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CROWLEY: Joining me from his home state of Texas, Republican presidential candidate Congressman Ron Paul.
Thank you so much, Congressman, for being here.
REP. RON PAUL (R), TEXAS: Good morning.
CROWLEY: I want to talk a little bit about your economic plan in which you call for shuttering, basically closing up the departments of Energy, Education, Housing and Urban Development, Commerce, and Interior. And you're proposing about $1 trillion 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 percent of Americans live in households where someone receives a federal benefit, 34 percent of Americans live in households that receives means-tested benefits: things like Medicaid, aid to dependent children, that kind of thing. Do you, in a Paul administration, foresee that those numbers would come down? Because you're talking basically about...
PAUL: Well, that have to...
CROWLEY: I'm sorry, go ahead.
PAUL: Well, yes, they have to come down because the numbers you quote are obviously unsustainable. And if we don't do anything, none of that's going to work because it is all going to be eaten up with inflation.
So it isn't the choice of looking toward my program or having the status quo of 48 percent 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 face dire 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 some of even the educational programs, we have to do something.
And we got into this mess by spending and borrowing and 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's talking in Washington and the other candidates talk about cutting the baseline increases five and ten years out. And this is why there is no reassurance gone to the economy. Nobody believes it is going to do any good.
So I obviously believe obviously very sincerely that you can't get out after debt problem by accumulating more debt. It just doesn't work.
CROWLEY: One of the things that you have proposed there have been some controversy about is to begin to phase out, as you explain it, federal student loans to folks 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 there just some people who won't be able to go to college that want to in a Paul administration?
PAUL: No, I don't think so. Anybody who's ambitious enough will get to go to college. The problem is college costs to much. And with the good intentions of giving people houses at discount, you know, it ends up with a house bubble and the people who are supposed to be helped lose their house, same way with the education. The attempt to help people in 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 is 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 problems with the government. As soon as the government gets involved for good intentions, there's always unintended consequences and almost inevitably it back fires.
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, why should they be taxed to send some of us through college? So it not even a fair system when it works.
But obviously it doesn't work. And that's why it is 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 toward the cause and the cause is spending, debt, printing money, inflation, too much government, loss of confidence in the free market, loss of confidence in liberty is what it is. And where is the responsibility? The responsibility is on the individual and family to take care of their needs, not federal bureaucracy. It just doesn't work. CROWLEY: But would you admit that there are people who need federal help, be it an education or be it in housing, or food stamps, I mean that kind of thing.
PAUL: Yeah, there's 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, nobody out in the streets that -- there were more people under bridges now than there were back then.
And also, there were loans. People do loan. But even if they have difficulty, you know, sometimes it takes people six years to go through college and sometimes it takes people four years. But back then, there were jobs available. The whole thing was the cost was so much lower.
So, yes, it will not be perfect but what we have now is this catastrophic mistake where people have a pseudo education and no jobs and all debt. I mean we've indentured them 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.
CROWLEY: Let me turn you to politics here. You've 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?
PAUL: Well, I don't think it would doom it. It would cause a little bit of a problem.
CROWLEY: Cause a lot of a problem.
PAUL: Remember, Reagan did quite well. Yeah, but Ronald Reagan did well with Anderson in it and he still won rather easily.
CROWLEY: George H.W. Bush didn't do so well with Perot.
PAUL: Yeah -- but -- oh, OK, that's true, that's another example.
But anyway, I have no intention of doing it. Nobody's particularly asked me to do it. And they know what I'm doing. And I have no plans whatsoever to do it.
CROWLEY: Let me ask you about something that a man named Matt Robbins, executive director of the American Majority, which is a Tea Party faction, which has some sway -- it is not a small group, it is a fairly good size group -- who said this of Michele Bachmann, "let's face it she's a back-bencher and has been a back-bencher congress person for years. This is not a serious presidential campaign."
Do you agree with that?
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.
CROWLEY: And finally, George Will, a well known conservative columnist, wrote this about Mitt Romney, "Romney, supposedly the Republican most electable next November, is a recidivist reviser of his principles who is not only becoming less electable, he might damage GOP chances of capturing the senate. Republicans may have found their Michael Dukakis."
What's your reaction to that?
PAUL: Well, time will tell. There's obviously times when Mitt has changed his position, you know. And he's had to answer to it. But he's pretty smooth in answering this. But, no, I've seen ads and comments where he's changed his position on a lot of things.
CROWLEY: Does that make him unelectable?
PAUL: No, I don't think so, not in this age. It 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.
CROWLEY: All right, thank you so much Congressman Ron Paul for joining us this Sunday, I appreciate it.
Coming up -- national polls are important, but you can learn a lot more from primary polling in critical states. We give you the breakdown next.
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