The Official Online Weekly Newspaper of NAHB
In a one-hour presidential “teleforum” on Oct. 13 that drew more than 20,000 participants, Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) said that he believes there should be no government role for housing.
“The federal government’s responsibility is to get out of the way and let the free market work,” said Paul.
Regarding Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, Paul said the two government sponsored enterprises “contributed significantly to the financial bubble” and that it is wrong for the government to prop up lower interest rates for Fannie and Freddie at the expense of privately owned financial institutions.
“The government should deregulate,” said Paul. “It should not be in the business of housing. This is how we got into so much trouble. “As soon as we get back to [free] market principles, the sooner we will get back to more jobs and building more houses.”
To deal with the foreclosure problem and excess homes that are on the market, he said it would be counterproductive to keep home prices up or stimulate more home construction at this time.
“The correction means you have to get the prices down. You have to get the prices down to where these houses will be sold and cleared,” said Paul.
NAHB — along with members of the Associated Builders and Contractors, the National Federation of Independent Business and the National Restaurant Association — sponsored the forum to give its members a chance to hear from the presidential candidates and ask questions via the telephone.
Invitations to participate in the teleforums have been extended to President Barack Obama, former Governor Mitt Romney, Gov. Rick Perry, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and businessman Herman Cain.
While NAHB does support pro-housing congressional candidates through BUILD-PAC, its political action committee, it officially does not endorse any presidential candidate.
During the teleconference, Paul said that American society is governed by a Keynesian philosophy where the government intervenes and tries to direct the economy and that he believes in the tenets of Austrian free market economics, which generally advocates a laissez faire approach.
“I argue for free government, little regulations and as much free trade as possible,” he said.
Paul also criticized the Federal Reserve for taking an aggressive stance in moving to keep interest rates so low and said that he advocates taking away the ability of the Fed “to make money out of thin air.”
Responding to a caller who said that excessive regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency and other government agencies have unduly burdened small businesses, Paul said that his goal would be to get rid of the EPA.
"We don’t have the right to pollute our neighbor’s property or our neighbor’s air," he said.
"We should be very strict about that through property rights legislation, but the bureaucratic way of doing it now just invites the politicization of radical environmentalists to come in and take over because they literally take over the ownership of your land. I would do everything possible to move away from that direction.”
Regarding tax policy, Paul said that “if I had my druthers, I would repeal the 16th amendment and get rid of the IRS.”
He opposes the implementation of a sales tax to raise revenue because he said it is regressive in nature.
As President, Paul said he would look for ways to cut $1 trillion out of the budget in his first year in office.
Paul said that he would concentrate on reducing spending and taxes and defining a new role for government.
To help lower taxes and save money, Paul said he would institute a non-interventionist foreign policy.
“The easiest place to cut politically is one that I think would not only be beneficial to us economically but be beneficial to our national defense,” he said.
“We should not pretend we police the world and tell everyone what to do and look at all the boundaries around the world and try to secure those at the same time we don’t do much with our own borders.”
On the topic of immigration, Paul said that states should not be required to provide free education and free medical care to illegal immigrants and they should not be rewarded with amnesty. He also said that small businesses should not have to act like policemen.
“Now we punish the businessman,” said Paul. “That’s not the problem. We should be more generous and efficient on allowing workers to come here. No benefits and no easy road to citizenship. That’s a start in the right direction.”
NAHB expects more candidates to soon confirm times in which they can participate in similar teleforums.
NAHB members can signify their interest in participating in upcoming teleforums by filling out the registration form at this link. Participants will need to provide a valid telephone number at which they can be contacted when each event begins.
For more information on the presidential teleforums, email Nick Gentile at NAHB, or call him at 800-368-5242 x8542.