Rand Paul

The Seriousness of Rand Paul's Budget

And the Problems With the Politics of Spending Cuts


Vox has been one of the few outlets in the flood of Rand Pauliana this week looking at what is traditionally an important part of a president's vision of governance: his spending plans, via the budget proposals he's been issuing for years.

Yes, presidents can merely make suggestions when it comes to budgets, but if a Republican president rides herd over a Republican House, these could be more than fantasy.

Here's Rand Paul's fiscal 2014 document.

Some of the details Vox quote are worth looking at:

Here are a few other specific agencies that are also on the chopping block in Paul's budgets, just to give you a sense of how granular he gets:

  • National Institutes of Health is cut by 20 percent ("much of the research and development undertaken by the NIH provides direct subsidies to the pharmaceutical industry").
  • Food and Drug Administration is cut by 20 percent ("new FDA powers granted by the recent Food Safety Modernization Act grant the government further intrusion into the nation's food supply").
  • NASA is cut by 25 percent ("with the presence of private industries involved in space exploration and space tourism, it is time for NASA to look at ways to reduce spending … since President Obama has determined to realign the goals of NASA away from human space exploration to science and 'global warming' research, there is also a need to realign the agency's funding").
  • US Geological Survey is cut by 20 percent ("though these are important activities, they can be given to state researchers at our colleges and universities").
  • Bureau of Reclamation is eliminated ("owning a majority block of energy and water resources is not the business of the federal government").
  • Bureau of Indian Affairs is eliminated ("swindled and mismanaged billions of dollars in Indian trust funds").
  • National Parks are cut by 30 percent ("returning these public lands back to the states and or the private sector would allow an increase in quality, safety and a reduction in government spending each year").
  • Indian Health Services is cut by 20 percent ("notoriously wrought with fraud").
  • Government Printing Office is eliminated ("every government office and agency should budget for their own printing costs").

Whereas you can get a fair amount of people to say they would like to see spending reined in and deficit spending and debt accumulation end, popular support for any specific cut is far more problematic, except for our old favorites fraud and abuse and, as annoying pedants remind us all the time, "foreign aid" (which is really, repeat after me, a very insignificant part of the total budget!)

Repeat that same mantra for every single goddamn specific program that one might want to cut. Most assuredly lots of people will.

I think the campaign itself wasn't leading with bold discussion of specific spending priorities for sensible strategic reasons. To some extent, the Paul campaign's pivots to libertarian-ish ideas are mostly in what I like to call the "nice" side of libertarianism—the parts that involve getting the government to stop doing bad things.

Like, say, spying on us, or messing up people's lives forever because they smoke pot, or like raw milk, or killing people by executive ukase, or taking a large chunk of our income in a complicated and confusing process, or, maybe, starting wars carelessly.

But when it comes to spending cuts every cent of the budget is someone's family's income, some service provided to someone, something that someone thinks is a good being provided to someone, for something. It has always been difficult to get people to agree they want that to happen in any specific case. The particulars of his vision of governmetn spending might be the hardest sell of all in Paul's run, and he's probably lucky not that much attention is being drawn to it.

See, for example, the headline Vox gave to a second article on Paul's spending priorities: "Rand Paul wants the government to do much, much less for the poor." 

That's tough to campaign on, especially if not rooted in consistently hardcore libertarian principles about the purpose of government and the richness of voluntarism.

As Vox notes, even for a Republican Paul is strangely serious about spending cuts:

According to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, Paul's FY2014 budget would reduce spending to 16.4 percent of GDP by 2023. By contrast, Paul Ryan's budget would reduce spending to 19.1 percent of GDP, and Senate Democrats' budget would keep it at 21.9 percent. The gap between Paul's budget and Ryan's is nearly as big as the gap between Ryan's and Democrats'.

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  1. Interesting. Obama convinced his base that he would be “their man” and then proceeded to fuck his supporters on a wide range of issues (spying, gay marriage, weed, foreign intervention), whereas it might just be possible that Rand is doing the opposite: ostensibly betraying some of his libertarian principles as a candidate so that he can genuinely deliver.

    Or it could be Obama 2. Guess we’ll find out if the 5-percent chance he has materializes into a Paul Presidency.

    1. My hope for Day 1, for Paul or Walker or whichever Republican wins: decertify all federal government employee unions. JFK did it by executive order, so it can be undone by one.

  2. a good start!

