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Newt Gingrich’s Economic Prescription For Government Reform And Accountability

Tuesday, June 21, 2011
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HH: Joined now by former Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, Newt Gingrich. Newt’s got a brand new book out, A Nation Like No Other. He also, of course, was in the debate last week. Mr. Speaker, welcome back, it’s always a pleasure to talk to you.

NG: Well, it’s great to be with you, and have a chance once again to talk about ideas. And I must say that my book, A Nation Like No Other, becomes dramatically more relevant after NBC’s decision that they will edit out Under God in the Pledge of Allegiance.

HH: I noticed that. In fact, I was just reading in the chapter on Faith And Family, a paragraph that reads, “The Founders’ distinctly Christian faith is well-documented, as is their conviction that government must be infused with Christian principles.” That’s what you wrote, Newt Gingrich. How does that play into the conversation that you and the other candidates had on Monday night about Muslim Americans?

NG: Well, we didn’t have a conversation about Muslim America. We had a conversation about whether or not there were circumstances where somebody of a faith other than Christianity could serve in the government. We’ve had, for example, Jews serve in the government, we’ve had both Protestants and Catholics serve in the government. And my point the other night was that we do have a right to demand that the person who gets a job as a presidential appointee has a commitment to the United States, and is prepared to be a loyal American citizen, and that we have to have security concerns to make sure that’s true, which would be true, by the way, whether you were a scientist from China, or you were somebody from Cuba, or you were a native born American, or you happened to be somebody from a Muslim country. Remember, the leading FBI traitor was a native born American who was in charge of counterintelligence. I mean, he was the guy who was supposed to catch Soviet spies, and it turned out he was a Soviet spy.

HH: And that’s what, that’s what I was making sure that I understood you to agree with. I’ve known you a long time, and you’re a Constitutionalist. You fully ascribe to Article 6, that there shall be no religious test for public office, correct?

NG: Absolutely. But I also believe that there should be a security test.

HH: But that would apply to anyone, regardless of their religious background.

NG: Of course, and I said that that night. I didn’t say anything about specifically targeting Muslims. I stated an example, because it is so ironic of the Pakistani who did the car bomb in Times Square, who laughed at the judge when the judge said but you swore an oath to the Constitution, and he said you’re my enemy. I lied. And that seemed to be an enormous shock to the judge.

HH: And so just to make sure, because I understood it that way, but some people didn’t, you are for the same security tests being applied to every American without a specific, additional enhancement for Muslim Americans?

NG: Absolutely.

HH: All right, now Mr. Speaker, I just got done talking, playing a clip from Saturday. We missed you in Iowa at the Strong America Now conference. We played your video. But when I was there, I was talking to Herman Cain about the Federal Reserve, and he said look, go ahead and audit it, it’s not a big priority for him, but he doesn’t object to it. What’s your position on that, and are you talking about that this week?

NG: Well, on Wednesday, I’m going to be at the Atlanta Press Club, and I’m going to give a speech in which I outline both the need to audit the Federal Reserve, because we have, as Americans, we have every right to ask who got our money, and you’re talking about hundreds of billions of dollars. And I’m going to call for a reform of the Federal Reserve, to take the banking powers away from it, and return it to a single job, which is the duty to protect the value of the dollar. And finally, I’m going to talk about the need to repeal the Dodd-Frank bill, which is a very destructive bill, which is killing small banks, killing small business, and crippling the economic recovery.

HH: What do you think about Sarbanes-Oxley? Does it need to go as well?

NG: Yes. In my standard talk on economic development, I always talk about repealing Sarbanes-Oxley, repealing Dodd-Frank, replacing the Environmental Protection Agency with a brand new environmental solutions agency, modernizing the Food and Drug Administration into a 21st Century model of collaboration and cooperation, and finally, having an American energy policy, recognizing that if we kept $500 billion dollars a year here at home, we would be dramatically better off. So I think those are the kinds of things we should have.

HH: Now in terms of what you expect to find when the audit is done of the Federal Reserve, you don’t believe there’s anything sinister at work there, do you?

NG: Well no, I don’t know what you mean by sinister. I mean, do I think that out of hundreds of billions of dollars, some of which went to the Libyan National Bank, a country we’re currently bombing, that there’s a lot of questions that will come up? You betcha. Do I think we have a good reason to ask of the people who gave away our money, why did you do it, when did you make the decisions, what was your reasoning? Of course. I mean, the founding fathers, when they talked about corruption, they weren’t just talking about bribery or what we normally today think of as corruption. They were talking about the deliberate misuse of political power to favor one faction over another, against the rule of law. And I think there’s no question that you had winners and losers that were picked in this process, that we ought to look at very seriously and ask well, why did that happen? I mean, doesn’t it bother you that the big banks that were too big to fail are now bigger?

HH: Yeah, but usually, when I get calls from people who want to talk about the Federal Reserve, in about five seconds, they’re going to start telling me the Jews are running it. And so I know you know that that fringe element exists out there, and this is not what you’re concerned about. You’re concerned about crony capitalism.

NG: Well you know, the Federal Reserve uses that kind of argument to say nobody should ever ask it an intelligent question. The fact you have some people who have extreme views doesn’t mean that the questions aren’t legitimate. I would ask a simple question. Under what standard, and this goes back to my book, A Nation Like No Other, under what standard did the founding fathers, would you have hundreds of billions of dollars controlled by one person who owes no accountability to anybody? I mean, that is a bizarre model. The Federal Reserve wasn’t set up to bail out banks and to cut deals, and to hang out with people in New York City. The Federal Reserve was set up to maintain the value of the dollar.

HH: So do you think the Fed needs to become more small d democratic?

NG: I think that the Fed needs to be accountable. Now there’s a difference. I’m not saying the Fed should change its monetary policy based on public opinion. I’m saying if the Fed is going to handle hundreds of billions of dollars going into the private sector, that that aspect has to be accountable, and precisely because people aren’t going to want the Fed to be open to investigation, all of those activities should be returned to the Treasury where you can audit them, and you can ask tough questions, because what we’ve set up is an inherent impossibility. We have an agency which is supposed to be an elitist agency, protecting the value of the dollar, which uses its elitism as an excuse to avoid being held accountable.

HH: All right, more on that speech when it’s given. Now Mr. Gingrich, in terms of the campaign, you had a rough first week, but you were there on the stage Monday night. You promised the most idea-driven campaign in history. Going back to the people that left your campaign, do you think they manufactured an excuse to leave your campaign because they wanted to work for Governor Perry? And do you expect Governor Perry to get in?

NG: Well, I don’t know. I like Rick Perry a lot. He’s a great governor. I wrote the forward to his newest book. And you’re going to hear me say nothing but good things about Rick Perry. He’s done a great job. I believe we had a profound disagreement about the nature of politics in 2012. I am personally committed to a very solutions-oriented campaign which recognizes the importance and the power of what’s happening to us economically, what’s happening to us culturally, and what’s happening to us in national security. I believe that 2012 is the biggest choice since 1860. And I think that it is very important, and it’s a big choice on the economy, which includes Obamacare, it is a big choice on American exceptionalism versus European socialism, which Obama believes in, and it’s a big choice on protecting America versus looking to the United Nations and others to tell us what to do.

HH: Newt Gingrich, author of A Nation Like No Other, and candidate for president, thank you for joining us again, Mr. Speaker.

End of interview.

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