BECK: From high above Times Square in Midtown Manhattan, this is the third most listened show in all of America. And strangely we’re proud of that. We have Rand Paul, yet another doctor, not to be confused with Dr. Ron Paul, who is his father, Rand Paul has become the first to sign the 912 candidate contract in Kentucky. And he’s announced his candidacy for US senate in Kentucky. Welcome to the program, Rand.
PAUL: Thank you, good to be with you.
BECK: Now, I don’t know anything about you. So this is kind of a getting to know you kind of conversation. Help me out with what you believe and why you think you’re the guy to go to the senate.
PAUL: Primary reason I run for office is I think our country is drowning in a sea of debt and I don’t think the career politicians on either side of the aisle, Republican or Democrat, have been willing to address the problem. We need somebody who is an outsider who doesn’t really need the career in Washington, doesn’t need the fame of going to Washington, who wants to go up there and fix problem. If I were to go up there and I could pass something, a rule that made them balance the budget, I would immediately come back home. As soon as they can pass a rule that says that every year they have to pass a balanced budget I would come home. Because the thing is if you look at the difference between California and Kentucky. In Kentucky we have a balanced budget every year by law. California doesn’t, but we’re ultimately going to be paying the taxes to bail out California. The federal government needs a rule because you cannot trust the politicians to balance their budget.
BECK: So where do you separate yourself? Are you a libertarian? Are you Republican? What are you?
PAUL: I call myself an independent-minded Republican. For example, like on the deficit. If it’s a Republican deficit I’m going to vote no. If it’s I Democrat deficit I vote no.
BECK: Why — because I’ve asked your father this question — why do you call yourself a Republican? Have they not violated almost everything they said they stood for?
PAUL: I always tell people that I think the Republican Party is an empty vessel and it’s nothing unless we imbue it with values. And their platform is actually pretty good. If you look at the Republican platform, it says things like we should not bail out private business. So when I go around to Kentucky, and I’ve been to 20 counties so far, I tell them: Look, your platform says you don’t believe it. I’ve yet to meet a Republican primary voter who was for the bank bailout but half of your Republican leadership voted for it so here’s your chance. It’s a primary. You get to choose new leadership. But the Republican Party becomes who its leaders are. If we get a new crop of leaders who say they’ll vote against bank bailouts and reverse these things then maybe the Republican Party becomes true to its grassroots again.
BECK: I disagree with your father on a few things, but I will tell you that I am becoming more and more libertarian on things like defense. I have always been a guy who believes in fight big, fight hard, and then come home. But I have also believed in a big footprint of the United States, because somebody’s got to hold this thing together. That was a mistaken belief of mine. I have grown past that and I’m growing past it quickly. For instance, Germany, protect your own self. I could see us pulling everybody back. I’d like to see putting people who are currently serving in Germany on the border. But what do I know? Where do you stand on foreign policies?
PAUL: I think it is sort of the tough love. And we talked about welfare reform. We talked about people having a certain period of time and then going back to work. It’s kind of like has there been a certain period of time since World War II that the Germans couldn’t go back to work to pay for their own defense. So I would say, yes, there needs to be a little bit of tough love. Even in Iraq it’s like when do we turn things over? It’s been seven years. Finally we are turning things back over to their country. So the sooner the better. With regard to foreign policy, I say that I believe in going by the enumerated rights from the Constitution, the enumerated powers and I think the primary enumerated power is defense. I think it’s the primary function of the national government. But then we need to go further and define what that is. I believe, kind of like you said, that when we go to war, we go all out. We go to win. But we declare war formally. We haven’t declared war since World War II. And if I had been in the US senate I would have stopped them and said no more, we will have a vote. We will declare war with Afghanistan. We will declare war with Iraq. I would have voted for a declaration of war with Afghanistan but I would have voted against a declaration of war with Iraq. But I would have made them vote. And that’s the problem, they no longer pay attention to the rules.
BECK: Where do you stand on healthcare? You’re a doctor.