    1. Not good enough. We need some cuts in “defense” spending.

  3. Why, yes, yes, cut spending!

    1. Yes, thank you, cut spending?

    2. The easiest place to cut spending is on the military budget. Let’s at least cut it down to China levels.

      1. The easiest place to cut spending is on the military budget.

        The history of the past hundred years or so does not support this conclusion, unfortunately.

        1. How so? The last war that the U.S. could be said to have justifiably been involved in was WW2. Every military conflict since then has been unnecessary and a waste of money, to say nothing of lives and property. You tell me which of these was justified:


  4. The thing is, some of these programs are really popular. I think you can convince a decent number of people that cutting, say, the National Parks budget won’t be the end of the world, but only if you convince them that the alternatives are viable.

    1. Holy shit can you imagine the bellyaching from the left when they talk about cutting the National Parks budget?


      groan………….I realize that we as a nation need to have this conversation but good lord is it going to be like herding cats.

      1. good lord is it going to be like herding tasing cats.

        Super hard to do, but when you succeed . . . .

        1. Great, now I have “tasing a cat” in my search history.

          1. Incognito mode

      2. I think you can get around this by proposing an across-the-board cut – no exceptions.

  5. To some extent, the Paul campaigns pivots to libertarian-ish ideas are mostly in what I like to call the “nice” side of libertarianism?the parts that involve getting the government to stop doing bad things.

    Is there a side that of libertarianism that involve getting the government to start doing bad things or is it to stop doing good things?

    Remember there can only be 2 choices

    1. oops…need that edit button!

  6. What we need is a Thunderdome Budget. Two agencies enter, one agency leaves.

    1. I approve of this message. Do you have a newsletter?

    2. So basically the defense department gets everything?

      1. I think he meant:

        Two agency directors enter, one agency director leaves.

    3. Can we put like 134 agencies in and allow none to leave?

      1. “Seneca, why do you think we have a winner?”

    4. Start with 75% cuts across the board and have each agency justify why they need more than that. There would be time to debate the top 4 or 5.

      1. Including the F-35, LCS, and the NGB (or whatever it’s called now).

        1. It’s a function of how many are required to do the job asked.

          1. Failed or unnecessary programs, so kill them.

            1. Except they aren’t. (I can’t speak for LCS)

              1. The F-35 is clearly a disaster.

                1. Not really. Pretty standard for a new fighter. It’s not doing anywhere near as badly as the press (and General Dynamics) would have you believe.

                  And at this point, there are no other options but to press forward.

                  If you want to blame someone for the mess…blame this. Brought to you by, those masters of efficiency, the United States Congress.

                  1. .Yes really. Everyone but you hates this thing

                    Owing to heavy design compromises foisted on the plane mostly by the Marine Corps, the F-35 is an inferior combatant, seriously outclassed by even older Russian and Chinese jets that can fly faster and farther and maneuver better. In a fast-moving aerial battle, the JSF “is a dog ? overweight and underpowered,” according to Winslow Wheeler, director of the Straus Military Reform Project at the Project on Government Oversight in Washington, D.C.

                    there are no other options but to press forward.

                    Right into the ground. Better idea: just buy more of the planes you already have and kick ass and make them cheaper this time. The USAF does not need to be on the bleeding edge to bomb ISIS.

                    1. In the scenario, 72 Chinese jets patrolled the Taiwan Strait. Just 26 American warplanes???the survivors of a second missile barrage targeting their airfields???were able to intercept them, including 10 twin-engine F-22 stealth fighters that quickly fired off all their missiles.

                      That left 16 of the smaller, single-engine F-35s to do battle with the Chinese.

                      Because the F-22 air dominance platform just went home?

                      Even though you’re correct about the problems with the -35, this is why we don’t quote War is Boring.

                    2. There you go again Cytotoxic. Providing expert opinion on shit you know fuck-all about.

                      I said it was a pig 10 years ago, when it was already too late to do anything about it.

                      1. It’s primary mission isn’t air to air, it’s air to ground. Ask F-16 drivers how many actual knife fights they’ve been in? And with today’s A-A weaponry, when you can look across the turn circle and shoot the guy over your shoulder, the need for turning performance is greatly overrated.

                      2. Shitcanning the F-35 and spinning up assembly lines to field 4th generation replacements for our (US, not Canadian) currently decrepit fleets (a byproduct of two senseless wars) guarantees the US will be a full generation behind in technology by the time a replacement is fielded as opposed to the 1/2 generation we are currently ahead.

