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If you’re concerned about the overreach of government in juicing asset prices to dangerous levels, picking economic winner and losers, and constraining our personal freedoms — you have very good right to be.
So says lifelong champion of free markets, sound money and civil liberty, former US Congressman Dr Ron Paul:
Having spent decades in Washington serving as a member of the House of Representatives, Dr Paul is intimately familiar with both the institutions and the individuals currently running our country. And he has “zero” confidence that they will competently handle the major challenges facing America today.
2020 has given politicians a golden moment to capitalize off of the old DC strategy to “never let a crisis go to waste”. And they are making the most out of the current anxiety and uncertainty, using it to justify increased government intervention in nearly every aspect of our lives.
More monetary and fiscal stimulus has been injected this year than ever before in history, by a long shot. Same for Federal borrowing and deficit spending.
More limitations on how we’re allowed to conduct commerce, travel and gather with our families — even what information is permissible to voice publicly — have been imposed than at any time since WW2.
Dr Paul sees this accelerating grab by the government for expanded power and control as exactly what we DON’T need to effectively and sustainably tackle the truly massive tasks ahead of us, such as beating the coronavirus and addressing our nation’s truly massive debt overhang.
The solutions to those, and nearly every problem a society faces, are rooted in expanded freedoms, self-determination, and fair systems that allow the best ideas to prevail.
To understand why, play our recent interview with Dr Ron Paul.
Chris Martenson: We asked former U.S. Congressman Ron Paul, if he thinks the government is going to get better at dealing with the big challenges we face--the Coronavirus pandemic, our massive national debt and the newly announced global reset initiative--here's what he said:
Ron Paul: I would say the odds of people coming to their senses in Washington from my experience up there are about 00.
Chris Martenson: Welcome to Peak Prosperity. It's my honor today to welcome Dr. Ron Paul to the program. Dr. Paul served as a republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He also ran for the Presidential nomination, first as a libertarian and then later on as a republican. And he did much of this while still serving as a practicing physician delivering over 4000 babies.
Dr. Paul has been a lifelong advocate of free market economics, of radical reduction in the size of government, privacy protection for individuals and a reduction in U.S. foreign interventions. We are going to ask him about all of those questions here. But before we get started, Dr. Paul, it is a pleasure to welcome you to the program and I'd like to start by saying it's wonderful to see you in good health.
Ron Paul: Well, very good and I'm very happy to be with you today.
Chris Martenson: Dr. Paul, let me start with the obvious if I may--the coronavirus pandemic caught the world by surprise in 2020. And I'm going to ask you some questions about COVID and public health in just a few minutes given your medical background. But before we get there I just wanted to emphasize that the pandemic and government's response to it has exacerbated a number of the things that you have spent your career warning about--debt, deficit spending, easy monetary policy and government overreach. Let's start with those.
So looking at the U.S. National deficit it's going to be over $3 trillion this year which is a--a record by a huge amount and they are still considering additional stimulus this year so that number could go even higher.
Continuing to look at our national addiction to debt, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that the National Debt is going to be over 100% of GDP in 2021. So my question for you, Dr. Paul, is this--are all of these emergency actions stimulus programs, etcetera, emergency borrowing deficits is that actually necessary given the scope of the crisis that we're dealing with? Or are we perhaps creating a much bigger long-term crisis for ourselves given the short-term short sightedness of the response?
Ron Paul: Depends on what your goal is. It's very, very necessary if you want to keep it together under similar conditions we have today for at least a few more months. Other words, the price is very high and it--it won't continue. It's going to destroy the further future out there. And the whole thing is--is we don't know exactly when that will happen. They are going to keep spending and printing and doing whatever they can to manufacture prosperity--which isn't even being achieved right now. There is a lot of money going out there but the people aren't really getting economic growth again. Some people don't go back to work because the welfare benefits are so great. And that just can't last.
So but on the short run, if Trump hadn't pressured them and the democrats hadn't pressured the Fed about a year ago--because I think the--the economic correction from the bubble that the Fed created occurred before COVID. COVID complicated things. And they have--the both parties they were there and the Fed changed its tune after it was discovered the ___ [00:03:37]rates back September of 18, the rates went up to 10%, the spigot was turned on and it really made everybody happy even though they did politicize it a bit. But that's I think that is doing it--a person that's been on drugs and they're--they're having some--they're having some symptoms because they are being weened off drugs or they missed it and they can get pretty violent and problems. And that's the economy is going to get like that.
