Trish Regan: They just can’t help themselves. They just keep spending, and spending, and spending, and spending, and it’s our money. Hello everyone, this is Trish Regan. Welcome to American Consequences With Trish Regan. I am so thrilled to have on this program someone whom I admire tremendously, have admired for so long. Someone who certainly has championed some of the “Live Free or Die” values that are so important to America, so important to me. I am absolutely thrilled to have on this program Representative Ron Paul. Congressman Paul, great to have you here.
Ron Paul: Trish, it’s great to be with you today.
Trish Regan: Like I said, I can’t imagine who better to talk to right now. I mean your son is pretty good, too. But we’re speaking directly to the legend, to Ron Paul, about what’s going on in Congress right now. And they have just passed a monster of a bill. I’m sure it upsets you a lot. Give me your initial reaction, sir.
Ron Paul: Well, more of the same, and it doesn’t totally surprise me. That’s the way the whole place operated. It’s rather typical of waiting to a couple days before Christmas and passing it through. It’s just that I think it astounds you as well as me, and the numbers keep getting bigger and bigger. And we keep warning, hey, how long can this go on? Well, one thing we do know: It can’t go on forever, and we’re always one step closer to it. But this is an amazing thing what they put up with. And I always get a kick out of this thing that people have argued. “Well, don’t worry about it. We just owe it to ourselves.” Well, there is something interesting about that. We owe it to ourselves? Well, that maybe true because the foreigners aren’t buying our bonds like they used to. So we owe it to ourselves. But it really doesn’t matter when you want to be cynical about it because we won’t have to pay it anyway.
The people don’t get paid. The people come up short. We owe it to ourselves, but eventually the payment will come due. And what they don’t know is going to happen is exactly who the individuals are who suffered the most. And unfortunately, from the view of many, especially from the free market, the people who suffered the most will be middle-class people and poor people. And at the special interest, the people who pull the strings, they tend to do pretty well. And I think this whole lockdown, this whole thing going on right now, dramatizes that so well. The people are getting poorer, and they need these bailouts and trillions of dollars – $6 trillion in a year. Who knows what? So this is astounding what they’re doing, but it will end. And I’m afraid that the sacrifice will be for our personal liberties because we got here by not paying attention to protecting the principle of our liberties that we’re supposed to be having.
Trish Regan: All right, well you’ve just brought up multiple things that are incredibly important, so I want to break it down. We can get to the spending in just a moment. But you just hit on something that I’m pretty passionate about – I’ve gotten into a lot of trouble about, shall we say, with the Left-wing media because I was one of the first to voice my concerns over the politization, if you would, of coronavirus and the hysteria that ensued. And I’m not, by the way, discrediting any of that. I’m somebody who wears as mask when I go out. I’m very respectful. I haven’t been, unlike Gavin Newsom, going off to fancy lunches with lots of people. I’ve kind of hunkered down to do whatever I can to protect myself, my family, etc. But there doesn’t seem to be the same willingness by some of these lawmakers on the Left to do that. What is at stake? Why would they do this? I guess, let me start there because New York, California – why would any governor want to lockdown their economy like this knowing that it’s causing so much pain for their constituents?
Ron Paul: That’s the question that’s hard to answer, and I think about it all the time because why would they do it. Are they really that stupid? And I come down on the side of probably not. They’re probably not that stupid. I think they are very unknowledgeable about free markets and how the economy works and the importance of sound money. I’m sure they’re in that category. But still, to do some of the things that they’re doing and like in California, they’re trying to recall the governor. You’d think – say, “You know what? I might be screwing up here. Maybe I should back off a little bit.” But it’s either total ignorance or an ulterior motive. And when you get into that category of why would somebody want chaos in the streets, I happen to believe there are people who like chaos in the streets and they want to present a different form of government. But then you are interpreting their deep understandings and you’re making judgements.
