By Justin Sink
Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) called Massachusetts Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren (D) “a socialist,” and described public schooling as “a socialist thing” during an interview Tuesday with ABC News and Yahoo.
Paul, an avowed libertarian, was asked to respond to a now-famous quote from Warren in which she argued that those who built wealth in America were able to do so because the government had provided infrastructure, education and security. Thus, Warren said, “part of the underlying social contract is you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along.”
ABC News reporter Terry Moran asked Paul why Warren was wrong.
Moran then asked if public schooling — one of the tenets of the social contract cited by Warren — was also socialist.
“When the state runs things, that’s a socialist thing,” Paul responded. “I preach home schooling and private schooling and competition.”
Paul went on to argue that Warren’s “whole argument is absolutely wrong” because “governments are always destructive in the creation of wealth.”
“There’s nothing in our Constitution that says that Texas can’t build roads,” Paul said, arguing that greater responsibility for infrastructure and services should be shifted to local government or private enterprise. He cited examples like the privatization of French air traffic control as illustrative of how services traditionally thought to be within the domain of the government could work in the free market.
But Paul said he sympathized with those who felt the ultra-rich were unfairly gaming the American economy.
“I’m pretty critical of the wealth of lots of millionaires and billionaires because they ripped us off, they got the benefits and the tax breaks,” Paul said.
The interview was part of a day-long series of interviews with the Republican presidential candidates hosted by the network and Internet search engine. In a “lightening round” of lighthearted questions, Paul said his favorite junk food is chocolate chip cookies, that he used an iPad while traveling and that his campaign’s theme song would be “Born Free.”