                      When you design a fighter, you are not designing it to beat today’s threat. You need to design it for nearly two generations of threats down the road. It takes over 20 years from design to fielding and then it’s in service for another 20-35 years. The F-15 was fielded in 1972. They didn’t design it to beat F-4s. Good thing. It can still handle almost everything 35 years later. Now there are threats it cannot handle and we need a replacement. Same with the F-16. The F-35 may not have the turning performance of an F-16 but it’s vastly superior in every other way.

                      For being such a war monger, you really don’t actually know much about the military, do you?

                    3. Cyto, you say this: ” just buy more of the planes you already have and kick ass and make them cheaper this time” like it’s easy.

                      I assure you, it’s not even close to easy.

                  2. Serious question Francisco, are you a defense contractor involved in some way with any of these planes?

                    1. Serious question Francisco, are you a defense contractor involved in some way with any of these planes?

                      I was a B-1 pilot.

                      I was an operational test pilot for the B-1 and worked in and around acquisition for 6 years (primarily B-1 but worked with folks who were involved with running and testing these programs). Granted, my data is somewhat dated.

                    2. Interesting, thanks.

              2. They aren’t? When was the original IOC for the F-35? What was the original cost estimate? At best it will be a mediocre program with massive cost overruns.

                Why do we even need the aircraft in the first place? It isn’t nearly as capable as the 22 for air dominance. The tooling for the -22 line was retained so bring it back and complete another run to bring the total up to ~400. Initial SEAD can be accomplished with the B-2 and TLAMs and subsequent targeting handled by a range of existing and cheaper strike aircraft (16, 18, 15E). Plus development dollars would be better spent on UCAS systems that are already underway like the X-47.

                And why the hell do we need another bomber? The B-52H is a perfectly good bomb truck and when it runs out in another 20-30 years we can extend the life of the B-1 for another 30 years after that.

                LCS and DDX/G1000 are just waste. Continue to build Arleigh Burke class destroyers, OHP class frigates, Virginia class SSN, and work on a replacement for the Ohio class is desperately needed as that is by far the most survivable and effective deterrent and those hulls will start retiring in about 15 years.

                1. ITT, Fd’A talks smack only to get smacked down. Typical. Pssst: designing an aircraft to satisfy everyone typically satisfies no one.

                  Because the F-22 air dominance platform just went home?

                  They fired off all their missiles. Granted they may have other weapons.

                  1. They fired off all their missiles. Granted they may have other weapons.

                    That would be a good grant. Those 10 F-22’s can salvo at least 60 missiles. The 16 F-35’s can salvo another 96. Even assuming a hit rate of 33% that leaves 24 aggressors against 26 Good Guys of which 10 are 22’s. I call bullshit on the RAND study. There are other issues with the link as well –‘Turkey’ Sprey is not a guy I would be quoting as he’s so arrogant he thinks only airplanes he designs can even fly– but they do accurately capture the problem with VSTOL.

                2. When was the original IOC for the F-35? What was the original cost estimate?

                  Can you name an airframe acquisition that hasn’t been grossly late and over budget (except for the F-15)? You mean defense contractors grossly over promise to get the contract and then fail to deliver? SHOCKED, I AM! And there are ALWAYS problems developing cutting edge technologies. This isn’t designing a new car. These are the most advanced machines ever created by man.

                  The F-35 will be able to fly in environments the gen 4 counterparts cannot and will have vastly superior A-G capabilities. It is NOT an air dominance fighter…and was never intended to be such (nor are the F-16, 18 or mud hens).

                  As far as the bombers go, I’m half in agreement with you. I’m somewhat surprised the NGB will be manned. Where you are wrong is in your life expectancy of the B-52 and B-1. The B-52 is a bucket of bolts now. It has almost NO capability to fly in anything other than the most benign environments. It’s been essentially done for the last 12+ years.

                  The Bone is supposed to be good till 2037, but that was before 14 years of constant abuse.

                  The B-2 is a joke and always has been. There are 18 of them, which means there are like a dozen flyable at any given time. They have one mission.

                  I’m all for an unmanned replacement, however.