PAUL: I think the healthcare plan as presented is a disaster. I think the more benign sounding the title, Free Choice Healthcare Act, the more ominous the contents. If you look at the contents, pages 16 through 19 of the House version, you’ll find out that when you go to buy health insurance, they’re going to limit your choices, basically. And like I have a health savings account. It’s about one of the few things that actually works pretty well in our healthcare economy. It’s going to be illegal under the Obama plan, because it won’t pass muster from the government bureaucrats.
BECK: I’m presenting a crazy idea tonight on television that I think it will take about 30 seconds to outline, and that is you’ve got a bunch of people who can’t get health insurance. They can’t afford doctors. I know there’s a lot of doctors that make money and are tired of being in the highest tax bracket, et cetera et cetera. Some of these great, great doctors. You can’t get in to see. What do you think about the idea of allowing doctors to have, to take deductions for everybody who comes to them and can’t pay for their healthcare? That they will treat patients, X number a week or whatever, no limit if they want to treat everybody, they could get tax deductions, and they treat them for free, it’s up to them and they can —
PAUL: Absolutely. And all it takes is a little change in the tax code. About 5% of the patients I see are on Medicaid, which is for the poor. I would gladly take no money for seeing them if you just gave me a tax deduction. Then you’d get rid of the middleman. There’s no check going to the doctor. There’s no all the rigmarole of the bureaucracy, just give the doctor a tax deduction for seeing them, and it would work to a large extent. The other thing we need in our healthcare, and where people get upset, they’re upset about when they get sick their healthcare rates get doubled and tripled. But here’s what we need. We need insurance sold for health that is like your term life insurance. You need a 20-year health insurance plan that goes up based on your age. And we need to somehow encourage that to happen in the marketplace. For example, if I have a heart attack and I have term life insurance and I survive, I still pay the same rate next year. But I have $5,000 deductible health savings account if I have a heart attack and survive, they will double my rates next year because I only have a one-year plan. We need multi-year health insurance plans, and that is part of the real answer to bringing the marketplace into this.
BECK: Do you think there’s any place at all for government healthcare?
PAUL: Very, very little, even what we have doesn’t work. People brag about the Medicare system. But the Medicare system, the costs are rising faster than the private system. And in the Medicare system, we’re already short of money. The demographics are not good. There are too many older folks and not enough younger folks working to pay for Medicare already. And they’ve added Medicare prescription drug plan which we don’t have enough money for either. So really there’s already a squeeze in what government’s doing, and they’re talking about adding another trillion dollars worth of cost to that system. It’s untenable and won’t work. But the other thing is the whole thing driving this debate is the 46 million uninsured. But of those if you break it down a third of them make more than $50,000 a year. A third of them are eligible for Medicaid but haven’t signed up for it. And 20% are illegal aliens, and we’re driving the debate over the government and society paying for the healthcare of people who broke the law to come here. I think it’s crazy.
BECK: What do you do for the border?
PAUL: I think you have to enforce the border. I’m with you. I would put an electronic fence three feet underground the whole length of it. I would have five helicopter stations and I think you could patrol the whole border. And I’d send them back.
BECK: What about abortion?
PAUL: I believe that life begins at conception and I’m for overturning Roe v. Wade. I think one way short of the Supreme Court that you could possibly do it is there’s legislation in Washington that says let’s restrict the federal jurisdiction of the courts over certain issues. Originally, things like crime and punishment and murder and any kind of penalties were all state issues. They were not to be handled in the federal courts.
BECK: What do you think about — I’m just going down the checklist of things that I want in a politician. What do you think about military tribunals for all those currently serving in Washington [laughing].
PAUL: You got me there. You know, the other thing we could do for healthcare is I think instead of having their great healthcare plan they all should have to go to the VA.
BECK: I think so, too. Seriously, about the military tribunals. Look, the reason why I asked that question — I’m not asking it seriously yet — what I would like to know is how do you propose to stay uncorrupted? I mean, there is massive corruption in special interest and money and unions and everything else, that currently we’re building at best this administration is building Chicago politics. At worst, they are building an exoskeleton around our republic. They are feasting on it. And when it can’t handle it anymore, they overwhelm that system, the exoskeleton will kick in and we’ll have a new transformative moment here in America. How do you dismantle that? How do you get out of that?
