John Stossel
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U.S. congressional representative and Republican presidential contender Ron Paul has been called "Dr. No" because he repeatedly votes against legislation he believes gives government too much power. If it's not in the Constitution, he says, the federal government has no business doing it. He even votes against appropriations to his constituents. Here's Part 3 of my edited interview with Rep. Paul.

Your district is subject to floods, but you vote against FEMA. Why?

Ron Paul: Because I think FEMA helps create the flood problems. (Without subsidies,) if it's risky on the Gulf Coast to build there, the insurance prices will go up. If (they're) too high, nobody will build there, or they'll build there with full risk. Flood comes, wind blows your house away, you don't get reimbursed. So there might be (only) modest building in those areas. But if the government subsidizes the insurance, saying, "If you build there, don't sweat it, we're going to bail you out," more people move into the flood-prone areas. Then who are the people that have to bail you out? Somebody that lives out in the desert. It's unfair, it's not good economics. You create more problems, more houses get flooded, and it becomes a general problem rather than an individual problem. We have undermined is the principle of measuring risk. Then people do things that they wouldn't have otherwise done.

You also say, "no farm subsidies."

No, I can't quite find (the farm-subsidy program) in the Constitution.

Don't we need farm subsidies to make sure we have food?

It is totally unnecessary. I think (subsidies) push the prices of food up, and maybe (that) makes it more difficult for poor people to buy food. If there's a subsidy, it means the taxpayer was taxed to pay a huge corporate farmer. So it hasn't helped the people. And why should we assume that the farmers wouldn't be productive? They're hard working people. I never voted for farm subsidies, and I represent a farm district.

They forgive you for that?

The farmers will support me, but not the (farm lobby) organizations.

Most crops don't have subsidies. Yet we have plenty of (unsubsidized) peaches and plums.

When I go to the grocery store, I always marvel: Isn't it wonderful how we can see so much fresh produce there, and the prices aren't regulated? It was a fallacious argument back in the '30s that the Depression came from free markets and therefore we had to have a safety net. We gave up on believing in freedom and understanding how the market works.

You talk about freedom and tyranny. I seldom hear politicians use those words.

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John Stossel

John Stossel is host of "Stossel" on the Fox Business Network. He's the author of "No They Can't: Why Government Fails, but Individuals Succeed." To find out more about John Stossel, visit his site at >johnstossel.com. To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com. ©Creators Syndicate