Rick Harrison opens up about his journey to 'Pawn Stars'

This is a rush transcript from "Life, Liberty & Levin," August 5, 2018. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

MARK LEVIN, HOST: Hello, America. I'm Mark Levin, this is "Life, Liberty & Levin," and I have a great guest, Rick Harrison, how are you, sir?


LEVIN: You know, you're an entrepreneur, a very successful businessman. A couple of questions, just to begin with here. You never went to college, did you?


LEVIN: All of this talk about free college, free college and you can't make it unless you went to college. How far in high school did you go?

HARRISON: Finished the ninth great.

LEVIN: The ninth grade?


LEVIN: Then what happened?

HARRISON: A little bit of job here. I started buying and selling stuff, basically educated myself, and then I had always been buying and selling stuff. My dad had a little coin shop and I wanted a pawnshop, so I went down to city hall and they told me, "No, you can't get a pawnshop.

LEVIN: In Las Vegas?

HARRISON: In Las Vegas, and I asked them why, and they pulled out the City Code and apparently what happened in 1955, the good old boys got together and they passed a city ordinance that when the city population got to quarter of a million, they would issue one more pawn license. I mean, when they made this law, there was only 25,000 people living in Vegas, they thought it was never going to happen.

So, I'm 22 years old, and a pawn license, if someone has one for sale back then, it was $500,000.00, $700,000.00, something like that, and I definitely couldn't afford that. So once I read this law, I'm going, "It's got to be close to that now for the city proper there." And so, I started calling the city statistician once a week and in April of '88, he said, "Yes, we think it's a quarter of a million."

So, I'm no longer naive, 22-year-old, I'm a naive 23-year-old. I go to the city business license, it's a quarter of a million, I want my license. They didn't give it to me. But six months later, a judge said, he was the first one there, "Give him the license."

LEVIN: You had to go to court to get a license to open a store?

HARRISON: Yes. And the rest is sort of history.

LEVIN: Let's talk a little bit about the history. So, you finished the ninth grade.


LEVIN: And you are self-educated?


LEVIN: You read, you read, you read.


LEVIN: What did you read?

HARRISON: It will go back to when I was a kind. I mean, I was a really sick kid. I developed epilepsy when I was eight years old and I would have violent seizures, and I would - literally, I couldn't get out of bed. I couldn't walk - sometimes I couldn't walk for a week or two, and my mom went to the library. I mean, we were lower middle income. My dad was in the Navy, he was in Vietnam. My mom was trying to sell real estate on the side. We didn't have a lot of money.

LEVIN: And you were in San Diego back then?

HARRISON: Yes, San Diego, and this was in 1973. There is no cable. There is no kids programming on television and we definitely didn't have the money for more than one TV in the house.

My mom had got me a set of books that was sort of kismet, this really like changed my life. She went to the library and it was john d. Fitzgerald's "The Great Brain," it was about an eight-year-old kid growing up in Utah in the 1890s coming up with all of these little schemes to make money, and I just devoured the books.

I think there was like eight books in the series, I read them in a week or two, and I just fell in love with reading ever since then. I mean, I was 12 years old, I was going to the library and checking out books on Physics.

HARRISON: So, you're self-educated, mostly through books that you read on your own.


LEVIN: And so when we watch you on your show, "Pawn Stars," and you see things come in and you know a little bit of the background, the stuff that you've read in the past kind of clicks in.

HARRISON: Yes, because I don't really get into fiction. It's always been science books. It's been history books. I mean, like one of the jokes I tell is I read the history of batteries twice. I found it so fascinating, and to this day, I still read things like that, and once you develop a really diverse knowledge in your head, when you see something, you can start figuring things out, I guess.

LEVIN: You and I have gotten to know each other.


LEVIN: We're friends. I've gotten to know that you have a political mind, too. You have a philosophical mind. And before we get into though, I think people want to know more about your family. Now, your father just passed on.

HARRISON: Yes, my father was an amazing guy. Twenty years in the Navy, great father. you know, I had epilepsy when I was a kid. He did not treat me one bit different because of it.

When I was 12 years old, it was 5:30 in the morning, Saturday morning, "Get out of bed, grab your meal bags," because my dad would not buy apartments unless there was a condemned sticker on every door, because he would get them so much cheaper and we all ...

LEVIN: He was investing in real estate.

