Rand Paul

Rejecting Rand Paul's Budget, Republicans Commit to Fiscal Irresponsibility

Even the suggestion that defense spending could be cut is enough to scare most Republicans away from a facing fiscal reality.



If Rand Paul's budget proposal was, as he said, a litmus test for conservatives, most of them failed it.

The Senate on Thursday resoundingly rejected the Kentucky Republican's plan to balance the federal budget by 2023, voting 76 to 21 against a bill that would have required a $400 billion cut in federal spending next year, followed by 1 percent spending increases for the rest of the next decade. Republican hawks took the floor to blast Paul for trying to undermine the American military, even though his proposal would have let Congress decide how much to cut from each department, including the Pentagon.

"Let me tell you what that means to the military," said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) before voting against the bill. "Devastation. This budget throws our military in the ditch."

Hardly. Even if the entire $400 billion cut Paul proposed were applied to the Pentagon, America would still spend far more on the military than any other nation. But even the suggestion that defense spending could be cut is enough to scare most Republicans away from facing fiscal reality. As Paul pointed out on Thursday, the national debt and $1 trillion deficits are bigger threats to America's long-term national security than a reduction in funding for the Pentagon. "There is waste from top to bottom in every department of the government, including the military," Paul said, noting that one Pentagon agency managed to misplace $800 million, according to a recent audit.

But Paul's proposal never really had a chance of passing, coming as it did just months after Congress approved enormous spending hikes that busted Obama-era caps once championed by Republicans as necessary for fiscal restraint. Combined with last year's tax reforms, the spending bill will produce annual deficits of at least $1 trillion for the rest of the Trump presidency, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) says. If Congress does not allow individual tax rate reductions to expire as planned in the middle of the next decade, they will add another $722 billion to budget deficits through 2028. By that year, even if the tax cuts expire, the CBO projects that the national debt will equal the nation's overall economic output, with our debt-to-GDP ratio reaching levels "far greater than the debt in any year since just after World War II."

Relative to current baseline projections, Paul's proposal called for a $404 billion spending cut in fiscal year 2019, which begins on October 1. During the next 10 years, Paul's plan would have spent about $13.3 trillion less than the current CBO projections, although federal spending still would have increased by more than 14 percent over the decade. Paul's plan would have balanced the budget by 2023, as long as revenue met current CBO projections. By 2028, his proposal envisioned a $700 billion surplus instead of the $1.5 trillion deficit currently projected by the CBO.

"When the Republican Party is out of power, they are a conservative party," Paul said just before the vote. "The problem is that when the Republican Party is in power, there is no conservative party." Thursday proved, once again, how correct that assessment is.

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  1. It was never going to happen. There's no real fear of overspending in the population. And so there is very little reason to expect action to be taken against it.

    1. You know who else spent recklessly on military build-ups and public works...?

      1. Bender Bending Rodriguez?

        1. No, "my Redguard battlemage-rogue-archer on a burn save file".

          Assuming "piling the citizens of Whiterun in a makeshift pyramid" counts as a public work.

      2. Claudius Caesar?

      3. Civ players?

      4. I don't know about that, but I have it on good authority that Johnny LaRue bankrupted an entire studio with a single gratuitous crane shot.

    2. Exactly, government will be reactive not proactive. When this hits the critical stage with SS and Medicare gobbling up ever more of the budget the politicians will point fingers at each other and then finally address this issue only when forced my mathematical reality.

      1. I hope this is true, but I'm a little worried about how insanely heartless the 20 somethings seem to be.

        I'm hoping what is being reported is just a fake news thing.

        If it's actually true, I wouldn't be surprised to see them take away the retirement accounts and forced retirement payments people in my age group suffered to fund.

        1. Well, to be fair to those at the bottom of a pyramid scheme, those young wage earners just might be pissed about a 50% SS tax.

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  2. Comeuppance is comeupping.

  3. Trans man in Canada filed civil rights complaint because he was refused a bikini wax at a spa Owner of the business says he had to refuse because his employee is a practing Muslim who cannot touch a man who is not her husband


    Forget the law for a moment. Who is right here? The sacred Muslim or the Savred Tranny? Hashtag things that keep the reason staff awake at night.

    1. Seems like old news. It's been years since "Forcing muslims to touch trans penis" has been big on RedTube.

      1. I am with the Muslim. She is under no obligation to pretend that guy is something that he is not. But for the idiots who believe in transgenderism, I don't see how he is not in the right.