                  1. Even the F-22 did better on IOC than the 35 has. It does suffer from older generation coating issues but the jury’s still out on what the 35 will really do. Most advanced machines ever created? Meh. The SR-71 was designed with drafting tables and slide rules almost 6 decades ago and can (could) do things modern aircraft can’t. Sure, stealth is better, avionics are better but also a major component of the cost overruns.

                    I never claimed the 35 was an air dominance fighter–although replacing the 16, it is meant to be a front line fighter and not just a strike aircraft, and it is definitely NOT as capable as the 22 in that regard. Even in terms of stealth it’s not all aspect. The damn thing is like the F-4. It’s got one thing going for it (F-35: stealth, F-4: fucking massive turbojets) and a shit ton of very suboptimal compromises. I honestly think that the biggest problem with killing the F-35 is all of the associated problems with our allies. Then again what are they going to buy, Typhoon?

                    That B-52 bucket of bolts is scheduled to fly to mid-century. And if it has been done for the last 12+ years, then what the hell was it doing in Afghanistan? The reality is that the likely engagement environments are not the massive IADS super destructo scenarios. And for those cases where there is a significant air defense system, that can be suppressed with other platforms which then allow conventional strike platforms to do just fine.

                    1. cont.

                      18 B-2’s are more than enough to take out nearly any threat we are likely to face short of a full scale war with China. But since we’re non-interventionalists, we’re not going to HAVE a full scale war with China. Hell, the Chinese are still flying MiG-21’s even if we did have a war with them!

                    2. That B-52 bucket of bolts is scheduled to fly to mid-century. And if it has been done for the last 12+ years, then what the hell was it doing in Afghanistan?

                      Answer…not much. Nobody wanted them, there was nothing else, at times, so they made do.

    5. I approve, if the battle cage is that eternally burning hole of doom in Kazakhstan.

      1. Burning Hole of Doom sounds like a dark porn video.

  7. Kinda hate to see us giving up on NASA but it’s been so thoroughly fucked as a jobs program ($8BB for a fucking capsule?!?!?!) for so long I guess there’s not much choice if it helps bring about the other cuts.

    1. But who will do our Islamic Outreach??

    2. Cutting NASA is racist and sexist

      Private space flight isn’t going to establish race and gender parity among their engineers and scientists.

    3. Feet, meters…what’s the diff?

      1. Newtons, joules…same thing right? Close enough for government work.

        1. Lana: I wonder if Dr. Panty Model knows how many pounds of pressure it takes to snap a human collarbone.
          Cyril: She probably uses the metric system.
          Pam: Yeah, what do they use?kilowatts?
          Dr. Krieger: No. In this case, it would be pascals.
          Cheryl: Hey, Europe: be gayer.

    4. I work at Johnson Space Center..and kinda of agree. While I don’t work on the capsule, and I work a lot of hours for ISS support, I think there is fat that can be trimmed.

      True our computers are still crappy but we can make due.

      When I started (18 years ago), contractors had better benefits and got paid more. The gold civil servant badge meant you had a job forever.

      Today, civil servants get paid better and have a job forever. They make like 30% more than the contractors. It’s insane now.

  8. See, for example, the headline Vox gave to a second article on Paul’s spending priorities: “Rand Paul wants the government to do much, much less for the poor.”

    If…he were to win the GOP nomination, there would probably be a debate question:

    In a Monica Crowley voice:
    “Senator Paul, why do you want us to do so much less for the poor?”

    1. “Why don’t you try asking Debbie Wasserman Schussel if she’s okay stabbing a millionaire first, huh?”

      1. We did. She said yes. BURN.

    2. Follow up: Do you prefer feeding the elderly dog food or cat food?

      1. I prefer they feed themselves.

        1. So you are literally encouraging cannibalism then?

    3. “Senator Paul: what do you think is the best way to fix social security, throw the elderly off cliffs or simply incinerate them?”

      “Well Monica, I never let my orphans get past puberty. The hormones are detrimental to their work productivity.”

  9. “[…](which is really, repeat after me, a very insignificant part of the total budget!)[…]”

    It is worse than harmless; eliminate it.

  10. “foreign aid” (which is really, repeat after me, a very insignificant part of the total budget!)

    How much of “defense spending” is actually foreign aid? I can answer that, a lot. Pointing out that fact is the best argument to persuade conservatives to actually support defense cuts.

    1. ^ This. Saying ‘foreign aid is a small percentage of the budget’ is misleading since we’re effectively subsidizing half the planet’s defense with our military.

