Ron Paul

Ron Paul Doesn't Support the House GOP's Cut, Cap, and Balance Plan


From the desk of Rep. Ron Paul.

The House is voting today on a bill that would tie a debt ceiling increase to a constitutional amendment requiring a balanced budget and yearly caps on spending as a percentage of total economic output. Dubbed "Cut, Cap, and Balance," the plan is popular among the more fiscally conservative members of the House. But Rep. Ron Paul doesn't like it, in part because it ignores Medicare, Social Security, and military spending. Here's his four-point list of objections to the plan:

First, it purports to eventually balance the budget without cutting military spending, Social Security, or Medicare.  This is impossible.  These three budget items already cost nearly $1 trillion apiece annually.  This means we can cut every other area of federal spending to zero and still have a $3 trillion budget.  Since annual federal tax revenues almost certainly will not exceed $2.5 trillion for several years, this Act cannot balance the budget under any plausible scenario.

Second, it further entrenches the ludicrous beltway concept of discretionary vs. nondiscretionary spending.  America faces a fiscal crisis, and we must seize the opportunity once and for all to slay Washington's sacred cows—including defense contractors and entitlements.  All spending must be deemed discretionary and reexamined by Congress each year.  To allow otherwise is pure cowardice.

Third, the Act applies the nonsensical narrative about a "Global War on Terror" to justify exceptions to its spending caps.  Since this war is undeclared, has no definite enemies, no clear objectives, and no metric to determine victory, it is by definition endless.  Congress will never balance the budget until we reject the concept of endless wars.

Finally, and most egregiously, this Act ignores the real issue: total spending by government.  As Milton Friedman famously argued, what we really need is a constitutional amendment to limit taxes and spending, not simply to balance the budget.  What we need is a dramatically smaller federal government; if we achieve this a balanced budget will take care of itself.

Later, Rep. Paul argues that it's not enough to return the country to 2008 spending levels. Instead, he says, Congress needs to take federal spending back at least a decade. Reason's Nick Gillespie and Veronique de Rugy made a similar argument here (more on that idea from Gillespie here.) 

NEXT: Nick Gillespie on HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher This Friday, 10PM ET

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. First, it purports to eventually balance the budget without cutting military spending, Social Security, or Medicare. This is impossible. These three budget items already cost nearly $1 trillion apiece annually.

    Any complaints, MNG?

    1. Stop wishing literal death on him for not agreeing with our marginal view of society, you maniac.

      1. Eh, he had a point. There’s a lot of violent, overheated, and/or incivil rhetoric. But, unlike the Biparty, we have no real outlet for for our frustration except bitching on the internet, so I think it’s just expected.

        1. What’s more likely? JW actually punches a newspaper when he sees Ezra Klein’s image or JW was making a hyperbolic joke that a normal human would recognize as an intentionally silly picture to draw…

          Now answer the same question as a troll that wants to make an argument in bad faith because he is desperate for attention.

          1. That’s exactly what you would say if you were a Republican shill. Which you are.

            1. We are you so afraid to debate me? Because I have FACTS!

  2. Congress will never balance the budget until we reject the concept of endless wars.

    War is Peace!

  3. Q: How do you create a balance budget plan, that will never actually balance the budget?

    A: Create a plan that specifically exempts anything you can squeeze into the rubric of the “War on Terror”, thus ensuring that you can tell the public you “did something” about the budget, but are never actually held accountable for it.

  4. Is anyone planning to attend the Ames straw pole on the 13th of August?

    1. I might, are you planning on going?

  5. Shit. I’m tapped out until the paycheck shows up in the mailbox. Must remember to send Ron’s campaign a little something.

  6. You’re speaking the truth, Ron, speaking the truth.

  7. Two things I want from next summer:

    Ron Paul winning the Republican nomination, and a satisfying conclusion to the Nolan Batman trilogy.

    1. I’m not sure which is more likely. On the one hand the GOP establishment is going to hate Paul for publically shaming them for their hackery when it comes to actually reducing the size of government spending.

      And on the other, the movie has Anne Hathaway as Catwoman, a casting choice that I still don’t understand.

      1. Yeah,

        Joseph Gordon-Levitt…brilliant.

        Tom Hardy…FUCKIN’ BRILLIANT.

        Anne Hathaway…eh, I’ll have to wait and see.

        Maybe Anne will overdose on an accidental “toxic combination of prescription drugs” and her performance will be as spell-bounding as Ledger’s. We can only hope.

      2. They’re operating under the attractive librarian motif.

      3. Ron Paul winning the nomination is more likely.

        There has yet to be a good third superhero movie. If the third movie manages to at least be tolerable, then it is followed by a fourth movie so horrible it drives the franchise underground for years.

