Power 100 Q&A: Rand Paul
Named the 93rd most powerful person in finance on the 2015 Worth Power 100.
Q: HOW IS YOUR PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN GOING?
A: We think we’re able to attract the independent vote and the youth vote. And frankly, we’ve done a lot of traveling to our nation’s big cities and inner cities to show that the message that I’m talking about—dramatically lower taxes, particularly for the inner city—could be a great stimulus.
YOUR LIBERTARIAN PHILOSOPHY OFTEN ALIGNS YOU WITH PROGRESSIVES ON CIVIL LIBERTIES ISSUES. DOES THAT COMPLICATE YOUR PITCH TO PRIMARY VOTERS?
It allows us to go places other Republicans don’t go and can’t go. I can take the message of being left alone [by government] to Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University, but I can also take it to Berkeley. I can go to Howard University and the NAACP and talk about criminal justice reform and not putting people in jail for lengthy sentences for nonviolent crimes. Democrats ignore [inner city blacks] because they take them for granted, and Republicans don’t go because they don’t think they can get the African American vote.
MARK SPITZNAGEL, THE LIBERTARIAN MANAGER OF HEDGE FUND UNIVERSA (PROFILED IN WORTH’S DECEMBER 2014-JANUARY 2015 ISSUE), IS ONE OF YOUR ECONOMIC ADVISORS. WHAT DOES HE BRING TO THE CAMPAIGN?
Mark is a very savvy investor who understands the nation’s finances as well as large, hedge fund-type finances. He also has a perspective on the Federal Reserve that helps cut through the mythology.
AUDITING THE FED IS PART OF YOUR PLATFORM. WHAT DOES THAT ACTUALLY MEAN, AUDITING THE FED?
It is not currently audited—that’s a ruse. I’d like to know what they’re worth; I’d like to know who’s buying and who’s selling; I’d like to know who owns the companies that were bailed out; I’d like to know if any of them are related to anybody that works at the Fed or works in government.
YOU’RE IN THE POSITION OF TRYING TO GAIN MORE POWER SO THAT YOU CAN EVENTUALLY DECREASE OUR GOVERNMENT’S POWER.
I’m actually campaigning to try to restrict and constrain how much power the presidency has. The biggest threat toour republic right now is that the separation of powers has collapsed and the presidency has accumulated vast powers, and Congress has become a shadow of itself. The lowest level, unelected bureaucrat often has more power than a congressman or a senator now.
IN THE FIRST REPUBLICAN DEBATE, YOU WERE CLEARLY ON THE ATTACK. WHAT WAS YOUR STRATEGY?
If I had been any less aggressive, I would have almost been invisible on stage. I was only given two and a half, three minutes’ worth of questions, and I worked my way in for another minute.
ONE OF YOUR TARGETS WAS DONALD TRUMP…
Voters are being tricked into believing that Trump is something new when he really represents the consummate insider. Many Republicans and many conservatives are horrified by the idea of the Clintons selling access and using it to gain personal wealth, but they ought to be equally upset by the people who buy the access.
YOU’RE ONE OF THE MORE INTELLECTUAL CANDIDATES. HAVE YOU READ ANYTHING RECENTLY THAT WAS PARTICULARLY THOUGHT PROVOKING?
I’m a Malcolm Gladwell fan. One of the things he talks about in Blink is that decision making is not necessarily based on knowledge or information, but really on understanding. You can get too much information. This is important with regard to collecting info about people while trying to prevent terrorism. Too much information can actually cloud your judgment.
WHO DO YOU THINK IS THE MOST POWERFUL PERSON IN GLOBAL FINANCE?
Probably the chairman of the Federal Reserve [Janet Yellen]. The person who can control the interest rate really controls something more universal to the marketplace than anything else.