John Stossel Talks To Ron Paul On The Proper Role Of Government

In the second part of his web-only interview of Congressman Ron Paul, ABC’s John Stossel talks about the proper role of government:

When Paul is asked to count off the major responsibilities of the federal government should have, he arrives at a surprisingly short list.

“Protect our freedoms. Have a strong national defense. Look and take care of our borders. Have a sound currency. … Protect our environment through private property rights. … That’s it,” Paul said.

Paul notes that when our country was founded, the role of the government was to protect the general welfare, enforce the rule of law in court, maintain property rights and allow for free markets and free trade — “not to run our lives, and run everything in the economy.”

It’s a habit of politicians to identify problems and try to “fix” them with new laws and bureaucracies.

While some of these reforms may be well-intended, says Paul, “good intentions won’t solve our problems,” and more often they encroach on the personal liberties that have made our country great.

And the Congressman doesn’t hold back when talking about just how far he’d cut back the size and scope of the Federal Government:

The Department of Education isn’t the only government bureaucracy that Paul would like to see go. He’d also get rid of the Department of Energy.


Paul would also eliminate the Department of Homeland Security and Federal Emergency Management Agency. He cites the disastrous handling of Hurricane Katrina and the avoidable tragedy of Sept. 11 as signposts of government ineptitude.

I asked him about other Cabinet departments.

The Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development? Get rid of them all, says Paul.

The difference between Paul and other Republicans who say things like this is that you get the impression he actually would do it if given the power. Republicans have campaigned for far too long on the fiscally conservative/cut big government message only to drop the ball when actually given power. Even though he has no chance of winning, it’s nice to see that there’s at least one Republican who actually means it.

Here’s the full interview:

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