Remember the sequestration deal that was passed in the summer of 2011, during that debt-ceiling debate? It was represented as a real act of fiscal responsibility, but in reality it was just another replay of the Washington fraud.
In the latest podcast, I spoke with Ron Paul about the upcoming debt debate in Congress. What follows are highlights from the conversation.
Goyette: Dr. Paul, another debt-ceiling debate is only weeks away, and they’ve thrown in the towel on fiscal conservatism with the Ryan-Murray budget deal. The Republicans even help snuff the life out of the sequestration agreement.
Paul: Yes, it certainly doesn’t look like the Republicans are going to save us from over spending. … The Congress has lost all control, except for the fact that many of them want to spend. So I guess they’re still in control of spending more money. I guess it’s really the people who have lost control because members of Congress have given up too much. But it is all smoke and mirrors. When the sequestration went through, [there was all this] hysteria about slashing national security and all these funds, but it was only a very, very small amount of cutting of proposed increases. Without sequestration, in the next 10 years, spending was supposed to go up 20 percent, and sequestration — this vicious attack on big government spending — was going to allow the military budget to go up only 18 percent. And it was figured out that the cut in military proportionately was much greater than welfare spending at home. But neither side’s going to have any cuts. …
What’s interesting about [the war budget] is the sort of ‘1984 newspeak,’ as [it is called] the overseas continuing operations budget. So that means it’s going to continue and these operations are necessary and it’s sort of a follow-up on how we went to war in Korea. Remember it wasn’t going to be a war, and Truman took us to war under the UN, and they called it a police action. Well, now we have overseas continuing operations, and that’s what it’s called when you have an empire.
So these funds are going up, there’s no fiscal conservative party. There’re fiscal conservatives that say, ‘this is the best we can do.’ And then they all throw it out and they say, ‘well, you know, we have to avoid the shutdown.’
But I’m just wondering, if you went out on the street today and talked to 100 people, a couple hundred people, and took a poll and say ‘what did you think of the shutdown?’ You know, most of them would say ‘what are you talking about?’ Unless you were in Washington D.C. where you might talk to a federal worker, they don’t know about that, nobody’s suffered the consequences.
And if the federal workers were honest about this great fear about a shutdown, they did quite well. Nobody lost any income. Their salaries continued. And then some of them went on unemployment benefits. So in the sense of immediate pain from the shutdown, there was nothing.
But of course there was great fanfare with it and [they] try to frighten the people, and it became just a political football. At the same time, the spending marches on, the conservatives vote for, you know, a budget that does nothing to rein in Obamacare. They do nothing — as a matter of fact, they endorse common cause and that funding keeps going up.
And the only thing that holds it together is that still around the world, people see us because of our presence around the world, our military power, our wealth that we’re still consuming — we’re not building wealth — that people are still willing to honor and trust the dollar. But my argument for years has been that that is the big threat. Because eventually this type of government operation, where there’s no concern for deficits and no concern for these big government programs, no concern for the principle that we run on empire — will eventually come down very hard on us.
And another argument I’ve made is that a nation that lives beyond its means will live beneath its means. And that is what we’re doing every single day. You hear another single statistic showing that there’s more and more wealth in the world, but it’s all going into the hands of the very few, which just gives the redistributionists the argument, ‘well, we ought to do something. We have to take this money from this group and give it to the people who aren’t working’ and that sort of thing, failing to realize that this maldistribution of wealth is a consequence of big government. In a military-industrial complex, and the people who are receiving these funds first, the bankers and government, they all benefit from this. And this was predictable by Austrian economics, that the middle class would get wiped out.
So it’s not a fault of the free-market economy. You hear this constantly, even on the business stations, who are supposed to know a little bit about the market … failing to think fundamentally about free markets, property rights, contracts, sound money, a republic that doesn’t go around policing the world. …
And in a short period of time — and nobody knows exactly when, it’s not too far in the distance — it will be recognized by the markets.
Goyette: Dr. Paul, I was asked this very question on a radio interview myself this morning, and I’m interested in how you might answer it: What is the media’s role as an enabler of the representation of these developments as fiscally responsible, portraying, for example, the sequestration as some sort of act of fiscal conservatism, or the Ryan-Murray bill as tough economic measures, and so on. What is their role and what will change the way they report this?
Paul: Well, they have a major role, and they perpetuate the myths. Having been on the receiving end of a lot of grief from the media over the years, being in politics, a lot of that of course is motivated from pure politics. Most of them consider themselves liberal democrats and think there’s a big difference between that and a conservative Republican. Some know exactly the truth and that is they are one and the same, and they want to perpetuate the myth.
So some very high in the media will perpetuate the myth, say, when we have two candidates, which has been going on for maybe a hundred years where the two major candidates really endorse the same program. You know: the empire, the military, welfare and a central bank and all these things.
So they know it and they perpetuate it, but others will come up and they like a fight, too. Even though there’s philosophically not that great a fight. They like to stir things up and say ‘well, there’s no compromise in Washington, [we] never get along together.’ They just stir the pot, and they love it. But that’s part of what they think their job is.
But the other problem you have is that there are some very good people in the media. They’re very sincere, and they do make an effort to try to be fair and decent. And it was always nice to meet those kinds of people in the media.
But back to the subject of education, all of them have been educated in our routine colleges and high schools and all, they have been taught Keynesian economics, so they actually don’t have the biggest notion about how free markets work and how detrimental the central bank is. And it’s not so much that they’re part of the conspiracy as they’re part of the, you know, endorsement of bad ideas.
Goyette: Well, I remember seeing Bill O’Reilly on Fox within the last couple of years, asking somebody: ‘Who is this guy Keynes?’ he said. Now, here he is, commenting on economic matters, on budgets, influencing the nation night after night on national TV, and he has no idea who the most influential economist of the governing classes in the last couple of generations is. This is all new to him.
Paul: Yeah, he was the one who was interviewing me once, and I wanted to pull up a historic fact of how that historic fact was influencing our foreign policy, and he said ‘I don’t want to know anything about history.’ So I guess he doesn’t want to hear anything about economics or history. But, you know what? He’s the most successful guy on TV right now, I believe, or at least close to it.
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