        1. Yeah, but Nolan, Bale, et al are out after TDKR, and Nolan has said the third film will be a conclusion to the entire story. I have yet to see a Chris Nolan movie I haven’t liked, and he won’t let this movie turn into a toy-selling, kiddie movie like other CBMs of the past.

          As for Anne Hatheway, there were a lot of doubters about Ledger’s casting as the Joker, but he gave a remarkable performance. I think she’s going to surprise most of us.

          1. Catwoman just sucks if you have to cover any backstory. If he just kind of throws her in media res like the Joker, there’s a much better chance of success.


              IN MEANS IN.




          2. Anne Hathaway can act and she’s certainly attractive, but to me she lacks the toughness of playing a character that, at least in the comics, is almost as capable a fighter as Batman.

            But I think Tom Hardy will single-handedly steal the movie as Bane so I have high hopes for TDKR after all.

            1. Any Batman movie with Bane is doomed to fail.

          3. Most of the same points with Nolan and Bale could be applied to Raimi in relation to Spider-Man as well. Look how well the third movie turned out.

        2. batman three with val kilmer was tolerable.

      4. Anne Hathaway, skin-tight black catsuit. What’s not to understand?

    2. Maybe Ron Paul will get a cameo as Capt. Obvious.

  8. Dang it, Ron! I was looking for a reason to not donate to that Ready, Ames, Fire Money bomb today or whatever. You always have to come bouncing in the room with uncomfortable truth-telling. Dang it!

  9. Talk about An Inconvenient Truth

  10. Can everyone please help Paul’s campaign in some way- volunteer, donate, tell your friends about him. His (hopeful) victory won’t come on its own.

    1. I remember back in 2008 when I had hope like this. It seems so long ago…

      1. Well, he is much better known now, and the situation is much more fucked up. And I believe he can lay claim to predicting some of our current problems.

        Likely to win? No. Some outside chance of doing so? Sure. Politics as usual is not what people are looking for.

        1. Possible that if RP (or Gary Johnson) does REALLY well in the primaries, they force their way into the VP slot?

          1. Probably more likely that Paul wins than gets asked to be a VP. The party leadership fears the limited government ideas way too much to officially endorse them.

            1. Ron Paul will never be VP, because one of his supporters would off POTUS in a heartbeat.

    2. Hope springs eternal…

  11. Can everyone please help Paul’s campaign in some way- volunteer, donate, tell your friends about him. His (hopeful) victory won’t come on its own.

    1. I remember back in 2008 when I had hope like this. It seems so long ago…

  12. Coburn’s budget that he presented the other day is actually quite reasonable. It cuts $1 billion in military spending.

    1. Coburn’s a sonuvabitch, but sometimes he’s a damn right sonuvabitch.

    2. I’m not knocking any spending cuts, but $1B is a pittance.

      Between FY2009 and FY2010, average monthly DOD spending for Afghanistan grew from $4.4 billion to $6.7 billion a month…

      While spending on Afghanistan grew between FY2010 and FY2011, DOD’s average spending in Iraq fell from $7.9 billion to $6.2 billion…

      That’s roughly $13B per month.
      $1B per year is just a sound bite.

      1. No one in Congress wants to cut the money that goes to their friends or voters.

    3. It cuts defense by 1 trillion, not billion. (Over 10 years, as always with these plans.)

      Seems like everybody but Obama has a plan.

      Coburn’s budget looks pretty damn good, actually. Significant but hardly crippling cuts to defense, cutting the federal workforce, cutting travel budgets and wasteful programs, state control of Medicaid funds, reasonable & slowly accruing changes to SS and Medicare that are going to have to happen sooner or later no matter what we do, and closing tax loopholes (which presumably includes subsidies).

      1. Obama had one, remember? One to spend 46 trillion over ten years. Where the wealth generated to cover that unholy waste would come from is what I want to know. Does Washington think that all wealth is the same? Liquid assets that can easily be shipped to the IRS in the form of taxes? The disconnect is more than a little startling.

        1. I wouldn’t dignify that piece of garbage with the term “plan.” Even the Democrats thought it was ridiculous and gave it zero consideration.

      2. 1T in actual cuts or 1T less in spending growth?

        1. From what I can tell, it’s based on the projected budget, but would mean real cuts.

          From the Washington Examiner: On defense, Coburn proposed ways save money by reforming the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program, reducing the nuclear weapons stockpile, limiting the growth of the defense workforce, returning to pre-2007 levels of active duty military personnel, and reforming the department’s health care programs, among other changes.

          Coburn releases details of $9 trillion deficit reduction proposal

          His plan is serious, and I hope it gets strong consideration.

      3. Seems like every mainstream media piece I read though, falls all over itself to describe Obama as being the rational compromiser, ready to make a deal to save the country…

        His plan, IIR is to raise taxes enough to defray the insane spending and calling that a “cut”.

