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CNN "Larry King Live" - Transcript


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KING: Joining uh us now is Representative Ron Paul, a Republican of Texas. He ran for president this last election. He's here to react to what we just heard.

Concerning healthcare, Mr. Moore believes that universal health care is everyone's right, threatens that the Democrats will lose seats if they don't support it. What's your stand on this, congressman?

REP. RON PAUL, (R) TEXAS: Well, I think it's a fallacy to say that someone has a right to somebody else's services. You have a right to your life and you have a right to your liberty and you have a right to earn a living. You ought to have a right to keep it. But you have a responsibility to take care of yourself.

But you don't have a right to get something from government, because government has nothing, so government has to take it from somebody and give it to you. So it's a failed policy. It is, you know, a form of socialism, and socialism doesn't work. It leads to a big kind of...

KING: So if you have -- Congressman, if you have no money and you fall down on the street with a heart attack, you have no money, no one should take care of you? The government should not provide an ambulance or treat you?

PAUL: No. But we don't have a history in this country of this happening, even before government started managing health care. I practiced medicine in both circumstances in the early '60s. We didn't have managed care, and I worked in a Catholic hospital.

I made three dollars an hour and nobody was ever turned away and there were many, many church hospitals and you had Shriner hospitals and a lot of free care was given.

Today, even with managed care, they complain about, oh, somebody doesn't have health insurance and somebody's going to die because they don't have health insurance. But, really, people don't get turned away.

I mean, accidents happen. Man's imperfect. For the most part, anybody, including anybody illegal, can go to the emergency room and they always get taken care of. They just don't get thrown out in the street. KING: Are you saying you like the current system?

PAUL: No. I probably dislike it as much as Michael Moore does. But he's complaining about it being part of capitalism. It has nothing to do with capitalism. This is corporatism. The corporations -- I agree with him, corporations run things.

The drug companies' lobbyists, the insurance companies' lobbyists, the hospital manager companies' lobbyists, the AMA lobbyists, and that's all managed care and we have a system where money and bigness influences the government. But that's corporatism. That's not capitalism. What we want are free markets.

KING: OK. How do you change that?

PAUL: Allow free markets to work. There's an example of free markets, and I might have even heard it on CNN today, of the example of somebody that was going to be charge 100,000 dollars for surgery, and they went to Singapore and got it for 25,000 dollars. And the main reason they gave what they could afford to do it was that they didn't have horrendous malpractice payments to make, and there was a market. There was a market.

So the patients are leaving this country. They're going to India. But that's the market working. So we have put our charity hospitals out of business. At the same time, because of inflation and management and all the mischief of government, we have pushed these prices up.

Pumping money into a system doesn't improve quality. It increases prices. Look at our educational system. We pump in money, prices go up, the quality of education goes up. The quality of medicine has not gone up by just pumping more money in.

KING: Lyndon Johnson once said, the probable answer is that a government's going to have to be half capitalistic and half socialist. You have to have some. Social Security is socialism. You have to take care of those who don't have. Pure capitalism can't work. Would you agree with that?

PAUL: No, not really. It's sort of like I practice OB/GYN, I never tell my patients they had a touch of pregnancy. You're either pregnant or you're not. You either have government intervention messing up the markets or you don't. You either believe in freedom and believe in voluntary choice.

Just look at this disaster with the Swine Flu vaccine. They took over the whole project. We pump in billions of dollars. And they come up with shortages. The distribution is lousy. And they're talking about forcing people to take them in places like New York. And who -- nobody's even proved that it's necessary yet. We have still a lot of deaths from ordinary flu far surpassing Swine Flu. So central economic planning in anything fails, and especially in medicine it fails.

KING: But, Congressman, everyone online getting it, who's getting it free, is not standing there complaining about government involvement?

PAUL: Yes, but I have a daughter who practices medicine. And I was just talking to her about it. And she says, oh, yes, dad, I can give shots, and it's for free, but we don't have anything. When something is free, you don't have it. It's irrelevant. And some of the people who don't want it are being forced to take it.

We have lost our faith and confidence in understanding how free markets work. We turned it upside down by saying, anytime corporations get benefits, we call it capitalism and freedom. And it's corporatism. It's the military industrial complex. It's all the special interests.