So that's why even though the right thing to do--people know what it is. Quit spending, balance the budget, have some money. Give us a free country. Let us solve our own problem. But that's not going to happen because the medicine is too tough. The system can't hold it. But we don't realize that what the people should realize is that the--if you don't take that treatment the results will be more deadly than the ramifications of living within our means. And that's where the real problem is. So I would say the odds of people coming to their senses in Washington from my experience up there are about 00. They would all of a sudden have enough people, enough members of Conbress to represent a more libertarian free market approach and quit this spending and living within our means.
So we have to look forward, vaguely speaking in a positive way--anticipating this thing is going to get much worse and nobody can understand how exactly it might turn out. Most of the time when a country gets into this much trouble the--the final results are very, very bad.
Chris Martenson: I was hoping maybe there was a little bit more hope in the story than that but 0.0 is pretty definitive prediction there. You've been there. You know the people that are in place. You know the institution is making the decision so I trust your estimates way better than mine. So Dr. Paul, it sounds like you are saying look, they are going to continue doing what they're doing just until the system breaks. At this point, do you think that it is going to break economically in a way that they just can't control at some point in time? Or because of the--the huge wealth disparity that all of the intervention is creating, right? The spoils are going into the pockets of a smaller and smaller group of people that are kind of running the show and everybody else is getting left behind. Do you fear sort of a social unrest element to this story?
Ron Paul: You know, I think that's--that's the key thing to be concerned about cause you know, I don't remember everything about the depression but a little bit about it I was born ___[00:06:23]. People were destitute and they were poor but it was different--different now because I think there is more dependency, more anger, more demands and more at stake and that the discrepancy between the wealth in this country is worse than ever And right now, the people who have the upper hand on this which should scare everybody is this fits into the scenario that the socialists and the Marxists and the communists you now, can use to argue the case for see what happens with capitalism. So if we believe in freedom can't convert more people to an understanding that what we are talking about today--the shortcomings, has nothing to do with freedom. It has to do with the opposite. It has to do with a system of corporatism, pseudo capitalism and yet there is a lot of people in Washington still who believe it is a you know, it is because that we don't have enough spending and this sort of thing and that is of course, the reason why you hear more people willing to talk about socialism.
But it's going to be up for grabs and it's going to be very, very tough. But I think your question inferred or inquired whether or not there could turn into violence and I think so. I think the violence is there already. When you look at what was happening in our streets and we still see it today that they--they tear our cities and steal and rob and then they identify with the police and the police don't help bring about order. There is no respect for private property. I think that is just the beginning. Because we do not one thing the people have to remember--we do not create wealth by creating new money.
Most people say, send me another check and we'll go back to work and create the money. Turns out the people ___ [00:08:18]it was more than they were making in their job. So they are not going to go back to work a lot of them. So this is I think the violence should be something that we should be very concerned about. And a lot of people are planning for it, unfortunately. Because it is only the change in philosophy and the belief in freedom and the responsibility of individuals to care for themselves that can prevent this from--from coming unglued.
Chris Martenson: All right, so let's pull in that thread just a little bit more in terms of you know, the hunger of the masses to you know, to take in the promises of those that are offering them you know, I think it's understandable to think that the masses would say look, if I'm getting shafted I may as well get shafted and get something. So the guy who is promising me free healthcare, you know, debt forgiveness whatever I am going to go for that guy.
The pandemic has served as an accelerator for sort of a new concept that is being put forth at the--the global level world govenrments, world NGOs like the world economic forum and the IMF in many major developed countries have now been putting forward this concept called the Great Reset. And I just want to very quickly for those folks who aren't familiar with it, give its quick tenets.
It says it targets a redefinition of capitalism and this is what you were just getting to Dr. Paul. The three main pillars are, they want to steer their market towards fairer outcomes and that is very interesting because who determines what's fair if the market is not determining what is fair. And they plan to use taxes and regulations to do that. They are looking to increase economic stimulus spending that focuses on quality and sustainability. So these are things like green infrastructure projects and what not. And then, the last is to harness innovation to address health and social challenges very much int eh way the world is marshaling to fight COVID they want to marshal the world's resources to target things like public health and social challenges. And on the surface that doesn't sound so bad given your experience as a U.S. Congressman, as an economic hawk and as a defender of personal freedoms, what's your reaction to this?
