Ron Paul Answers Your Questions, Part Two

INSERT DESCRIPTIONRon Paul

When we solicited your questions for Congressman Ron Paul shortly after the election, so many questions came in that we split Paul’s answers into two batches, the first of which was published last week.

Here is the second. Like the first batch, they are well-considered and interesting throughout; they will surely make many readers continue to wish fervently for a Paul presidency.

Thanks again to Rep. Paul for his time and insights, and to all of you for the good questions.

Q: What is the first thing the country should do about its monetary policy?

A: We should immediately audit the Federal Reserve. I am the ranking member of the Monetary Policy subcommittee in the U.S. Congress, yet I can get more information about the internal workings of the C.I.A. than I can about our central bank. This secrecy is fundamentally wrong, and I believe that people from all over the ideological political spectrum can agree on that.

Bloomberg News this month has gone to court compel the Fed to disclose securities the central bank is accepting on behalf of American taxpayers as collateral for trillions of dollars of loans to banks. Expanding transparency is critical and could be done very quickly.

Q: What are your expectations for the next four years under an Obama administration? How might President Obama’s interventionist economic policies impact our lives?

A: Unfortunately, I don’t expect many good things. I do expect a lot of spending and even more debt. To really cut spending and balance our budget, we need to change foreign policy. Obama’s rhetoric on foreign policy is better than what we have gotten recently, but don’t expect any real change.

He may be more likely to wind things down in Iraq, but he’s still planning on keeping troops there for a least 16 more months. He wants money for Georgia and more troops in Afghanistan. He isn’t going to bring home our 30,000 troops from Korea or our 50,000 soldiers in Germany, and he won’t close any of our 700 foreign bases. At the same time, he is planning even bigger spending here at home. I hope I’m wrong, but if this spending and debt continue, the dollar is going to crash and we will see the middle class in this country take a grave hit.

Q: Do you deny global warming? Is Obama right to invest money in green technology? If you don’t deny it, and don’t think Obama is right, what is your solution?

A: I try to look at global warming the same way I look at all other serious issues: as objectively and open-minded as possible. There is clear evidence that the temperatures in some parts of the globe are rising, but temperatures are cooling in other parts. The average surface temperature had risen for several decades, but it fell back substantially in the past few years.

Clearly there is something afoot. The question is: Is the upward fluctuation in temperature man-made or part of a natural phenomenon. Geological records indicate that in the 12th century, Earth experienced a warming period during which Greenland was literally green and served as rich farmland for Nordic peoples. There was then a mini ice age, the polar ice caps grew, and the once-thriving population of Greenland was virtually wiped out.

It is clear that the earth experiences natural cycles in temperature. However, science shows that human activity probably does play a role in stimulating the current fluctuations.

The question is: how much? Rather than taking a “sky is falling” approach, I think there are common-sense steps we can take to cut emissions and preserve our environment. I am, after all, a conservative and seek to conserve not just American traditions and our Constitution, but our natural resources as well.

We should start by ending subsidies for oil companies. And we should never, ever go to war to protect our perceived oil interests. If oil were allowed to rise to its natural price, there would be tremendous market incentives to find alternate sources of energy. At the same time, I can’t support government “investment” in alternative sources either, for this is not investment at all.

Government cannot invest, it can only redistribute resources. Just look at the mess government created with ethanol. Congress decided that we needed more biofuels, and the best choice was ethanol from corn. So we subsidized corn farmers at the expense of others, and investment in other types of renewables was crowded out.

Now it turns out that corn ethanol is inefficient, and it actually takes more energy to produce the fuel than you get when you burn it. The most efficient ethanol may come from hemp, but hemp production is illegal and there has been little progress on hemp ethanol. And on top of that, corn is now going into our gas tanks instead of onto our tables or feeding our livestock or dairy cows; so food prices have been driven up. This is what happens when we allow government to make choices instead of the market; I hope we avoid those mistakes moving forward.

Q: Will you run for a leadership position in the House Republican caucus?

A: I have no plans to do so. I don’t cut deals and trade votes, which is exactly what a role like that requires.

