Ron Paul: 'Freedom Is a Young Idea and We're Throwing It Away'

Uploaded by PBSNewsHour on 20.07.2011

bjbjLULU JEFFREY BROWN: And finally tonight an interview with Republican presidential
candidate, Ron Paul. s the first in our series of conversations with the contenders seeking
to take on Barack Obama in next year s election. Judy Woodruff sat down with the congressman
from Texas on Capitol Hill earlier today. JUDY WOODRUFF: Congressman Ron Paul, thank
you for talking with us. REP. RON PAUL, R-Texas: Good to be with you today. JUDY WOODRUFF:
You re running against a long list of Republicans seeking the presidential the Republican presidential
nomination, many of them very conservative one in particular, Michele Bachmann, appealing
to the tea party. Why are you more qualified than any of them? REP. RON PAUL: I see them
as defending the status quo much more so than I do because, you know, if you look at my
foreign policy, nobody s coming close, although they re getting more sympathetic. I want to
bring all the troops home. When it comes to personal liberties and what s going on at
our airports, I don t like the Patriot Act, and they tend to support the Patriot Act.
When it comes to monetary policy, they try to avoid it , yet money is one-half of all
our transactions. We re in a mess; so I concentrate a whole lot on the Federal Reserve and monetary
policy. And of course, the spending is big issue with me, but it s been that way for
a long time. JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, speaking of spending, Washington is in the grips right
now of this huge divide split over what to do about the debt limit, what to do about
the deficit. You have said you ve never voted to raise the debt limit, which pits you against
not only the president and the Democrats, but the Republican leadership, both houses
of Congress, most of the business community. Are they wrong when they say this would lead
to an economic calamity? Are they just not telling the truth? REP. RON PAUL: I think
they re misled. I think they believe what they re saying, but I think they don t understand
economic policy because they re afraid of a default, and they ve been frightened. But
this is the way so often government works. They try to frighten the people, such as frighten
people about being attacked by nuclear weapons that don t exist so we go to war needlessly.
But the bailout frighten the people so you bail out everybody, and forget about the people
who are losing their houses. So, yes, there s a lot of that. But my point is, is it s
serious; the debt is too big. You can t solve the problem of debt by raising the debt limit,
and that s what they were trying to do. JUDY WOODRUFF: But you ve been you ve had this
position for years and years. But the decades you ve served in the Congress, you haven t
been able to win folks over to your point of view. What makes you think you can win
a majority over if you were president? REP. RON PAUL: I think there s a big shift because
I can compare what s happening now to four years ago, and it s dramatically different.
But, even last year we noticed a big difference, say, on the monetary issue. So maybe I don
t have as much influence in direct legislation here, but the people I believe I am closer
to the people, because the people are scared and are sick and tired of it and they want
smaller government. JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, on this question of spending and cutting, you
ve said you would bring the government s budget into balance the first year in office you
were president. We re talking, what, over a trillion-dollar deficit. What would you
cut? REP. RON PAUL: OK. I would start with military operations overseas. They hurt us
and they hurt our national defense. And we can save hundreds of billions of dollars when
you add up all the militarism and all the foreign aid and all the mischief we create,
why do we have troops in Korea and Japan all these things. So you could save a lot. That
wouldn t be enough. Then you d have to start cutting spending on the programs that aren
t essential like the Department of Education. We spend a lot of money; it doesn t improve
education. The Department of Energy we don t need Department of Energy. All those subsidies
in Department of Agriculture we don t need that. We don t need the intervention of the
Department of Commerce. You can go on and on. But you don t have to go and cut health
care or medical or Social Security in order to start getting our house in order. JUDY
WOODRUFF: But you have talked about dramatically scaling down or reforming Medicare and Social
Security. And so what would those programs look like if you could wave a magic wand and
make it the way you d like it? REP. RON PAUL: Well, I haven t talked a whole lot about that.
Most of the time, I talk about is, if we d have acted responsibly, we wouldn t be facing
this crisis. I would like to offer young people going into the workforce the chance to opt
out, opt out of Social Security. But that won t work unless you do these cuts I m talking
about, the militarism as well as all these departments that make no sense at all. You
could do that, but politically, it s difficult because the other day, when we were voting
on this resolution for the budget the debt increase, I said, there s two groups: One
group wants to won t cut a nickel out of the military and the other won t cut a nickel
out of entitlement system. And that s why we re at this point. JUDY WOODRUFF: You ve
also spoken of big changes in Medicare, structural changes. How would you change Medicare? REP.