HARRISON: Yes, so when I was - he started making me work construction when I was 12 years old. I mean, like I said, he never treated me differently.

LEVIN: He worked hard his whole life.

HARRISON: He did. He was always a hard worker. He had the world's greatest work ethic. He used to always tell me like family is everything. There is no choice about taking care of your kids, and, you know, like I said, me, both my brothers, we worked construction with him when we moved to Las Vegas.

When I was 16, you know, he ended up going broke in '81, and all of a sudden, we're going to move to the land of milk and honey. We're going to move to Vegas, okay, because he had a little business where he bought and sold gold on the side, and so, he came to Vegan to open a little coin shop. And I worked with him then, and then just kept on working with him my whole life.

LEVIN: And you two really got along, didn't you?

HARRISON: We always got along. I mean, there was the joke that I'd always tell that's like the greatest thing about my business is working with my family and the worst part of my business is working with my family. But he was my best friend. He was my best friend my entire adult life.

LEVIN: And you get into this pawn business. Did you know anything about the pawn business?

HARRISON: I knew about buying gold and silver, and I knew the basics. There was this old pawn broker in town that I met that helped me figure out the book work and everything and helped me out. I'd call him almost every day for the first year, but got it figured out, and I knew from the beginning that I had to be different than the other guys.

There was a couple of independent pawnshops in town. But most of them were owned by really large chains. Most people don't realize this, there is one chain of pawnshops in the United States with a thousand stores and there is another one with a thousand stores, I mean, so I realized quickly you can't go head-to-head with Walmart, I had to be Tiffany's.

I mean, like in the early 90s, I mean, there's like - there's always going to be a Picasso on the wall. This place has to be immaculately clean, just the best employees, everything better than everybody else.

LEVIN: Did you make money from day one?

HARRISON: Basically, yes. I mean, it was a struggle because when you start a pawnshop, you are loaning out money all the time. When you first start, you are loaning out money and not bringing in a lot. It was a struggle.

LEVIN: I'm asking this because you came from very little, you didn't go to college, you didn't get a high school diploma, and according to many people in our country, that's it, you're never going to succeed, and you're an example of somebody who says, "Wait a minute, I've got my own brain. I've got my two hands, relatively good health. I am going to succeed, and in America I can succeed." Is that right?

HARRISON: It's true. I mean, you know, I think it would be a lot harder for me to do the same thing today because there is just so much government BS you have to go through. I mean, there's constantly a new law, some new rule regulation, more and more difficult to fire a bad employee.

I mean, in the '80s, I could go down and get a business license and be open in three weeks. Now, it's three or four months, and it's like that with almost everywhere in this country. It's just the layers and layers of BS. So much more difficult for, you know, a young couple sitting at the kitchen table saying, "Hey, should we go open our own business?" You're going to need a lot more money. There's going to be a lot more BS, there's a lot more expenses. It's slowly getting better.

LEVIN: Didn't they just make it more difficult though on the internet? Now, the Supreme Court rules that, yes, states can tax the internet. So now you have 50 states, District of Columbia, the territories, some guy wants to start a business like you, he doesn't have a lot of capital. He wants to go on the internet, can't really afford a brick and mortar store, and he's got to be able to, or she, to file taxes in every state of the union and then some.

HARRISON: And then some, I mean, you look at California. California, I think has got 59 counties, and in those counties, they have different - I mean, they have a couple hundred different sales tax rates, and there's - you can't - basically what you do is just make it more and more difficult, and it's just the insanity of government.

LEVIN: And yet, we have conservatives celebrating that. Saying, yes, now it's equal with retail shops. And I'm thinking to myself, "Equal what?" In other words, money flows like water. If people want to go over here with their money, they're going to go over here with money. If they want to go - why is the government's business to make anything equal, whatever that means?

HARRISON Yes, I mean, it's the whole idea of - well, it's the safe spacers, cry room people, everything has got to be fair. There is no definition of fair. I mean, when you get taxes like - I mean, there's no way anybody can figure that out on their own.

LEVIN: You mean all these various taxes in jurisdictions and so forth?

HARRISON: Yes, I mean, I really like Trump. I mean, I think he's doing an amazing job.

LEVIN: You're a big fan of his.