        1. Sure… but how long is that going to work when he shoots every proposal down? Even people who don’t pay a lot of attention to politics will start to notice.

      4. Coburn already dumped his plan, and is back with the “gang of six”.

  13. Later, Rep. Paul argues that it’s not enough to return the country to 2008 spending levels. Instead, he says, Congress needs to take federal spending back at least a decade.

    I remember a decade ago, when government was starved for cash and could not help people. We all slept under bridges, using dead bodies for firewood. Nearly 40% of the population died of starvation every year, and old people who could not work in the mines anymore were cast away, set adrift in the sea on rafts made from piles of old vacuum tubes. It was a time of death and disease, which only government could have saved us from. Never again! More spending!

    1. Yeah, I remember those times. I had to wear black leather and drive a car wired to explode if tampered with. In the Australian Outback.

      1. Sounds like an average day at Sunnyvale. Wanna see my kitties?

  14. Can’t we just create a Balanced Budget Trust Fund to balance the budget? There, problem solved.

  15. “”Later, Rep. Paul argues that it’s not enough to return the country to 2008 spending levels. Instead, he says, Congress needs to take federal spending back at least a decade””

    Why roll back only Obama’s spending? Partisan hackery? Or republican denial about Bush’s spending?

    I agree with Paul, at least a decade.

    1. The 2008 spending level predates TARP, stimulus, all that crap.

      Since the economy is no longer in a recession (according to the Official Party Line), why can’t we go back to pre-recession spending levels?

  16. Reason’s Nick Gillespie and Veronique de Rugy made a similar argument [as Ron Paul’s] here (more on that idea from Gillespie here.)

    “But we still don’t like him.”

  17. All spending must be deemed discretionary and reexamined by Congress each year. To allow otherwise is pure cowardice.

    Talk like this is what endears you so much to your “fellow” Republicans, Mr. Paul. You tell the truth; they hide behind the flag.

  18. To me all of these exemptions are the “trade” for the vote on the Balanced Budget Amendment. If/when the BBA gets enacted all these exemptions will cease to exist.

    I personally think there’s a good chance that 38 states will ratify it since the public pressure will be enormous at a local level and state level politicians won’t be tying the own hands in the immediate future.

    This approach takes advantage of the short term orientation of politicians and binds them for the long term. The federal legislators will “kick the can” to the future state politicians since they’re exempted from current spending cuts. And then those state politicians will kick it to the federal politicians since a federal BBA is extremely popular and doesn’t affect them immediately.

    The incentives of our system will lead the politicians to tie their own hands with a BBA.

    At the very least you’d think it will be easier than passing and then repealing Prohibition.

    1. We don’t need a BBA. We have a veto-proof Balanced budget statue that starts on Aug 2.

      If we are going to start trading current dollars for vague hopes of future amendments, lets repeal the 16th or 17th amendments, or give a steroid shot to the 2nd, 4rth or 10th.

      1. lets repeal the 16th or 17th amendments

        Somehow, I think if the state legislatures selected the Senators instead of the voters, 99 of the 100 Senators would be the same, and Rand Paul would still be an eye doctor in Kentucky.

        1. Naaah, ther’d be 100 different kind of assholes than we currenly have. That would be an improvement, believe it or not.

  19. Let’s start by ratifying a constitutional amendment banning the term “entitlements”, and replacing it with the term “unearned benefits”.

  20. This is why I will be voting for Mr. Paul, even though it be a quixotic act.

  21. Rep. Paul argues that it’s not enough to return the country to 2008 spending levels. Instead, he says, Congress needs to take federal spending back at least a decade.

    Going back a decade would cut spending in half. (Yes, it has doubled in 10 years.) Going back to FY 2005 would be far enough back to balance the budget without tax increases. (FY 2006 if you believe the rosy projections for federal revenue in FY 2012).

  22. The wise & honorable Mr. Paul is stating the obvious that other lawmakers know to be true but choose to ignore.

  23. RON is REAL!
    You can count on him to tell the truth, abide by the Constitution and do what he says he will do.
    That should be RP’s slogan.

    “The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. Government can’t pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government’s reckless fiscal policies. ? Increasing America’s debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that “the buck stops here.” Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better.” – Sen. Barack Obama, 2006

    Exactly Right Mr. Obama! We do deserve better and Ron Paul is the right man, with the right plan to get us there.

    It was Ron Paul supporters that started the Tea Party, every other candidate that claims to be a TP candidate is only following RP’s lead.
    The Tea Party IS the Ron Paul REVOLUTION!

    Ron Paul in 2012, or sooner!

  24. While I agree with basically everything Paul said here, I still think this proposition is a step in the right direction. Politics rarely goes from Point A directly to Point B, but I think this is a closer step to Point B.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.