        1. It's all so ridiculous. Businesses and people should have the right to associate freely. All these laws and regulations (in the U.S.) go against the Constitution. What a mess we've created!

          1. But everyone is entitled to be accepted and anyone who says otherwise is just like Bull Conner. The whole thing is insane

            1. I wanna be a dolphin.

          2. Well, this is Canada. However, I expect a few brain aneurysms on the Human Rights Council with jurisdiction over this case.

            1. Could happen here, too. Because mere laws trump constitutional provisions quite a bit.

              1. Pro Lib -

                Good to read that you are doing well. Hang in there.

              2. Keep 'em coming!

                1. And remember: always live like you're fugee.

        2. How about if she bakes him a cake instead?

          "No hard feelings!"

    2. The spa owner should refuse to hire Muslims because they'll refuse to touch trans men.

      Oh wait... fuck... no, he should only hire... no wait that won't work either.

      The only solution I see is state-run spas.

      1. Or just get rid of all the progressives. Then everyone can dow hat they want.

      2. "state-run spas."

        Like the DMV, only mustier.

      3. If only there were parts of the world where Muslims could live together and be as nutty as they want.

  4. It is sad that the budget had no chance.

    Cutting less than 10% of the budget this year and 1% each year after is really not excessive. It's insane to believe that the Feds cannot shave 10% off without a hitch.

    1. Every dollar cut means someone loses their job or their entitlement. It's political suicide. That's why nothing will ever be cut from the budget. To do so would mean losing the next election.

      1. That's why we can no longer afford to re-elect anybody. If you are in, you need to be voted out. Every time.

        1. That's also why every ballot needs "none of the above". We might end up with a significant number of positions unfilled. Couple that with sunset laws for all funding, and we might be on the right trajectory.

    2. You also need to remember that people in the government sector, or in the government service sector, are completely unemployable in the private sector. It is assumed that they have no work ethic, and no one will interview let alone hire them. Cuts to the budget would put those people out of work. Permanently. Like I said, it's political suicide.

      1. Really? Seems people slide from the pentagon to lockheed and back pretty easily.

        1. Lockheed isn't really the private sector.

      2. Yeah because the people at the EPA are core republican voting blocks. Losing them would be like democrats losing single issue prayer in school voters. Isn't it easier and better to go with the honest answer and acknowledge that republicans dont give 2 fucks about controlling spending? They probably dont even give 1.

        1. 0.29221658 FPGOP, to be precise, according to the back of my tablecloth.

    3. Bear in mind, they won't even consider slowing budget growth. If we did that, we'd eventually get out of it.

    4. It's not even a 1% cut after that -- it's capping it to a 1% INCREASE per year.

  5. If Rand Paul's budget proposal was, as he said, a litmus test for conservatives, most of them failed it.

    You might want to ask your more-scientifically literate colleague Ron Bailey what's wrong with that sentence.

    1. Relatively speaking.

    2. Maybe the litmus test showed the GOP is much more calcified than we thought and maybe it's time to bury 'em.

    3. Jerryskids|5.17.18 @ 5:07PM|#
      "You might want to ask your more-scientifically literate colleague Ron Bailey what's wrong with that sentence.

      You might want to quote WTF you're referring to.
      Do you think we all follow your posts breathlessly in the hopes of an epiphany?

      1. Litmus paper is used to measure pH within a particular range. Failure is never a result.

    4. Litmus test has non-chemistry definitions as well.

  6. You know, I think Rand is moonlighting as the head coach of the Buccaneers.

    1. So no chance for them either?

  7. Democrats breathe a sigh of relief?

    1. Sadly, they all are happy except for a handful.

    2. No, they were hoping it would pass so they could run against the GOP wreckers.

  8. Rand Paul's proposal, which he wouldn't have actually introduced if it wasn't doomed to failure, failed. Break out the BREAKING NEWS siren.

    1. You don't think he wants a gradually balanced budget? You haven't been paying attention.

      1. Some people feel better about themselves to assert that everyone is completely corrupt and that only they are the ones that figured it out.

  9. Even if the entire $400 billion cut Paul proposed were applied to the Pentagon, America would still spend far more on the military than any other nation.

    "U-S-A! U-S-A!"

    1. At least it's federalism,pendingthat is outlined in the constitution.

  10. I'm glad that a rabblerouser like Rand is out there to publicly shame the Republicans for consistently falling short of their platform rhetoric, but I would also like to see a libertarian-minded Frank Underwood type to prowl the halls of Congress and wheel and deal to maybe actually accomplish something here and there.