    2. I’ll try it out. Usually, along with dirty furriners, the defense spending issue is like hitting a brick wall when I am talking with conservatives. It’s always basically “moar, harder” for the troops.

  11. No, fuck you, cu…

    Wait. Wut?

    1. Nicely done, sir.

  12. WARNING: Extreme Derp

    Elizabeth Warren Is Right About Everything

    After she made any particularly salient point, she do an awkward mom version of the Tiger Woods celebratory power uppercut, to the delight of the crowd. Elizabeth Warren is not some socialist firebrand. She talked about things like bringing down student loan interest rates, and investing in roads. Common sense things. She doesn’t want a revolution. She wants a system that works for the majority of the people, instead of for a tiny minority. By the standards of the United States Senate, that makes her a god damn radical. She speaks the truth.

    1. She wants a system that works for the majority of the people, instead of for a tiny minority.

      We can trust her to stick it to those fatcats and slumlords!

      1. Fauxcahontas will only take my monocle from my cold dead eyesocket.

    2. After she made any particularly salient point, she do [sic] an awkward mom version of the Tiger Woods celebratory power uppercut, to the delight of the crowd.

      You know who else did upward arm gestures to the delight of the crowd?

      1. Mussolini on the end of his rope?

      2. Marky Mark?

        1. Come on! Come on! Feel it! Feel it!

      3. Basically every rapper ever?

      4. Ronnie James Dio?

        1. + Holy Diver

          & RIP Ronnie

        2. +1 Bay of Pigs Memorial Dance

      5. Pre-WWII schoolchildren?

    3. Every time I see a Hamilton Nolan article, I need to post this picture of that superstud.

      Never forget that this guy thinks he can reorder the American economy effectively.

      1. I thought you were joking, then I googled him. No words…

      2. So Hank Venture is all grown up now and he got a media job? All is explained. Superscience!

        1. MechaCronkite! MechaCronkite! MechaCronkite!

      3. Jesus, I need some guybleach after that.

  13. OT:

    Bleach is racist.

    1. *sigh*

      Not sure which is worse. That people were offended or that Clorox felt the need to apologise.

      1. In the 1950’s, corporations/TV execs would irrationally respond to a few offended fan letters that complained about content.

        Today, one angry Tweet is enough to make a corporation issue apologies and fire people.

        1. The heckler’s veto has been reduced to the mouth-breathing microcephalic mongoloid’s veto.

          1. I made it through 16 seconds of that. Longer than most of my attempts to read Twitter rants.

    2. Grievers gonna grieve.

  14. I’m seriously hoping that his recent proposal to increase defense spending is his attempt at cleverly making a point vis-?-vis domestic spending, or an equally clever cover for any future attacks from the neocons during primary season regarding his commitment to national security.

  15. Obama has determined to realign the goals of NASA away from human space exploration to science and ‘global warming’ research, there is also a need to realign the agency’s funding”)

    Because of course he did…

    When anyone points to NASA’s public endorsements of global warming alarmism, I wonder how much budgetary constraints played their part? Nah, that’s crazy talk…the only cash that influences the research is that dirty, bloody oil money.

    1. Yes, a NASA defined by greentards and socialists is a NASA I want dead yesterday.

      1. Ive got some bad news for you. ..

    2. Exactly.

      And yet much of the data used in the AGW debate comes from federal agencies that have been specifically tasked to endorse AGW. No way that data isn’t solid as a rock, right?

      Politicizing science has the same effect as a deliberate effort to kill it.

      1. Comments like that give Science Correspondent Bailey a sad.

  16. I was gonna ask what Paul’d do about slush funds at the Department of Education (which created all those campus “rape crisis” centers), but… he’s gonna eliminate the Department of Education. So, my one issue. is solved.

    1. They’ve been promising that since Reagan, if he could actually pull that off it would be a coup.

      I can hear the howls from the NEA already.

    2. I suggested eliminating the Dept of Ed to a prog friend. I shit you not, he said “So since you got your education, now it’s screw everybody else, right?”

      1. LOL. Who did the Dept. of Ed. ever educate?

  17. Just a shocking turn of events: Sharon M ?@SharonJM42 1h1 hour ago
    @radleybalko You can no longer read comments on the Policeone site unless you’re LE.

