June 7, 2012

Interview With Senator Rand Paul (R-KY)

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketYesterday, Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) engaged in a discussion with CNN’s Erin Burnett about debt and taxes. I was very impressed with the Senator’s comments, and after writing a post on the subject contacted his Washington office to set up an interview. His press staff was very responsive, and so this morning I sat down with the Senator for a phone interview. Our discussion is below.

_____________________________________________________________________

Dustin Siggins: Thank you for your time. I really enjoyed your interview with Erin Burnett, and how you outlined your positions on spending and taxes. I posted on it yesterday, and was hoping you could expound upon what you said about not jumping up and down when it comes to entitlement reform, and how you instead simply believe it’s fiscal reality.

Sen. Rand Paul: Sure. This is what the “grand bargain” idea was all about. Democrats think working with us on Social Security will bring a compromise. They think we want changes to Social Security and we will agree to bring taxes up. This is wrong-headed. We are not jumping up and down to reform entitlements; we want to fix them because they are broken. The Deficit Commission wanted a “grand bargain,” but the whole concept misses the point.

DS: You also told Burnett that you don’t mind if some wealthy people pay more taxes once loopholes are cut out, etc. Can you explain that a little, please?

Sen. Rand Paul: If you flatten and simplify the code, some will pay more taxes. But in the aggregate, when it comes to the two large pies of the private sector and the government sector, you want the government sector to shrink. So some people will pay more in taxes, but you won’t need as much revenue to come into Washington. With a flatter system with fewer loopholes you won’t have as much money coming into Washington, but with a smaller government people will pay less overall.

Also, the President saying something that is borderline dishonest – that his spending is going down. [DS: The President has been citing a Market Watch analysis by Rex Nutting showing the President’s spending has gone up slowly and is coming down. I debunked Nutting’s analysis in a post soon after it came out.] This is just not true. His spending is up near 23%, 24% of GDP, and spending has grown significantly since he entered office.

Related, contrary to what the President says, the Bush tax cuts didn’t slow revenues. From 2003 to 2007 tax revenues matched their long-time average of 18% of GDP. Once the recession hit revenues went below 15% of GDP, but that was not because of the Bush tax cuts. That was because of the recession.

DS: I looked at tax revenue numbers by JustFacts.com, and they show the same thing

Sen. Rand Paul: Even Bill Clinton, who looks at things from a Keynesian perspective, says we shouldn’t have a massive tax increase by eliminating the Bush tax cuts. If Obama wants re-election, we should make the Bush tax cuts permanent. He is not likely to do that, but (and it’s too late) he could come to us and say “You guys have some good ideas on Social Security, why don’t we sit down together to reform Social Security?” About a year ago he sat down with all of the Republican Senators and the question I got to ask him was related to that: why we don’t gradually raise the age and means-test? Just these changes could save the program for 75 years, or probably forever.

My bill looks to make these kinds of changes, and includes an index linking retirement to longevity. Medicare will have to change the same way as Social Security, but it’s so broken it needs other reforms. My plan institutes some of the same market forces as Paul Ryan’s plans, and gives Americans the Congressional health care plan. I think this latter point is very important, as it’s hard for people to say we are trying to gyp seniors when we are giving them the same health care system Congress has. Everyone already believes Congressmen have such a great system for themselves, and so this take advantage of that.

One thing Ryan does is say his plan gives health care plans like those Congress has. I specifically say in my plan that seniors will get the same plans as Congress.

Means-testing, raising the retirement age, and instituting the other changes in my plan may not fix Medicare. However, it does save $1 trillion over ten years.

DS: How many years do you think we have left before we face a fiscal crisis? I reviewed Senator Tom Coburn’s book “The Debt Bomb,” and he says we have about two years.

Sen. Rand Paul: I said when I ran in 2010 there is a day of reckoning coming, but I don’t know when. If I knew that I’d be a hedge fund manager instead of a government employee. It’s hard to predict things like that. There is an inevitability to it, however, and we can’t run trillion-dollar deficits for a long period of time. In the past, inflation was the threat, and we’ve printed up so much money in the last couple of years I think the reason we don’t see price inflation is that printed money flows overseas. 50% of our money goes overseas, especially because we import more than we export, and it will come home to roost. When Europe was uncertain, people flocked to the dollar because it’s stable. I think that as uncertainty grows here people will be going elsewhere, perhaps to gold. Gold has done well for quite a while.