    Also he would throatpunch his neighbor the second he crossed the property line.

    1. There aren't enough like him. Never mind libertarians, there hardly any budget hawks.

      1. It doesn't pay to be responsible with other peoples' money.

    2. Rand is the wheeling and dealing version of a libertarian. His dad was the true believer.

  11. The good Dr. prescribes the cure, but the patient remains in denial of his terminal illness.

    1. NEedz a stronger prescription.

      1. More cowbell?

  12. Hey Eric, I reject your premise.

    It isn't a potential cut to the military that scared away republicans.

    The "threat to the military" is a fig leaf they are using to cover themselves. They love some big-government spending. That is all. Nobody has an appetite for slowing down the gravy train. They just need something to hang their hat on in front of voters.

    For (R) it is Military. For (D) it is Racists! or sexism or other groupisms. So they gotta spend money. You know. For the kids. None of them believes a word of it. I've spent time with many of the big name Democrat demagogues. Most of them are putting on a dog and pony show for the cameras and don't believe a word of it. I'm sure it is much the same for team R when it comes to the military. They have to know that spending a trillion dollars on equipment the military didn't want isn't keeping our country safe. Nobody is that stupid.

    1. Not quite right. From the looks of the vote, ALL Democrats and about 50% of Republicans are as you describe.

  13. Rand Paul 2020!

    1. Nope. Unless things go to shit it will be Trump.

      1. #StandwithRand2020

  14. Balancing the budget is now off the table, but we need to STOP ISSUING DEBT!!! The debt and the deficit are two separate issues. Fiat money is inferior to hard money, but "unbacked" fiat money is much less destructive to the economy and to personal liberty than the "debt-backed" fiat money we use today. We urgently need to transition to a debt-free currency before the national debt overwhelms the economy. See http://www.fixourmoney.com .

    1. You provide a link with details. The arguments therein that this won't lead to hyperinflation amount to little more than "I don't think so" and are all but comical. In fact they are comical.

      There are no free lunches.

      1. Creating money fast enough will generate hyperinflation, even if this money is "backed" by treasury bonds. Crushing taxpayers with massive interest payments on these bonds, as is happening now, won't avoid this outcome and will likely make it much worse.

        1. Well, whats "fast enough" ? I don't think anybody knows. Moreover, the text at the link discounts the experiences of Weimar and Zimbabwe mainly on the basis of their motivations for printing money. I don't think the market cares about what motivates money printing, merely that an excess supply is created.

          It may be misplaced faith, but there is belief that the US government will honor its debt obligations. My guess is this at least gives a pretense of soundness to the system.

          If we abandoned that, I don't see how it improves anything, and would simply seem to accelerate a lack of faith and hence hyperinflation. In this scenario, there won't be crushing debt, but inflation would wipe out everything anyway.

          The idea of printing money to get all we want has a long and well documented history. It never ends well.

          1. We actually have a better chance to pay off the national debt if we stop increasing it. As I said in the linked essay, "Being on the hook for a $20 trillion (and growing) national debt is not a realistic basis for inspiring confidence in the 'integrity' and 'soundness' of our monetary system. Taking meaningful steps to pay down this debt is much more likely to accomplish that goal. Such steps can only be undertaken using money that is independent of the national debt that it is paying off."

            1. Oh, it can be paid down all right...but THAT won't be free either. We'd just let inflation erode it (and savings, etc etc) to nothing. Witness Venezuela, which has a falling debt to GDP ratio...at the cost of hyper inflation and other ills.

              1. Paying down the national debt won't be free, but it will be doable on a gradual basis if we stop issuing debt-based money. Much of Venezuela's debt is denominated in foreign currencies, so hyperinflation is not likely to bail it out.

  15. Somethings missing here... and I think it's criticism of the farm lobby. Using Lindsey as a foil is child abuse, and he's wrong a good 80% of the time on things anyway it seems to me.
    The uniparty infesting DC lurches on, still maintaining two separate offices for fundraising purposes, and the usual good cop/bad cop game they play on their respective suckers as a way to burn money by the wheelbarrow [is that even fast enough to match the current budget?] and receive free lunches for their efforts.

  16. "The problem is that when the Republican Party is in power, there is no conservative party." Thursday proved, once again, how correct that assessment is.