HARRISON: Yes, a big fan of his. I don't agree with everything he does. Ed Koch had a great line when he was running for mayor in New York, "I believe in nine out of 12 things I stand for. Vote for me. If you believe in 12 out of 12, have your head examined." But as far as him beating up on Amazon and online businesses. I don't understand ...

LEVIN: Amazon is successful because people use it, otherwise it wouldn't be there, would it?

HARRISON: Yes, it's like the argument they had years ago that Walmart was beating up on the grocery stores. Well, the grocery stores got the mom- and-pop small grocery stores out of business, there used to be general, like the general store in town. It's an evolution of business, and in the end, we all have a better life because of it.

LEVIN: Because, is it not true that a capitalist economy is a dynamic vibrant economy, and competition creates different products, different outlets and people respond to it and that's how we what's successful and what's not successful?

HARRISON: Yes, I mean, it's survival of the fittest, and in the end, everyone has a better life because of it. Take for example, in 1850, the watch capital of the world was London. The majority of the pocket watches in the world were made in London.

Right around that same time, machine tools became a lot less expensive, precision machine tools. Little watch companies start popping up around the United States. By 1890, the best watches in the world hands down were American watches. As a matter of fact, they were so good that the Europeans were trying to sell watches with American sounding names. That's why Congress had to pass a law saying the origin of watch has to be printed on the dial.

That's because in London, it took 17 different unions to make a watch or they called them guilds. You can make a dial of a watch but you couldn't paint it, okay. There was a separate guild that made the hands, there was a separate guild that made the cases. It's just massive bureaucracy.

And in 1890s, they were making in London the same watches they were making in 1820, and that's just one example of capitalism. There's a million examples out there. Socialism doesn't work, a big government doesn't work.

LEVIN: And yet, when we come back, I want to discuss that with you, because this debate over democratic socialism seems to be going hot and heavy, at least in one party, and the power of government in terms of commerce seems to be accepted by both parties, or at least people in both parties. So we'll discuss that as soon as we come back.

Don't forget, ladies and gentlemen, you can watch me on Levin TV most week nights, just go to crtv.com, crtv.com or give us a call 844-LEVIN TV, 844- LEVIN TV. We'd love to have you. We'll be right back.

Rick Harrison, you're part of the culture. You've got one of the most popular TV shows in America, one of the highest rated TV shows on cable. I'm sure people know who you are when you're walking - I know that in Las Vegas, because when we were with you, everybody was "Hey, Rick, Rick, Rick," so ...


LEVIN: You're speaking out more about the country. You're speaking out more about capitalism, about liberty. Is that because you're recognized and you're part of the culture and concerned about the future of the country?

HARRISON: Well, yes, I am concerned about the future of the country. I mean, I have six kids. I have three grandkids. And there is going to be an economic reckoning in this country eventually. You know, the government will give you all their voodoo economics about how Social Security is fully funded. It's insanity. It's the equivalent of me saying I had a million dollars and loaned it to myself and I gave myself an IOU but then I went out and partied and spent all the money, but I'm still a millionaire because I owe it to yourself.

LEVIN: There's no money in Social Security.

HARRISON: They have a Social Security trust fund, but there is no Social Security trust fund.

LEVIN: The government took all the money.

HARRISON: The government spent all the money, and ...

LEVIN: Don't people go to prison for stuff like that, in the private sector?

HARRISON: Yes, I mean, it's like, it's everything with government statistics. They waste the money. It's really - the insanity just keeps growing - it seems like it's growing every year. Do you know that the Bureau of Labor Statistics still gets most of its information from doing land line surveys and like, I don't know what demographic still has a land line.

LEVIN: I don't have a land line anymore.

HARRISON: I don't either. They still go to grocery stores with a clipboard to get prices and it's all this - because the government can never fire anybody, and it really - it just concerns me that eventually we'll have an economic reckoning.

LEVIN: Is it the massive debt?

HARRISON: It's the massive debt and eventually they will have to monetize the debt and it will cause inflation.

LEVIN: Venezuela.

HARRISON: Yes, look at Venezuela. Some of the richest natural resources in the world, it has more oil than Saudi Arabia, but this is another thing that liberals really irk me on. They complain when a CEO makes $20 million a year. They have no problem when a sports star makes $20 million a year, and the fact of the matter is those CEOs that take care of the big oil companies and the big internet companies and all of that - the reason they get paid that kind of money is they are no different than a big sports star.