You really don’t know the motivations of people. And yet, I think those are the only two things. It’s that out of total ignorance that they do this. Or is there a motivation that says that we can promote our cause by messing things up and making people scared? And I think they’re doing a very, very good job. It’s amazing to me how frightened people are. And it’s so sad what’s happening with the kids. It just tears me up about what’s happening and seeing these kids because you’re taking a conscientious approach to try and do your best to participate in this. But the kids aren’t getting sick and they don’t spread the virus. And there’s so much distortion of the science of it. I’m right now in a little squabble – it might be a big one – they took down one of my programs from Facebook. And it was done weeks ago, and they’re taking it down now. And their objection was that my medical facts were incorrect or something like that. Boy, this is something else. So there is a lot of problems about how we get our information out. I always said, the First Amendment is the greatest and most important amendment that we have. I said the First Amendment is not for to protect our right to talk about the weather. And it’s there to protect us for being able to criticize our government and say controversial things. Well, it’s turned upside down. The people in charge now of what we get to say and put out and be on the Internet have a different opinion.
Trish Regan: That’s for sure. I have never seen anything like – I never even really imagined anything like this. But people always say it’s a slippery slope. Freedom is very fleeting. Guard it. Protect it. And we’re seeing right now I think the complete erosion of these freedoms, including our freedom of speech which we’ve kind of always taken for granted. I know this is so much about what you’re trying to push right now with your institute and how critical this is. And I admire you for all of that because I’m with you. It’s so important, and these big social media companies are very much into censorship. And I think you have corporations just folding, one after another. They’re trying to get in line with this sort of woke thought and woke speak. But getting back to the reasons for it, might there be sort of this idea that if you paralyze everybody enough, then you say, OK, well the government is going to have to come in FDR style and put in some sweeping programs to get us back on our feet, and we’ll all look like heroes and we’ll go down in history as so great because we completely reinvented the American economy?
Ron Paul: Yeah, I think there is a bunch of that. There’s just people who think that what we have, the remnant of a freer society where we respected the constitution, is not what they want. And they admit it. I had a conversation on the floor – I can’t remember exactly. I think it was a conservative Democrat, and we were friends. And it was right after 9/11. And we were just sitting there, and we had just voted on the Patriot Act. And he was somebody that I would have discussions with. I said, hey, why are you voting for this? Don’t you know it does A, B, C? He said, yeah, but we have to do this because the people – we have to vote for these kinds of liberal things because the people are so stupid, and they need protection. And he didn’t say this – it was a very quiet conversation. It was like he deeply held that position. And I have a lot more confidence in people, not that people are perfect. But I think why pick from this group that we’re talking about and the people he doesn’t even like and put them to Congress, and when they make mistakes, they’re so horrible? It just makes no sense whatsoever. I have a lot more confidence in the people than in the people I met in Washington, let me tell you.
Trish Regan: Yeah, that heartens me to hear it. But I think that’s fundamentally the issue because that’s why you have all these lawmakers making one set of rules for the people, for the masses, and then they don’t live by those rules themselves. Nancy Pelosi, my gosh, the darn hair. When hair salons were closed, and I’m sorry, I’m the idiot who took them at their word and wanted to have highlights in my hair but did it myself. I went and picked up the color which they left outside on the doorstep and did it myself. And then when I eventually did go back, I had the mask on and everything because this is what is expected. And yet, she’s out there with no mask getting her hair done. I just – I’m floored by it. So I look at this, and you say you’ve been thinking about it. I’ve been thinking about it. And, Congressman, I kind of wonder if there’s just like a lack of empathy, a lack of sensitivity.
They kind of think about individuals as one big, huge group, and they’re not thinking about what these individuals are up against and how these individuals are not idiots. Nobody wants to get COVID-19. No business owner wants to spread COVID-19. So if you kind of leave a little more faith in people, in businesses, wouldn’t we be able to accomplish a whole lot on our own and don’t we need a strong economy to fight this?
Ron Paul: You’d think they’d accept that argument. But this whole thing about the hypocrites – it’s the neatest thing in the world when you catch a governor who wrote these laws, and then you get a quote from them, and they’re such great people to help the people and take care of them. And then they’re out there breaking all their own rules. And we try to mention it. Anytime we hear about them, we put a lot of those on our program because I think it really is powerful because I think that’s why there’s been a shift in attitude. In some ways, when you look at it, how is Florida all of the sudden getting rid of all those rules? I think it’s fantastic. But then when you hear about Pelosi and all, and then all the liberals in California, they’re talking about getting rid of their governor. So I would say, there’s some people waking up, and I see myself as just making an effort to nudge them along a little bit.
