Cam DeJong: Thank you, thank you all for being here this evening. My name is Cam DJong, I’m the state representative from ward 2 here in Manchester, New Hampshire. It’s a distinct honor to be here tonight. We do have several distinguished guests with us in attendance, in addition to everyone here, who’s very distinguished. We have Senator Tom Deblois from Manchester, Senator Jim Forsythe, Senator Andy Sanborn, and Senator [Ray White]. We also have this evening with us Representatives Tammy Simmons, Mike Ball, Phil Grasso, and Matt Swank. So thank you all for being here tonight for this event.
Tonight’s Town Hall will consist of a short interview between myself and Dr. Paul, after which we open the Hall to your questions. We know that there are a lot of Ron Paul supporters here tonight, and we thank you very, very much for your support, but we want to encourage undecided voters to ask their questions first. Dr. Ron Paul who is with us tonight is, of course, a 12 term congressman, and he is, without a doubt, the champion of liberty in the United States. There is so much I can say to introduce him myself tonight, and there is so much that some of us known, and the undecided voters will get to know tonight. But consistency, integrity, and just strict adherence to the constitution is all it takes from you to say that I’m glad to call Dr. Paul my next President, and a friend of mine. And I hope by the end of tonight, you say the same. So thank you very much.
Ron Paul: Thank you.
Cam DeJong: Dr. Paul, you’ve been married for 53 years, how did you meet your wife?
Ron Paul: Well, that’s an interesting story, and I better make sure I get the numbers right, because it’s 54. Before I explain that little thing to you, I want to introduce two of my granddaughters, if they would stand; Lisa Paul and Linda Paul. I did get a couple of days off this weekend and, matter of fact, we had a wedding on this weekend and their older sister got married. It was on Saturday night, and the rehearsal dinner was on Friday night. And grandparents are supposed to be at rehearsal dinners, but this guy, I think his name is Jay Leno, he talked me into going out. But the family was very happy, they watched it, so they didn’t hold that against me for not being there. Anyway, we had a big weekend and we’re delighted to be here tonight, and thank you for coming.
But the story about meeting my wife is a little bit different, because my first date with her was when she was on her birthday, and she was 4 years old. No, that’s really correct, it was her 4th birthday. She was born on a leap year February 29th, so it was her 16th birthday and we were in high school together. And it was one of these Sally Hawkins dances, so the girls got to ask the boys. So that’s how they got me there. But I tell people, “Well, you know, leap year, you only have to buy presents every 4 years.” But I was straightened out rather quickly on that. So we were married in my senior year at college, and I knew by that time that I was going to medical school. And I kid that I worked my way through college, she worked my way through medical school.
Cam DeJong: Dr. Paul, this year the deficit is 1.7 trillion dollars, that’s trillion with a ‘t’, and the debt is now is now 15 trillion dollars. You recently unveiled a dramatic plan to balance the budget in 3 years. In the first year alone, you cut 1 trillion dollars. Why are you so sure that deep cuts will help the economy?
Ron Paul: Because government spends too much money, and when government spends money, they have a tendency to waste it. And there’s a big difference between government spending money and the people spending the money. Liberal economists literally teach and preach the whole idea that it makes no difference; if the people won’t spend the money, the government has to. And they use this silly argument, they say, “Even if the government spent money paying somebody to dig a hole in the ground, and then paid another group to fill up the hole, it would be productive”. Well, common sense tells us that kind of economics can’t be productive. And then people argue, “Well, if the government doesn’t spend the money, then the money will come out of the economy and it won’t be a stimulus”. But the whole thing is, if the government doesn’t spend the money, that means the money is left in your hands, and the people make wiser choices. Debt is the big problem, the debt burden is the real problem the whole world faces. And it comes as a consequence of the monetary system, because if you didn’t have the monetary system we have today where governments can spend money and if they can’t tax enough or borrow enough, then they print this money. So this encourages a lot of debt. Finaly, though, you can’t spend any more money, the debt is too big, interest rates are so low that you can’t lower interest rates, and everything the government does, doesn’t restore the confidence because of the debt burden. If an individual gets into so much debt, or a business gets into so much debt that they can’t get their business to grow anymore because they spend all their time just paying for the debt and keeping up, the only way they can get growth again, or an individual or an family can get growth in their economic wellbeing, is to get rid of their debt. Some people liquidate their debt by going bankrupt, but other people will say, “You know, I’ve gone too far, I have too many credit cards, I have too many cars, I have two houses, and I can’t keep up”. They