    1. In other new: Countless Reasonoids saved from early heart attacks and chronic high blood pressure

      1. and chronic high blood pressure

        Like many libertarians I am a glutton for testicular punishment and follow Balko on twitter, so this will not save me. I wonder if Balko has a mythical good cop that can provide him an ID to access policeone’s echo chamber, though. I hope so.

    2. Well fuck, now we’ll just have to rely on Dunphy to get our steroid infused law and order commentary

      1. booyah!

    3. So, to save themselves from being lambasted about being jackbooted thugs they prohibited anyone except LEO from commenting. Now the dunces have figured out that having anyone able to read the comments means that everyone still knows what jackbooted thugs they are. Now they are a cop only community.

      Sounds like something I read earlier today about IRS employees.

      1. Sticking your fingers in your ears really does make the bad people go away. True story.

  18. The Onion on police accountability:

    Americans who told reporters they have faith that, as long as a fair-minded eyewitness happens to be passing by at the exact right time; has the inclination to stop and film; an unobstructed view; enough battery life and memory on their phone; a steady hand; the forethought to start filming an interaction with the police before it escalates into violence; is close enough to get detailed footage, but far enough away to avoid being shot themselves or seen by the officer and potentially having their phone confiscated; and it is daytime, then justice would certainly be served. “I have a 17-year-old son who I worry about every day when he heads out into our neighborhood. But now I can take heart knowing that if, God forbid, he were ever in a situation like this, there would be a tiny fraction of a chance that every single element would fall into place and my family would receive the fair and just legal outcome we deserve.”

    1. Please tell me there isn’t any race-baiting in the article…

      1. Could you just read it, you know.

        1. Don’t you oppress me!

    2. “…and hope that he has the presence of mind not to film it in portrait mode.”

  19. What Paul needs to do is craft campaign ads that specifically pull quotes from Democrats crying about the budget in the Bush years. Obama, Hillary, all of them. Because they were all over that shit and talking about cutting spending.

    The Vox hit piece that bemoaned lost aid to the poor? I’m willing to bet they praised Obama to the heavens when he said he’d go through the budget line by line and cut wasteful spending.

    The Paul budget does what the left claimed they were all for during the Bush years (laughably so). That needs to be used against them. They need their hypocrisy and dishonesty exposed on this issue.

    The biggest issue is defense spending, but Paul can back-off his recent promise after the primary if, by some miracle, he wins it.

  20. Celebrating the quote-unquote “end” of the Civil War at Appomatox:


    Unless you count this at the end of the month:


    1. Oh, look at the HuffPo’s weasel words:

      “The surrender of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee to Union Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant 150 years ago Thursday *effectively* ended the Civil War.” [emphasis added]

      Yeah, it was all over but the shooting!

  21. Idle Thought: Every politician that wants to run for office should have to prove they can at least win a game of Civilization before they are considered eligible.

    1. At what level? And which DLCs?

    2. How about something actually attainable – like giving them a boot filled with piss and instructions on the heel on how to pour it out, and seeing how quickly (if at all) they can follow the directions.

      1. Tell them to find their ass, draw them a map and allow them to use both hands?

    3. Without saving games?

    4. You really think they can turn on a computer?

  22. Apparently tho the more “serious Libertarian minds” believe that we should hate Rand Paul because he doesn’t believe in catering gay weddings and giving everyone free Abortion vouchers.

    Because *those things* are serious-president-stuff, and not this blah-blah-blah about Government Spending Too Much Money, which is something no one really cares about.

    1. we should hate Rand Paul because he doesn’t believe in catering gay weddings

      Hey, man, ISIL hates catering gay weddings. Elect Rand Paul and the terrorists win. Fuck you, hater.

  23. Cutting spending is easily the toughest campaign sell and I do think he’s serious about it. But the three biggest problems are really really huge:

    1. As you say, every dollar spent is someone’s income and they care more about keeping that intact than others do about taking it away.
    2. Every government program is sold on a utilitarian basis – not really a partisan basis. So unless you can sell the SPECIFICS of how most people are actually much better off without the program itself, you won’t be able to cut the program. The traditional GOP strategy is an abject failure.
    3. Like it or not, a debt-based money system depends on gobs of new debt. So you either have to a)create monetary competition (that will prob also be a semi-govt function like the Fed) or b)promise lots of spending that isn’t paid for or c)cut taxes for some, talk about cutting spending without doing it, and talk about trickle-down for the economy.

