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08.21.09

Rand Paul on Big Government

Rand Paul, son of the maverick presidential candidate, is running for Senate in Kentucky—and sounding just like his old man. He talks to Benjamin Sarlin about one-world government and abolishing the Fed.

Following up on his “private businesses should be allowed to discriminate” remarks, Rand Paul, the Republican nominee for the Senate from Kentucky, said President Obama’s harsh words for BP “ sounds really un-American.” He went on, “I’ve heard nothing from BP about not paying for the spill. And I think it’s part of this sort of blame game society in the sense that it’s always got to be someone’s fault instead of the fact that sometimes accidents happen.” Back in August 2009, Paul spoke to The Daily Beast's Benjamin Sarlin about one-world government (“Some of the fears of world government are legitimate”), conspiracies to control the world, and abolishing the Fed. Original story below.

The diehard supporters of GOP maverick Ron Paul are back in campaign mode. But they’re not backing another presidential run by America’s favorite libertarian. Paul's son, Dr. Rand Paul, is running for a 2010 U.S. Senate seat in Kentucky. To hear the other Dr. Paul’s take on one-world government and abolishing the Federal Reserve, you’d swear you were listening to his dad.

I called Rand Paul at his medical office in Bowling Green, Kentucky. In a drawling voice, Paul echoed his father’s strong isolationist streak. He brought up fears of a united North American government, including Mexico and Canada, that would replace American currency, an idea he said was being actively promoted by David Rockefeller.

Rand Paul doesn’t discount all conspiracy theories. “Some of the fears of world government are legitimate,” he said.

“When you hear about the 'Amero,' a new North American money,” he said, “you might say that those people are just conspiracy theorists. But if you said the same thing about the euro 30 years ago they would have said, 'Oh, you're crazy, we'll never get rid of the pound and those currencies, and lo and behold we have a euro currency. So some of the fears of world government are legitimate.”

The notion of a world government promoted by the Rockefeller clan and groups like the Trilateral Commission has been a favorite trope of far-right conspiracy theorists for decades. Paul’s father was criticized during his presidential race for playing up the idea as well as for speaking out against a nonexistent federal plan for a “ NAFTA superhighway”.

Asked whether he believed the Trilateral Commission and other groups had a secret agenda to control the world, Rand Paul said he would play down the Illuminati-style conspiracy angle, but it was not entirely clear how much distinction there was between his position and the Birchers.

“I think it’s less this secret conspiracy or this secret cabal of bankers than it is a philosophical debate,” he said. “There are people openly in favor of world government and there are those of us trying to preserve world sovereignty.”

Paul said his most cherished issue—the one that motivated him to jump into the Senate race—was the country's $11.8 trillion national debt.

“I think it's the fact that I don't see people on either side of the aisle doing anything about it,” he said. “I tell people I think we're drowning in a seat of debt and we have to do something about it.”

Paul added that he favors a balanced-budget amendment or similar legislative rules to rein in spending, which he worries could lead to an apocalyptic economic collapse. Like his father, whose latest book is entitled End the Fed, Paul says the Federal Reserve needs to be curtailed, if not eliminated entirely.

“Ultimately, yes,” Paul said when asked if he believed the Fed should be abolished. “One thing I've started saying in speeches is that the end of Ben Bernanke's term is coming up and people are wondering if he will be reappointed. I say, let's just not replace him at all. Then the question becomes, 'Do we really want a Federal Reserve that manipulates interest rates on a day-to-day basis?' I would say no.”

In the meantime, as a “transition” to getting rid of the banking institution, Paul pointed to a bill rapidly picking up co-sponsors in the House (authored by ... Rep. Ron Paul) that would empower the Government Accountability Office to audit the Fed instead.

“My father thinks we probably would have a unanimous vote for auditing the Fed if it came to the floor,” he said.

In his non-political life, Rand Paul is a physician. He said he thought the Democrats’ proposed health-care plan, currently the obsession of everyone on the Hill, would do little to bring down families' insurance premiums.

“I don't think there's anybody being denied health care in this country,” he said. “We have 100 percent access since those without insurance still can come into the emergency room, which is not ideal but is still access.”

He suggested instead that insurance companies create new premiums with deductibles as high as $20,000 or multi-year contracts, which would cost less annually and protect against crushing debts if hundreds of thousands of dollars' worth of care is needed.

In addition to the red meat he serves up for hard-core libertarians, Paul comes across as confident, articulate, and intelligent. Supporters of the elder Paul's candidacy, who shocked the political world in 2008 with their ability to engineer online fundraising, are organizing a “moneybomb”—a simultaneous blast of donations—for the younger Paul. But will an outsider’s approach be enough to overcome an established candidate in the Kentucky Senate primaries, like Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson?

“I think not being a career politician helps me the most,” Paul said.

Benjamin Sarlin is a reporter for The Daily Beast. He previously covered New York City politics for The New York Sun and has worked for talkingpointsmemo.com.