have to change their way, they have to say, “No more credit cards, I have to work harder, I have to pay down the debt”, and then when that debt is liquidated, they can see growth in their productive capacity and have economic growth. Governments don’t want to do that because politically there is a lit bit of annoyance, because generally the people don’t want anything cut, and, therefore, the politicians don’t want to cut. They keep spending and spending until we get to a point where we are today. And it’s just unbearable, and still today in Washington, the biggest problem there is even though they’re hearing the message from people like you – that the spending is too big, the deficits are too big, the debt is too big – there’s no serious effort to do anything about it. They give lip service to it, they talk about, “Well, the Congress should do this, and if they don’t do it, we’ll have a super-committee and they should do this”. And even the proposals they talk about, they’re not even touching on cutting anything. If we didn’t passed the budget, the super-committee was supposed to meet, and if they didn’t come up with it, there was going to be an automatic cut of 1.5 trillion dollars over 10 years. But none of it would start until 2013, and the amount of money that would be cut over 10 year periods, if they would do it, would be not even enough to cover the debt every month. Every month we run up a 100 billion dollars of debt, so it doesn’t even touch it. So they’re not serious about it, and this is why I introduced this program trying to emphasis the point that you just can’t keep promising people, “We’re going to spend money and deficits don’t matter”. But you have to cut. In my proposal, though, I try to do it with a plan that you don’t put people out in the streets. The people who have become very dependent on government, even though they should have never gotten that way; there’s a lot of people, the elderly in the medical programs that people are very dependent on. And you can still work your way out of it if we, as a country, would change our attitude about what the ultimate goal of government is. To me, the goal is government should be very limited, and that is to protect your freedoms.
The big problem, though, is I tried to come up with cuts to balance the budget in one year, but most of the cuts come in the first year. That’s one trillion dollars in one year. But, we have to have a changed attitude about what we should be doing as a country and as a government. And where I start, and where I think it should be the easiest, if the people say “Yes, it’s too much, and this debt is a problem, we need to change”, I’d go after overseas spending and I would cut 500 billion dollars from overseas spending. I’m sick and tired of people like you being drained to be the policeman of the world and to get involved all around the world, all these foreign aids. I’d just bring our troops home and get over and done with all these wars, and we can save a lot of money. The other savings come from getting rid of 5 departments, and that’s a fair start, and then also to go back to the budget levels of 2006. So that would be the opposite of what they do in Washington, they have baseline budgeting which guarantees this growth, and if they decrease the growth a little bit, they call it a cut. So I say that’s too much deception, so what we have to do is actually cut. I’d go back for almost all the programs to 2006. And the government in 2006 wasn’t too small then, it was plenty big enough. But that’s what would have to be done, if not, the consequence is serious; the debt will continue to explode, the printing of money will explode, you’re going to have a lot more inflation. And no matter what the government does, it’s not going to work. And we’re sort of up against it right now, because the government keeps trying, but just think of how the standard of living is going down for so many people. The middle class is being diminished, the standard of living is going down, the prices for people on Social Security are going up. So they are losing. So you can print money and keep passing up, but the prices go up, and you lose it all. And we’re only at the beginning of this, you can’t create trillions of dollars and think that that won’t have an effect. And so far, it’s had a minimal effect, but it’s to get a lot worse. That’s why I’m convinced that you have to cut spending, and I don’t see this as a sacrifice. People who have gotten the bailouts, they might have to sacrifice because but I’m tired of bailing out people. We shouldn’t be bailing out people. But if you get more of your freedoms back and if you get a chance to have your taxes lower … of course, my goal is to get rid of the income tax, that wouldn’t be a sacrifice, I think that would be a good think for everybody.
So if there were less regulations and less interference from the government in our personal lives and we stopped all these wars, to me, that isn’t a sacrifice, it’s just sort of coming around to common sense. And fortunately the American people are shifting in their ideas, they’re coming in this direction, they realize how serious it is. And the young people are leading the charge, and I like that, too.
Cam DeJong: Thank you, thank you. You did touch on the military interventions, and you are a veteran in the Air Force. And given that experience and given your experiences in foreign policy, what will you do to make sure that we have a strong national defense?