Trish Regan: I want to encourage people to check that out because you’re there everyday with the Ron Paul Liberty Report on YouTube. And you’re talking about these issues on a regular basis, and this is something that you always have been passionate about, and we need that right now. I guess I would just end this by asking, what’s next. How do we as Americans really stand up for our rights in light of everything that’s going on? How do we collectively come together? Is this do you believe going to be a rebirth in some ways of the tea party movement?
Ron Paul: Yeah, and there are different ways. I frequently, especially during the campaigns, I have pretty good receptions on the college campuses, liberal or conservative. And the young people, I saw them very optimistically because they would listen and seemed to understand. And very often there would be questions from the crowd. “OK, you got my attention. Now, tell me what I have to do.” And I guess I was a little bit flippant on it, but it sort of got their attention. I said, do whatever you want to do. I said that I wasn’t going to instruct you to go out and start something. Do your podcasts and get on television. Write a book. And so many of them have done so many different things. I keep running into them now because they have participated. So every one of us – if we have a passion for it, we have to do it.
But I think ultimately, though, the issue is education, that people are informed. Because if you take a person that’s been through all government schools and had been indoctrinated all through the establishment and controlled by the deep state personnel just doing what they think, that’s not enough. That’s why I admire what institutes like the Mises Institute has done. They’ve taught thousands of people quietly and steadily. And this continues to grow exponentially, and there’s more people. One little thing that I do that not too many people know about but I consider it one of the more important things, and I’m grateful that it’s now becoming more popular, is a homeschooling program. And I emphasize that’s actually what we’re talking about because I think if the young people don’t get exposed to this, just being active means the young kids would come up and they’d be excited. And I’d say, OK, tell me what to do. Should I join the Republican Party? Should I do this? And how do you raise money? And I said, the first thing is, don’t set your goal as going to Congress.
That is not it because people who do that do and say things and they participate and get their information from the wrong people. I think what people should do is find the sources. And, in spite of the regulations and the censorship on the Internet, I think the Internet is so fantastic because to me it’s an encyclopedia. And if you use it discreetly and try to pick and choose, there’s so much information out there, and people can find it, and there are educational programs. So I think education is top issue and then people being motivated. And then the only other thing that I emphasize when I talk to young people is – because they all seem to have a good time when we had these rallies – that you should have a good time. You should align yourself with likeminded people. Because if you look at only the negatives of all this, believe me, this is like a weight on your shoulders. And it’s really fun to get together with people that are likeminded. And you’re just getting together for a good time and also to promote the cause.
Trish Regan: No, I think that’s extremely good advice, and there is a lot of information out there. And people kind of need to be free-market consumers in all of this and seek it out because the social media companies are not going to readily serve it up. But all the more reason to go and follow you, subscribe to your channel, the Ron Paul Liberty Report. It is very good to talk to you. I want to thank you for joining us and Merry Christmas. And we’re going to take all this advice to heart. Thank you.
Ron Paul: Great being with you today.
Trish Regan: We’re talking about a lot of money right now. $900 billion, that’s just short of $1 trillion, that we’re putting into this coronavirus relief bill. But gosh, it’s not just about the coronavirus relief. You’re talking about money that’s being given to foreign countries. They’ve got this thing just stuffed – 6,000 pages, and they had six hours to read it all. Where is the discipline? How are we ever going to pay all this back? We’ve got money going to museums, the Smithsonian for a women’s thing and a Latino thing, and this, that, and the other. I just want to know, why isn’t the private money funding that at this particular time? Time and place, time and place, time and place. We’ve got real problems that we should be dealing with right now, namely, getting our economy reopened. I’m so happy to have on the program here with me today a brilliant intellectual in the conservative vein, Victor Davis Hanson. Victor, it’s good to talk to you again. How are you, sir?
Victor Davis Hanson: Very good. Thanks for having me.
Trish Regan: I love reading your pieces, many of which we can see on American Greatness where so much of your work is showcased, as well as the Wall Street Journal and some other places. But I want first of all, your reaction, sir, to what we’re seeing out of our congressional lawmakers.