    I don’t think Paul has the charisma to sell any of these really. And I don’t think the last can even be done from within the GOP since it is completely attached to only one option.

  24. My suggestion for Rand (and all the other GOP candidates): gather a bunch of data about what each of these agencies cost and spend.

    – All have had their budgets increased over the years, so a (say) 20% cut might well mean operating with a (say) 2011 budget. That doesn’t sound so bad, does it?

    – Tell people what these agencies spend per minute or hour or day. Few will think we are getting our money’s worth.

    – Tell people what the bureaucrats make. The Department of Transportation alone has thousands of employees who make over $150,000/year. To the average voter, that’s a heck of a lot of money, and what has the DoT ever done for them?

    1. They should also try and get their inspirations for spending cuts from Canada. “See, they privatized their air traffic controllers, and they have no federal DOE. How can you say no to Canada?”

      1. I was very surprised and encouraged when I read about Canada’s air traffic control system. Brilliant model to copy.

      2. Yes. Pointing out examples in the countries liberals always point to is a good idea. “Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Austria, Germany, Italy, and Switzerland have no minimum wage.”

  25. When it’s concentrated receivers of benefits vs. diffused payers of costs, the beneficiaries have pretty much always won.

    Any ideas how to change this? I’m fresh out.

    1. Fees. You can move most of real government over to fee-supported just leaving welfare (yes SS, Medicare are included) and defense for the general fund.

  26. I would really like to see Paul tackle entitlements, personally. Everyone knows discretionary spending is getting pushed into a smaller and smaller slice of the budget. Huge cuts in discretionary programs don’t mean much when entitlements keep exploding uncontrollably.

    If Paul starts trying to “save Medicare and Social Security” he’ll totally lose me.

    1. Not sure how he’d even start? SS will need to be phased out over a lifetime. I don’t think you can do it until the crises is actually clubbing people over the head.

      1. Yeah, anything he might accomplish in that area will just be overturned by the next administration.

      2. How bout this:

        Make a law that says we increase retirement age by 80 days every year. Automatically. No questions asked. Go ahead and put in a 2.5 year grandfather clause, if we have to.

        It’s not much. But it’s a crap load better than nothing. And it might be passable. And would result in actual money savings as soon as the grandfathering period ended.

      3. I ask young people I know would they rather have the 15% FICA takes out of their pay in an account with their name on it or having the money going to the SSA. Most are vaguely aware the money won’t be there for them in 30 or 40 years and like the idea of their own account.

        Most lean liberal but are not elitist SJW pricks. They are young and like young people are worried about getting laid. If a politician would, as the proggies always bleat “speak truth to power” , and call out the bullshit around SS it would be a winning issue.

        I happen to think that the best thing the last Bush did was to put it on the table and if Paul can make it a main issue young people could respond. The whole SS is screwing kids.

      4. Well it’s not going to happen if you don’t even try.

    2. Everyone knows discretionary spending is getting pushed into a smaller and smaller slice of the budget

      29% of Obama’s proposed 2015 budget

      1. Right so 20% of that is like 6% of the budget. Which is probably just enough to make room for the growth in entitlement spending. Hardly enough to make a dent in the deficit.

        If Paul doesn’t tackle entitlements, he isn’t serious at all.

        1. If Paul doesn’t tackle entitlements, he isn’t serious at all.

          Exactly. What he needs to do is point out that 1) if Social Security was self-sustaining, as progressives claim, they never would have had to increase the tax rate beyond the original level established by FDR; 2) Medicare and Medicaid are now taking up over $1 trillion in costs, and the promise that these programs would contribute to lower costs for healthcare across the board has been proven false; 3) we can’t afford to keep spending OCO money in the Middle East for no conceivable fiscal benefit; and 4) despite supposed massive job gains, more people are on food stamps and welfare than at any time in history.

          Stuff like the NPS and USBR sounds nice, but percentage-wise they are peanuts and won’t make as much of a dent in the deficit as people might think–and with a bunch of people out of work, initially it’s going to be an increase on welfare programs. If the President and Congress can’t construct a budget that meets the 17% of GDP revenue/spending mark, there’s going to be a deficit roughly 90% of the time. The main problem politically is that government spending makes up such a large percentage of GDP on its own that a 3-4% cut in spending:GDP is going to drop the overall GDP number in a big way as well. It’s almost as if including government spending in GDP was set by design to encourage left-wing spending demands.


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