Ron Paul: The financial political crisis is a consequence of excessive debt, unfunded liabilities, spending, bailouts and gross discrepancies in wealth distribution going from the middle class to the rich. No good has ever come from granting monopoly power to the state to use aggression against the people to arbitrarily mould human behavior. Such power, when left unchecked, becomes the seed of an ugly tyranny.
Neil Cavuto: Don’t look now, but Paul the Apostle has just wandered into the desert – not the biblical Paul, but the political Paul. But you’d have a very hard time distinguishing between the two, since Ron Paul supporters also have darn-near religious fervor for their unlikely leader. And why not, the former Texas Congressman and presidential candidate single-handedly galvanized a nation to think that libertarianism isn’t a crazy science. In Washington, it’s about basic math: money in, money out. A lot more money is going out than coming in, which is a bad combination. Before anyone, and I have covered everyone, Ron Paul was first [demurring] its disastrous consequences even before that guy, Ross Perot. He joins me now on the phone for his first interview as a former Congressman.
Welcome, sir, it’s very good to have you.
Ron Paul: Thank you, Neil, it’s nice to be with you again.
Neil Cavuto: At the risk of sounding smarmy and disingenuous, Congressman, I think you are among the smartest, sharpest and most [prissy] of public officials I have ever had the honor of speaking to. Now, I know that might not sound as a complement, but it is. And I wonder, with a voice like yours gone, who watches the tail, who watches all the money going out of Washington?
Ron Paul: Well, I think they’ll be many, and if I did any good at all, there should be quite a few.
Neil Cavuto: I had a hard time seeing them, Congressman, for that budget deal, Congressman.
Ron Paul: Well, how often do you see 15 people voting against the Speaker.
Neil Cavuto: Good point, good point.
Ron Paul: We used to say that if we got a 100 spontaneous phone calls in the congressional office, that meant there are about 2000 people who were really thinking about it. So if there’re are a couple of congressmen who are frustrated with the system right now, that means there were a lot more congressmen that just didn’t want to stand up and say so. No, it’s there, and I’ve tried to be the optimistic, but I don’t find that optimism in Washington, and as you have pointed out so often, I get some encouragement from the college campuses. And therefore I’m not a pessimist because I think they’re willing to listen, they’re idealistic and they know what they’re inheriting. So, therefore, I think we can pull out of this, but not with the current crop of politicians in Washington. Attitudes have to change, and that’s what I work on: changing people’s opinion, and I think to some degree I’ve had a little bit of success.
Neil Cavuto: Well, I think you have, Congressman. What I found while covering this last presidential race was that you respected people’s intelligence and the proof was during the primary caucus process. Your comments on each election night were electrifying, only you could get standing cheers and whoops from college kids, and you were talking about the money supply and the Federal Reserve. And I have been trying my entire career to do that, Congressman, and I have the benefit of a prompter, you didn’t. So hope springs eternal that this sticks and this measures and gets people galvanized. Here’s my word though, Congressman, I look at these public opinion polls where people say, “Leave the spending alone, zap the rich, leave my Medicare alone, leave my Medicaid alone, leave my Social Security alone”. Others are saying leave defense alone, just tax the rich. And I’m beginning to wonder whether we’ve gone from a country where supposedly the era of big government was over, to maybe the era of big government is back.
Ron Paul: Well, it never left, I don’t think so. There was talk of it, but I think the attack on the rich, and people have pointed out quite frequently that if you tax the rich and took all their money, it only finances government for a very short period of time. So in my farewell speech I made this point that for so many who advocate taxing the rich, it’s sort of envy. Envy is driven by destroying the people who are successful, not really helping the people. It obviously doesn’t help the people they’re taking the money from, but it doesn’t help the people who are taking the money either. Does it create a more vibrant economy, does it increase our economic activity? No. But too often people are driven by envy and they just can’t stand the success of people making money, but that’s what happens in a free market.
Neil Cavuto: I wish we had more time, but don’t you think we’ve given up the free market itself, that a free market itself is what’s being sacrificed here?
Ron Paul: Oh, I think so, and, of course, I’ve been arguing that that’s been sacrificed a long time ago. I remember getting really criticized by somebody who was criticizing capitalism and how terrible this capitalism was and I came back and said, “But we don’t have capitalism, we don’t have free markets, we have fixed interest rates, we have interventions, we have over-planning, over-spending, and deficits.” That’s not what happens in a free market, a free market is designed quite differently. So I resent the fact that they blame the problems that we have, we’ve just had all these extremists believing in Laissez-faire capitalism, and that’s why we have this mess. They’re wrong on that, and I’m trying to change people’s minds regarding that issue.
Neil Cavuto: Well, keep at it, young man. Ron Paul, I want to thank you, the last time you were here, I had a viewer telling me, “You know, Neil, when he leaves Washington, you should have him be your co-anchor”. I immediately shot and email back saying, “No, I don’t believe in any co-anchor who would make me look bad”. Congressman, thank you very much.
Ron Paul: Well, have me back some day.
Neil Cavuto: I will, I will.