QUESTION: Congressman, would you run as an independent?
RON PAUL: No. I don’t have any plan, any intentions. I don’t want to do that. I did it once. We don’t have enough democracy in this country. It’s very biased against alternative parties, whether you’re a Libertarian or a Green party, you fight, you don’t get in the debates, and you don’t get equal treatment. And here we go around the world and using force to spread democracy in Iraq, and yet we don’t have it here. We should set an example. And that’s why it’s tough. I’m very sympathetic with all alternative parties, but I tried it once—I have no intention of doing it again.
QUESTION: You were talking about looking at immigration from an economic standpoint. This is something new that I haven’t heard out of the other candidates, and I’d like to hear more about that.
PAUL: The welfare state makes it very difficult to solve our problems. I believe if we had a free and prosperous economy and a middle class that wasn’t struggling and their income wasn’t going down in real terms, then immigration wouldn’t be a problem. But welfare here actually encourages some of our people not to take low-paying jobs. And then these jobs go begging, so there’s an incentive to come in. And then what we do is we give free medical care and free education. That’s a cost. And then these people who are being squeezed, with their income and their standard of living going down, they go to the grocery store, they see an illegal using food stamps. Or they get into the emergency room, then their hospital closes down and they don’t even have hospital services. They see their taxes going up for education. And this creates resentment. And then they want to build fences as a solution, and that’s not the solution. But if we had a free and prosperous economy, which means free markets and sound money, I think we would have a generous work program. People would come over, and they’d come over honestly, but they’d go back and forth, just like we used to go back and forth in Canada.
QUESTION: What medicine would you prescribe for our health care system? Everyone knows something’s wrong.
PAUL: We’ve had managed care for 35 years, which means we’ve turned it over to government and corporations. We have corporatism, and it isn’t working, and all it did was push up prices and restrict services. What you need to do is get the control back to the patient to make choices. Once the government gets involved, the government always pushes up prices; then they have to restrict opportunities.
QUESTION: At what point do you think that the government steps in and does anything, the federal government?
PAUL: Whenever the Constitution gives us permission. And if the Constitution’s too restrictive, you change the Constitution. If it is not there, we’re not supposed to do it. They said, no printing money, and only gold and silver is legal tender. That’s still on the books. We’re not supposed to go to war without declaring it. Those things are very, very clear. So we should at least prevent our government from doing these things without changing the Constitution. So if we want them to be involved in public education, we should change the Constitution, and then let them have more No Child Left Behinds, which I think is totally foolish. But no, it would be the Constitution that would give us a guide.
QUESTION: Quickly, don’t ask don’t tell.
PAUL: Why do we even discuss the subject? Nobody should be asking, nobody should be punished for their sexual orientation, whether it’s, you know, in the military or non-military?
QUESTION (DAVEY, D): Can you clarify your position on immigration and where you stand? And are your views really extreme?
PAUL: We just talked about immigration, about why I see it in economic terms, and why if you have this economic system that we have today, you can’t solve this problem. But I don’t believe in amnesty. I don’t believe in rewarding people who break the law. And I’m not fond of fences, but I do think we should have border security. I don’t think our border guards should be in Iraq. I don’t think our national guards should be in Iraq that it should be here for domestic reasons. But I don’t believe in giving benefits in encouraging people to break the law, such as free medical care and free education. But if you had a free and healthy economy, I think we would be very generous. And I’ve said this on national television, in the debate, that too often we use the illegal immigrants as scapegoats.
QUESTION: I don’t know if you know this, but there’s a lot of Clan Web sites that do a lot of donating to your cause. Do you know about that? And would you send the money back?
PAUL: No, I don’t know anything about it, but I’m not going to send the money back. Sending it back would imply that people who send me money have an influence on me. I mean, what about people who raise millions of dollars from the military-industrial complex? And that’s corrupt. Do they send their money back? No. I mean, if they send me money, if I send it back, if it’s some radical group, I’ve already spent the money they sent. Do I take your donation, if you send it to me, and give it to this radical group and subsidize them? No.
QUESTION: Well, we send back money on Hillary for ["shoo"] for example.
PAUL: Well, they’re insecure, because they think they’re going to be influenced, and maybe they are. I don’t get any special interests money. I get individuals. But I have 170 donors of $100 and less. I’m not going to screen them. I’m not going to go over that and play this game of pandering, saying, "Oh, what do you believe in?" Check out everybody’s belief? That if I take their money I endorse their belief? That’s preposterous.
Please note that TRNN transcripts are typed from a recording of the program; The Real News Network cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.