Tags: ISIS/Islamic State | MidPoint | Rand Paul | Tea Party | Ron Paul | economics | Ferguson

Ron Paul: Economics Help to Drive Protests Over Policing

By    |   Friday, 05 December 2014 04:48 PM

The civil unrest following two grand jury decisions to clear white police officers in the deaths of black men has roots in an economic system that promotes entitlement and class envy and corrodes the middle class, former presidential candidate and congressman Ron Paul tells Newsmax TV.

The libertarian activist and former Republican lawmaker from Texas told "MidPoint" host Ed Berliner that, yes, racial antagonism — on both sides — and aggressive, militarized policing are problems in need of fixes, but that economic forces are the ultimate drivers of recent public anger at police.

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"All these problems that we're facing today would be minor," said Paul. "But the one factor that they don't want to talk about and don't seem to talk about, and they don't seem to think it's important — it's the economy."

Paul said that a system of federally guaranteed benefits for the poor teaches lower-income people a sense of entitlements as a right and, at the same time, promotes resentment of others who have prospered with less reliance on government assistance.

"I do believe the poor are getting poorer, the middle class is getting wiped out," he said. But those conditions have bred what he called "a misunderstanding" and "a certain group of people who want to blame successful people and … claim there's an entitlement."

Paul said that the militarization of community policing "is a big problem" — to which the federal government has contributed, he added, "by selling and pushing weapons on the police."

Critics of police conduct toward protesters in Ferguson, Missouri, this summer, after a police officer shot and killed Michael Brown, complained that crowd-control officers in riot gear in military-grade vehicles stoked tensions by treating demonstrators as hostiles.

Critics called the show of force intimidation, and an extension of a war-zone mentality toward lower-income minority communities with crime problems — some of which, like Ferguson, are patrolled by predominantly white police forces with few ties to the neighborhoods and local residents.

At the same time, when Ferguson erupted following a Nov. 24 grand jury acquittal of Brown's shooter, then-Officer Darren Wilson, there were harsh criticisms of Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon for not using National Guard troops forcefully enough to prevent arson and looting that devastated the community.

Paul said that racial tension and racism claims require more than just overzealous policing: Class resentment and entitlement among the poor are also ingredients.

Ultimately, he said, "I don't think you can solve … the racial problems that we have without addressing the subject of what creates a sound economy. And there's so much discrepancy in the economy that we can't solve our problem unless we can talk seriously about a sound economic policy."

Paul also discussed Ashton Carter, President Barack Obama's nominee to succeed Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel.

Paul, a vocal champion of less United States involvement abroad, said that Carter is an "interventionist," and another in a long line of believers from both political parties in projecting U.S. military might.

While Carter, who once advocated bombing North Korea, is "not as aggressive" as some hawks would like, he still sides with policymakers who insist on trying "to work an unworkable foreign policy," said Paul.

"Both parties believe in general that we should be involved and that the military budget, never cut back, [is] sacred," said Paul. "And if we don't address that, we're never going to solve the problem. Whether it's Carter or somebody else, this is unmanageable. And we're digging a hole for ourselves because our presence around the world, we can't afford anymore."

Paul demurred on whether his son, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, will seek the Republican presidential nomination in 2016.

"I guess we'll wait and see," Paul told Berliner. "I don't have the answer to that; I read the papers that you read."

But he quipped that it might be a bigger surprise if his son doesn't run, since, as he put it, "it's pretty obvious when people are sort of preparing" to seek the presidency.

Rand Paul, a tea party favorite with libertarian leanings, has not been as adamant as his father about U.S. military interventions abroad, although he has clashed with other senators over the legality of airstrikes against the Islamic State (ISIS) without a congressional declaration of war.

He is also notable among potential GOP White House candidates in talking to black audiences and civil-rights organizations about issues of concern — although not every overture has been well-received.

"If he does [run], I'm sure he'll make an excellent candidate," said Paul.

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The civil unrest following two grand jury decisions to clear white police officers in the deaths of black men has roots in an economic system that promotes entitlement and class envy and corrodes the middle class, former presidential candidate and congressman Ron Paul said.
Ron Paul, economics, Ferguson, Rand Paul
Friday, 05 December 2014 04:48 PM
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