Victor Davis Hanson: It’s bad. It was held up. A more direct stimulus bill that would go to people that had lost their businesses and jobs was held up because it was seen by the Democrats as favoring Donald Trump before the election. And after the election, they wanted to get it out before Joe Biden took office so its effect will help Biden. They had a little bit more time to add things. But then they unleashed it or dropped it or whatever verb you use right before they said they were going to vote on it. So we never really knew what was in this multi-thousand-page bill except what people had skimmed.
It’s got everything from aid to the Palestinians to millions of dollars to all these different countries for these race, class, gender agendas. And it’s so diluted, and it’s so packed in with vital things that it’s almost a time bomb or a poison pill. It allows us to keep borrowing money. I guess we’re going to be up to $28 trillion. But we don’t know what’s in it. We’re told to vote on it. And it’s got everything from mass transit aid to New York to debt relief for various states, but it’s not focused on who needed it.
Trish Regan: You’ve got some good pieces out, and again, just to remind people, they can read your work at nationalreview.com. Of course, at Hoover as well where I know you’re a fellow there at the Hoover Institute. Let me switch for just a moment – the two issues are related, of course, because there’s a lot of money going to foreign efforts. I mean, $33 million to Venezuela for democracy in Venezuela. I, by the way, am the first to tell you we need democracy in Venezuela, and it’s really horrible what the people have been through. But nonetheless, I don’t know that the solution is just forking over $33 million of American taxpayer money. When you look at the foreign policy efforts that are going to be put into place during the Biden years upcoming, what are your concerns?
Victor Davis Hanson: Well, there are three, I guess. I’m afraid he’s going to get back in the Iran deal, and that’s a time when nobody in the Middle East except Hezbollah and Hamas and the Assad plutocracy in Syria want it. And so we were really making progress with all these countries from Iraq over to the UAE to Bahrain and probably Saudi Arabia were recognizing Israel. Iran is broke. The oil price crashed, its only method of income. There was internal ascension that its Chinese patron sort of infected it in the way that few other countries in the Middle East have been infected with COVID-19. So everything is going downhill for them and yet, here we are talking about in January and February reopening discussion for the Iran deal. And then, before COVID-19, we had this lose-lose situation for China. They were losing. They were called to account on patents, and copyrights, and dumping, and currency manipulation, and technological theft, and espionage. And we were making progress. And then of course, their virus came over here. And now it seems like we have the whole infrastructure of opposition ready made for Biden.
We’re talking as if we’re going to go back to reset. And I’m not saying we, it’s that Professor Di Dongsheng who was caught on tape basically saying things are great, we’ve got the establishment back, we’ve got Wall Street back, we’ve got the Biden family back, and we can get over this current aberration. So that’s another problem that I’m really worried about. And then I just would switch for a second because it does have domestic ramifications and foreign – and that’s the wall in immigration. We had stopped finally after all these court orders that prevented Trump and people at Congress sort of not following along when we had the House and Senate in 2017, Paul Ryan especially. But we finally got a new 400-mile wall. Some of it’s old, but it’s a good wall now. We’ve got deportations going on. And here in the San Joaquin Valley of California, you can see the difference. It’s visible that you don’t see people here illegally from Mexico to the same degree you did just four years ago.
Trish Regan: Victor Davis Hanson with us here on American Consequences. And you are very much in sort of this delicate region because the Left would say, well, we should open up our borders and we should bring everyone here, and we should be super hospitable, and this, that, and the other. And then you’re talking about something different, which is how do we preserve our economy, our success as a nation? And I believe that immigration is part of that. I believe that we do need to open up our economy to people that want to come here and be willing participants. But I also believe there should be some kind of mechanism by which to streamline this so we know who is here, Victor. And we are targeting people that we know will help benefit this country. Every other nation in the world does this. I don’t see why it’s so revolutionary to ask for it.
Victor Davis Hanson: Yeah, I’m in a community that would be called 90% non-white. I grew up here. I’m speaking to you from the house I was born in. I can tell you that I can go into town, and I can spot people who came legally from diverse areas around the country with some education, and those who came illegally without any high-school education and are residing here illegally and all came from one place in say, Oaxaca, Mexico. And so that system breaks down. They do not assimilate. They do not integrate as fast as other people from India or from Mexico who do it legally. And it’s just a prescription for disaster. And the elites who created this system never were subject to the consequences of their own ideology.