Ron Paul: A strong national defense is key. The defense of liberty is the main purpose, but a strong national defense is part of that, and that is a precise function of the federal government. It was proscribed that the states aren’t to be involved in having armies to provide a national defense. I think our defenses are down when we spread ourselves so thinly around the world; we’re in 130 countries, we have 900 bases, it’s an economic burden for us. We have to remember a rather recent empire that bit the dust, it was the Soviet Empire and they were so foolish, they went into Afghanistan and had a war. So it’s an economic consequence of a foreign policy, but it also creates problems for us. I mean, how does having our troops all around the world actually defend us here? And more precisely, we’ve lost lives and a lot of money worrying about figuring where the boundary is between Afghanistan and Pakistan. At the same time, we don’t worry enough about our own borders around here. So I think our defense is diminished. What I’m proud of is the fact that the military have been very supportive of our campaign. When you look at the donations, we get over twice as much money from active military people than all the other candidates put together. And that means the military is looking at what I’m talking about, and they don’t feel exactly excited about what’s going on. It would be nice to say that maybe they’re turning the corner and we’ll come from Iraq and that war will be over, but I don’t think I can report that to you, that’s not my assessment. Yes, some troops came out, but the embassy is there, 17,000 contractors and state department people will be in that embassy and we’re all around Iraq. We haven’t changed our policy. So for having a strong national defense, we have to have a different policy, the policy should be designed to defend this country, not to pretend that we can police the world, and not that we can buy friends either by foreign aid or by forcing them to be our friends by taking them over and bombing them and insisting or installing dictators. We’ve been doing it for a long time, and it’s not good for us. If we want a strong national defense, we have to change the policy. And the mood right now is that since the Cold War ended, the declaration was that we have to spread our exceptionalism around the world, therefore, we have this obligation to tell everybody to live like we do and have elections and do these things. The trouble is, when they have the elections and they don’t elect the people we want, we ignore them or we throw them out of office. Take for instance, how it antagonizes and undermines our national defense when we support Sharia type dictators in Saudi Arabia. There’s a lot of resentment for us from that. I happen to think our country is exceptional, but I don’t believe that if we are a good country and we have exceptional values, that you spread them either by bribing people or bombing people. We should set a good example where people would want to emulate us, we should have peace and prosperity so they say, “Wait, the Americans are doing it right, let’s be more like Americans”. That’s the only way I think we can spread our exceptionalism.
Cam DeJong: Thank you. And one final question from me before I move to the audience is, how do you compare the European debt crisis to our own debt crisis?
Ron Paul: Well, the European debt crisis is very, very dangerous and they’re going to have a climactic end before we will. But it’s all intertwined. In 1971, the last link of our dollar to gold was severed, that was when the Bretton-Woods Agreement broke down. It meant that we, as Americans, could print dollars as if they were gold and the world, unbelievably, kept accepting them, and they still do. So we ship out dollars and they put it in the bank like it were gold, and then they build their monetary system on our dollars. So for all these years we’ve had some benefit from this where our best export is paper money, so we get cheap exports in. The whole problem, though, is that financially it’s not a good deal because our jobs go overseas, too, because it’s cheaper and it seems like a good deal to just print money and import products. But because they propped up their currencies around the world, they’re in big trouble, but the world is still trusting the dollar, and we’re on the verge of bailing out Europe. The euro has only been around for 10 years and it looks like it’s in big trouble. So Bernanke and the rest of them have promised we will bail them out. Like it was in 2008, if you don’t bail out the banks and these bankrupt corporations, it will be the end of the world. So that’s what they do, they build up fear. They do that in foreign policy as well as economic policy to get people frightful so that they go along with what they want to do. So right now the course is that we’ll bail out Europe. The only thing that will stop that … they’ll continue to do that until they destroy the money. And when confidence is lost, whether it’s in Europe or here … so if they pull it off when they can tide things over and we print a couple more trillion dollars and bail out Europe, it just puts more and more pressure on us, until finally the world will reject the dollar. Because if this could work forever, it means we Americans wouldn’t have to work again, we’ll just print money and let them take it. But that’s not the way economics works. Even this past week, I was looking at how much foreigners are holding our debt, and whether it’s a trend or not, I don’t know, but there was a big drop in the amount of debt foreigners are holding this year. So that’s what will happen, they’ll finally quit buying our debt and that will eventually push our interest rates up. But what’s happening in Europe is very, very important, it’s trying to prop up a system that is unworkable, it cannot work, and it will end.
