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Candy Crowley: Joining me from his home state of Texas, is Republican presidential candidate, Congressman Ron Paul. Thank you so much, Congressman, for being here. I want to talk a little bit about your economic plan, in which you’ve called for shuttering, basically closing up, the departments of energy, education, housing and urban development, commerce, and interior. And you’re proposing about a trillion dollars in budget cuts. Now I want to show something to our audience that gives you an idea of Americans who are receiving government benefits. 48.5% of Americans live in households where someone receives a federal benefit; 34% of Americans live in households that receive means-tested benefits, things like Medicaid, aid to dependent children and that kind of thing. Do you, in a Paul Administration, foresee that those numbers would come down? Because you’re talking basically about half the country.
Ron Paul: Well, they have to come down, because the numbers you quote are obviously unsustainable. And if we don’t do anything, none of that is going to work, because it’s all going to be eaten up with inflation. So it isn’t a choice of looking towards my program or having the status quo of 48% of the people still getting checks, because it won’t last. We’re not producing, we don’t have jobs, we’re in debt, we’re on the verge of another downgrade of our credit. So we faced our consequences. So if we want to save some of these programs, which I make an attempt to do; save Social Security and medical care for the indigent, and even some of the educational programs, we have to do something. And we got into this mess by spending and borrowing in printing money, so we can’t get out of it that way. So we have to cut spending, and this is something nobody else wants to talk about. None of the other candidates are talking about cutting next year’s budget, everybody is talking in Washington, and the other candidates talk about, cutting the baseline increases 5 and 10 years out. And this is why there is no reassurance going to the economy, nobody believes it’s going to do any good. So I believe so, obviously very sincerely, that you can’t get out of a debt problem by accumulating more debt, it just doesn’t work.
Candy Crowley: One of the things that you’ve proposed that there’s been some controversy about, is to begin to phase out, as you explain it, federal student loans to those who want to go to college, federally-backed student loans that you want to phase out over time. At some point, then, you would have people who really don’t qualify for private loans, who couldn’t walk into a bank and say, “My son needs to go to college and I need a loan”, they simply won’t qualify. Are they just some people who won’t be able to go to college, that want to, in a Paul Administration?
Ron Paul: No, I don’t think so, anybody who’s ambitious enough will get to go to college. The problem is that college costs too much, and with the good intentions of giving people houses at discounts, it ends up with a housing bubble, and the people who were supposed to be helped, lose their house. In the same way with education, with the attempt to help people with education, all you do is you don’t get better education, you end up actually pushing the price of education up. So we’ve delivered now hundreds of thousands of students graduating with a trillion dollars worth of debt and no jobs, so it’s a totally failed policy. Only a generation ago, we didn’t have government programs and people worked their way through college and I was able to get through medical school and college, but it wasn’t so expensive. So it’s the inflation, the problem is the government. As soon as the government gets involved for good intentions, there are always unintended consequences, and almost inevitably it backfires. And besides, let’s say it did sort of work – and it does work for some people, some people get an education at the expense of others. But why should people who are laborers, who never get to go to college, be taxed to send some of us through college? So it’s not even a fair system when it works. But obviously it doesn’t work, and that’s why it’s coming to an end. And now they have to talk about, “Well, we’re going to have to bail out everybody, bail out housing and now bail out the student loans”. But that’s not the answer, the answer is looking towards the cause, and the cause is spending, debt, printing money and inflation, too much government, lose of confidence in the free market, lose of confidence in liberty is what it is. And we have responsibilities, responsibilities are on the individual and the family to take care of their needs, not the federal bureaucracy, it just doesn’t work.
Candy Crowley: But would you admit that there are people who need federal help, be it in education or be it in housing or food-stamps or that kind of thing?
Ron Paul: Yea, there are always some needs, the market isn’t perfect. But instead of having a trillion dollars worth of debt in a medical care system that’s totally broke down, you would always have some needs. But that was in existence before 1965, but there was nobody out in the streets without medical care, there weren’t people under the bridges back then like they are now. And also there were loans, people do loan, even if they have difficulty. Sometimes it takes people 6 years to go through college, and sometimes it takes people 4 years. But back then there were jobs available, and the whole thing was that the cost was so much lower. So yes, it will not be perfect is this catastrophic mistake where people have a pseudo education and no jobs and owe debt. I mean, we’ve indentured tem for a long, long time to come. So we have to challenge the status quo on how we run our economy and run this country.
Candy Crowley: Let me turn you to politics here, you raised a bit of a stir because you have refused to flatly rule out a third-party bid. Now, I know the minute you say, “I might do a third-party bid”, that kind of dooms a Republican bid. But, nonetheless, if there were a third-party bid, let’s just say as a hypothetical, wouldn’t you see a third-party bid from the Republican side of the equation as something that would doom Republican chances?
Ron Paul: Well, I don’t think it would doom it, it would cause a lit bit of a problem. Remember, Ronald Reagan did quite well with Anderson in it, and he still won rather easily.
Candy Crowley: George H. W. Bush didn’t do so well.
Ron Paul: Yea, that’s true, that’s another example. But anyway, I have no intention of doing it, nobody has particularly asked me to do it and I know what I’m doing, and I have no plans whatsoever to do it.
Candy Crowley: Let me ask you about something that a man named Matt Robins, who’s executive director at the American Majority – which is a Tea Party faction which has some sway, it’s not a small group, it’s a fairly good sized group – who said this of Michele Bachman, “Let’s face it, she’s a backbencher and has been a backbencher Congressperson for years, this is not a serious presidential campaign”. Do you agree with that?
Ron Paul: Well, I think she’s very serious and I think she did quite well. We were essentially tied for the Ames straw vote, so no, to say she’s not serious or for somebody to all of a sudden make a declaration on TV or make some challenges that’s repeated on TV, means that a person’s campaign is wiped out, I don’t think that’s fair.
Candy Crowley: And finally, George Will, well known conservative columnist, wrote this about Mitt Romney, “Romney, supposedly is the Republican most-electable next November, is a vociferous reviser of his principles who is not only becoming less electable, he might damage GOP chances of capturing the Senate. Republicans may have found there Michael Dukakis”. What’s your reaction to that?
Ron Paul: Well, time will tell. There’s obviously times when Mitt has changed his position, and he’s had to answer to it, but he’s pretty smooth in answer this. But I’ve seen ads and comments where he’s changed his position on a lot of things.
Candy Crowley: Does that make him an electable?
Ron Paul: No, I don’t think so, not at this stage. It maybe gives him a challenge, but they have challenged all the candidates, they haven’t challenged me for flip-flopping, so I’m very proud of that.
Candy Crowley: Alright. Thank you so much, Congressman Ron Paul, for joining us this Sunday, I appreciate it.