’ve had a foreign policy that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. So often, we go around and we find a friendly dictator and say our national security interests are best if we prop up this dictator, no matter what he does to his people. We’re done it numerous times. So we give him a lot of money. And then it goes badly and he changes his mind and then we have a fight. Then there are other countries we go to and they don’t want to cooperate with us, so we just go ahead and we use weapons and destroy their country and bomb those countries. So we either use force or money, force or money. And I thought, there has to be another option.
How about talking to them once in a while instead of using force and intimidation. I was called to service in 1962 during the missile crisis of Cuba. That was resolved rather quickly, but then I was in the air force for 5 years; I did not go to Vietnam, but it was during that period of time. But if you add up the decade the French were there and the decade the Americans were in Vietnam trying to settle a civil war in Vietnam, how many people were killed? Probably maybe a million Vietnamese, tens of thousands of French soldiers, and then 60,000 Americans, and then we had to leave after all this money and waste. And what did that usher in economically? And Johnson at the time said, “We can have guns and butter, it doesn’t matter, spend money on more welfare and more guns”. And they gave us the 1960s which were a very, very bad time. But the argument for us to go there wasn’t whether to go to the Congress and find out whether we should declare war or not. The argument was that if we don’t go there and stop communism from rolling over, there would be a domino effect and that whole region would turn communist. It turned out that we walked away from there after a lot of tragedy, China became less communistic when we left, they became capitalistic in many way, and now they’re our banker. So what’s happened in Vietnam? Has it got worse, did they go communist? No, all of a sudden they became Westernized. By looking at what we were doing, they started trading and interrelating with us, we travelled there, we invest there, they come here. And just think of what has been achieved between our two countries in peace, and what was not achieved in war and waste. We need to look at that.
A strong America is necessary, a strong America is going to give us a much better chance for peace. But, also, what we need is we also have to have prosperity as well. And, therefore, economic conditions are so important. Debt is the big problem right now that we’re facing, and we have to admit it. So even if somebody would say, “No, we can’t cut nickel out of the military budget”, just remember, the military budget is different from the defense budget. The military budget is all the weapons the military-industrial complex wants. But there is a big difference between that. But today, the leaders of both parties are not interested in cutting one nickel out of overseas expenditures, most of them want to increase it. And they’re furious if you don’t meet the automatic increases. And my suggestion is different, my suggestion is that we have problems here at home, we’re spending too much money overseas, we’re getting in too much trouble. Our obligation is to take care of the people here at home a long time before we ought to be the policeman of the world.
So this means that I’ve made a modest suggestion for the first year in office, and that is, cut spending by 1 trillion dollars in the first year. This would take some change in attitudes, like I said, we have to have a change in our foreign policy, not sacrifice 1 penny for defense, but stop spending so much money overseas. Now that should be a lot easier for we, the people, to come together on. All, liberals, moderates, conservatives, if they want to concentrate on taking care of America, why can’t we come together and stop this spending overseas? I would think that would be the easiest place in the world to cut spending. So half of the spending that I’m proposing in the first year would come from overseas spending. But it would mean that we would bring the troops home, we’d bring them home from Korea and Japan and Germany. There may well be an immediate economic benefit by all those salaries and wages of the military spending their money here at home instead of in Germany and Japan. But that still won’t be enough cutting, you’d have to cut some more, so I have picked 5 departments to cut and then, also, go back on the budget levels to 2006. You know, it wasn’t like government was too small back in 2006. Just go back to 2006, and that gets you down, after 3 years, the budget would be balanced. The only reason that this doesn’t happen is because people in Washington are in denial, they don’t think there’s a spending problem.
Today, guess what, the President has announced that he’s going to ask the Congress to raise the national debt by 1.2 trillion dollars. No, absolutely not. But guess what kind of tricky they have, and guess who did it? It was the Congress last summer when they had this resolution, when they created this super-committee that was going to solve all our problems, they made a deal with the President. This is the way it works: the President goes to the Congress and says, “I need to raise the national debt limit by 1.2 trillion dollars”. And if Congress doesn’t reject the request, in 15 days it becomes law, automatically. They have to reject it. And guess what, he’s going to ask for this increase when they’re on Christmas vacation. So the debt, in a way, is going up automatically, they’re on auto pilot. And, believe me, this economy is not going to sustain it much longer. This is a worldwide phenomenon, this is a dollar phenomenon, it’s a monetary phenomenon, and it’s intertwined. We are very much engaged right now in bailing out Europe. We’re doing this through the Federal Reserve, and the Federal Reserve does it off the books, they don’t even get audited. Until we can get rid of the Fed, we at least ought to know exactly what they’re doing and Congress ought to force them to tell us what they’re doing.
Audience: End the Fed, End the Fed.
