HH: So pleased to welcome back United States Senator Rand Paul from the great state of Kentucky. Senator, welcome back to the Hugh Hewitt Show.
RP: Good evening. Thanks for having me.
HH: Hey, I want to cover two things with you. Ken Cuccinelli, our mutual friend, who’s going to make a great governor of Virginia. Then I want to talk about the President. But first, you’ve endorsed Cuch, and I think this is going to be a no-brainer for the people of Virginia.
RP: Well, I think he’s one of the rising stars in the Republican party. He reminds me of Ted Cruz a lot – educated, erudite, an intellectual in the defense of the Constitution and limited government. He was right out there in front on Obamacare, I think filed the first case, I think they say he was waiting at the courthouse steps ready to go, an articulate defender of limited government. That’s what we need more of.
HH: Yeah, he is an extraordinary candidate, and I think is going to serve the Commonwealth well. Now Senator, last night, on the Letterman show, President Obama got asked a question by David Letterman as to how much debt there was in the United States when he took office, or how much there is now. I want you to listen to his answer, and then let’s chop it up.
DL: Do you remember what that number was? Was it $10 trillion? Was it…
BO: I don’t remember what the number was precisely, but…
DL: Right, but see now, if this is me, and I’ve got the credit card guy calling me every day…
DL: I start to get scared. I mean, as Americans, should we be scared that we owe that kind of money? Who do we owe that money to?
BO: Well, a lot of it we owe to ourselves, right, because if you invest in a Treasury bill, or something like that, then essentially you’re loaning the government money. In fact, the majority of it is held by folks who live here. But we don’t have to worry about it short term. Right now, interest rates are low, because people still consider the United States the safest and greatest country on Earth. Rightfully so. But it is a problem long term, and even medium term.
HH: Senator Paul, there are three astonishing aspects to that. First, he doesn’t remember the number. Second, we owe it to ourselves, and third, we don’t have a problem short term. Your reaction?
RP: Well, I do remember. It was $10 trillion when he got in office, and it’s over $16 trillion now. He’s added more debt than probably the last 20 or 30 presidents combined. And so yeah, it’s a big problem, and I think it’s going to bankrupt the country. The other thing is about the short term interest rates. You can look at it short term and say oh, yeah, it’s great, interest rates are low, and it’s all short term. But for every point of interest that rises, it adds $100 billion dollars a year in interest payments. If we go to 5% interest, which is more of a historical average than where we are now, we won’t be able to fund government. It’s going to squeeze out all other spending, and we’re going that direction anyway, because entitlements are going through the roof, and he’s done nothing. He’s shown no example of leadership. I presented him with plans to reform Medicare and Social Security. We get no answer when we call the White House.
HH: Now also troubling to me, Senator Paul, is when he says we owe it to ourselves. Implied in there is no full faith and credit of the United States. Implied in there is that it’s somehow a debt we don’t have to honor. It’s almost like the GM bondholders at better, that they were a precedent, that he doesn’t feel at any worry over repeating.
RP: Well, it makes a difference also when he says we own it. If it’s individuals who have bought Treasury bills, that’s one thing. But a lot of it has just been printed up, or it’s a computer entry over at the Federal Reserve, so it’s not real savings. It’s an illusion. It’s owned by us, but only in the sense that we printed up money to buy the debt, and that devalues the current money. And really, that’s why when you go to the gas pump and gas costs twice as much under President Obama as it did under President Bush, it’s because your value of your money is going down.
HH: Now when you advise a candidate like Ken Cuccinelli, who’s running for governor of Virginia, and you’ve endorsed him, and you’re out there stumping for a group of candidates across the country, how do you advise them to argue this case?
RP: I say don’t be afraid. Be bold. Present the solutions that need to occur whether you get elected or not, because people are beyond all these scare tactics. You see, the Democrats think they can win on scaring people, saying oh, Republicans are going to push your grandma off a cliff, Republicans want to end their Medicare. People have seen this go on for 30 years, and they kind of don’t believe it’s true. But they are worried about the accumulation of debt. They’re worried that Medicare is $35-40 trillion dollars short of money, that Social Security is $6 trillion dollars short of money. So people are worried about this, and I think they are looking for people who are unafraid, who are genuine, and will give you solutions, even if it’s not necessarily the easiest or most politically correct thing to say.
HH: I’m talking with United States Senator Rand Paul. Senator Paul, the other big debate of the week is between Barack Obama on tape and Mitt Romney on tape, Barack Obama saying he’s in favor of redistribution in 1998, and Mitt Romney saying 47% of the people in the United States don’t pay income tax, and that he’s got to appeal to the 10-15% in the middle, because he can’t get the people that are dependent to vote for him. What do you make of those two tapes?
RP: Well, I think it illustrates the difference between their visions for the country. The President thinks that you grow the economy by increasing government employees, and Mitt Romney understands that putting more people in the wagon, and less people pulling the wagon, makes it harder for an economy to grow, and that there’s a difference between growing the private sector and the public sector. And this is a fundamental disconnect between the Democrats and the Republicans, is that Democrats truly believe that you can become wealthier as a country by employing more government workers. The problem is they don’t get it. I mean, you’ve got to pay for those workers through the private sector. You can have schools and roads, but only if business succeeds. But you don’t get more business success if you just build more roads and hire more government employees.
HH: And so as you assess the entire playing field seven weeks from the election, Senator Paul, how do you feel about Mitt Romney’s prospects? Or are you worried about having to weather a second term of Obama, which I can’t even really imagine?
RP: You know, I think I’m in the minority here, but I think the election is over. I think that Romney has already won. The people really are tired of the debt, they’re tired of irresponsible leadership. I think they’re tired of having 23 million people out of work. So I think you’ll find, and this is my prediction, and of course, I could be wrong. I am fallible. But you remember when Reagan just pulled away from Carter at the end? I think that’s what we’re going to see, is people coalesce and find that the country’s just not headed in the right direction with all this unemployment and economic stagnation, and that they want somebody who’s been in business, somebody who’s run successful businesses and created jobs. I think that’s the way it’s going to break down, simply on that issue, is which way do we take the country – with someone who likes American business, or someone who can’t wait to sort of punish, regulate and tax American business.
HH: Is Government Bullies on stands now, Senator Paul, your new book?
RP: Yeah, we’re excited about it. It’s a book about stories of people who’ve been imprisoned by their government, this is the American government, been bankrupted by our government, and sometimes been harassed. And the stories are, to me, shocking and alarming to see what’s happening in our country.
HH: Government Bullies on bookstore shelves now, available at Amazon.com. Thank you so much, Senator.
End of interview.