They are guys who - they have that skill set just like LeBron James has the skill set and when you have a politician going like, "I can run an oil company." No, you can't. So, a perfect example is Venezuela where they have more oil than Saudi Arabia and they can't make any money off their oil and gas system.

LEVIN: And they were giving everybody free stuff. Now, they don't have any stuff to give anybody.

HARRISON: The average Venezuelan, I read, lost 15 pounds last year because of food shortages. And that's what socialism leads to.

LEVIN: What does socialism create? Does it create products? Does it create wealth? Or does it just redistribute what other people create?

HARRISON: Well, it creates a system where there's - in capitalism, it's survival of the fittest. That's why this car company is competing. Every car company is trying make a better car because people are going to buy the best car. When you have socialism, everything is ran by the government. They don't care if their car is any good. It's the only car. That's what you get, and so socialism ...

LEVIN: Obamacare? Similar?

HARRISON: Yes, similar.

LEVIN: What has Obamacare done to your business in specific?

HARRISON: I do pretty well. But it's triple the price of insurance on my employees and I don't think the insurance is - the medical care is as good. There's a lot of little incremental things that can be done to help medical care in this country. I believe the social safety net, but you can't pay for everything. The government can't pay for everything.

LEVIN: What if people don't mind paying into the social safety net, but don't want to be part of the social safety net. Isn't that the problem with Obamacare? We're all kind of sucked into that vortex?

HARRISON: Yes, and then it's like what we were talking about earlier, once everyone is getting something for free, they never want to give it back. Capitalism works. Look at the price of medical care over the past 20 years, okay? But elective surgeries, those prices have gone down over the past 20 years because you have capitalism working there. There's a million other things, too with medical care, you have tort laws where everybody is suing everybody. I read once that almost every prescription drug out there has a lawsuit against it.

LEVIN: I don't doubt it because some states when you drive around, like in Florida, every other billboard is personal injury lawyers? Every other commercial on the radio is personal injury lawyers?

HARRISON: I mean, so people don't want to realize it's an imperfect world, you know? Not everything is going to work right. There's always - some people are allergic to peanuts, some people are going to be allergic to a drug, and you get so much bureaucracy involved, you get so many lawyers involved and everything is sort of, "eh" with medical insurance and things like that. I don't know the exact solution for medical care, but just - more government is definitely not the answer.

LEVIN: All right, don't forget, every week night, almost, you can watch me on Levin TV if you join us at crtv.com, crtv.com, as a matter of fact, we have 20 wonderful hosts there on our conservative digital network, that's crtv.com. Or give us a call at 844-LEVIN TV.

LAUREN GREEN, CORRESPONDENT, FOX NEWS: Live from "America's News Headquarters," I'm Lauren Green. A powerful earthquake killing at least 82 people in Indonesia just one week after another quake killed more than a dozen in the same area. Today's 7.0-magnitude quake hitting the tourist island of Lombok this morning, hundreds were injured and thousands of homes damages. Some of that damage happening as far away as the neighboring island of Bali.

A small plane crash in California killing all five people on board earlier today. The FAA saying the pilot of the twin-engine Cessna declared an emergency before crashing in a southern California Staples parking lot about a mile from Orange County's John Wayne Airport. Officials say no one on the ground was hurt. The FAA and the NTSB are now investigating the cause of the crash. I'm Lauren Green. Now back to "Life, Liberty & Levin."

LEVIN: Socialism. Democratic socialism. We have a 28-year-old who was elected in the primary - the Democratic primary, not elected yet, in New York. She got around 17,000 votes, and she's on every major news outlet. They're saying this is the future of the Democratic Party. This is being celebrated. Why would this be celebrated?

HARRISON: Well, I mean, you have basically a large - no one has taught - okay, here's an example, okay? Every kid coming out of high school thinks a corporation is evil, but they have no idea what a corporation is, and like I've explained this to a million young people that work for me. A corporation is a piece of paper. A piece of paper cannot be evil.

You might have really bad guys running a corporation, but a corporation in itself can't be bad. And you wouldn't have that cell phone without a corporation, you wouldn't have a car without a corporation, you wouldn't have the power on at your house without a corporation.