Ron Paul: We’re approaching a crisis time, economically speaking, and politically speaking. Our liberties are at threat, too, not by an outside invader, nobody is going to invade us, we have the strongest military, we’ve done a great job militarily. But we’ve also taken that oath to be aware of enemies, both, foreign and domestic, and we have a lot of our freedoms under threat right now. But we’re at a crossroads and we have to make a decision. And this is a decision that the Founders actually had to make, because they got sick and tired of the King, they got sick and tired of the taxes and the oppression and soldiers being put in their houses and the loss of their privacy. And the American people are getting that way, too. And we have to make a decision, once again, about what the role of government should be. The Founders who wrote the constitution said the role of the federal government, at least, would be very, very minimal. And right now, though, the federal government is very, very large which means that every power and authority the federal government gets, undermines your personal liberty. The goal in all political action, from my viewpoint, should be the promotion and preservation of individual liberty.
If our military has been so successful and we don’t have to worry about anybody invading us, then what are our concerns about? To me, it is the economy and the way we’ve lived beyond our means and the way we have become careless with our liberties, that we allow our government to do too much. We had a major crisis, a major event, which was so terrible for us to withstand. That, of course, happened on 9/11. 9/11 was a very bad episode and a lot had to be done. But we didn’t do exactly the right things at the right time. For instance, one of the first things they did within days, before they decided who did what and where we would go, they passed a piece of legislation that had been floating around for years and they shoved it on the Floor and within an hour it was passed and nobody had time to read it. And that was the PATRIOT Act and that took away your 4th Amendment rights, and we don’t need the PATRIOT Act. And, of course, just recently we have had some other changes. Matter of fact, early this year, the President announced a policy change. He said now that it was proper for him to have the authority to assassinate an American citizen even if they have not been charged with anything, if he thought it was necessary. Now the person they picked out was probably a very bad guy, he talked about stirring up violence but he was never charged with it, he never had a trial, and yet it was decided that he would be assassinated. So we used a drone and we assassinated him in Yemen. So let it go by, he’s a bad guy, he’s gone. But the principle, the precedent, is very, very dangerous. So the next week they decided his son looked like a pretty shady character too, so they sent another missile over to get the son. Well, they got him, plus his cousin, they were back in the backyard barbequing. They killed him both, and the son was 16 years old. And this is not the way America is supposed to be, we’re supposed to be a nation of law, the rule of law is what we want.
So, in one sense, when we go in with the military, we take the oath and we go and fight and endanger ourselves to protect our constitution, and at a same time, our constitution is being eroded right here at home. Just this last week or two weeks ago, I guess, the National Defense Authorization Act … I’m always impressed that so many people know about it, that means we have a healthy society and the internet is working. But that bill essentially eliminates posse comitatus, it is institutionalizing military law, that the military can arrest an American citizen without charges, and be denied an attorney and be held indefinitely, even in a foreign prison. This is not good for us. And, fortunately, we’re able to get some information out, and a lot of what we’ve done in our campaign makes use of the internet. But also, there’s an attack on the internet right now. The bill that that was going to stop all theft on the internet, which means they’re opening up the doors to know everything you do and to measure everything you do to protect you from yourself. Let me tell you, governments can’t protect you from yourself and they don’t need to be taking over the internet, either.
Of course, all these things are done to take away the 4th Amendment, they call that the PATRIOT Act. For the internet it’s the stop online piracy act, it’s always these good things. Even when that PATRIOT Act was being voted on, I remember so clearly because I sat down next to another member and he was voting for it. And guess what, I was voting against it. And I asked him, “Why are you voting for this, you probably don’t even know what’s in it, you haven’t had a chance to read it?” He said, “Oh, I know that”. I said, “You know there’s going to be some bad stuff in there, don’t you?” and I told him a few things. He said, “Yea, I know that”. I asked, “Why are you going to vote for it?” and he said, “Well, the conditions are we just had this attack, people want us to do something, and it’s called the PATRIOT Act, how can I vote against the PATRIOT Act? What would I do if I had to go home and explain it to them?” And I said, “Well, that’s your job, go home and explain it to them why you’re doing it”.
We will have to make a decision real soon, whether it’s six months or two years, I don’t know. But it’s real soon.
From an Austrian perspective in economics, we are able, to predict certain events that will come, but we can’t tell when. Austrian Economics taught, and we fully understood, that there was a housing bubble, and we knew there was a NASDAQ bubble. We didn’t know the day that they would burst. So there are certain events that are coming that are going to happen and they’re going to be very dangerous, but they might come in a day or a week or a year. But the foundation of the system has been eroded, so, therefore, the collapsing and the falling down of the system. The financial system is on shaky legs, the militarism that we have overseas is very shaky because there are plans right now to spread the war into Syria and then how soon can we start bombing Iran; and that’s very precarious. So we now have a system where our personal liberties aren’t being protected, and there could be problems in the street. We have had some indication that people are speaking out, and they have every right to, and they should. Whether it’s the Tea Party Movement or the Occupy Movement, they’re just desperate because they’re dissatisfied with the government and they’re looking for some answers. But what we have to work for is to work our way out of here and try to prevent the violence, and respect and honor the rule of law and respect all individuals, to protect everybody, not just certain people from all these crimes.
