Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Is 76 too old?

“Too old for what?” said Congressman Ron Paul.

Is it too old to be president?

“Well, I wouldn’t do it if I thought I was too old,” Paul said in an interview Saturday at Santa Maria Winery in Carroll.

Paul, a Republican presidential candidate who will be 77 if elected to the White House in 2012, said age is actually on his side.

“Whatever happened to this notion that maybe with age you gain wisdom?” Paul said. “That may still exist for all we know. And it’s my health that is important, and I’ve challenged all the other candidates to a 20-mile bike ride in Houston heat and I haven’t had any takers on it.”

Besides, Paul said, the race is about the age of ideas, not the number of candles on a candidate’s birthday cake.

“If I had old-fashioned ideas like bigger government and tyranny and maintaining the status quo like all the other ones do — I think that’s old,” Paul said.

Guess what? Paul said. He attracts a great deal of support of younger voters.

“There’s no question of where that support goes, and it goes toward me,” Paul said.

Moving on to foreign policy, Paul, who has called for the immediate withdrawal of troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, said he would use diplomacy, not force, to advance U.S. interests.

What does he think about World War II? Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, but should the United States have fought a war with Germany? Was that a just war?

“They (Germany) declared war against us,” Paul said. “What are you going to do, just say one-sided war. But there have been pretty good books that I think, if you’re into history, and what could have been done to prevent it, you have to go back to World War I. But you can hardly go back to World War I when Pearl Harbor gets bombed.”

One of Paul’s signature proposals is a zero percent federal income tax. That can be accomplished with cutting spending, he said. The United States can’t have a welfare state and police the world, the congressman said.

Paul said he emphasizes spending, not flat-tax scheme or changes to the tax code.

“If we reduce the role of government to a proper size, we don’t have to have an income tax,” Paul said.

In Iowa, gay marriage is legal. Is a child raised  by a married gay couple in just as good of an environment as a child raised by a married heterosexual couple?

“In my personal opinion I just don’t see how it could compare,” Paul said. “It’s just my personal opinion. I believe in traditional marriage, a man and a woman. And that’s what our traditional family has been. It’s not saying that the child is going to be destroyed or anything like that. You asked me if it would be better or worse. I think traditional marriage, that environment, is probably something that I personally would favor. But it has nothing to do with what I think the law should be.”

When John F. Kennedy was elected president his brother, Robert F. Kennedy, was involved in the administration. Paul has a very talented son, Rand Paul, U.S. senator from Kentucky. Would Ron Paul have any kind of a role for him?

“I think it’s illegal,” Paul said. “I think it came out of that era that you’re not supposed to appoint relatives to your cabinet.”

But that doesn’t mean Rand Paul would be totally sidelined.

“I’d respect his opinion,” Ron Paul said.

What about rural Iowa? Many counties are losing population and jobs. Is that just capitalism sorting out winners and losers? Does government have a role in helping to resurrect troubled rural Iowa counties?

“It’s never the free market losing jobs,” Paul said. “It’s the government interference that causes the loss of jobs. It’s the business cycle. It’s the inflation. It’s the regulations. It’s the taxation. They create the unemployment. It’s not capitalism if you think of that in a favorable term. Free markets do not cause unemployment. They create employment. The downturns are always a secondary result to government intervention in the economy, especially the Federal Reserve. They cause bubbles and they cause the inevitable recessions.”

Paul has proposed eliminating five cabinet departments (Energy, Housing and Urban Development, Commerce, Interior and Education).

So why did he spare the U.S. Department of Agriculture?

“I think the Department of Agriculture could be ended,” Paul said. “It’s just there. It’s just how much I could do at one time.”

Paul said the government shouldn’t be involved in directing agriculture.

“I’m against the farm subsidies,” he said.

Paul said states could still “be allowed to deal with agriculture.”

Paul said he would deal with killing the other five departments before taking the wrecking ball to ag.

“I thought my first year was energetic enough,” Paul said.