Jeffrey Chiesa: New Jersey has a tough price-gouging law, and we have it so that we ensure that profiteers will not take unfair advantage of people at their most vulnerable times: those who have been displaced from their homes due to a major disaster, those who have limited resources, and those who desperately seek out fuel, shelter, and the basic necessities for them and their families.
News Anchor: After a distinguished career in Congress, spanning more than 30 years, Ron Paul has decided to hang up his legislative spurs and return to Texas. But, as you might have expected, the feisty Dr. Paul is not going quietly, and the Congressman joins us right now from the Russell Rotunda in Washington. Congressman, we’re delighted to have you with us, I want to talk about price-gouging and gas prices and things I know you have on your mind in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. Before I do, I would be remiss if I didn’t ask you about the scandal being called ‘Benghazi Gate’ by many. Do you think, first of all, that there really is a scandal there, or do you think that this will sort itself out?
Ron Paul: Well, it may sort itself out, but I think the real scandal is how we get ourselves involved in messes like this and how we get our people in danger spots. Here, we first helped some people who didn’t like their dictator, and we get permission from NATO to go in there and bomb their country and put somebody in charge. And then it looks like they might well have turned against our people and killed our ambassador. And I think we get ourselves into these messes that we shouldn’t.
News Anchor: Are you disappointed in General Petraeus?
Ron Paul: I’m more disappointed in our policies that allow us to get into these predicaments, and people die over it, that’s what bothers me the most.
News Anchor: President Obama is visiting New York on Friday, touring the damage from Hurricane Sandy. One of the things all the elected officials were very keen on, was the exploitation of the victims by the businesses or unscrupulous hustlers. You had an interesting take, though, on price-gouging when it comes to the gasoline prices, something that virtually everyone considers abhorrent. But you had a different take, what is your take on price-gouging?
Ron Paul: My first gripe is that it’s automatically granted as gouging. Well, under certain circumstances, prices go up, and prices go up for certain reasons. To prevent prices from going up, that’s called price fixing, and this has been around for about 2000 years, it was known in the Roman Empire. And one thing that happens if you don’t allow prices to go up and send out the information to increase the supply, is you get shortages, and when you get shortages, you get rationing. And look at what happened? It makes no sense at all, it’s so anti-market and anti-freedom, and it ruins things and delays the inevitable, and that’s why we’re still struggling to solve the problem of shortages. The market works, and the most important time to have a market, is in periods of crisis and when there are shortages, and then the market will adjust for it. But, people, out of emotion, say, “Oh, you can’t have it, he’s charging too much, he’s gouging people”. No, he’s trying to alleviate the problems, and if the prices go up, all of a sudden, supply is increased automatically.
News Anchor: Even if it’s $10/gallon or $20/gallon?
Ron Paul: Sure, the higher they go, the faster they come in, but it would only be for a day, because people would have the supplies go up. But once you freeze it below the market, the shortages expand and the problems are not solved. But, no, the market will dictate who’s going to pay $20/gallon. And if people are going to pay $20/gallon, somebody is going to come in and somebody is going to automatically have a truck full of cans of gasoline and they’re going to sell them, and all of a sudden prices would go down. But it would only take about 24 or 48 hours to have the supply increased, as long as you get the government out of the way and allow the trucks to move.
News Anchor: So, is that why you’re leaving: the inability of Congress to solve our problems?
Ron Paul: Oh, no, that isn’t it. I think they’ve had enough of me up here in Congress.
News Anchor: At least we’ll still have your son to kick around.
Ron Paul: Yea, there you go. But treat him nicely.
News Anchor: Is he going to run for President?
Ron Paul: Oh, I don’t know, I never had that discussion with him, but time will tell.
News Anchor: Alright, so nice to talk to, Congressman Ron Paul, always engaging, always so thoughtful, I appreciate it.
Ron Paul: Thank you very much.
News Anchor: We certainly wish him well in his retirement, that’s it for us tonight.