Ron Paul on War Funding & Marijuana Bill with Judge Andrew Napolitano – June 23rd 2011
JUDGE ANDREW NAPOLITANO: Tonight on the docket, the economy, oil, and personal freedom.
The Dow plunged early today amid a slew of troubling news on the economy. It did come back at the end of the day on news that a deal is closer on a bail out in Greece.
But here at home the International Energy Agency said it would release 60 million barrels of oil, 30 million of which are coming from America’s strategic petroleum reserve. The stated purpose? To ease the oil shortages in Libya. The move is surprising because Libya doesn’t produce that much oil. And oil prices have already been falling over the past month. So why the sudden move, and will this market manipulation pay off, or is it just a political ploy to please voters? More on that later in the show.
Also troubling Wall Street today is news that House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl both walked out of the deficit reduction negotiations with Vice President Biden. Could this mark the beginning of the end of the Vice President’s talks? And without these key Republicans, can a bipartisan deal be reached? Add to all that, Republicans in the House who want the United States out of the war in Libya. And add to that a new bipartisan move to legalize marijuana.
Here now to tell us what all of this means for the fate of the nation’s debt ceiling, for our foreign policy, and for personal freedom, is Texas Republican Congressman Ron Paul.
Congressman Paul, a lot to talk about. It’s a pleasure. Welcome back to Freedom Watch.
RON PAUL: Thank you, Judge. Good to be with you.
JUDGE ANDREW NAPOLITANO: Let’s start with what happened not too far from where you are today. How do you read the Republicans politely, but firmly leaving these negotiations that the administration put together in an effort to cut some deal that would persuade people in the Congress that’s it’s actually a good thing to raise the debt ceiling and let the government put us deeper into debt?
RON PAUL: I’m not a bit surprised. I would have predicted that would happen because the problems we face are so overwhelming and some people just aren’t willing to cut the spending and some people just want to raise taxes and they’re at a loggerhead so uh… that’s why this is going to continue and we’re going to continue to have our economic problems.
JUDGE ANDREW NAPOLITANO: In your view, do your Republican colleagues in the House have the personal and political courage simply to say to the President and the Treasury Secretary, “No. We’re not going to authorize you to borrow another 2.4 trillion. You’ve borrowed and spent enough. We don’t trust you to spend less. The only way you’ll keep the government living within its means is if we make it unlawful for you to borrow.”? Do you think that will happen or is this a… a pipe dream that I have?
RON PAUL: Ah you’re back dreaming again Judge. I don’t think it’s going to happen. I think there’s going to be a lot of debate up to the final moment and then there will be a decision and the Republicans will get something. There will be some promises. “Okay, yes. We really will. We will cut some spending.” And maybe they’ll even cave in a little bit on taxes, but they won’t call it raising taxes. It’ll be “tax reform” or something to get more revenues and that would be different. But I think something will happen.
I think they will frighten the members of Congress at night enough to say that a default -which the default on paying interest on our securities- is so so devastating, but what they won’t admit to is that we’re in default continuously. We’ve been that way for many many decades because we just pay off our debt with cheap money and they’re looking at… Fed, as a matter of fact I think is looking forward to more inflation so that real debt goes down by the depreciation of our money.
JUDGE ANDREW NAPOLITANO: Most of your Republican colleagues who have come on Freedom Watch have indicated to us that a tax increase is dead on arrival in the House. Are you suggesting that the Republican leadership might somehow raise taxes but not call it a tax increase?
RON PAUL: Well, they’ve done that before. You know, it’ll be “reform”. And I’ve hear things like that. Ya know, they cut something here and cut something here. So when we look at those bills in my office, we have to do it… we add and subtract. Ya know, you get a benefit here and a subtraction here. And of course my rule is that there is no net new revenues. But sometimes they’ll make the bill very complicated and hard to figure out. Well, they’re giving a tax break here but they’re raising… they’re closing loopholes. Ya know, you close loopholes then you don’t raise taxes. So uh… I think they’re quite capable of doing that. Republicans have done it in the past. But I’m hoping they stick to their guns and with the help of the freshmen maybe… maybe we will. But I’m still predicting that they will not uh… that they will raise the debt limit. They will not go down to the wire and default in the way they argue that they might.
JUDGE ANDREW NAPOLITANO: I’m sorry to hear that, but obviously you have your thumb on the pulse of what your colleagues are talking about.
I want to switch gears. How is it that the unlikely pair of Ron Paul and Barney Frank came together to propose legislation to keep the federal government out of the issue of marijuana and to leave it to the states?
RON PAUL: Well actually, I’ve done this for a long time. I’ve worked with Barney Frank on auditing the Fed and some other things so uh… and for cutting some of the military budget. So on this issue we’ve worked together. It’s gotten a little bit more attention this time. But I think I like the way you worded it because it’s not taking a national control of an issue and saying all states will do it. What we are really doing is returning it to the states and trying to treat marijuana like we treat alcohol. And maybe we wouldn’t have quite so many people in prisons and ya know, be a little bit adaptable.
One thing that has strongly motivated me with the marijuana issue is I am convinced that there have been a lot of people helped medically by taking marijuana where ordinary drugs haven’t. Because if a person has cancer or they’re on chemotherapy many many people have told me they’ve been greatly helped. But isn’t it a shame that if you have a loved one that’s dying of cancer – and I’ve come across these cases and I always say, “You know, I think maybe the marijuana would help them.”
JUDGE ANDREW NAPOLITANO: Got it.
RON PAUL: But what are you going to do? Tell them to go out and find it? It’s so sad. So I think we should have a little bit of compassion on this issue. Follow the Constitution. The difficult problems can be solved out on the state level.
JUDGE ANDREW NAPOLITANO: I understand that at the Republican caucus today… or wherever the Republicans get together in the House to speak… there’s some strong energy there to enforce the Constitution with respect to Libya; that the President can’t start a war on his own. That whether the War Powers Act is constitutional or not, he must at least comply with the laws that have been written. Question: Is there going to be a move on the floor of the House of Representatives in the next few days to force the President to take the troops out of Libya?
RON PAUL: We’re going to have some votes tomorrow and so far I don’t see that type of resolution which is the right one: take the troops out and deny all funding. As a matter of fact, there’s one that sort of follows McCain’s proposal and grant him authority to do exactly what he’s doing and be explicit. That will not pass, I believe. I don’t believe there’s the votes for that. But then there’s another one that sounds like… it sounds good and it said that we can’t use any funds “except for….” and they list four things that they’re already doing!
JUDGE ANDREW NAPOLITANO: Right.
RON PAUL: So it’s a trick. It’s a trick piece of legislation and it actually pretends they’re doing something but it is an authorization for the President to be doing exactly what he’s doing and hopefully we can stop that. But on the surface, a lot of people are assuming, “Oh this looks like a good piece of legislation. It’s not the McCain approach of endorsing the whole notion. It is a statement of denial.” At the same time, the exceptions are endorsing exactly what the President’s doing. So I hope the Congress does not pass that tomorrow.
JUDGE ANDREW NAPOLITANO: Sounds like a trick to me. Keep them honest. Congressmen Ron Paul, it’s always a pleasure. Thanks for joining us.
RON PAUL: Thanks a lot.