Cam DeJong: Alright, thank you. At this time, we’re going to open up the discussion to your questions. And, again, we encourage questions to come from those of you who are undecided voters. So undecided voters, please, this is a great opportunity to ask your questions to Dr. Paul.
Audience Member: Hi, Dr. Paul, my name is Hanna. I personally, along with 25% of the country, do not identify with any particular religion. I understand you’re for freedom of religion and I support you greatly in that. Would you support any legislation that is religiously motivated, but cannot be staunchly defended on secular reasons, as well?
Ron Paul: Probably depends on what you’re talking to, because somebody might accuse you of saying that you shouldn’t murder somebody that’s religious. But in any issue of violence, I think the government should be involved. But when it comes to regulations, no, there’s nothing the government should be involved. The First Amendment is very, very clear: the Congress shall write no laws dealing with the establishment of religion. But there shouldn’t be any prohibitions, either. And I use this a whole lot as an example of how we should look at civil liberties, because basically we do a pretty good job in religion. I’ll be there are a lot of different religious values in this room, and some who just don’t want any particular religious values. And that’s what we’ve been provided, we don’t have to make those decisions, and the government shouldn’t make these decisions. And we’re pretty tolerant on what our intellectual rights should be, we can read books and even when communism was a real threat, we still had books on communism and we didn’t prevent people from doing it. But we rarely apply that same principle to personal lifestyles and personal habits, because they’re afraid, “Some people’s personal habits might not be good, and we have to watch it, They might drink too much or smoke too much” and all these other things. So they don’t give the people the same type of protection. But the federal government definitely should not be involved in regulating anything with religious values, they shouldn’t be involved in intellectual matters, but I don’t think they should do it in personal habits, either. A lot of people say, “Oh yea, but they might go out and gamble, and this would be bad for the family and all”. But if you legalize religious choices, that doesn’t mean we endorse it. I want everybody to make their own choices, as long as they don’t hurt other people. I don’t endorse what they do with their religious freedom, but what you do with your personal liberties, with your own habits, I don’t endorse what you do. And this is why freedom is so miraculous, it brings people together. All of a sudden, people who have different religious values, different intellectual interests, and different personal habits, can come together. Because what we want to protect is that principle of liberty, and that’s what made our country great. But something happened along the way, because today we don’t have a concise understanding of what freedom is about. Some people are a little bit better on personal liberties and religious liberties and, at the same time, another group will be better on economic liberties. But it should be one and the same; if you have a right to your life and you have a right to your liberties, you ought to defend personal liberties as equal to economic liberties. And that is one of my goals, to try to bring people together. But the federal government shouldn’t be writing any laws on regulation of religious values.
Audience Member: Hi, Dr. Paul. I know you’ve said before that you would not use the executive order unless you absolutely had to, as one of these things of last resort. But I’m wondering, with all the unconstitutional laws and bills that have passed lately, would you consider using it to undo all the bad that they’ve done? Is it possible? If not, is there some way out of this mess that you could do?
Ron Paul: Believe me, there’s a lot of authority the President has to unwind this. Take, for instance, the executive orders; they’ve been abused. Executive orders should be used properly for the president to do his prescribed duties. Like if you write and executive order, if you say it’s time to bring the troops home, the president can do that. So you write and executive order, and that’s okay. Now any executive order that was written by a previous president, which is nothing more than legislation, yes, my belief is that I can write an executive order and cancel out that executive order. But also, what about the regulations the executive branch writes? Where does the executive branch get this privilege of writing law? So all regulations, as far as I’m concerned, are unconstitutional. Only the Congress should write the law, and if I don’t like what they do, I veto it. So that’s a pretty good start and I would not endorse the principle of a signing statement. You know, presidents come along and they say, “Well, this looks pretty good, but I’m going to sign this and I’m not going to follow this part”. That’s sort of a line-item veto that which a president doesn’t have. But, what do you do with those if you think it’s pretty good that you don’t want to endorse something that you consider bad, you should veto a bill. But there is a whole lot to do. At other times, you would have to work with the Congress, but that’s a handful, a fistful; you’d have a lot of things that you could do using that executive power in a proper manner.