    Conservatives want to spend lots of taxpayer dollars on conservative goals like a huge military. You and Paul are redefining conservative to mean "sort of libertarian", or maybe "wanting a balanced budget", and that just isn't what it is.

    1. Its what they profess to be

  17. " 76 to 21 against..."

    In an article where the headline addresses Republican fiscal irresponsibility the vote tally is given including Democrats. Why?

    Wouldn't it be more accurate to note that the GOP votes were 21 for and 29 against Paul's bill?

    But we wouldn't want anyone getting the idea that the Republicans were at least 40% for fiscal sanity, much less noting that this is an improvement over the vote on Paul's last effort. No, we wouldn't want to note that at least one party is getting closer to doing the right thing.

    As opposed to the Democrats, who voted 100% against the bill.

    1. Why present things in a factual way, when instead you can stoke up a one party hate fest.

      1. When Lifezette does it better, you might have some problems.


        This place has gone to shit.

    2. Fair point, but 40% is not an impressive number.

      1. Not in the least, but it is substantially better than zero.

  18. I would love to see every Republican who voted against this get primaried.

    1. Another tidbit Reason won't share with you.

      Lest you notice that the list of people who opposed Paul's bill is also loaded with 'open borders' types.

      They are ok with you not liking them, but they are not ok with the idea you might get rid of them.

  19. Another of my recurring dreams: that we reconfigure congress so that one body deals with social and civil issues, and continues to pander to populist democracy. The other body has sole authority for budgets, and has members elected the old-fashioned way: by voters eligible through property ownership (or maybe with votes based on the previous year income tax paid).

    1. "members elected the old-fashioned way"

      Repeal the 17th.

  20. Ok. So the debate is over. It is now indisputable that Republicans are a party of big spending. I'd love to hear from one of the many conservatives who comment on this site about whether they STILL disagree with that assessment. At some point, they have to just say "Yeah, fine, you got us. We dig big spending."

    I'll take it one step further though. Not only are they a party of big spending, I'd argue that they are THE party of big spending. Not to completely absolve democrats here, it's noteworthy that the biggest increases in federal spending in recent memory (properly normalized by population and inflation) have occurred under Republican presidents. You basically have to go all the way back to LBJ/Nixon to find the last time the reverse was true. Democrat presidents have presided over lower or even flat spending increases. Again, that's not a defense of the democrats -- but it's a rejection of the idea that Republicans are even a LITTLE bit more fiscally responsible than Democrats. There's no data to support it.

    1. "Not to completely absolve democrats here"

      Hard to do that. Especially when NOT FUCKING ONE OF THEM voted in favor of the bill.

      A vote which, had they done so, would have been purely symbolic on their part.

      Yet NOT ONE did so. Gee, wonder why?

      I'd say that's a pretty clear message about who is the indisputable party of big spending.

      1. Pretty amazing how there are never any 'mavericks' on the left side of the aisle willing to show that they can act independently.

      2. It's not like 20% of his bill passed. It's all or nothing. The Republicans are just as responsible as the Democrats for not passing this bill.

        1. Is that what you think the author of this piece was seeking to convey?

          1. Strange how you've gone from Republicans are "THE party of big spending" to "equally as responsible as the Democrats" in the span of less than three hours.

            Again, is it too much to ask that there be one Democrat not in lockstep with big spending?

    2. ALL of the major entitlement programs (Medicare, Medicaid, SS, Great Society) except one (Medicare Part D) are Democrat initiatives. I'll argue you could put Obamacare into this category also, so you don't have to go back to LBJ. The other discretionary spending and defense are full of crapola too, but none of it puts us on a conveyor belt to oblivion.

      Next, we can look at what the big dreams of the democrats are...and its more of the same. They want universal health care, free college tuition for all, and slavery reparations are now a twinkle in their eye. If they get in power again, they will try one or maybe even all of these things, just like they rammed Obamacare down our throats.

      Republicans are by far the lesser of two evils. Whats been shown by voting is that we have nearly 100% of Democrats and ~50% of Republicans who are big spending a-holes.

      1. Plus there is this. Its from 2015, and I imagine R scores are worse now, and D scores worse also, but who better matches libertarian goals ?

        https://www.scribd.com /document /319564958 /Liberty-Index-2015#from_embed

  21. Interesting that nobody is asking why 28 Democrats couldn't cross party lines in the name of fiscal sanity.

    I guess that's just too much to ask.

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  23. Well, at least they agree with him on antichoice Dixiecrat coathanger abortion policies...

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