Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul dismissed House Speaker John Boehner’s call for spending cuts to match any increase in the federal debt ceiling, saying a fiscal catastrophe is coming whether or not the country exhausts its borrowing power.
“I don’t take it seriously,” the Texas congressman said of Boehner’s demand. Paul predicted Congress would “go up to the last minute” before the Aug. 2 deadline and then raise the nation’s $14.3 trillion legal debt limit, yet fail to solve the problems underlying the nation’s soaring deficits.
“The catastrophe comes regardless, because as long as they encourage more spending, then we go over a cliff,” Paul, who said he will vote against raising the limit, said in an interview for “Political Capital with Al Hunt,” airing this weekend. “So I want to stop us,” Paul said.
He dismissed discussion of a possible cap on future spending, saying it would be “too little, too late.”
“Do you think the American people are going to believe that we’re going to cut in the future?” added Paul, 75. He said any reductions promised beyond this year’s budget amount to “pie-in-the-sky talking.”
On presidential politics, Paul said that while other Republican candidates seeking to take on President Barack Obama in 2012 are echoing his themes on spending and debt, he is the only one who has a record that matches the rhetoric.
“I think there will be a credibility gap” for the other contenders, Paul said, responding to a question about potential primary opponents including former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney.
Voters “know that I’m leveling with them, and I’ve done it all along, and I’ve expressed these concerns for 20, 30 years,” he said.
Paul, an advocate of abolishing the Federal Reserve, said while he doesn’t expect other candidates to rally around the idea, they “won’t laugh as much as they did last time” he ran for the Republican presidential nomination.
“Just think of the difference on the attitude of the people now about the Federal Reserve,” Paul said, noting that Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke took the unprecedented step April 27 of holding a news conference to defend his policies. “It’s a failed system, and people are starting to realize this.”