Doug Casey: Why would the typical American, who gets far more from government than he or she pays, even consider voting for Ron Paul?
Ron Paul: Even those Americans who receive a higher nominal amount in transfer payments than they pay in income taxes suffer from Big Government. Their standard of living is eroded by inflation, their wages are garnished by income and payroll taxes, their civil liberties are under constant assault, and their economic prospects are limited because of the drag the welfare-warfare state places on the economy. Furthermore, unless we reverse course quickly, future generations will suffer a declining standard of living and loss of liberty. Thus, I expect many Americans to vote for me not only out of concern for their own well-being, but out of concern for their children.
Doug Casey: What is your outlook for the U.S. dollar, absent any significant change in the current course of things?
Ron Paul: Unless we return to a sensible monetary policy and rein in government spending, I expect the value of the dollar to continue to fall.
Doug Casey: Do you think we could see currency or capital controls being implemented?
Ron Paul: History shows that governments tend to react to economic crises by increasing government control over the free market, so, yes, it is quite possible that the U.S. Government will respond to a future economic downturn with currency and capital controls.
Doug Casey: We have seen the other presidential candidates perform all sorts of linguistic gymnastics when asked how they would handle the looming fiscal problems of Social Security and Medicare. While the solutions will obviously not be quick or easy, where would you start?
Ron Paul: I would transfer some of the money saved by my cuts in foreign programs and unconstitutional domestic bureaucracies into the entitlements programs to keep the promises to those relying on the system. I would then work to transition to a market system, phasing in an option for younger workers to opt out of Social Security and Medicare taxes in return for agreeing to provide for their own retirement and health care needs without participating in a government entitlement program.
Doug Casey: Further on domestic issues, just what do you think the role of the federal government should be?
Ron Paul: Ideally, it should be limited to providing protection from foreign threats, securing the borders and ensuring free trade among the states.
Doug Casey: By what % would you estimate that federal government spending could be cut without causing any great hardship? Which agencies would you cut first?
Ron Paul: I don’t have an exact percentage, but I am confident that if the welfare state were cut, along with a corresponding reduction in taxes, private charities would quickly step up to help the truly needy – and do so in a much more effective and compassionate way than government bureaucracies. I would cut the Iraq war, foreign aid and all foreign commitments immediately. Domestically, I would work to shut down the Departments of Education, Energy, and Commerce. I would also work to eliminate all forms of corporate welfare and business subsidies.
Doug Casey: Any idea how much of the total federal debt could be paid off if the government sold all the land, buildings, equipment and other assets it doesn’t need for activities authorized by the Constitution?
Ron Paul: I do not have an estimate on that, but it is definitely something I would pursue.
Doug Casey: There is much talk about the Chinese deliberately keeping their currency cheap in order to undercut U.S. and European manufacturers. And we are increasingly hearing discussions about layering on more tariffs aimed at the Chinese. We assume you are anti-tariff, so do you do anything at all about “unfair” competition or just let the global marketplace sort things out over time?
Ron Paul: The United States does not have the authority to tell China, or any other country, what to do with their currencies. The values of currencies should be set by the market. Instead of worrying about the speck in China’s eye, I would focus on the beam in our eye by reducing the national debt, restoring a market in currency by repealing the legal tender laws and ending the continued debasement of the American currency.
Doug Casey: Much of the politicking this campaign season has certain religious overtones. Are you a believer in a strict separation of church and state?
Ron Paul: Yes. However, I believe state and local communities have the right to adopt policies such as school prayer without interference from the Federal Judiciary or any other branch of the federal government.
Editor’s Note: If you like what you read, then check out Ron Paul’s web site.
For more on Doug Casey’s International Speculator visit:www.CaseyResearch.com
Doug Casey and Ron Paul recently joined forces to debate Larry Abraham and Dinesh D’Souza. You can view the debate by following this link.