Q: What are your thoughts on abolishing America’s income tax and switching over to a consumption tax such as the fair tax?

A: I want to abolish the income tax, but I don’t want to replace it with anything. About 45 percent of all federal revenue comes from the personal income tax. That means that about 55 percent — over half of all revenue — comes from other sources, like excise taxes, fees, and corporate taxes.

We could eliminate the income tax, replace it with nothing, and still fund the same level of big government we had in the late 1990′s. We don’t need to “replace” the income tax at all. I see a consumption tax as being a little better than the personal income tax, and I would vote for the Fair-Tax if it came up in the House of Representatives, but it is not my goal. We can do better.

Q: Did former Federal Reserve Chairman Greenspan really believe in free markets or did he fail to practice what he preached?

A: In my book The Revolution: A Manifesto I talk about an encounter I had with Greenspan when he was still Fed chairman. I had come across an old Objectivist newsletter Greenspan had written in the 1960′s supporting a real gold standard. It was great stuff!

At a gathering we both attended, I presented the booklet and asked if he still believed in its subject. He said he remembered the piece and still believed every word. I can’t profess to know what is in Mr. Greenspan’s heart, but his own words lead me to believe that he knew better than to pursue the policies he did.

Q: What policies should have been put into place in 1932 to stimulate the economy instead of the confiscation of monetary gold?

A: A trust in free markets and sound money would have made the 1930′s much less rough. Inflation caused the Depression, and the big government policies of Roosevelt exacerbated the problem. Murray Rothbard wrote a masterpiece on the cause of the 1929 crash and the Great Depression, and I highly recommend it to anyone with a deep interest who wants to read the authoritative view.

Q: Is there any part of the Republican Party reaching out to you? At what point do we dump the G.O.P. and leave it for dead?

A: The leadership in the House of Representatives and at the N.R.C.C. has been cordial, and I as a ranking subcommittee member am myself in leadership. Other national leadership bodies largely ignore me.

Where I get the most attention, though, is from rank-and-file members. Dozens of Republican congressmen from across the country asked me for money and support in November’s election. I was happy to support and contribute to several deserving individuals through my Liberty PAC.

As far as quitting or staying with the Republicans, everyone will have to make up his or her own mind. There can be value in choosing either path. I myself have no plans to leave the G.O.P.

Q: Why is it that, even in the midst of unimaginable deficits and an economic crisis, both our enormous military and our policy of drug prohibition remain sacrosanct? Do you think this reflects actual democratic opinion, or is it the work of powerful, but numerically small interest groups?

A: I think that it might reflect democratic opinion, but only because each issue has been demagogued.

Take military spending. I believe in a strong national defense. I want our troops here, defending our territory; I want nuclear submarines and an adequate arsenal of weapons that can repel any conceivable attack. What I don’t want to do is spend a trillion dollars a year maintaining an empire.

Today, our troops are in 130 countries. We have 700 foreign bases. We can spend far less and have a stronger national defense than we do right now. But if you question our foreign policy, you are branded as un-American. And we’re told that if we don’t “fight them over there, we’ll fight them over here.” That’s absurd.

On your second example, the federal war on drugs has proven costly and ineffective, while creating terrible violent crime. But if you question policy, you are accused of being pro-drug. That is preposterous. As a physician, father, and grandfather, I abhor drugs. I just know that there is a better way — through local laws, communities, churches, and families — to combat the very serious problem of drug abuse than a massive federal-government bureaucracy.

There are certainly some powerful special interests that benefit from our flawed foreign and drug policies. Now, do I think they openly conspire together to deceive and manipulate? No I don’t. The system is much too complicated to think a few puppet masters control the strings. But I do think we’d be a lot better off if we listened to our founding fathers and obeyed the Constitution. The founders would never have formed a D.E.A., and they would be horrified if they saw our troops spread thin around the globe.

Q: What do you think were your biggest mistakes in the primary race, and what would you now do differently?

A: I was always pessimistic and never thought we would get to where we did. My regret is that we couldn’t see how quickly things would grow and were not adequately prepared for the explosion in money and support when they came. There are dozens, hundreds of things we could have done better, but we all worked hard and did our best. And I know we built something that will only get stronger in the years to come.

