Republican Congressman and presidential candidate Ron Paul tells Newsmax the bill designed to cut the budget deficit and raise the debt ceiling is a “fraud” because it actually does nothing to reduce current spending levels.
The Texas lawmaker also says it is “discouraging” that many new members of Congress who were backed by the tea party voted in favor of the bill, the Budget Control Act of 2011.
Rep. Paul has served 12 terms in Congress and is chairman of the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Domestic Monetary Policy and Technology. He previously ran for president in 1988 and 2008, and has announced he will retire from Congress when his current term ends.
Paul is one of five Republicans from the Texas congressional delegation to vote against passage of the budget bill. In an exclusive interview with Newsmax.TV, he takes issue with claims that the bill contains cuts in current spending.
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“This is one of the most annoying things about the reporting on what we’ve been trying to do in Washington and what we pretend to be doing,” he says.
“They always talk about cuts, cuts, cuts, and everyone’s screaming you can’t cut this, you can’t cut that. But there are no cuts. What they’re talking about is cutting proposed increases. So it’s a real misleading definition when they talk about cuts. Anything we do for future years doesn’t hold water anyway because you can’t tell the next Congress what to do.
“Basically it’s a fraud. If they were serious about it they could freeze the budget and give everybody the same amount of money they got last year.”
Paul maintains that if the federal government went back to 2004 spending levels, we would have a balanced budget right now.
“Even now if you freeze the budget, within about five years it would be balanced again,” he explains. “But nobody’s quite willing to do that because they think they have to have steady increases.
“There’s a strong appetite for government and that is where the problem is. People don’t want to cut back on the militarism or anything that looks like it might cut into the check they’re getting from government, and a lot of people are getting checks from the government.”
Paul tells Newsmax the federal budget has doubled in 10 years because “the appetite for government never ends. There are more retired people because of the demographics, less people coming into the workforce. Unemployment rates go up so the benefits go up automatically. It’s endless.
“And there are always new programs. There are hundreds and hundreds of programs that are brand new. They just won’t stop. It’s like an addiction. I don’t think they realize the seriousness of this problem.”
Paul is disappointed that most Republicans who were backed by the tea party in 2010 voted for the budget bill.
“The tea party people have helped because it has changed the atmosphere and at least they’re talking about this,” he says.
“But it has to be awfully discouraging for all of us if they’re not voting against these kinds of programs where we raise the national debt.
“It’s a real mess. People realize that when you do cut there’s a political liability there. But the tea party people got here because it was a political liability to continue the spending.
“That has to be ironed out and it will be ironed out pretty soon because we cannot maintain what we’re doing.”
Paul believes there will be a backlash from the tea party against members of Congress who voted for the bill.
“I think there will be but I don’t think it will be quite the same thing that happened last year when so many [incumbents] were routed.
“There will be so many people who will be disenchanted, saying, ‘We changed the Congress but we didn’t change the votes.’
“If things don’t improve and we don’t get our house in order and control this budget, I think there will be a lot of people saying, ‘We sent you over there but you kept voting for more spending.’”
If Republicans take control of the Senate in the 2012 elections next year, Paul was asked, will that change anything regarding reckless spending?
“Let’s hope so, but there’s no guarantee,” he responds.
“When George Bush was in charge and we had the Senate and the House, we didn’t do a very good job.
“Then the battle becomes between the two factions within the Republican Party, the conservatives versus the big spenders. It depends on who shows up in the Senate. But certainly the way it’s formulated right now there’s no way the conservatives can win a fight and have the Senate support it and then have the president sign a bill.”
Explaining why he decided to leave Congress after his current term expires, Paul tells Newsmax: “I wanted to concentrate on the race for the presidency. The last time I ran I did both and it’s distracting, and I wanted to make sure people knew I was very, very serious about the presidential run. I was also content to know that I am ready to leave the Congress.”
Paul adds that as a presidential candidate his poll numbers “have been improving. We have to continue to campaign, we have to continue to raise money.
“We have to continue to do what I’m doing, and more so.”
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