You know, I talk a lot about the wars going on overseas, I did my best to try to stop them. I remember the first speech I gave on the House Floor about trying to stop something in Iraq. It didn’t happen in 2001 or 2000, it happened in 1998, that’s when they passed the bill that said it is now our policy to have regime change in Iraq, and that’s going to lead to war. So we know what they’re trying to do and we have to try to stop them, we have to work our way out of it economically. That’s why I want to cut the spending, work our way out, but I want to take care of the people who have become so dependent on government, even though it would have been a better way of taking care of them. You take the elderly on Social Security, it was a contract, but we can’t honor that contract if we keep spending this money overseas. So I would take care of those people who are on Medicaid, Medicare and the people at home on Social Security. But you can’t do it the way we’re doing it today. If we continue to do it today, you’ll have the economic calamity, you’ll have the runway inflation and nobody is going to have anything and you’re going to have violence in the streets, and that will be very, very dangerous. We’re not immune from that. What I see as happening is we’re seeing something very wonderful slip away from us, something that we have all benefitted by, you and I and our families, and for years. Even today, we still have a lot of apparent wealth, but our wealth today is all based on debt. If all the bills had to be paid, there wouldn’t be much wealth. What if we had to pay the 15 trillion dollars national debt, what if we had to pay the 3 trillion dollars to the Chinese? You can’t have it based on debt. But what has happened is, we had a great constitution, we had maximum freedom, we had a continent that was special, had a lot of natural resources, protected by the oceans, and we got soft. We had so much wealth, that we then, as a people, concentrated more on the wealth than we did on (?) and we got careless and our liberties have slipped away. But our wealth will slip away as well. If you don’t have true liberty, the wealth cannot last. And in the last 100 years, it didn’t happen – yea, I do my share of criticizing the President, I’ve already done that this evening once – but let me tell you, it’s not this administration, it wasn’t just the previous administration, it’s been decades of bad economic ideas and bad foreign policy and bad monetary policy; that’s where the problem is.
So what this system did, was it breed the interest in government being taken over by the special interests. You did much better by having a high paid lobbyist than going out and producing a product. Besides, producing products became more difficult because of over taxation and over regulation of monetary system, all the things that we have done to chase so many of our businesses away. So, it became such that lobbying in Washington became the most important thing, so the lobbyist control things. Medical reforms, when they have new legislation, Republican or Democratic, guess who gets involved, it’s the lobbyist, it’s the corporations and the medical companies and insurance companies. People aren’t represented, they might tell you that, but you’re really not represented because, in a free society, you don’t have the government involved, it works differently. Just think of this effort to give everybody a house. That ended up with everybody who they wanted to give a house, losing their house and the people in Wall Street get bailed out. What about this effort of the federal government taking over education? They’ve been doing that for a good many years. I think it was a bad idea, I don’t think we should have a Department of Education.
But the results have not been good because we became more dependent on the government, the government would take care of us and provide for us, whether it’s medicine or education. So, in the old days, like when I was in college and medical school, I was able to work my way through school and wasn’t so expensive. But today, how difficult is this? it’s so expensive and it’s hard to get a job, so it’s hard to do. So the enticement is, become and indentured servant to the government, borrow the money, and owe the government money for years and not be well enough trained to take some of the jobs that are available today. There are a lot of jobs available, but they’re technical jobs and we don’t have the training. So we’re graduating these thousands and thousands of students and right now the students owe a trillion dollars, they owe more money than our credit cards. So it’s a failed system. This is what I think the people are realizing, and what’s happening in this campaign. People are given up [on the government], and I think it’s a healthy attitude: don’t depend on the government, the government is supposed to protect us and give us our freedoms and let us take care of ourselves and not be dependent on the government.
There’s one other war that I want to mention, and I think has been detrimental to our liberties, and it’s a war much nearer to home. You know, we have some problems on our southern border. I know that’s a long way off from Iowa, but we live down there in Texas and we have a problem on the borders. In the last 5 years, it’s estimated that 45,000 individuals, probably mostly Mexicans, have been killed on the borders. So there’s a border war going on down there. But here we are, spending hundreds of billions of dollars losing our troops over trying to decide where the boundary line is between Afghanistan and Pakistan. I think we should be more concerned about our own borders here at home. But the war that we have on our southern border is complex, we have the issue of illegal immigration and my argument on illegal immigration is if you didn’t subsidize it, you’d have a lot less of it, and there would be no enticement. But the border is interconnected with another war that has not played well for us, and that’s the war on drugs. I think the war on drugs has been very detrimental to our personal liberties as an excuse to invade our privacy and to do many of the things that are unnecessary and don’t solve the problems.
