Texas Rep. Ron Paul's dark-horse campaign for the Republican nomination has become the blockbuster story of the presidential race. Alone among the major party candidates, the anti-war libertarian talks about scrapping vast swaths of the federal government: the Internal Revenue Service, the Federal Reserve system, and multiple cabinet-level offices. Ideally, Paul says, he would return to the cabinet George Washington had when he took the presidency two centuries ago: "You'd have State, Treasury, Justice, and not much more than that." reason asked Paul which three departments he would get rid of first and why.
1. Department of Energy: "There's no authority in the Constitution for us to have an energy operation run out of Washington—although I guess the same goes for most of these departments!"
2. Department of Education: "Just look at the quality of education in the last 50 years or so since we started getting the federal government involved. The quality is down, and the costs have skyrocketed. We need to get Washington out of this and let local school boards figure out what works for them."
3. Department of Homeland Security: "It's a huge, ineffective bureaucracy, and it failed its first test after Hurricane Katrina. FEMA [the Federal Emergency Management Agency] had never been very efficient, but it became so much less efficient once it was brought into this sprawling new department. It was exactly the wrong response to 9/11, which we should have responded to as a police problem."