Audience Member: Hi, thanks so much for taking my question. I have a question about healthcare. 33% of children in the United States are on Medicaid and another 10% are uninsured. And you have offered charity by doctors as a solution to this. Do you really think that 43% of America’s children will be cared for through charity?
Ron Paul: Ok, she’s asking about what I’m talking about and there are so many people dependent on medical care. I’d deal with that in the budget, and I also qualified that when I announced that I want to cut all the spending, but I want to preserve some programs. I would priorities; the elderly in medical care, care for the children. That doesn’t mean that I thought it was a great idea because this is why we’re in a mess, because Social Security has no money in the bank. So it really is going to take a lot of work cutting and working our way out of this. When I got out of medical school in 1961, I practiced for a couple of years before there was Medicaid. I worked in a catholic hospital and didn’t make hardly any money. Nobody was turned away, all the people were treated. And back in those days people weren’t lying in the street with no medical care and doctors always charged the least. Now, with the government coming in with these programs that are totally bankrupt, everybody charges the most, everybody from the doctors to the labs to the hospitals. In Texas you have a lot of illegal aliens coming in, they have a baby, the babies are immediately put on the welfare rolls and the parents then qualify. And because the hospitals need the money because the costs are going up … So it’s just a real mess and as far as I’m concerned, it’s been created by the government. So I would try to work out of this, but I would want a transition. So if some of you say, “Oh, this is not the way, I don’t want to be totally dependent on the government”, I want to really promote these medical savings accounts so people can put their money aside and get it off their taxes and buy their own insurance and pay cash to the doctor. You need to get that doctor-patient relationship back again. But it is a problem because there is a dependency. But as the economy gets worse, that gets worse. If you took at the food stamp issue, it wasn’t too long I was using the number, “Well, there are 40 million people on food stamps now” and then later one somebody said it’s 44 million people, and last week somebody said it’s 46 million people. So what we have created is a catch 22, the worse things get and the more you need to spend, whether it’s medical care or food stamps or whatever. And our country gets poorer. Our jobs are gone, we can’t raise taxes. So the only thing left is going back to printing the money and borrowing the money. But it’s not going to last. But I’m convinced we can do it, and we can work out a way. But I’m not overly confident in the way we’re going. But I think the calamity is that if we care about anybody, we have to avoid this major crisis where 2008 is going to look rather minor. And I think that’s what we’re moving towards. Why in the world can’t we agree on at least changing our attitude about spending all this money overseas and try to take care of some of these problems at home.
Audience Member: How would the children get care?
Ron Paul: You mean when, right now, this minute? I described about having a transition, and they would be taken care of. Those funds in my budget takes care of them, so they are going to get care. But you’re talking about when we have a free society, once again, how are they going to be taken care of? Well, why don’t we look at how the country survived before 1965, maybe it wouldn’t cost so much.
When I worked in the catholic hospital in 1962, not that long ago, I worked for $3/hour, when I got in my medical practice, my office call was $5/hour. But now you pay more than that, don’t you, to go see a doctor. You’d say you pay $5 to park or something like that. But the cost goes up because the government is involved. When you destroy the value of money, prices go up more in the areas that the government is involved in. They’re very much involved in housing, prices exploded and there had to be a correction. They’re very much involved in education, and what has happened to the cost of education? Does the quality go up? No, the price skyrockets and the young people can’t pay it, so we give them easy loans, so they graduate with a trillion dollars worth of debt, and no jobs. In medicine, it’s very similar; the price goes up. And it’s very difficult for it to happen, for people to make this, I know the problem. But we have these legal problems where doctors over order because of litigation, that’s part of the problem. But it’s really inflation and doing away with competition. We need more competition in medicine. When you have these medical programs, they always want to help people, humanitarian instincts. So whether it’s a Republican program for prescription health program, guess who does the lobbying? The drug companies and the insurance companies, they run the show. So we get Obama Care. Who do you think came and lobbied? The drug companies. So I am convinced, because I’m sure you have sincere humanitarian instincts, and your question reveals this, you wonder, “How are we going to take care of people?” But what I have come to the conclusion – after studying free market Austrian economics, being in medicine, and being in politics – is if you’re a humanitarian and you want to care about people, you better free up the system and believe and understand how freedom works and sound money works and how limited government will provide a lot more for people than doing it through the government. When a country destroys its currency, one of the characteristics is, you wipe out the middle class; money goes from the middle class to the wealthy. What is happening today? The middle class is getting smaller, the Wall-Streeters are still getting their bailouts, and they have all the advantages of the monetary system, because they get the money first. When they get the money, they spend it and circulate it, then prices go up, and then you can’t afford medical care. So I believe one of the shortcomings of libertarianism and conservatism is, we’ve never really expressed ourselves on this very point because it sounds like, “Oh, you’re cold hearted, you don’t care about people, the government is not going to take care of us”. But who is the government? If somebody here wants the government to take care of them, you’re the government. You know, somebody has to go and shuffle the cards. But this is the wonderful thing about America, we’ve had the best experiment ever in the history of the world; the freest of markets, the largest middle class ever, the greatest prosperity. And it’s going down the tubes and we’re going to witness the disintegration of it if we don’t do something about it real soon.