Ron Paul: Not a chance in the world that this reset is something positive about it. Reset sounds like pretty good. Reassess things and do the right thing. Everything they are talking about is doing more of it. It is like this modern monetary theory. Oh, what we ought to do is print more money and pass it out and that will solve the problem. No, I think resetting is just the anticipation that we should have anticipated and we are having it more and more the longer system we have lasts the more demands you need. Bigger deficits and you need more government intrusion, we need more regulation. And what they're talking about is not a solution. The only thing that is a solution is returning to an understanding of what free people can do for themselves.
It isn't like I know the odds are pretty slim and for now I think that they are correct. But it doesn't mean it has to be that way because one of the most memorable times in my lifetime and that's not that long ago, is 1989 and 1990 with the collapse of the Soviet system. I thought that was the most fantastic thing in the world. But it wasn't so much that the grassroots understood ___ [00:11:52]but they did understand that communism was a total failure and they just walked away from it. What was amazing was that and I was drafted in the 60's during the Cold War and missiles in Cuba and this sort of thing. So they were ready to do that. But all of a sudden there was no exchange of weapons. It just collapsed. Things did get somewhat better--there was a freedom, there was a dividend but it was all a façade because it was not so much going to liberty but it was going to economic interventionism, the Keynesian approach which some people accepted as a substitute for communism.
Well, it was better but the thing of it is the point I'm making is it wasn't a whole answer it was a part of an answer and it happened without the total annihilation of billions of people like had been occurring so often. I thought that's what we need. We need a change but instead of going back and saying we can modify Keynesianism we just need people at the Federal Reserve. We can solve this problem. No. We need a changed attitude among the people to understand why their best interests are only going to occur when we live in a free society which emphasizes the responsibility of each and every individual to take care of themselves and that they have this responsibility and of course, they have the benefits too. They own their own life and they just have that one rule. Don't lie, cheat or steal and things would get better. But back to my assessment--we don't have enough yet but we have a growing number of people. A program like yours that gets information out that talks about these things. There are a lot of people out there and we are coming, we are going to come to this climactic end and maybe the question should be could we have a transition like in 88, 89 and 90 to something more peaceful and then we participate what a free society is all about.
So I remain optimistic on that but very pessimistic on expecting congress in the next year or two or in a Biden administration to all of a sudden shift gears. It's going to get worse before it gets better.
Chris Martenson: All right. All right so then switching then from civil liberties for a second to the economy and something that we spend a lot of time talking about here at Peak Prosperity as well and Dr. Paul, I know you have been again one of the more you know, vocal advocates for you know, better economic policies that bring us into better alignment both with living in our means and also increasing you know, fairness, sound money, etcetera.
So just real quickly, we are looking at an economy that was as you said earlier it was actually struggling pre COVID then it got basically a massive gut shot from the pandemic and the lockdowns that came along with it. What is interesting is the economy is still really struggling to get out of that hole and yet, we have asset prices back up to record all time high levels of valuations. By many metrics the most richly valued they have ever been in all of history. And I am just curious as you look forward do you have a strong sense of how this is going to end up? You know, will history repeat and get some big corrective crash here or are we at the point potentially where the flood gates have bene opened so wide that it is just run away prices from here?
Ron Paul: It's going to end up with a crack and boom that is what ___[00:15:33] talked about. That is what we are seeing in some of these areas like the stocks and the bonds. The bonds--you know, 0% and it is probably below 0 if you talk about real interest rates. That is just huge. And I think people don't talk about the bond market and debt because that is all we have to offer is more debt and printing, printing of money. That is why that is going to be the dilemma. You know, in the 70s we had something interesting happening we had like invisible crash. Prices were going up and they were taking away all of the ___ [00:16:09]at the same time there was a slump it was a depression but there was a price inflation. Right now, we live with people in Washington that only thing that represents growth and the economy they pretend its just printing more money.
What they are saying is the only way you have growth in the economy is if you have inflation. Here we have been working for years now. If we can only get prices to go up and stick it to the people about 2 or 3% a year that will get over this. Well, prices are going up a lot faster of ra lot of people. And I think that is going to happen. That is where the liquidation comes. The liquidation of the debt and the malinvestment has to occur if we ever want to get back to real growth. And the liquid ___ [00:17:01]usually occurs with the governments with liquidating the value of the money because what I was implying before it is not going to be liquidated by people working hard, sending more money to the government and paying down the debt and the spending you know, backs off. That is not going to happen.