Corporations are one of the greatest inventions of all time. It's a way to combine capital without any risk above and beyond the amount of capital, and to create wealth. There's not a single person that can come up with the money just to start a massive car company. He's going to have to get to go out to market to get money, but this doesn't taught to anybody. This isn't taught to any one of the kids. All they're taught is that corporations are evil. They go to college and they're basically told by these liberal professors that have never lived in the real world, everything should be free, and like Margaret Thatcher said, socialism is great until you run out of other people's money. It has never worked. All it does is, the socialists say everyone will be equal and you'll be equally miserable and equally poor.

LEVIN: They always talk about the top 1%, there's always a top 1%. I don't care if you go to the poorest nation on the face of the earth. Somebody has an extra bowl of rice, I guess, they're the top 1%.

HARRISON: Yes, and they talk about how trickle-down economics is so evil and terrible. I think the whole word trickle-down economics is not a great phrase for it, but like I was explaining to my 17-year-old daughter, a wealthy guy goes out and buys a jet and everyone at the jet factory works and then everyone at the local airport that maintains that jet works. He's got to hire a pilot, and all these people are working because we take that rich guy's money away, you have dozens of people not working. So their entire argument is completely false.

LEVIN: You think part of the problem is that we live in the greatest, most successful economy mankind has ever known where people in this country - blue collar workers, white collar workers, union, nonunion - live better than kings and queens ever lived, ever lived and that because we're so close to it, we don't see it?

HARRISON: I think so. I mean, this is the only country in the world where you can live in an apartment with air-conditioning. You've got two TVs, a refrigerator full of food. You have a car in the driveway, a little money in the bank, and you're poor.

LEVIN: We hear this propaganda day in and day out through the culture whether it's the Democratic Party, some in the Republican Party, the media, as you say, you are indoctrinated through education, but it could also be that so many people in this country now rely on government. They're subsidized by government and now those who aren't, figure, "Well, wait that guy is subsidized by government, shouldn't I be subsidized, too?"

HARRISON: Yes, I mean, it's basically everyone wants something for free. We're not taught to be self-reliant. Morality is no longer taught in school. I go talk at troubled high schools, you know, and I try and talk like they talk. I tell these kids, all you guys want to be a baller or you guys want to be like really super cool. Some of you become super cool, be a little bit of a nerd. Get an education, get a job, and wait until have you kids when you're married, okay?

Because you do those three things, you've just reduced your chances of being in poverty by 95%. But for some reason, they're not allowed to teach that in school. It's just common sense, and it boggles my mind. I mean, look on some of these news channels, these people supposedly have a college education and they're touting socialism, which to me is just sort of mind- boggling. I mean, obviously, you cheated a lot, but socialism is - it sounds so great, though. That's why people embrace it. The government is going to pay for everything, it sounds great. Economically it can't happen.

LEVIN: Do you think more and more people have difficulty dealing with liberty? Liberty. Freedom to fail. To succeed. To go out there and be whomever you want to be. Do you think too many people are afraid of doing that or they don't comprehend what it means to be a free person?

HARRISON: I think they don't comprehend it and we're raising an entire generation that gets a participation trophy.

LEVIN: What about our generation that runs the government, and our generation that pushes this agenda? Chuck Schumer, he's our generation; Nancy Pelosi, well, she is a generation behind, but you get the point.

HARRISON: I truly believe that if you're older and you're educated and you're touting socialism, you're either not that intelligent or you're evil. I mean, it comes down to that.

LEVIN: Power hungry, maybe?

HARRISON: Power hungry. Power hungry is basically evil in most situations; and they're completely intellectually dishonest. The things that come out of Chuck Schumer's mouth literally, he knows what he's saying is BS, but he's playing to the cameras, he knows the press will play to him, and you know, he has an agenda, he's power hungry.

LEVIN: If you're such a powerful politician and you can influence the future of the country, and you know what you're saying is BS, isn't that a problem with virtue, then?


LEVIN: So he and people of that ilk who promote what they know is simply impossible, and yet the damage that can result from it lack virtue?

HARRISON: It's the old adage, power corrupts - absolute power corrupts absolutely, and they will do anything to hold onto that power.

LEVIN: Because I don't want to put words in your mouth.

HARRISON: I know, you're not putting words in my mouth. You go back to the founding fathers. Those were people who really seemed to care. They risked their entire lives. They risked fortunes, their lives, their families, everything on building this country, and now we have a lot of politicians out there and it's all about getting re-elected.