Audience Member: Hello everyone, hello Dr. Paul. With the death of the North Korean President, Dr. Paul, as President, will you still remove our troops from the region?
Ron Paul: I didn’t hear your first sentence.
Audience Member: With the death of the North Korean President, Kim Jong- Il, will you still remove the troops from South Korea?
Ron Paul: Sure, I don’t think the new guy is going to be any more willing, he didn’t look like he had a whole lot of talent. This looks like it might be a wonderful opportunity. The world is changing, they have a new leader up there and, you know, the South Koreans have about 10, 20 times the GDP of North Korea. What are we doing over there? Why don’t we have those military personal back here spending their money here in this country? No, I’d bring them home from South Korea, I’d bring them home from Japan, I’d bring them home from Germany and the Middle East, and we’d be stronger for it. Because, great nations don’t get defeated usually militarily, they get defeated by bad economic policies. And, matter of fact, liberties are more destroyed by people’s own governments, more so than somebody invading. I fear the loss of my personal liberties more by the government than I do by somebody invading our country and all of a sudden starting to regulate us. So, I’d bring them home, and the sooner, the better.
Audience Member: Hi, Dr. Paul. My question is regarding the Jones Act, which is created to protect cargo coming into and out of the United States, and protect jobs for American sellers. Some view that as protectionism, but it has created essentially middle class jobs. And we see across the board with other industries, where IT jobs are getting shipped over to India, Pakistan, and you can list all kinds of jobs that have been shipped overseas. Do you support the Jones Act, and would you create something to, I guess, essentially, shore up more jobs States side for folks?
Ron Paul: Basically without re-reading the Jones Act and noting every detail, I’ve dealt with it to a degree because I have Galveston in my district and we have these ships coming in and out and they complain about it all the time. Even though it was well intended to protect American jobs, it really backfires and has a lot of unintended consequences. To me, it interferes with the marketplace. So, unless there’s something very, very special and very necessary, I’ve basically had a position that I’d repeal most of it, if not all of it because I think we’d be better off for that. But it’s supposed to protect American jobs, but what it does is it chases a lot of vessels away. It’s very complicated, I can’t remember exactly what happens, but if you’re in one city, if you’re in New Orleans, you can’t stop in Galveston, and so it undermines them. And so what happens is a foreigner ship can do it, but an American ship can’t do it, so they register overseas. It’s a real mess. It does not enhance the market, so I would be for repealing most of it, if not all of it.
Audience Member: Hi, Dr. Paul. So, a couple of years ago, we had a really bad ice storm up here, and just around Halloween, we had another snow storm. And I was without power for a while, and I really wondered why the power companies did absolutely nothing to do preventive maintenance to stop this ahead of time. And it wasn’t until I talked with somebody who worked in the power industry, and they said, “Well, why would they do any preventive maintenance, because what happens is, we have a big storm, all the power lines go down, transformers explode. And then FEMA comes in and pays for new transformers and pays for all the overtime and everything”. So the end result is, we as tax payers, pay a lot of money and we get a service that is actually worse off than had we not paid those tax dollars in the first place. So how do we get around, how do we stop this insanity? And how do we fight against this when you know your opponents are going to stand up and call you heartless and uninformed voters are going to stand up and say, “Ron Paul does not care about ice storm people”. And so, how do we stop this?
