The Deseret News spoke to retiring Congressman Ron Paul (R – TX) the morning before the House overwhelming passed his bill to audit the Federal Reserve. The 327-98 vote was part tribute to the 12-term Representative who put this idea to a vote dozens of times in the last three decades without ever gaining traction. The vote was also a measure of just how much Paul has changed the dialogue under the Capitol dome.
The list of successful legislation during his House career is not terribly long, but his doctrine of free market and limited government will be felt long after he leaves office in January. It sparked the massive populist movement of the Tea Party, moving marquee politicians off of ballots and forcing both parties to confront conservative issues.
While Paul failed to muster the necessary number of delegates to muscle any leverage with his own Party, finding himself locked out of the September Republican convention in Tampa, he's planning his own Tampa rally this week, one that will be positive and constructive, as he's managed to stay through his long tenure in Washington.
With just five months left in office, Paul is not coasting across the finish line. This three-time candidate for President and former ob-gyn has plans for the country, his post-House career and the fervent sea of disciples who energetically fund his campaigns and power his rallies.
Deseret News: The Fed Reserve is perhaps the least understood, most independent government agency, but somehow you've made it a rallying cry. Do you think Congress will really win the power to audit the Federal Reserve?
Ron Paul: We'll do very well. I think the numbers are there. There are some in opposition but most Americans think we should know what's going on in the country and if the Federal Reserve can spend $15 trillion, that's more money than Congress spends in a long period of time, then we do have a responsibility and we ought to audit the fed and find out what they're doing. I've supported this type of legislations since I first came to Congress, back in the 70's, and spent significant resources to educate people about this. (The bill) still has to go through the Senate and the President; and the Federal Reserve has a lot of influence and they are very much opposed to it. Mainly special interest groups like the banking industry, war industry, basically any industry that functions on debt.
DN: Is the Federal control of currency and rates a good election year issue?
RP: Yes. It's been a big issue in a lot of local races. But if there is an event people are focused upon, it's not the election; people are more focused on the financial crisis we can't seem to pull out of. The proof is in. More spending, stimulus programs, we've lowered rates but there is no net increase of jobs, no lessoning of the burden on the middle class, no end to the crisis. And the public wants to know how these economic decisions that impact everything are being made.
DN: Many think fiscal irresponsibility is at the root of the crisis. Is America fiscally responsible?
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