The Chinese and Indians are skittish about holding our debt, and when gold goes down they buy more of our debt. But at some point the day of reckoning will come. I am generally on the same page as Senator Coburn.

DS: There’s been talk about you being asked to be VP by Mitt Romney, especially in light of the meeting between the two of you in late May. What are the top three specific policy solutions you would like to see the GOP’s presumptive nominee and whomever he picks to be VP to focus on in the general election and subsequently sign into law if elected?

Sen. Rand Paul: I believe the number one threat to the nation is our debt. We have to balance the budget in a finite period of time, and it probably won’t happen until we get a Balanced Budget Amendment. Now, a President doesn’t sign a constitutional amendment, so I don’t know how much of a difference support from a President will make. But it will take a difference in governing. When we were in charge with Bush and in charge of both Houses, we doubled the size of Department of Education and expanded Medicare. Bush I expanded the wetlands nonsense. Will we do a better job with a GOP Administration and Congress in 2012? I hope so, and I’ve tried to get actively involved, including endorsing endorsed Ted Cruz in Texas and Mark Neumann in Wisconsin.

by @ 11:00 am. Filed under Misc., R4'12 Interviews, Veep Watch
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89 Responses to “Interview With Senator Rand Paul (R-KY)”

  1. Interview with Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) « The Greenroom Says:

    […] and so this morning I sat down with the Senator for a phone interview. Our discussion, which was originally published at Race42012, is […]

  2. johnnyG Says:

    Great work, Dustin.

  3. British Conservative Says:

    Romney 46 Obama 45 in MI

    PPP said 39-53???

    http://www.freep.com/article/20120607/NEWS06/120607030/Poll-Barack-Obama-dead-heat-Mitt-Romney-Michigan-popularity-slips

  4. Dave Says:

    The salient question: “How many years do you think we have left before we face a fiscal crisis?” This translates to how many years before the debt can’t be financed by borrowing and/or monetizing it and the backbone of the economy is shattered. I’ve alternately used the term ‘run on the dollar’ to describe this, or ‘end of the statist cycle.’

    Mitt was asked, essentially, the same question, and he said he thought we had a few years yet, but: “It might be tomorrow.” I was impressed by Rand’s perception that it’s inevitable without decisive change, and his characterization of the debt as what should be the focus of the campaign.

    All in all, he didn’t say a word in this interview that I disagreed with. The emphasis, in every instance, was tone perfect.

  5. teledude Says:

    God we have some great young talent coming up.

    This is inspiring

  6. Dave Says:

    BTW,

    The EPIC/MRA poll that just came out showing Mitt up one in Michigan should surprise no one. Romney’s ability to contend, and quite possibly to win, in Michigan is an argument some of us used in arguing for his nomination long ago.

    The Upper Midwest is the key to the election.

  7. Matt "MWS" Says:

    DS: I looked at tax revenue numbers by JustFacts.com, and they show the same thing.

    That chart shows a sizable dip in government revenues between 2000-2004.

    It is a myth among (we) conservatives that the Bush tax cuts did not cut revenue. They did.

  8. EW Says:

    Rand’s first sponsored bill as a Senator was to cut spending by $500 billion. So far, he has gotten zero co-sponsors. His first budget submitted in 2011 was the only budget that conformed to the Balanced Budget Amendment (that all Republican Senators support) as it was the only budget offered that balanced in five years. His budget received seven votes.

    To change this culture, we need to pressure the Republicans to be more bold. Instead of supporting Paul Ryan’s budget that doesn’t balance for 23 years, why don’t we at least get behind Pat Toomey’s budget that balances in eight years? If you want to be bolder and actually follow through on the Balanced Budget Amendment that all 47 Republican Senators support, we can get behind Mike Lee’s or Rand Paul’s five year balanced budget.

  9. Matt "MWS" Says:

    One can argue whether we should or should not have had the Bush tax cuts, and whether we should or should not extend them, but there is no arguing that they caused a drop in government revenue.

  10. Dustin Siggins Says:

    MWS, I believe that was more due to the 2001 recession plus 9/11. Also, the 1990s had record tax revenues as compared to historical averages.

    They were unique times, and were followed by a recession.

    EW, I like Paul’s, Lee’s, and Coburn’s budgets best.

  11. Matt "MWS" Says:

    A review of data from the White House Office of Management and Budget shows that tax revenues did not consistently increase after the Bush tax cuts went into effect.

    In FY 2001, tax revenue in dollars was $1,991.1 billion. For FY 2002 – the first budget of the Bush administration, which went into effect after President George W. Bush signed tax cuts into law in June 2001 – revenue dropped to $1,853.1 billion.