PAUL: I think one of the ways you keep from being corrupted is you also need to be electing people to office who don’t want it for a career. I mean, my main opponent so far — virtually every one of them are career politicians. I don’t need the job. I want to do it for a period of time because I’m worried about our country. I’m worried about the deficit and what it will do. I’m also, ultimately I’m not a doomsday sayer, but I worry about in Germany, in 1923 when they destroyed their currency out of that arose a Hitler. And I think when you have chaos, if you have economic chaos, you end up getting things that you don’t want sometimes, you know? And we have to be very careful that we don’t rewrite our Constitution or throw it out completely and we don’t get some kind of strong leader that’s going to help us or keep us from ourselves. And I think that happens in times of chaos. And I think we’re in danger of that with the level of deficit we have now.
BECK: I think we are in more than just danger of that. I think that is the road we’re on, if we’re not careful. I just had lunch with somebody who disagrees with me I think just about on almost everything when we talk about policies. But we had an interesting lunch, because he’s the only guy that I have met in a long time that sees the future the way I do. And we both had the conversation of: What is our responsibility? How do we, from different sides of the political spectrum, how do we warn without making things worse, et cetera. We’re headed towards — we’re repeating the Vimar republic almost to a T.
PAUL: It’s even scarier, because the dollar is the world’s currency, and the one interesting statistic is half of our currency is overseas, because we’ve been importing more goods than we export for many, for a generation or more now. When we buy those goods from foreign countries, we pay with them in dollars, and those dollars have circulated overseas, but if there’s a crisis of confidence it’s not a mathematic thing. It can be a panic situation, kind of like when we had the panic last fall, the government promoted the panic. They said you’ve got to pass this bailout or the stock market will go down. And lo and behold the stock market went down but they talked it down.
BECK: One of the things I’m concerned about is the reason why people dump their money in the United States and keep their treasuries all around the world is because we’re still the most stable in the world. But with people coming to the streets with tensions rising higher and higher, who knows, a year, two years, six months, a day, there could be instability in this nation, and then it tubes. How do you solve the fundamental problem that if the government — we have built a house of cards. It cannot — our economy cannot run the way it has in the past because it was bogus. It was all on debt, and it was all on borrowed money, both the government and our lives. To shut that off and to heal ourselves, we have to go through great pain. How do you sell that to the American people? Or what’s your solution other than great pain? Take your medicine.
PAUL: Well, I think there will be some pain, but we’re already suffering. I mean, look at the unemployment rate that we’re going through. The question is not do we suffer. It’s how long do we suffer. You know, the Japanese suffered for over a decade because they refused to let business fail. But you know the one good thing about Lehman Brothers failing, it failed, wiped out dismembered and sold within a period of three days and now it’s under new ownership. Bankruptcy is a harsh time for those who work for business. But the quicker you go through it and the quicker someone buys it. My hometown has fruit of the loom headquarters, they went bankrupt but know who bought them Warren Buffet. AIG would be a wonderful company if they went through bankruptcy and got rid of all their securities but immediately you would have known what those securities were worth but AIG is still a good insurance company in some ways. 70% of their business was in insurance. I guarantee you someone like Warren Buffet would have swooped in and bought them in a heartbeat if they got rid of all their bad debt. And that’s what bankruptcy is for.
BECK: Rand Paul, you are on the surface here, in our first meeting, somebody that I like. And I haven’t said that about a politician in God knows how long. May I have you back on the program to explore some of your ideas and what you believe in later on in the program in the coming days?
PAUL: Yeah, we’d love to. In fact, I’ll tell you, you have a lot of fans in Kentucky. Everywhere I go 912 people have become big supporters of mine and they’re big fans of yours.
BECK: Thank you very much. I appreciate it. I lived in Kentucky for a while. I just love it there. Rand Paul running for Senate in Kentucky. We’ll have him back.