If you talk to any second-generation Mexican-American, and that’s mostly who my friends are, they will tell you that as soon as immigration stops illegally from Mexico, wages go up and social services get a little bit of breathing room. So during this COVID-19 crisis, we in Fresno County now have zero ICU beds, and that’s because prior pressure for illegal immigration. And then the poor people who are citizens and legal residents who need those services are very angry about it, and they’re very angry about their wages being eroded. And so it’s a very humane thing to say we still take more legal immigrations, we do, than all the other countries in the world combined. But we don’t need to take a half a million people illegally.
Trish Regan: And part of it too is, you don’t even know who’s here and that’s something that I think is concerning. And frankly, the people that come here and can kind of get just lost in America, that’s also unfortunate. So the humane thing really – nobody wants to hear this, but the humane thing really is to be more thoughtful about this immigration policy. So there’s more being done to help people that do come here and that those people that come here are doing more to help America. I’d certainly like to see that, and I think there are economic and societal reasons for all of it. Let’s see, moving on though, in terms of what happens for our general economy, one of my frustrations during the Obama years, as someone whose entire background actually started on Wall Street with my first job at Goldman Sachs trading emerging debt markets… So we were very much gauging sort of the political stabilities of some foreign countries in places like Venezuela, Argentina, and Brazil. China as well was another one that we traded. But I look at that, and I think about our stability as a nation in terms of all of this debt that we’re taking on. There’s really no end in sight. And I wonder, Victor, what’s the answer here? A trillion here, $1 trillion there, $1 trillion here, $900 billion there – I don’t know how you get out from under. Am I right to be concerned?
Victor Davis Hanson: Well, yes, because we’ve exhausted all the stimuli for recession. We can’t lower interest any more than they are. They’re almost rock bottom. We have close to $28 trillion in debt, so it’s hard to be borrowing more. So how do you stimulate an economy? You either inflate the currency, I guess. We can get out that way. But what we’re really doing is millions of Americans who are not acquainted with the stock market, and half of them don’t have any stocks or mutual funds and they don’t know how to buy and sell real estate – most people don’t do that. So when they make $10,000 or $20,000, they put it in a passbook account. They’re not getting 5%, they’re not getting 4%, they’re not getting 2%, they’re not getting 1%. And so there has been a vast transfer of wealth from who played by the rules. They’re frugal. They’re not very wealthy, but they’re getting zero interest. There’s no incentive now to save, and that money is subsidizing this huge debt that we can continue to do it as long as you’re willing to pay somebody who buys a T-bill or Federal Reserve note at 1% or 2%.
But it’s destroying any incentive to save and it’s a vast transfer of wealth from the middle class to people who were in debt. And the country just keeps borrowing because we have ended for our entire lifetime any idea that if you put a $100 in the bank, you’re going to get $5 at the end of the year. You’re not. You’re going to get nothing. And with inflation calibrated, you’re going to lose money. And that’s why we can continue to do it, and we never talk about it. But we are asking middle-class people, and we’re telling them, if you’re stupid enough to be thrifty and to put money into a savings account, you’re going to get nothing. We’re going to use that money, but you’re going to get nothing for that thrift. And I can’t think of any time in history when that’s happened.
Trish Regan: Well, I can. You think about the Obama years, and to me, those were so frustrating because I was sitting there thinking can’t they be more creative on this? You had Ben Bernanke and then Janet Yellen keeping interest rates, lowering them. They were keeping them so low, and there was so much red tape in Washington that CEO after CEO that I would speak to would tell me, hey, I can’t invest in this economy, I can’t invest in this future, I don’t know what the heck is going on with health care, etc. And so you had no real fundamental growth. Consequently, the people that you’re talking about, I saw it, they were the ones that were put at the most of a disadvantage. Because if you had capital to invest, the market did well. So the wealthy did well.