    Bush signed two more tax cuts into law over the next two years. In FY 2003, revenue dropped further, to $1,782.3 billion – about a 10-percent reduction from two years earlier.

    This drop in tax revenue occurred even as economic activity – the nation’s GDP – was continually rising, according to Bureau of Economic Analysis data.

    Revenues then increased for four years – from $1,880.1 billion in FY 2004 to $2,568 billion in FY 2007 – before sliding to $2,524 billion in FY 2008, and then dropping further to $2,105 billion in FY 2009 as the recession exploded.

    http://www.cbsnews.com/2100-3460_162-20078242.html

  12. Kavon W. Nikrad Says:

    DS: I looked at tax revenue numbers by JustFacts.com, and they show the same thing.
    That chart shows a sizable dip in government revenues between 2000-2004.

    It is a myth among (we) conservatives that the Bush tax cuts did not cut revenue. They did.

    This misunderstanding is pervasive among the Left. It is also a lie that liberal pundits use to smear conservative economic policies. I am a little disappointed to see it perpetuated by you, to be honest…

    We went into recession due to the 9/11 attacks. When we came out of that recession, revenue to the federal government exploded beyond record levels.

  13. Dustin Siggins Says:

    MWS, I have long considered myself a tweener on this, because different data shows different things. However, I think the analysis you cite doesn’t remember the recession that started in 2001, and the impact of 9/11 on things.

    Part of the difference, too, is the OMB does static analysis, I believe. And, again, the revenues of the 1990s were well above average.

  14. Dustin Siggins Says:

    Kavon, we didn’t hit record levels under Bush, but they went back to their historical average. The Just Facts chart shows the records were hit in the latter Clinton years.

  15. teledude Says:

    9. Correlation is not causation.

    The largest drag on revenues came from 9/11 and the following economic disruption. It was severe. Everything shut down for months. It affected everything and the Bush tax cuts helped us start to recover from that.

    So yes, dude, you’re going to get an argument. They were needed and helped get this economy moving a little again.

    Tax rates effect revenues to the extent they influence economic growth.

    As a conservative, I prefer to stimulate the economy (when necessary) by allowing people to keep more of their income, as opposed to large increases in government spending, which either requires increased taxation (a short term negative to growth) or borrowing (a long term negative to growth)

    Just looking at static numbers does not tell the story of the early 2000′, although liberals and the dishonest media will attempt to spin it that way. Sad to see some on our side so easily misled.

  16. I Put Dog On The Roof Of My Mouth, obama Says:

    All tied up in Michigan.

  17. I Put Dog On The Roof Of My Mouth, obama Says:

    Okay, Romney ahead by one.

    http://www.nationalreview.com/campaign-spot/302087/romney-ahead-michigan

  18. EW Says:

    Dustin, I don’t believe Coburn has offered a budget in this term.

  19. Matt "MWS" Says:

    Kavon, Dustin, Telly, et al.

    Why did revenue- both in absolute terms and as a % of GDP- continue to decline after the recovery was in full bloom?

  20. Dustin Siggins Says:

    EW, I am talking about the Back in Black plan, introduced in summer 2011. While it has not been formally proposed as legislation, it is a 600-page document that cuts $9 trillion over a decade.

  21. Kavon W. Nikrad Says:

    Pull your minds out of the liberal fever swamp of economic lies and bullshit and learn something:

    A favorite liberal narrative is that President George W. Bush squan- dered the Clinton-era budget surpluses and piled up deficits with expensive wars and tax cuts for the rich. Candidate Barack Obama used this tale to great effect, and President Obama tells it still. Take his State of the Union address last week, when Mr. Obama attributed the Bush-era deficits to “paying for two wars, two tax cuts, and an expensive prescription drug program.”

    The truth is that Mr. Bush’s deficits were the product of spending, not tax cuts. In fact, Mr. Obama could learn an important lesson for his own economic plan by studying Mr. Bush’s two very different attempts at tax-cutting.

    As the Wall Street Journal’s Stephen Moore illuminates in his 2008 book “The End of Prosperity” (Threshold Editions), Mr. Bush’s 2001 tax cuts failed to revive an economy still staggering from the bursting of the dot-com bubble. Mr. Bush’s strategy had been to adopt a demand-side, Keynesian stimulus, hoping that putting a few extra dollars in Americans’ pockets would jump-start the economy through increased consumption. This approach faltered, not just because Americans opted to save their rebates, but because it neglected the importance of business investment to overall growth. Predictably, the economy lagged and government revenues stagnated. What the United States needed then (and needs now) was to stimulate investment, not consumption.