And this is where Michael Moore get it all wrong. He works -- he believes diligently in free markets, because he believes in the First Amendment. He believes in making films. He doesn't believe in prior restraints. So why should he condemn capitalism, because he calls -- he's condemning corporatism. I condemn it too. Special privileges for corporation is the problem.

KING: Maybe it's semantic. More with Congressman Paul right after the break. Don't go away.



MOORE: I think capitalism, as it's defined now, has complete -- not only failed. Well, it hasn't actually failed the rich. It's actually helped them. The wealthiest one percent now have more financial wealth than the bottom 95 percent combined. So it's a really good system for a few people.


KING: All right, Ron, do you disagree with that statistic that Michael Moore just pointed out?

PAUL: No. And I complain about it as much as he does. But I think I understand it differently. Because when a country embarks on deficit financing and inflationism, you wipe out the middle class and wealth is transferred from the middle class and the poor to the rich. And when we get into trouble, then the corporations, once again, they come for their bailout and they get the benefits and the little people don't.

Yes, there is some truth to that. It's the failure of the free market to exist. That is our problem. It isn't the fact that we don't have enough government. We have way too much government. The government created this monster. If he doesn't like what we have, he has to look at what we've been doing for 30 or 40 years. It's called interventionism. It's called Keynesianism. It's called inflationism. It's called big government. That's the problem.

KING: Here's what Michael Moore said about Afghanistan. I'll ask Congressman Paul what he thinks about the war there. Watch. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MOORE: Al Qaeda has left there. They booked out of the neighborhood, Larry. They're long gone. They're in Pakistan. They're in parts of Africa. They're elsewhere in the Middle East. You know, they're here in the U.S. I mean, they're a real Internet operation now, as Matthew Hall, this State Department individual who resigned last month over the Afghanistan policy -- you should go online and read his letter of resignation. You'll see, he explains it very clearly, that if we want to deal with al Qaeda, the last place we need to be right now is in Afghanistan.

That's just a crazy, crazy-making place. It's unwinnable. It's immoral. It's illegal. It's wrong. And what is our CIA doing paying the brother of the president of Afghanistan, who's involved in this opium trade that's funding the Taliban? I mean, where -- when does this stop?


KING: Congressman, you're a strong critic of Iraq. Are you a critic of the Afghanistan policy as well?

PAUL: Yes, I sure am. My position is we shouldn't have gone in and we should just come home. But earlier on, Michael was saying that he was hopeful and sympathetic to what Obama was doing. I don't think he's quite willing to criticize Obama like Bush, but I am.

And yes, there have been a token effort of bringing some troops home from Iraq. Iraq is a mess. But at the same time, we're sending in contractors to replace the troops, paying them a lot more money, subsidizing the military industrial complex. And Obama ought to be condemned for that.

You can't just pick out -- so any time you support Obama in any of those policies -- they're bombing Pakistan right now, killing civilians. And we're on the vernal now of attacking, or at least putting on more sanctions on Iran, which will lead to hostilities if we're not careful, because we're talking about the Iranians just like we used to talk about the Iraqis, putting on tougher and tougher sanctions, making the people suffer, hoping the people are going to overthrow their leaders, not realizing the tougher the sanctions you put on the people, the more you drive them into supporting their leaders.

KING: So you would get out of Afghanistan and Iraq post haste?

PAUL: I would. My saying during the campaign is we just marched in, we can just march home. Nothing good can come of it. It's an undeclared war. It's an immoral war. We don't have any money. The longer we're there, the worse it's going to get. We just need to come home. We can't nation build.

And besides, I will win this argument because we are bankrupt and we can't afford it. It's going to end badly if we don't come to our senses and just say, let's quit this militarism around the world. We're in 130 countries and 700 bases around the world. And we cannot sustain these. And it is -- it's pumped up by both the left and the right in the Congress. Oh, we can't do away with this weapon. It will be bad for jobs. There's conservative Keynesianism and liberal Keynesianism. Always government management, which always fails and gives us the financial crisis that we're in.

KING: The always thoughtful Congressman Ron Paul of Texas. Thanks, Ron. Always good having with you.


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