They were pouring their money into equities and other investment vehicles. And if you were poor or middle class and you were just saving things the normal way trying to play by the rules, then you were the ones that really were at such a disadvantage. And so it’s sort of tragic to see that because what it does is it creates an environment where instead of growing everyone, instead of everyone doing better in a better market environment, if you have that weak of an economy – and we did less than 2% growth – consequently, gosh, you have the rich getting richer, the poor and the middle class staying poor and middle class, Victor.
Victor Davis Hanson: Oh, I talk to people every day and they say to me, I have $20,000 I’ve saved my entire life. I guess I’m going to go buy a house. And I say, why would you buy a house at an inflated rate right now. Well, maybe I’ll go buy a mutual. I said, do you know anything about stocks, Wall Street, and Dow Jones? Maybe it’s not a good time to buy it. They said, what’s the alternative? So you can see what’s going to happen. A lot of people don’t have anywhere to invest and they’re tired of getting zero interest. And they’re fueling, especially here an area where California has been mess, so housing should not be going up.
People are leaving in droves. But it is, and it reflect nationwide this effort that people are trying to put their money somewhere – the middle class that have it because they can’t put it in a savings account. That used to be a place where it was competitive with the stock market or competitive with real estate. It balanced the economy out. And yet, it’s necessary to pay them nothing if we’re going to borrow $1 trillion every single year. It started with George W. Bush, and Bill Clinton did, and then Gingrich in the end got a deal. But then Bush almost doubled it, and then Obama doubled it. And then Trump is on level to double it.
Trish Regan: Donald Trump, he’s not really adverse to debt the way I am or maybe you are, or maybe a lot of middle Americans are. And I know people don’t necessarily want to hear that. But it’s all a balancing act, is it not, Victor? In other words, you do what you have to do during the thick of the crisis. I can understand the $1,200 checks that went out to people. But at this point, the real solution given what we now know is to open up the economy and not create reasons to give to the Dalai Llama fund. The 6,000 pages of pork is really just, I think, disgusting.
Victor Davis Hanson: I think already we have anywhere between 15% to 20% of the population has been – we know 15 million have been infected and probably maybe 50 million altogether have antibodies. And with the vaccinations coming at the rate they’re starting to increase, in a month we’re going to be up to 30% or 40%, and then two months, 50% of people have antibodies or vaccinations. And we can calibrate the economy opening up at the same rate that the number of people who are immune start to increase. And we should start pretty soon – right away. And the tragedy is you can see what Donald Trump – he deregulated. He pushed energy development. He reformed the tax code. He got investment money and capital to come back.
So it’s all set for a really strong economy. All Biden has to do is let the Trump program continue or work on the spending side to cut spending, and then take credit for it, and he’ll be very successful. And if he doesn’t and he goes the full Green New Deal, and cuts back on fracking, and raises taxes, you know what’s going to happen? We’re going to get into a recession where it’s going to be very hard to get out because what we talked about, there’s not going to be a lot of stimuli left to try. And I think that’s what he’s going to do unfortunately.
Trish Regan: Unfortunately. Look, I’m not going to give up faith quite yet because I’m such an optimist, and I’m hopeful that Georgia stays conservative so that there might be some adults in the room. I may be giving members of our Washington, D.C. crowd a little too much credit, but nonetheless. Anyway, Victor Davis Hanson, one of my favorite intellects. Thank you so much for joining me today. I appreciate it.
Victor Davis Hanson: Thank you.
Trish Regan: Thank you to every single one of you for tuning in. I encourage you to tune in every single week. You can catch my daily podcast, Trish Intel, every day also on Apple iTunes or anywhere you get your podcasts. And Merry Christmas. I hope you have a wonderful, wonderful holiday with your family. Be safe, everyone. And long live freedom and prosperity. I’ll talk to you next week.
Thank you for listening to this episode of American Consequences With Trish Regan. For more of Trish and to read the magazine, visit www.americanconsequences.com/podcast and enter your e-mail for special access. We’d love to hear from you, too. Send Trish a note, [email protected] This broadcast is for entertainment purposes only and should not be considered personalized investment advice. Trading stocks and all other financial instruments involves risk. You should not make any investment decision based solely on what you hear. Trish Regan’s American Consequences is produced by Stansberry Research and American Consequences and is copyrighted by the Stansberry Radio Network.
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