    By 2003, Mr. Bush grasped this lesson. In that year, he cut the dividend and capital gains rates to 15 percent each, and the economy responded. In two years, stocks rose 20 percent. In three years, $15 trillion of new wealth was created. The U.S. economy added 8 million new jobs from mid-2003 to early 2007, and the median household increased its wealth by $20,000 in real terms.

    But the real jolt for tax-cutting opponents was that the 03 Bush tax cuts also generated a massive increase in federal tax receipts. From 2004 to 2007, federal tax revenues increased by $785 billion, the largest four-year increase in American history. According to the Treasury Department, individual and corporate income tax receipts were up 40 percent in the three years following the Bush tax cuts. And (bonus) the rich paid an even higher percentage of the total tax burden than they had at any time in at least the previous 40 years. This was news to theNew York Times, whose astonished editorial board could only describe the gains as a “surprise windfall.

    There are a thousand more links to back this up. Try a site called Google… Skip the results from The New York Times and ThinkProgress and choose Dan Mitchell, or Cato, or Heritage, etc…

  22. Matt "MWS" Says:

    Numbers taken from the White House Office of Management and Budget, in constant dollars.

    2001 Gross Domestic Product: $10,286.2 bn
    2004 Gross Domestic Product: $11,853.3 bn

    2001 Federal Tax Revenue: $1,991.1 bn
    2004 Federal Tax Revenue: $1,880.1 bn

    So from 2001-2004 the economy grew 15.2%, but tax receipts shrank 5.6%

    Are some trying to contend that the recession and 9/11 made tax revenue shrink and the economy grow? How does that work?

  23. Kavon W. Nikrad Says:

    Are some trying to contend that the recession and 9/11 made tax revenue shrink and the economy grow? How does that work?

    The growth came after we came out of the recession (hard to believe, I know ~sarcasm~) You are not stupid, so I can only believe that you are purposefully obtuse. It never ceases to amaze me, what a total and complete dedication to stealing other people’s money will do.

  24. EW Says:

    MWS – The 01 tax cuts were signed into law in June 2001. Do you think using 2001 GDP and tax revenue figures is fair?

  25. Dustin Siggins Says:

    MWS, there is a lag time for policies. Hence why one-year extensions of a payroll tax holiday, for example, don’t do much.

  26. EW Says:

    Dustin – I haven’t looked into Coburn’s “Back in Black” plan but I’m sure it’s very respectable in terms of cutting spending. Given his long term credibility in wanting to cut spending dramatically, I still can’t get over how he voted for TARP.

  27. Dustin Siggins Says:

    Okay, uncertainty is a factor with the one-year extensions, too…

  28. Matt "MWS" Says:

    “The truth is that Mr. Bush’s deficits were the product of spending, not tax cuts.”

    Are people fat because they eat too much, or don’t exercise enough?

    Generally both. In the cast of 2000s, it’s both as well. Spending roughly doubled under Bush, but 2007 revenue (Bush’s highwater mark) was only about 25% higher than 2000.

  29. Matt "MWS" Says:

    EW,

    “Do you think using 2001 GDP and tax revenue figures is fair?”

    The point is that by 2004, the economy was larger, and tax revenue smaller. How do we explain?

  30. EW Says:

    MWS – Good point. Maybe we need to see how much tax revenue should have been collected for 04 economic activity instead of what was actually collected. A lot of taxes are paid in the 3.5 months the next year for prior year’s economic activity.

  31. Matt "MWS" Says:

    Kavon,

    “It never ceases to amaze me, what a total and complete dedication to stealing other people’s money will do.”

    What reason do you have to believe that I want to steal other people’s money?

    I’m not impugning your motives in this debate. Please don’t impugn mine.

    I’m simply looking at the numbers in front of me. When one says, “The tax cuts ended up making the economy grow X% more than it otherwise would have” then one is in the realm of theory, as we really can’t conjure that parallel universe where the tax cuts didn’t exist to see how the economy would have done without them. Yes, revenue grew as the economy grew from 2005-2007, as one would expect. How much of that growth was attributable to tax cuts is a matter of unprovable (and unfalsifiable) opinion. It is based upon economic theories and premises which are much in dispute.

    But when I see revenue drop as the economy grew from 2001-2004, that doesn’t take abstract theory to explain.

