PAUL: I strongly supported Ronald Reagan. I was one of four members of Congress from Texas that supported Reagan in '76. And I supported him all along, and I supported all his issues and all his programs. But in the 1980s, we spent too much, we taxed too much, we built up our deficits, and it was a bad scene. Therefore, I support the message of Ronald Reagan. The message was great. But the consequence, we have to be honest with ourselves. It was not all that great. Huge deficits during the 1980s, and that is what my criticism was for, not for Ronald Reagan's message. His message is a great message.
But there is a mess down there, and it's a big mess. And it's the drug war that's going on there. And our drug laws are driving this. So now we're killing thousands and thousands of people. That makes it much more complicated.
Q: Everybody would like $2 gas, but is it realistic for a president to promise that?
PAUL: I do want to address the subject of $2 oil or gasoline, because I can do it much better than that. I can get you a gallon of gasoline for a dime. You can buy a gallon of gasoline today for a silver dime. A silver dime is worth $3.50. It's all about inflation and too many regulations.
A: In theory, if you understood the free market in a free society, you don't need government to do that. We live in a society where we have been adapted to this, and you can't just drop it all at once, but you can transition away from it. On regulations, no, I don't believe in any of these federal regulations, but that doesn't mean I don't believe in regulations. The regulation of the marketplace takes care of it. So the marke would dictate it. You can't commit fraud. If you need detailed regulations, you can do it at the state level. But the federal government is not authorized to nitpick every little transaction. The way they use the interstate commerce clause is outrageous.
PAUL: Absolutely. And it would help the poor, the people who need a job. The minimum wage is a mandate. We're against mandates, so why should we have it? No, it would be very beneficial. But mandates, that's what the whole society is about. That's what we do all the time. That's what government does: mandate, mandate, mandate. And we talk so much about the ObamaCare mandate, which is very important, but what about Medicare? Isn't that a mandate? Everything we do is a mandate. So this is why you have to look at this at the cause of liberty. We don't need the government running our lives.
PAUL: Forcing 12-year-old girls to take an inoculation to prevent STDs is not good medicine. It's not good social policy. But one of the worst parts about that was the way it was done. You know, the governorship in Texas traditionally is supposed to be a weak governorship. I didn't even know they could pass laws by writing an executive order. He did it with an executive order, passed it. The state was furious, and the legislature, overwhelmingly, 90%, repealed this. But I think it's the way it was passed, which was so bad. I think it's a bad piece of legislation. But I don't like the idea of executive orders. I, as president, will not use the executive order to write laws.
PAUL: Well, what happened before 1979? We didn't have FEMA. FEMA just conditioned people to build where they shouldn't be building. We lose the market effect of that. But, yeah, my position is, we should have never had it. There's a much better way of doing it. I mean, this whole idea that the federal government can deal with weather and anything in the world, just got to throw a government there? FEMA's broke. They're $20 billion in debt. But I'm not for saying tomorrow close it down. A lot of people pay the insurance. I work real hard to make it work, and I did that in my district, too. But I'll tell you how we should do it. We're spending $20 billion a year for air conditioning in Afghanistan and Iraq. Cut that $20 billion out, bring in--take $10 off the debt, and put $10 into FEMA or whoever else needs it.
A: Theoretically, it could be privatized, but who ends up doing the regulations on the drugs? They do as much harm as good. They don't take good care of us. Who gets--who gets to write the regulations? The bureaucrats write the regulations, but who writes the laws? The lobbyists have control, so lobbyists from the drug industry has control of writing the regulations, so you turn it over to the bureaucracy. But you would have private institutions that could become credible. And, I mean, do we need the federal government to tell us whether we buy a safe car? I say the consumers of America are smart enough to decide what kind of car they can buy and whether it's safe or not, and they don't need the federal government hounding them and putting so much regulations on that our car industry has gone overseas.
PAUL: Just take the HPV [human papiloma virus]. Forcing 12-year-old girls to take an inoculatio to prevent this sexually transmitted disease, this is not good medicine, I do not believe. I think it's social misfit. It's not good social policy. And therefore, I think this is very bad to do this. But one of the worst parts about that was the way it was done. The governorship in Texas traditionally is supposed to be a weak governorship. I didn't even know they could pass laws by writing an executive order. He did it with an executive order, passed it. The state was furious, and the legislature, overwhelmingly, 90%, repealed this. But I think it's the way it was passed, which was so bad. I think it's a bad piece of legislation. But I don't like the idea of executive orders. I, as president, will not use the executive order to write laws.
PAUL: The airlines that are responsible for carrying their cargo and their passengers. I mean, why should we assume that a bureaucracy can do better? And look at the monstrosity we have at the airports. These TSA agents are abusive. Sometimes they're accused of all kinds of sexual activities on the way they maul people at the airport. So the airlines could do that.
Q: I'll give them your best at LAX tonight.
PAUL: I would think the airlines should treat passengers as well as a company that hauls money around, and they protect their money. They have private guards. [The airlines] could do that. Just remember, 9/11 came about because there was too much government. Government was more or less in charge. They told the pilots they couldn't have guns, and they were told never to resist. They set up the stage for all this. So, no, private markets do a good job in protecting--much better than this bureaucracy called the TSA.
We can enforce our law. If we had a healthy economy, this wouldn't be such a bad deal. People are worrying about jobs. But every time you think about this toughness on the border and I.D. cards and real ideas, think that it's a penalty against the American people, too.
PAUL: Well, I'm sure, when he did that, he did it with local government, and there's no rules against that. That'd be fine. But that doesn't imply that you want to endorse the entire welfare state. No; it isn't authorized in the Constitution for us to run a welfare state. And it doesn't work. All it's filled up with is mandates. But, yes, if there are poor people in Texas, we have a responsibility--I'd like to see it as voluntary as possible--but under our Constitution, our states have that right--if they feel the obligation, they have a perfect right to. This whole idea that there's something wrong with people who don't lavish out free stuff from the federal government somehow aren't compassionate enough. I resist those accusations.
The above quotations are from 2011 GOP debate in Simi Valley CA at the Reagan Library.
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