Look at Congress, we just had one guy in Congress for 50 years?

LEVIN: Yes, but can we do without him? I mean, he's indispensible and I can't remember his name.

HARRISON: It's so difficult to like reach out to the public because we determine our politicians on 30-second commercials.

LEVIN: Right. We'll be right back.

Rick Harrison. You're libertarian? Conservative? It depends on the issue? You're Republican? Democrat? Pro-Trump? Anti-Trump? Tell us.

HARRISON: More of a libertarian. Pro-Trump, mostly. Like I said, I don't agree with everything he does.

LEVIN: What do you agree with?

HARRISON: Lower taxes, less government. Because in the end, that's what works. And it's just not a theory, you can go throughout history, when we had less government, you have a better economy, you have better lives, better everything. All government does is slow everything down. Government caused the great depression.

LEVIN: Let's hit that for a second. Government caused the great depression. We're talking about the depression in the 30s.


LEVIN: And basically what happened there was you had a recession - a bad recession and government intervenes. Government does two things, tell me if I'm right. Tariffs. Tariffs again and then monetary policy. Tightens money rather than loosens money as Milton Friedman would say, and so they turned the recession into the great depression. Do I have that about right?

HARRISON: Yes. In 1936, right when everything was getting better, we had positive GDP growth in 1936, tightened up monetary policy again and created another straight back into the depression. I mean, like in 2000 - right after 9/11, the Fed massively lowered interest rates, which in turn, all the pension funds around the United States. They have a basic model - 6% return, they'll be able to pay the pensions in the end. But now, they can't get yield, so they started chasing the yield, and that's when these collateralized debt obligations - all of these crazy things started happening because if they didn't get the yield, the entire model would collapse.

LEVIN: They didn't get their 6%.

HARRISON: They didn't get - average 6% and so they had to chase yield and that's what caused the whole - everything to burst in 2008 because the Federal Reserve is always trying to keep us out of a recession or things like that.

LEVIN: Is that the job? What was the original job of the Federal Reserve? Wasn't it just to keep the currency stable?

HARRISON: It was to keep the currency stable and keep the banks stable.

LEVIN: Now what does it do? Runs the economy after ...

HARRISON: They're trying to run the economy and it's an impossible situation. It's government trying to run something. Capitalism needs a recession every once in a while to separate the weak from the chaffed, okay? The economy slows down, the bad businesses goes out of business, the good businesses stay in business. Everything is more efficient that way. It sounds cruel.

LEVIN: ... do that?

HARRISON: But when you have a politician speaking and everything, like we don't want a recession. Some people might lose their job and I'll lose my office. It's not a perfect world and these things have to happen to have a stable economy. You perpetually prop up - the more you prop up an economy is, the harder it's going to fall. It's like Adam Smith in "The Wealth of Nations," the unseen hand will of - the economy will balance itself out, but when you start getting the government and they are pushing up something really high, eventually it's not going to fall ...

LEVIN: You talk about Adam Smith and the invisible hand where millions and millions of people are making independent decisions. Untold number of decisions every day about their lives, about their business, about their family, and the invisible hand is that we all interact with each other. We know what we want better than anybody else knows what we want and so forth and so on.

So when the government intervenes, basically, it's a relative handful of people with an army of bureaucrats telling us what we want, telling us what we need. How can those handful of people, those masterminds know as much as all the rest of us, and isn't the problem that they can give us a piece of cheese, but to explain how we get a piece of cheese actually requires people to pay attention for about three minutes so you can explain it.

HARRISON: I mean it's literally an office worker telling a plumber how to do his job. There is a need for government. We do need - we need roads, we need a system of educating our kids. I think there should be vouchers for teaching our kids so there is school choice. We need to make sure no one is shooting at us and some things like that, but the bureaucracy we have now. What did the Department of Commerce do?

LEVIN: It certainly doesn't promote commerce. We'll be right back.

I want to circle backa little bit with you. Corey, your oldest son.


LEVIN: Chum Lee, his best friend, almost like a son to you.


LEVIN: Do they have similar views of the world that you have?

HARRISON: Yes, they do.

LEVIN: They do? Is Chum Lee, let me just be blunt, is he sharper than he appears to be?