  32. Firecracker (Romney / Ryan) Says:

    A Rasmussen poll came out today showing Romney and Obama all tied up in COLORADO — 45 to 45.

    Great times are a coming!

  33. machtyn Says:

    We went into recession due to the 9/11 attacks.

    That’s not necessarily true. We were headed into the recession anyway. It started at the end of Clinton’s term. 9/11 just pushed things a little faster.

    But I agree with everything else you said.

  34. Matt "MWS" Says:

    One of the reasons I gave up listening to Talk Radio is that I’ve come to accept that people can disagree with me- particularly concerning budgets and the economy- without being wicked or stupid, and I have a hard time listening to those who start with that premise.

  35. MarqueG Says:

    I just checked my calendar and — surprise, surprise! — it is in fact Beat Up On MWS Day!

  36. Matt "MWS" Says:

    The non-partisan CBO office (which Paul Ryan quotes extensively) projects larger deficits (all else being the same) when the Bush tax cuts are extended, and smaller deficits (all else being the same) when they are assumed to expire.

    Does this mean that the CBO (which Paul Ryan quotes extensively) is also wicked and stupid?

  37. MarqueG Says:

    MWS, you should go here for total government revenue over time. It’s pretty breathtaking over time.

  38. MarqueG Says:

    Here’s a sister site that should scare the dickens out of us all.

  39. teledude Says:

    34. Well, the frustration comes because this has been proven throughout history. Kennedy in the 60’s, Reagan in the 80’s…and yes, Bush in the 2000’s…revenues increase after tax cuts go into effect because they stimulate economic activity.

    You are saying they did not return to the levels they were at previously but that is not the measure. Without them the economy would not have recovered in the same time frame, revenues certainly would not have increased…Jeez just look at Obama’s record compared to what Jindal did in LA or Walker did in Wisconsin, or McDonnell has done in Virginia.

    Deficits are 100% a function of spending. Period.

    The larger issue is the government needs to live within its means, regardless of revenues, and increasing tax rates can have a negative impact on revenues if it causes a slow down of economic growth.

    It’s not a zero sum game, as Jack Kemp used to say.

    The Bush tax cuts did not cause our deficits and did not cause the economic collapse of 2008. This is a false narrative.

  40. Massachusetts Conservative Says:

    36

    Ugh… Really?

    The CBO uses “static scoring,” which does not take into account growth or decline due to national policy. This is common knowledge.

  41. MarqueG Says:

    MWS, the core of the Laffer Curve argument is that taxation slows economic growth over time, resulting in less government revenue after X years than would have been possible with lower tax rates after the same X years. The point is that taxation impedes GDP growth, which hurts everyone in the form of lost opportunity.

    Sure, cutting taxes at first results in lower tax revenue. But the increased GDP growth rate means more revenues after a few years and beyond than would have been generated at a slower rate of growth.

  42. Matt "MWS" Says:

    Telly,

    “You are saying they did not return to the levels they were at previously but that is not the measure.”

    So you are dismissing the fact that revenues shrank as the economy grew as irrelevent to the judgement of whether the Bush Tax Cuts contributed to deficits?

    “Without them the economy would not have recovered in the same time frame, revenues certainly would not have increased…”

    And substituting unfalsifiable theory.

    As I said above, we can’t really *know* how much (if any) the tax cuts contributed to economic growth. Any conclusions in that regard are based upon premises, assumptions, and economic theories which are hotly debated among learned men of good will.

    What we do know, without the aid of theory, is that revenue dropped even while the economy grew between ’01-’04.

  43. Massachusetts Conservative Says:

    42

    How do you explain record tax revenues in ’06 and ’07? Higher taxes responsible?

  44. MarqueG Says:

    Deficits are 100% a function of spending. Period.

    A. Men.

    And if anyone ever wondered why some of us claim that government spending contributes nothing to the economy, consider the rate of federal borrowing money to spend it, and how we still have flatlining Euroweenie GDP growth that is within the MOE of zero (probably).

  45. Dustin Siggins Says:

    MWS, CBO does static scoring, not dynamic scoring.

    I don’t have an answer yet regarding your “economic growth, revenues decline” point.

    MarqueG, a point of disagreement: Deficits are indeed a result of spending, unless we cut taxes so low they don’t provide enough revenue for spending. Of course, if we spent only what the Constitution allows, and got rid of fraud, duplication, waste, etc. we’d only spend a fraction of what we do now.