Before 1914, there were no federal rules or regulations on drugs. The real modern war on drugs came up in the early 1970s, we’ve spent like a couple of trillion dollars on the war on drugs, and there are still a lot of people using those drugs. And a lot of times they’re using a lot of prescription drugs, too, more so than even the illegal ones. But prohibition of alcohol didn’t work, alcohol is a very dangerous drug. But there’s something that we should think about on this; if it isn’t working, why are we doing this? And the one basic principle that I think is wrong is that alcohol is a very deadly drug, and if a person becomes an alcoholic and asks for help, we show a little empathy, we treat him as a patient, we have centers where they go to. But if somebody is caught using a drug that they have made illegal arbitrarily, you become a criminal. And I think maybe it’s because I’m a physician, I like to think about the drug problem more as a medical problem than throwing people in prison for using it.
But freedom is a wonderful experiment, it hasn’t been tried all that much, most of history has always been run by tyrants, dictators and kings and pharos. And even today, I fear that our government is getting more tyrannical, there’s more authority, we don’t really have property rights and they don’t even need search warrants to come into our houses. So we’re losing a whole lot. But freedom, to me, is so wonderful because people use freedom in different ways. You don’t have to decide what your religions are, there was a time where the government decided what the major religion should be. But we don’t believe in a theocracy, we shouldn’t be domineering. People understand this pretty well that you can pick and choose your religion, you can pick and choose your intellectual materials. But so often what we have done is, for anything we want to put in our mouth, it seems like the government has to give us permission. So if we’re expected to deal with our eternity and our intellectual life, why aren’t we responsible for our own bodies and make our own decisions on these? The encouraging part is that a lot of people are listening and a lot of people are excited about some of the things we’ve been talking about tonight. Talking about where America went wrong, the greatness of our constitution, the greatness of our traditions, what sound money is all about, what a sensible foreign policy is all about. And we don’t have to give up anything, we don’t have to give up our defense. And for you to be safe, you don’t have to give up your liberties. This idea that you have to give up so much of your liberties to be safe, is nonsense. You don’t have to give up any liberties to be safe.
The other warning some others give is, “Oh yes, it’s bad, we have to do all this, but you’re going to have to sacrifice”. Now, if I can wave the wand and have my way and have enough people come into the Congress with me and we can change it, and I give you back your liberty: your life is your own, your responsibility is your own, give you back your freedom to act as you chose, give you your freedom to keep what you earn, tell you that you can spend your money and use your property as you see fit, why is that a sacrifice? That’s not a sacrifice, that’s what you need. But there’s a lot of excitement going on and I’m encouraged, I’m encouraged about next week, I hope everybody comes out and votes. But, as important as the election is and what we’ve dealt with and I’ve been doing it for a long time, the interest is growing out of great need because we need some answers. But this is something that is an intellectual fight, we have to know what we want, we have to be convinced that freedom works, we have to be convinced that we cannot depend on others, and we don’t have any right to tell other people what to do. And if we did that, if we used that golden rule on interpersonal relationship, we ought to know how to use the golden rule on international relationship. If we don’t want other countries doing anything to us, we shouldn’t do it to them either.
But because of the crisis that we’re facing, there is a lot of independent thinking, people now consider themselves more independent than belonging to parties. But where I really get encouraged is in two areas, one is with the students. The students, the young people in high schools and colleges, and recently the young military people, they know what liberty is all about and that’s what they want. But then there are also another group, sometimes I forget about them, but I might place myself in that group. Some people of a little bit older age that have been around, and they remember a little bit about what it was like to have more personal freedom and personal responsibility. Some of them have been around, and they’ve sort of dropped out, they haven’t been voting, they haven’t been interested, because they’ve been stung too many time because the candidates say one thing and they do something else. And I call them the political remnant, there’s always a remnant in society, no matter how bad the society is. Just think of what it was like in communism, they had the (?), they were part of the remnant that held the truth together. So there is a large number of people, and I think they’re coming out, they’re coming out of the woodworks and saying, “Maybe we see a chance of a real change”, and it’s galvanizing and I think it’s getting very exciting. I don’t think for a minute it’s going to be easy, but I know one thing: if we don’t put our mind to it and work our way out of this and we just go along with the status quo and continue to do the things we’re doing right now, believe me, it’s worth the fight, because that would be very bad. That’s what I’m here for, that’s what I’m here to ask you for some help for. But we don’t need the status quo, we need to restore the greatness of America, the greatness or American freedom, and the wonderful country that we live in. Thank you very much.
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