Ron Paul: You know, I thought I had heard all the stories about FEMA, but that’s a new one. That’s another great example. But I know a lot about FEMA from a practical viewpoint, because I have 200 miles of coastline in Texas in Galveston and that area. And we get hurricanes quite frequently. And I was first elected to Congress in 1976 and I always argued against FEMA; it is bad economic policy. If we have a hurricane, why do you have to pay me to rebuild my beach house. And, also, what it does is, people do things differently, like you indicated there, they said, “Why fix it when I’m going to get the government to do it?” as if the government is magic, it’s just some other neighbor in another state. But on the coast, what it gets you to do is, if you don’t go along with FEMA insurance and the flood insurance, they say, “You don’t care about the people and what’s going to happen”. But what would they do if you didn’t have the government subsidizing their insurance? They say, “Well, we can’t afford it”. Well, what is that telling you? It’s dangerous. So if it’s dangerous and you’re about to have your house blown anyway, why should we dump it on the taxpayer? So we encourage people to build in the wrong places. So people who own property and want to build there, they should do it and say, “I’ll take a risk, I’ll build my house a little bit better, or I’ll pay more for my insurance”. But instead, there are some people in Houston who I think are trying to stop it, they’ve had their houses flooded 3, 4 different times and they come in and they rebuild over and over again. It’s just the unintended consequences when the government gets involved. But, I eventually won this argument in my district, because I taken a very strong stand on it and I voted against it. But when the hurricane comes in and the program is there and we had to pay into it, most of the complaints are about FEMA. So I go to bat for them, because FEMA is holding things up, they can’t get anything done, FEMA becomes the dictator. They come in and there was one flood where FEMA was keeping out the red cross, they wouldn’t let the Red Cross come in. They take over with the Department of Homeland Security. FEMA now take over all the police activity. Katrina was a disaster, and what they did there, they went in and started confiscating guns. So no, there’s no constitutional authority for the government to be doing this, no matter how well intended. It’s not been around that long, and it teaches people to take risk they shouldn’t take. And if you take a risk, you should be responsible for your risk. So interesting story, I’m glad to hear that one.
Audience Member: Hi, Dr. Paul. I like a lot of what you say, but I like a lot of what a lot of politicians say. So the question that I have for you is the question I have for every politician this year: how are you going to get Congress to work with you? I am so sick of bipartisan this and bipartisan that. If you belong to a party, how are you going to get Congress to do what you say we need to do?
Ron Paul: I think that is the key question, and I’m going to start off by saying something because I’m going to challenge you, but let me finish this story. My challenge is, we got into this mess because we had too much bipartisanship, because the right and the left get together, and they want to spend money. Somebody wants a war over here, and somebody wants all this welfare. So liberals and conservatives get together and they say, “We’ll tax people, we’ll borrow and we’ll have this Federal Reserve that will print money, and we’ll get away with it for a long time”. So they got together, as demonstrated in medicine. Republicans and Democrats let the lobbyist control them. So, yes, they’ve been too much. But you’re right, we still need a joint effort, a bipartisan effort. But I think it should be dealt not by getting them to come over by you giving half your promises away, why don’t we bring people together as coalitions. And this is where I have worked for so long, because I’m pretty independent. That’s why I sort of like New Hampshire, I understand a lot of independents in New Hampshire. So, it means you can appeal to independents, you can appeal to liberals on civil liberties, and there are a lot of conservatives, but there are a lot of liberals as well who think that we do too much overseas. So we bring them together. Now, being elected President is also going to bring likeminded people in, so the attitude will change. The other thing that should encourage you is, if we ever get to this point where you have the right kind of president and you need to bring people together, you can say … well, this is a secret, don’t let out, turn off the cameras: a lot of people in Washington don’t have a whole lot of principles.
But that’s the way the world works, so, therefore, they respond to you. If they think their job is in jeopardy if they don’t do what you want … and this is why, whether it’s the Occupy Movement or the Tea Party Movement, that’s a message they’re starting to receive and they’re starting to sort it out. There’s not enough there to bring about the changes. So, ultimately, government is a reflection of the people, and the people are a reflection of a prevailing attitude, a philosophical attitude. For 70 years now, almost all of us have been taught Keynesian economics, taught this idea that spending money is the most important thing, even if you’re deeply in debt, but that is what is changing now. So you have to change the people’s attitude, Congress will reflect that. But, in the mean time, you want to work and bring coalitions together. A President’s veto bill, all you have to do is get buddies with a third of the Congress to maintain your vetoes in order to do this to cut back. But obviously it is a stalemate there because, like I started off with, they do not admit that spending is a problem. They’re giving you lip service, but if they thought it was half or 1/10th as serious as I think it is, believe me, they would be cutting instead of this proposal and deception that they’re panning off on the people.