  46. MarqueG Says:

    we can’t really *know* how much (if any) the tax cuts contributed to economic growth.

    You’re reminding me a lot of Riedenschneider today.

  47. Matt "MWS" Says:

    Marque,

    “But the increased GDP growth rate means more revenues after a few years and beyond than would have been generated at a slower rate of growth”

    Depending on where we are on the curve.

    That’s theory. Whether we are on the right or left of that curve right now is very debatable. I’d argue we’re on the left side.

  48. Matt "MWS" Says:

    MassCon,

    “How do you explain record tax revenues in ’06 and ’07? Higher taxes responsible?”

    Economic growth, of course. I mentioned that above. At a certain point, revenues are going to bottom out and start rising again with the economy.

    But what we can’t possibly know is what economic growth (and revenue) would have been without the tax cuts, so one is on a veeeeeeery thin branch when one states that only morons and thieves think the Bush Tax Cuts cost revenue, particularly in light of the initial drop in revenue (despite economic growth).

  49. Matt "MWS" Says:

    “Deficits are 100% a function of spending. Period.”

    Pure sophistry.

    If total government spending was $100, and taxes were zero, you’d blame the deficit entirely on the one hundred bucks spent?

  50. Matt "MWS" Says:

    Dustin,

    “MWS, CBO does static scoring, not dynamic scoring.”

    Fair enough. But St. Paul Ryan finds them credible enough to cite as an authority, and besides, once you insist on dynamic scoring, you can really cook the books, just like Obama did during the health care debate.

  51. Dustin Siggins Says:

    Matt, the CBO gets manipulated all the time. As you say, Obama did it in the health care debate.

    I cite them in my own pieces, but I’m careful to note that even in the long run they say health care spending is the major problem.

  52. Matt "MWS" Says:

    You can’t count Tom Coburn among the Heathen Horde who foolishly believe cutting taxes can result in less revenue.

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/05/03/sen-tom-coburn-talks-romney-norquist-and-taxes.html

  53. Matt "MWS" Says:

    #52 should read you ***CAN*** count Coburn among the Heathen Horde……

  54. MarqueG Says:

    I’d argue we’re on the left side.

    Sure, but we need to be on the left side. The point of government shouldn’t be merely optimizing government revenue. Let’s talk about justifying spending instead of assuming government spending to be universally beneficent.

  55. MarqueG Says:

    “Deficits are 100% a function of spending. Period.”

    Pure sophistry.

    In relative terms — today versus ten or twenty years ago — it’s hard to deny. Why is it assumed that the government at state, local, and federal levels must expand at a a constant rate? As Nick Gillespie pointed out during the bailouts and stimulus debates, it’s not as if we were all running around in pickle barrels back in the late nineties, that we would presumably be forced to return to if spending were at, say, 2000 levels.

  56. Matt "MWS" Says:

    Marque,

    But if you agree with Senator Paul that the number one threat to the nation is our debt” and “there is a day of reckoning coming”, then we don’t have time for the pious sensibilities of the minarchists. We need to boost revenue, and get as close to the top of that curve as we realistically can.

    Otherwise, all that doomesday prophesy over debts and handwringing over the moral implications of burdoning our grandchildren is just a bunch of posturing bullsh*t.

  57. Matt "MWS" Says:

    Marque,

    “In relative terms — today versus ten or twenty years ago — it’s hard to deny.”

    If we’re talking relative terms, then yes, I would say that the vast majority of deficit reduction should come from spending cuts.

    But we aren’t going to get everything “our” own way.

    The American people simply aren’t going to tolerate Medicare getting capped (which is a must) just so we can cut capital gains taxes. If that’s the perception, we’re dead.

  58. MarqueG Says:

    MWS, are you arguing for the “balanced approach”? Because if that’s what you want, take a look at how it’s working in Euroweenie land right now. Only, our Democratic Lords & Saviors in conjunction with their MSM mouthpieces are calling that European thingy “austerity.”

    That so-called austerity involves dramatically jacking up taxes and reducing the rate of government spending growth — not actually reducing spending — which, taken together, on this side of the Atlantic is hailed as a “balanced approach.” And it’s tipping those economies into recession.

  59. EW Says:

    57 – That’s why Republicans have to agree to cutting defense spending. Everyone talks about how Obama wants to or is in the process of gutting our military but the truth is the Republicans and Obama are only $4 billion off on military spending. Obama wants $4 billion less than what the Republicans want and the Republican leadership wants everyone to believe that Obama is destroying our military.