RON PAUL: Well, once again, I haven t emphasized that at all. But I would want people to opt
out of the system. I would want people to have medical-savings accounts. Young people
should be able to opt out and build up a medical savings account and take care of their own
programs. But that won t work unless you re willing to cut spending. And I think the most
popular place to cut is all this spending overseas and the corporate welfare in this
country, because most of the money that we spend here that s supposed to poor really
helps the large corporations, say, the housing bubble. Who got help? See, the rich got bailed
out. They got bailed out both by the Congress and the Federal Reserve. And they were making
all the profits. So it was s corporatism that is so bad, whether it s medicine or even in
education or the military-industrial complex. It s corporatism. That is the welfare that
is huge compared to the welfare of food stamps. JUDY WOODRUFF: But without some government
regulation, which I know you are against, what s to keep corporations from running doing
whatever they want? REP. RON PAUL: Well, because I talk about a lot less regulation I don t
like the regulatory agencies, but that doesn t mean the free market doesn t have regulation.
The regulations in the free market are much stricter because if a company gets into trouble
and goes bankrupt, the law the economic law, which should be enforced by government, that
company goes bankrupt. So instead of bailing them out, these companies should have gone
bankrupt. But you have sound money and free markets; you can t counterfeit money, like
the Federal Reserve does. JUDY WOODRUFF: And just to be clear, what would the Federal Reserve
look like under a Ron Paul presidency? REP. RON PAUL: Well, there s two different things.
My goal would be, there s no need for the Federal Reserve. Under a presidency you don
t get rid of the Federal Reserve overnight. In my even in my book, End the Fed, I don
t say we should close the door and walk away. I ask for competition. JUDY WOODRUFF: Let
s go to some of the international issues you touched on very quickly. You want to bring
troops home. What should the U.S. footprint be internationally? What is the U.S. role
in the world? REP. RON PAUL: Well, it should be a footprint of trade and friendship, as
we were advised and as the Constitution permits. The footprint shouldn t be a military footprint.
It shouldn t be JUDY WOODRUFF: So bring REP. RON PAUL: The footprint we re leaving now
our drone missiles dropping bombs and killing innocent civilians, launched from the United
States with computers. That s not the kind of footprint I want. JUDY WOODRUFF: Afghanistan.
How quickly would you bring the troops home? REP. RON PAUL: As quick as the ships could
get there. It s insane on what we re doing. And I ll tell you one thing about this business
about the military: We just had a quarterly report, and they listed all the money that
all the candidates got from the military. I got twice as much as all the other candidates
put together on the Republican side, and even more than Obama got, which tells me that these
troops want to come home as well because they know exactly what I m talking about. JUDY
WOODRUFF: Two other quick things internationally. You said you opposed the U.S. raid into Pakistan
that led to the killing of Osama bin Laden. You also are would do away with, in essence,
the CIA. Why do why did you oppose the raid, and what would you put in the place of the
CIA? REP. RON PAUL: Well the question to me was, could it have been done differently?
I was just saying it could be done differently. I mean, all this does was raise questions.
And I predicted that this would lead to a lot of resentment. And just think of the chaos
in Pakistan and the mess that we have; we both bomb them, and we give them money, and
then the people hate their own government because their own government s a puppet of
ours. My frustration with bin Laden was, it took so long. JUDY WOODRUFF: And the CIA,
you would REP. RON PAUL: I would I don t think the CIA should be a military arm of the government
dropping bombs secretly. You can t even you can t even separate the two. You don t even
know who is controlling the bombing of this country now. JUDY WOODRUFF: Couple of questions
about your campaign. You have a son who was elected to the United States Senate, a Rand
Paul from the state of Kentucky. This is your third try for president. There was some talk
that he was looking at running for president. How did you discuss that between the two of
you, that it was going to be you and not him who was running? REP. RON PAUL: We never talked
about it. It never came up. JUDY WOODRUFF: Never had a discussion? REP. RON PAUL: It
just never came up. JUDY WOODRUFF: Finally, Congressman, you look healthy. You certainly
keep up a vigorous schedule. You would be 77 years old if you were elected president
upon taking office, which is quite a bit older than the oldest president upon taking office,
Ronald Reagan. Is age at all a factor for you in this campaign? REP. RON PAUL: I think
it is. I think age is very important, and sometimes I meet people when they re 45, and
they re very old. And I think it s the age of the ideas a person s presenting, and is
that person able to present these ideas? Freedom is a young idea. It s only been tested for
a couple hundred years. And we had a taste of it, and we re throwing it away. But what
I see others are doing, the others, especially and many of the other candidates, they have
old ideas. It s totalitarian, it s the control of government, governments policing the world,
militarism, telling people how to run their lives, running the economy, telling people
what they can put in their mouths and whether or not they can even drink raw milk. It s
just s just absolutely out of control. But the idea that individuals are free, that they
have a natural right to their life and the liberty, they ought to be able to keep the
fruits of their labor, that is a young idea. So I would say, people ought to go with a
young idea and somebody that can express them. And interestingly enough, it s the young people
that fully endorse my campaign. JUDY WOODRUFF: We are watching that. Spoken very passionately.
Congressman Ron Paul, we thank you for talking with us. REP. RON PAUL: Thank you. h@S~ gdbYs
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