Interview Transcript: Oct. 2, 2013
RT: Let’s talk live with Carla Howell, Political Director with the U.S. national Libertarian Party.
President Obama has urged Republicans to reopen government. Do you think they’re listening?
CH: First of all, the government is very much open here in Washington, D.C.
What’s happening is a government slowdown, and it’s a welcome reduction in rampant, irresponsible, and reckless government overspending, which has to stop.
This slowdown is forcing some modest spending cuts, which are very much needed to stimulate the economy in the United States.
RT: Obviously ,the president and congress have to work together, but what else can the president do or say to resolve this crisis?
CH: He can do what the Republicans are now demanding: defund Obamacare. [Republicans] have already conceded to [just] delaying it. It should be completely repealed and defunded, and that would immediately end this stand off.
There are many other areas of government where spending can be cut. Basically, what [politicians are] saying is that they refuse to cut spending, and they’re going to hold the American people and in particular the tourist industry and certain, select groups hostage so they can continue to spend at recklessly high levels.
We need to slow down the government much more than it’s been slowed down, and this will restore the economy. It will help the world economy. It will restore the private sector in America, and this is desperately needed to create jobs.
RT: Of course, a dispute over funding for health care results in hundreds of thousands losing their wages. How does that reflect on the way Washington’s lawmakers run the country?
CH: Whenever government spending is cut, for every one government job that’s lost, it creates approximately two jobs in the private sector. Tremendous job growth. The more we can cut spending, the better.
Keep in mind, the federal U.S. government is spending about twice as much as the entire Russian economy. That’s just insane. It’s much too much government spending. We need to reduce it immediately, and this will create economic stimulus and job growth in the U.S.
RT: Tell us more about the American people. How are the American people reacting?
CH: American people very much want the federal government to cut its reckless overspending. This is where [politicians are] not listening to the American people.
People want less government, lower taxes, lower government spending. This will create private sector jobs, which is probably the number one issue here to Americans and to American voters, in particular.
If they’re listening — really listening — they’re going to slow down the government even more, cut government spending more, and stop these theatrics where they close the tourist destinations and other things — rather than getting to the real waste in government that is marbled throughout government spending.
They can certainly cut military spending. They can cut entitlement programs.
But, rather than starting with the people who are most in need and now dependent on government, there are many, many areas they can cut that don’t affect poor folks or people in need at all.
For starters, government pensions and government perks, which are enormous and typically double what people get in the private sector.
RT: What parts of society are being worst hit by these events?
CH: The tourist industry, because they’ve picked something very visible, which won’t actually kill anyone. They’ve shut down monuments. They’ve done things like in Washington, D.C., near where I work, they’ve shut down a boat house, and now they have two cops stationed there to keep the parking lot shut. They didn’t need two cops before.
So they’re actually wasting money, spending more money to so-called shut down the government, which is actually just a reduction in spending. To do this, they’re wasting more money. It’s really just a joke.
They should get serious about doing what the American people and the American economy need, which is cut reckless government overspending. We need to cut it dramatically, immediately, now. This is what they’re refusing to do.
We can certainly start by defunding Obamacare
RT: How will this whole thing affect America’s reputation as the world’s leading economic power?
Depends on who you talk to. Other politicians in the world may buy into this theater because they want to keep their budgets high in their countries, as well.
But people around the world don’t want big government.
They want peace. They want small government. They want to be left alone to live their lives as long as they’re not harming anyone else.
This is the leadership that the American lawmakers can choose to demonstrate to the world, and we need to urge them to do that.
RT: How long, from your point of view, is this going to last, and what lessons should Washington’s lawmakers learn from all this?
CH: We’ll see. Typically, they won’t let it last long because none of them want to really cut spending. They want to continue high government spending. They want to continue high government debt.
The Libertarian Party is running candidates to oppose the individuals who are in Congress by offering much lower spending, much lower taxes, removing the income tax, removing entitlement programs, cutting military spending.
This is going to put pressure on lawmakers in the election in 2014.
RT: All right, Carla Howell, political director of the U.S. national Libertarian Party. Thank you very much indeed for sharing your views with us. We appreciate it.