    If we can just agree to $4 billion in less military spending, we will get a lot more support from Independents and leverage in getting greater domestic spending cuts.

  60. Matt "MWS" Says:

    Marque,

    I think we may well be past the point of any happy ending, we’re we get lower taxes, lower deficits, and no cavities all at the same time.

    I’m no economist, but I suspect that our accumulated debt and the sum total of the promises we’ve made (and can’t pay) are suffocating our economy more than a 3% hike in income tax would.

  61. Matt "MWS" Says:

    In an ideal world, we’d slash spending- domestic and defense- scrap our tax code and make pro-growth, revenue positive tax reform, and reform entitlements to create a sustainable safety net.

    Oh, and destroy every public sector union in America……

  62. Matt "MWS" Says:

    EW,

    “Obama wants $4 billion less than what the Republicans want and the Republican leadership wants everyone to believe that Obama is destroying our military”

    And that just detroys our credibility in a debate where we really, REALLY need it.

    People are not going to accept cuts in Medicare and Social Security to pay for more missiles.

  63. Massachusetts Conservative Says:

    MWS, if we can solve the debt problem without raising taxes, we should. And according to the math, it’s entirely possible.

    In 2007 the deficit was just $100 billion. We could have solved that deficit with simple reorganizations of waste and fraud. And we had the same basic tax structure then.

  64. Matt "MWS" Says:

    Frankly, I don’t believe people who say they are ***serious*** about the debt if they are demanding more tax cuts and increases in defense spending.

  65. EW Says:

    MWS, Exactly. And even after Republicans agreed to the debt deal knowing what was at stake (defense cuts), they have not only rolled back the defense sequestration but written legislation to take those cuts from places like food stamps. How are we ever going to convince Independents that we are serious about our deficits when we refuse to cut one penny from defense?

  66. Matt "MWS" Says:

    MassCon,

    “MWS, if we can solve the debt problem without raising taxes, we should. And according to the math, it’s entirely possible.”

    That may be, but politically, it’s impossible.

  67. Matt "MWS" Says:

    MassCon,

    “We could have solved that deficit with simple reorganizations of waste and fraud.”

    Not the long term structural deficits- those tied to the retirement of Baby Boomers who aborted 1/3 of their children and the exponential growth in Blank Check health care costs.

    We’d still be facing those deficits, even if the hurricane force of them is still a ways off shore.

  68. Matt "MWS" Says:

    Something like 60-70% of Americans want the “rich” to pay more in taxes.

    Now, we know that slapping the top 1% isn’t going to do squat for the debt, but the political reality is that we aren’t going to get all our own way. And it’s going to be hard enough to convince people (60% of whom are against touching Social Security benefits) to accept necessary entitlement reform, never mind convincing them they need to take a hair cut while Scrooge McDuck goes untouched.

  69. Matt "MWS" Says:

    EW,

    “How are we ever going to convince Independents that we are serious about our deficits when we refuse to cut one penny from defense?”

    We won’t. Which is why Romney has given Obama a gift (which will be opened this Fall) by insisting before the Republican Primary audience that we need to increase our bloated defense budget another $100 billion.

  70. Massachusetts Conservative Says:

    67

    Entitlement reform.

  71. EW Says:

    MWS – Yup, once Obama brings up the fact that Romney wants to cut food stamps but increase our defense budget, we’re going to lose a bunch of Independents. There’s really no justifiable reason to INCREASE our defense budget when we will be winding down in Iraq and Afghanistan, which will save us a lot of money.

  72. Matt "MWS" Says:

    EW,

    I’m hoping Mitt didn’t really mean it, and was just pandering to the DefCons.

  73. Matt "MWS" Says:

    MassCon,

    Right. Entitlement reform. And it’s going to be really hard to cut social security and medicare benefits while we’re cutting taxes on capital gains and dividends (and buying more missiles).

  74. Massachusetts Conservative Says:

    73

    Cutting taxes on capital gains and dividends HELPS RETIREES. And again, no tax increases are needed to close the budget gap. What you (and other Democrats) don’t understand is that our huge deficit is BECAUSE OF THE BAD ECONOMY. Bad economy means more spending on food stamps, welfare, unemployment benefits, medicaid, and entitlements because retirees leave the workforce early. Once we get some growth, our deficit can easily plunge below $1 trillion, toward $500 billion. And then from there, it can be done without tax increases.

  75. Matt "MWS" Says:

    I can still remember when $500 billion seemed like such a big number.