Host: This will have to be our last question, can we get one from the back, somebody in the back have a question?
Audience Member: Hello, Dr. Paul, my name is Alex, and one thing I’ve been following in the news recently that has kind of alarmed me, is this National Defense Authorization Act. I’d like to know some of your thoughts on it, and I’d hope they’d be in line with my fear of this, please.
Ron Paul: I’m always pleased to get questions like this because my complaint is this stuff goes through and nobody knows about it. So when somebody knows about it …
Audience Members: We know about it.
Ron Paul: You know about it too? I think that’s fantastic. You better know about it out of self defense. I saw on paper about what was last year’s biggest news story. The biggest news story was Bin Laden being killed. But I think what you’re talking about is a much bigger story and it represents a significant change. What he’s talking about is the Defense Authorization Act. In the House, they were tinkering with the words with signing the law after 9/11 to go after Al-Qaida, the people responsible for 9/11, I supported that. But that morphed into going after all terrorist around the world and invading countries, it was a gross distortion of that authority. So, instead, some of us wanted to eliminate the authority because Bin Laden was killed and they’ve abused it. But no, instead of that, in the House they added that they not only had the Al-Qaida, they added the Taliban, and the Taliban are people not making claims to come here, the Taliban is mainly motivated to keep people out of their country. Matter of fact, our current government right now is starting to talk to the Taliban. So, what was changed in the House said that anybody who was the Taliban plus ‘associated forces’. ‘Associated forces’ means that if you happen to visit a website that is controversial, or maybe attended a mosque or something like that, and somebody in the mosque was a bad guy, then you were ‘associated’ and you would be subject to being arrested. But when the Senate got it, they said that they could be arrested by the military, and taken in. And some of the Senators on the House floor brag, “When we get one of those guys, and they ask for a lawyer, just tell them ‘no lawyer for you'”. And these are just suspects. And this is on top of last February when the President announced that it’s a national policy that the president is allowed to assassinate American citizens without a trial or charges made. It’s happened 3 times already. But people say, “Well, but that Awlaki was a bad guy. But what about his son who was 16 years old, he was the second target. They say, “Oh, we didn’t know he was so young”. I mean, this is really, really bad. And it got passed this week and the Senate made it worse and it came back to the House and there was no chance of stopping it and the President was anxious to have it. That is major and it’s very, very dangerous. We have essentially repealed our Bill of Rights and the PATRIOT Act, which I think should have never been passed, repealed the 4th Amendment. And this essentially repeals the 5th Amendment.
The idea is that freedom develops slowly over many centuries, and they were trying to establish some of these principles with Magna Carta 1215. We’re throwing it out the window. So I’m glad you’re interested, I’m glad you know about it, I sure wish something more could have been done about it. Check and see how your representatives vote, that might not hurt anything.
Audience Member: They added Americans are exempt by a letter.
Ron Paul: Oh yea, that’s what they’re using, that is not true. Americans are not exempt, No, this is designed for American citizens, they are not exempt, no. It includes American citizens.
Audience Member: What if Congress has been lying?
Ron Paul: You can impeach them. For you to turnover up here is rather easy to do, I wish it were that easy in Washington. It has to be the election. If they really get out of hand, Congress can throw a person out. But who are we going to throw out when they’re all guilty.
Cam DeJong: Okay, folks, we’re going to wrap this up and we’ll try to keep it as orderly as we possibly can recognizing that there are a lot of supporters here. What we’d like to do, the Congressman is going to be available for pictures. We just want to do pictures tonight, no autographs. It’s going to be 9 o’clock before we do get out of here. So, folks that are interested in that are going to go straight through that exit door where we’re going to have a rope line. Folks who want to bypass that can go to my right out that exit, all the way down the hallway, hang a right, and go down to that door to exit. Give us a chance to get to the back please.
This is a rush transcript. If you notice any errors please report them using the “Help improve this post” link at the bottom of this post.