So the liquidation is going to come with high price inflation devaluing I see the valuation will be in the currency. I think we see a little bit of that now you know, the dollar is not quite as strong as it was maybe six months ago. I think it is going to be a lot more than that and the crack up boom you can't predict and that is the one thing about Austrian economics--they can print money but they never know where it goes.
So yes, they printed tons of it, trillions of it and yet the consumer price index hasn't gone up. People how can this be? We don't have any inflation. What they are doing is saying, we don't see inflation we can keep printing more money and guess who supports it? There are two groups of people there republicans and democrats because none of them I shouldn't say none, there are very, very few willing to attack the source of all this, the financing, the sinister financing that creates this imbalance in wealth and that is the federal reserve system and the deficit financing.
Chris Martenson: On that topic of sort of the diminishment of the purchasing power of the currency through all of this money printing. You have been an outspoken advocate for precious metals and I'm curious you know, now that the Fed has essentially doubled its balance sheet in the past year, has your opinion on them changed and do you have an opinion on the cryptocurrencies as well?
Ron Paul: ___ [00:18:49]printing money eventually causes a great deal of harm because you know, it destroys interest rates. It destroys the most important price there is and that is the price of money and that is why economic ___ [00:19:02]crumbles and history is on the side of saying precious metals seem to hold up best to preserve wealth even though I think it does I endorse that principle really the only thing that really protects us is our liberty and shrinkage of government. But in the meantime, fi you are looking to try to survive you know, the metals are very good.
And a lot of people and I speak at the cryptocurrencies and the Bitcoin conferences except when this lockdown came and I don't get on airplanes at the present time. But I speak there although I am not you know, a cheerleader. I see the short--one of the things about gold it's lasted for a long time and it has served a purpose. But even gold what good is it if you don't have your liberties? Just think for 42 years or so since 1933 we weren't even allowed to own gold until 1975 so it is that relationship it is that freedoms that really count.
___ [00:20:16]in office is to help get gold legalized again and make sure people can use it and as a haven. And on as far as the cryptocurrencies go I introduced legislation which would be to permit competing currencies and get rid of the legal tender laws. Because governments want control and they have to control it. So that is a concern that I have with cryptocurrencies because looks like a lot of people are voting for cryptocurrencies right now. And if they are looking at it only in the dollar crypto exchange they can say, well we are doing very, very well. But I think that -- that the governments are always wanting control. Always in the monetary system and the more crypto is accepted as money the more controls there would be.
You say well, it's anonymous and it's transparency but I read the stories. I talk to individuals who have been hit at the exchanges cause they didn’t pay enough taxes on it. And that bothers me. I don’t like to pay taxes on anything. There's no perfect -- perfect transition into accepting cryptocurrencies and everybody is going to be happy about it. My goal is to keep it legal and minimize the opportunity for governments to come in and dictate how they must be used. One of the goals--the way I understand it--one of the goals with the cryptocurrency is way too many reports to avoid going through the banking system this sort of thing. I find it fascinating. I think the technology is very interesting. I think blockchain technology has a lot of benefits. But I think I don't think the final word is in for cryptocurrencies and Bitcoin as being money as--as beneficial and useful as the precious metals.
Chris Martenson: Great. I think very similar to you, personally, Dr. Paul I do want to ask you this question because this is such an interesting topic to me. The Treasury is allergic to competition when it comes to you know, the guy who is printing minting coins in his garage, right? They will throw you in person for that. It has somewhat flummoxed me that they've allowed the cryptocurrency community to flourish as much as it has. One line of thought might be well they are just letting them kind of figure the model out. And at some point the government will step in with a Fed coin or a digital dollar or whatever it is. What is the likelihood you would see and we have even heard some talk this year about the central banks issuing digital currencies?
What do you see is the likelihood of the government making it harder and harder to own these cryptocurrencies once it has its own product out there?