  76. Massachusetts Conservative Says:

    75

    Well, it is. There are two talking points: One, that the debt is so huge that it’s a threat to our very survival, and two, that we need growth to reduce the deficit. The truth of the matter is that BECAUSE the debt is such a problem, we need growth to reduce it. And then, when the economy is growing, we need to cut spending and reform entitlements. You can’t raise taxes during a bad economy like Europe did. Look what happened to them. You need to get out of the SLUMP BEFORE ANYTHING.

  77. Rand Paul: Republicans have compromised enough | The Penn Ave Post Says:

    […] mind-set heading into the fall’s budget negotiations, it’s worth reading Dustin Siggins’s interview with Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul, in which Paul said, among other things: Democrats think […]

  78. Rand Paul: Republicans have compromised enough|PolitifreakPolitifreak Says:

    […] mind-set heading into the fall’s budget negotiations, it’s worth reading Dustin Siggins’s interview with Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul, in which Paul said, among other things: Democrats think […]

  79. Brett Says:

    60.

    MWS is absolutely correct in that analysis. Remember that deficits are usually not a problem for the US because they were never unreasonable. Lately there is a feeling among investors that the US is increasingly taking on way too much debt with out the political back bone to face responsibility. The deficit and the unwillingness of Congress to agree on measures to increase revenue and reduce spending (you can argue the supply side potentialities of tax cuts increasing revenue, but among most investors that is not believed, so psychologically it won’t help their impressions) are creating uncertainty in the economy and stifling economic growth and investment. A 3% increase in taxes could do a lot more good than harm.

  80. Matt-fleeger.info – Matthew H. Fleeger Colorodo Springs Investments » Rand Paul: Republicans have compromised enough Says:

    […] mind-set heading into the fall’s budget negotiations, it’s worth reading Dustin Siggins’s interview with Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul, in which Paul said, among other […]

  81. mike Says:

    “As a conservative, I prefer to stimulate the economy (when necessary) by allowing people to keep more of their income…”

    That’s the most liberal statement I’ve ever heard a self-described “conservative” make. Adding insult to the injury of real conservative like Rand Paul actually being discussed on a moderate website such as this…

    Race42012…do conservatism a favor and don’t mention our heroes, like Mr. Paul on your site…lest a curious potential supporter stumble upon this heap and mistake Rand Paul for a Romney/Cain liberal Republican…

  82. Dustin Siggins Says:

    Hey, Mike, speaking as a conservative and as the person who conducted the interview, please take a hike. Have you seen the debate on this thread? You cherry-pick one statement out of dozens across the right-of-center spectrum.

    Why are you reading the site and commenting if it’s simply a “heap,” by the way?

  83. Elect Republicans and Cut Taxes | Occupy Friday Harbor Says:

    […] what those of you intending to vote Republican are going for, right?  HERE is an interview with one of your gurus, Rand Paul (R-KY), who wants to do just that.  Now, I know […]

  84. Ryan60657 Says:

    61. “In an ideal world, we’d slash spending- domestic and defense- scrap our tax code and make pro-growth, revenue positive tax reform, and reform entitlements to create a sustainable safety net.
    Oh, and destroy every public sector union in America……”

    Amen.

    Kudos to a very interesting discussion thread, to everyone involved.

  85. Rand Paul endorses Romney; Update: Video added « Hot Air | Romney Gone Wild Says:

    […] Siggins, one of our Greenroomers, interviewed Paul recently and asked him what he wants from a Romney presidency. Quote: DS: There’s been talk about you […]

  86. Want to see Social Security made solvent? Washington doesn’t… « The Greenroom Says:

    […] financially devastate a generation or two of Americans.  And as Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) noted in an interview with me not long ago, despite what many in Washington say, reforms are not a matter […]

  87. Where’s the leadership on Social Security? | Race 4 2012 Says:

    […] financially devastate a generation or two of Americans.  And as Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) noted in an interview with me not long ago, despite what many in Washington say, reforms are not a matter […]

  88. Where’s the leadership on Social Security? : HotSocialBookmarks.info – Social Bookmarking tips! | Twitter tips | Facebook tips | Says:

    […] won’t financially devastate a generation or two of Americans.  And as Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) noted in an interview with me not long ago, despite what many in Washington say, reforms are not a matter […]

  89. Where's the Leadership on Social Security? - Conservative Read Says:

    […] won’t financially devastate a generation or two of Americans. And as Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) noted in an interview with me not long ago, despite what many in Washington say, reforms are not a matter […]

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