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  1. Greg Cottrell says:

    Thomas- the founders were able to create this government because they were all experts in history and previous forms of government (especially Athenian Democracy). In fact they were knew more about EVERYTHING than people do today. Ever read up on their other areas of interest? Botany, astronomy, electricity, history, you name it. These men were just plain better educated. I’ll take a word of wisdom from Ben Franklin or Thomas Jefferson over the ignorance of today if it is 250 years old or not. A little more expertise in history is EXACTLY what we need now.

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  2. Jerry Citti says:

    Thank you Congressman Dr. Paul. Your contribution has been and continues to be nothing short of marvelous. It may be presumptuous of me, but I’d like to suggest your leadership and wisdom be applied to another set of tasks.

    Perhaps the greatest of these that confronts us now is to rebuild the Republican Party. It is crucial in my judgement that someone reflecting the Classical Liberal view surface as a candidate for the Republican nomination next time around. In order to do so he or she will need a reasoned program of ideas on how to begin rebuilding America.

    I expect that by that time the highest priority will be to stabilize money. That might mean something drastic like returning to the gold standard. There needs be a convincing argument and logical path that gets us from where we will be at that point to where we need to go.

    Next in priority might be a foreign policy that makes sense and the same will apply: Not only a different policy than what we have today, but a reasoned argument describing why and how we get there.

    We probably need a series of five or six major priorities such as the above the others being economy, energy, education, et al. One strategy might be to not only settle on a leader but also to arm that person with a series of sound bites relating to these or other selected priorities that are catchy and inescapably true.

    Settling on a leader and a strategy may be possible; turning it into a winning exercise the next time around may be impossible that soon, but we must start somewhere.

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  3. Jerry Citti says:

    David Rasmussen, what science are you referring to? Near as I can tell these is consierable scientific controversy re global warming. Not so political or media controversy of course.

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  4. Jerry Citti says:

    Thackery,

    A long time ago I though Greenspan was doing it deliberately. I did not draw the comparison to Francisco as you did, but I would have had I thought it through. The private comment to Dr. Paul was a dead giveaway.

    It remains to be seen whether or not his efforts, if that’s what they were, were enough. The American economy is not a copper mine, and it may very well take much more than one Mr. Greenspan to bring it down.

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  5. Warren says:

    The founding fathers understood what it took to be a good citizen, but they seemed to have taken for granted the idea that people would persue that premise in the future. I know they warned of greed and power mongering in high ranking offices, and yet the “nature of man” many of them spoke of, unfortunately has wormed its way to the top of the political food chain.

    I appreciate the message of personal responsibility that Ron Paul advocates, the coals are largely on the heads of the people for allowing the Government to expand. It would be logical to once again regain that understanding of what made a “good citizen”.

    We the people have allowed the Government to indoctrinate us into believing they know how we should live our lives, even to the point of what we should believe.

    Thanks Ron for standing I hope people will catch the liberty bug and stop playing the politics that is destroying our country.

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  6. Felipe says:

    Thank you for the real approach you take to politics. It seems just the work politics is sprinkled with glamour and the promise of a better tomorrow. I admire real-ness in a politician and that’s exactly what the world needs at a time like this. Not some false expectation of a quick turnaround to this crisis.

    Thank you Ron Paul.

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  7. grusilag says:

    Nicely summarized by the man himself. If it wasn’t for Ron Paul I would have never learned or been interested in monetary policy. Since becoming an admirer I’ve come to realize that monetary policy is probably the most important issue we as citizens need to educate ourselves about. Though I’ve come to conclusions that may differ from his I credit him for bringing these issues out into the open and spreading them to the masses.

    Oh and he’s also one of the only truly honest men in Washington.

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  8. pete dimovski says:

    Congresman Ron ,I did not know nothing about yourself and what you stand for until recently . Ever since I’ve been listening and paid close attention to your speech with amazment.Keep doing the good work and if you would, tell me where can I get bumper stickers that sayRon Paul a man of integrity . Pete

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