Ron Paul: Well that's the nature of government. Govenrments will do it if they remain the size it is now and it keeps expanding. If you have a proper size government in a republic you wouldn’t have to worry about it. But I can remember going I believe the federal reserve chairman that was before--I believe it was Bernanke at the time when crypto was coming up as a subject and I asked the question you know, about it what is his opinion about it? And it was more to see what I could find out. And I was sort of surprised about the answer. The answer wasn't critical of the concept. It wasn't endorsing it but it wasn't condemning it. I thought they are keeping a close eye on that and they know exactly what is going on. But I think all authoritarian governments control the money whether it's gold, whether it's cryptocurrency, whether it's cattle or any other substitute people want to control wealth. And that of course is what the--what the real authoritarians whether the Marxists or the fascists, they control wealth.
Right now, most people in Washington they want to control wealth because they use it as a political tool to pass out the wealth and the get re-elected and they are powerful and then they have their own wealth to enjoy.
Chris Martenson: All right, well look, Dr. Paul, thank you so much for your time .I'm going to end with this one last question--as a doctor I'm just curious for your personal perspective on handling of COVID. You have this challenge if you are running a country and I get it, right? You are trying to maintain the balance of keeping your economy running while not allowing so many people to contract the virus such that you are overwhelming your healthcare system. Do you have a perspective on what you think is the right approach for handling a national challenge like this?
Ron Paul: The danger of the virus is blown way out of proportion but it is serious and it should be dealt with. That's why you don't want Fauci being the king and the dictator and Bill Gates who has ulterior motives they shouldn't be dictators that tell us what to do. I am a strong believer in natural immune systems, you know, the vitamin approach to it and I think this is--this is much better than to expect the ___[00:25:44] to solve the problem. We talk a lot about that on my ___[00:25:49] report.
Now they are coming up--today I came across an article where they have I think it is occurring in Great Britain they have two vaccines that they are dealing with--this one is pretty good and this one is pretty good. I think what we ought to do is start in January and have this experiment. Let's put them together and test them. And these things are experimental. They're using RNA instead of DNA. They’ve never done it before and they have had some catastrophic problems with vaccines. Now does that mean we shouldn’t have vaccines? No. It should be done voluntarily people should have choices. This whole idea that people won't have a choice and they are talking about right now that is a real concern of mine is that to have the passport injected into your arm you won't go anywhere without your passport. But that is coming if we don't reverse this trend because governments want to know exactly what we are doing.
I don't see any advantage no advantage from what they have done--the government has done with dealing with the virus. Once again, it isn't that the virus doesn’t have some danger but that's the reason you don't want the government doing it. Cause they can take a minor danger and make it 10 times worse and believe me, they took a recession, depression that was on its way and now they have made it much, much worse and it is not going to end easily. Because nobody can be against the spending for the vaccine. So that is the sad part. People have to think about living in a free society where people have a responsibility for themselves and they have the ability to keep what they have--keep what they have earned. It's their life.
No, no think of all the things that the government does good for--well, I can list a few things I think the government does harm to it. There the government is the greatest threat to our civil liberties. Not your next door neighbor because I think your neighborhoods can be pretty well protected by the second amendment and just getting along with people. We need more of that.
Chris Martenson: Well, thank you for that, Dr. Paul. You remind me of my favorite demotivational poster which says, Government if you don't like the problems we create just wait till you see our solutions. Anyways, Dr. Paul, thank you so much for sharing all of your expertise and your perspective with us. Thank you again for your championship of all of the elements that we talked about today from personal liberties to economic freedoms etcetera. For people who are interested in continuing to follow you and learn more about you and your work where should they go?
Ron Paul: Well, the best thing to do because I do this almost every single day at least five days a week is the Ron Paul Liberty Report. And we live stream a program, 11:00 Central time. And its usually 25 to 30 minutes. It's a pretty related program. And we do a lot of foreign policy. Started that way but lately it's been a lot on civil liberty and COVID and what is happening with the economy.
Chris Martenson: Great. Well, Dr. Paul we'll put up an overlay showing that your ___ [00:29:01]to folks so they can go check out your daily work. And folks, as a reminder if you want to know who we are having as upcoming guests in this program just follow me on Twitter @menlobear(PH). Dr. Paul, thank you so much again. Really appreciate you taking the time out of your busy day to share your expertise. And we hope to have you on at some point in 2021 to see what's happening at that point.
Ron Paul: Sounds good. Nice being with you today.
Chris Martenson: Real pleasure. Thank you.