HARRISON: Yes, he can be absolutely. He's a comic genius. I'll give you that. He has his moments where he is like ...

LEVIN: Spaces out?

HARRISON: Yes, but literally, he gets me a Father's Day present every year. I love him like a son. At times, he can be brilliant. I own a shopping center right next to the pawnshop and he came to me and says, "Can I rent out a store for a candy shop?" I'm like, "Who's going to do your books and everything like that?" It was brilliant because he had a bunch of candy branded with his - it's Chum Candy and he goes over there, and when he's there, there's a massive line because everyone wants to take a picture with him at his candy store and everything like that, and he does really, really well.

LEVIN: So he knows how to market? He knows how to ...

HARRISON: Yes, market.

LEVIN: How about Corey? What's he like?


LEVIN: He strikes me as really bright.

HARRISON: He is really bright. He owns the beauty bar - it was voted the number one dive bar in Las Vegas. But apparently people like dive bars because so you can even walk in the place on a Friday and Saturday night. He does well with that. He's really a bright - I'm really proud of him. He can be - he's young and single so he can be a little rambunctious and piss me off every once in a while, but he is an amazing guy.

LEVIN: Do you, your family, are you big collectors? You see all this wonderful stuff walk through the door ...

HARRISON: Yes, I have an entire house decorated in pawnshop motif. I have - like in my office I have maps of the island of California. I have ...

LEVIN: What's the most interesting or rare or valuable thing that you have?

HARRISON: The most interesting thing is probably this right here. I showed it to you earlier.

LEVIN: And this right here ...

HARRISON: It's a 1200-year-old biking bracelet, circa 800.

LEVIN: And somebody walked into your the store with this?


LEVIN: What did you pay for that?

HARRISON: I think $7,000.00 or $8,000.00. A lot of people think it would be worth a lot more. I explain this value a lot of the times. You take an item that's $10,000.00, it should be worth so much more. But it's the free market, there are a million other really ...

LEVIN: You know what we have over here? We have the mirror that was over the Reagan - in the Reagan home over their fireplace for years and years and years, that was the mirror.

HARRISON: That's amazing.

LEVIN: And I'm not selling it to you, either. And we're thrilled to have it. But anyway, we'll be right back.

Rick Harrison, you told us you had epilepsy and it actually led to you self-educating, you're a brilliant man, you know so much about so many things. You're on the board of the Epilepsy Foundation. How did that happen?

HARRISON: They came to me and wanted to know if I would do some PSAs, because one of the people read my book and I talked about having epilepsy as a child. I did the PSAs and a few other things for him, and they literally called me up one day and said, "We just had a board of directors meeting, you've been drafted. You're on the board of directors." And it has been rewarding. I do a couple hundred hours a year, raising money for them, interacting with kids, and basically having a good time doing it.

LEVIN: What do they do? They basically support research?

HARRISON: We support research. We pay for kids' medicine, we pay for doctor visits, we want to raise awareness. There's always been a stigma associated with epilepsy.

LEVIN: What causes epilepsy?

HARRISON: It's basically a short circuit in your brain. It's an electrical storm and it could be all over your brain or certain parts of your brain, and they're slowly making advances with it. I really truly believe eventually there will be a cure. I'm not going to get super technical with you on that, but it's near and dear to my heart.

LEVIN: How widespread is it?

HARRISON: It's a lot more prevalent than you think. More people have epilepsy than autism, but you hear more about autism. It's more than Parkinson's and multiple sclerosis and a whole host of diseases combined, people have epilepsy. But there's always been a stigma attached to it, so people sort of suppress it.

LEVIN: Can people have it? But the attacks are so infrequent that they don't even know they have it?

HARRISON: If you have a seizure, you're going to know it. There are some people, you have, like they'll have small seizures when they sleep and they don't even know it. It's a disease that I think just a lot more people need to know about or maybe need some more awareness about it, and hopefully I'm going to find a cure for it one day, well, not me, the Epilepsy Foundation, not me.

LEVIN: It's been an absolute pleasure talking to you, meeting with you. A lot of people are huge fans of yours and they want to know more about you, and we've become good friends and I know a lot about you about your philosophical take on things and so forth, so it was a pleasure having you.

HARRISON: Thanks for having me.

LEVIN: All right, God bless. See you next time on "Life, Liberty & Levin."

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