Rand Paul Gets It

I have never been a fan of Ron Paul, to say the least, but I am rapidly becoming a fan of his son.

Yesterday the Senate in a 44-56 vote rejected the House proposal to cut 57 billion from the budget.  Then the Senate rejected a Democrat proposal to cut the budget by 5 billion dollars, 42 to 58. 

This year the federal budget deficit will be an estimated one and a half trillion dollars and that is probably on the low side.

Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky voted against both proposals because he believes that neither are serious attempts to come to grips with the sea of red ink which is threatening to destroy this nation’s future prosperity.  He is absolutely correct.

He has proposed 500 billion dollar cuts.  This would be a serious start, but would still leave a deficit this year of a trillion dollars.  Here, hattip to David Fredosso at the Washington Examiner,  are the details of his plan:

LEGISLATIVE BRANCH………………………….$1,283,000,000. (23%)
Notes: The Government Printing Office is abolished.

JUDICIAL BRANCH………………………………..$2,434,000,000. (32%)

AGRICULTURE……………………………………..$42,542,000,000. (30%)
The Agriculture Research Service, National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Resources Conservation Service, and Foreign Agricultural Service are abolished. The Forest Service gets a $1.2 billion haircut.

COMMERCE……………………………………………$5,322,000,000. (54%)
National Oceanic And Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is cut by $857,000,000.

DEFENSE……………………………………………….$47,500,000,000. (6.5%)

EDUCATION…………………………………………..$78,000,000,000 (83%)
Only the Pell grant program survives.

ENERGY……………………………………………………$44,200,000,000 (100%)
The Defense Department takes over all of Energy’s remaining functions (nuclear waste, for example) and about $18 billion of its budget.

HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES…………..$26,510,000,000. (26%)
Notes: FDA is cut by $230,000,000; Indian Health Service is cut by $650 million; CDC is cut by $1.17 billion; NIH by $5.8 billion.

HOMELAND SECURITY……………………………$23,765,000,000. (43%)
Notes: Coast Guard is shifted to Defense. TSA’s funds are cut by $900 million.

HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT….$53,100,000,000. (100%)
Notes: Completely eliminated. Veterans’ housing programs are transferred to the VA

INTERIOR………………………………………………..$10,934,000,000. (78%)
Bureau of Reclamation and Bureau of Indian Affairs are abolished.

JUSTICE…………………………………………………….$9,057,000,000. (28%)
Note: Office of Justice Programs is abolished.

LABOR…………………………………………….$2,803,000,000. (2%)
OSHA, MSHA, and the The Employment and Training Administration are spared all cuts (no cuts to unemployment benefits)

STATE………………………………………………………….$20,321,000,000. (71%)
Note: Massive foreign aid cuts. All international commissions and organizations are defunded.

TRANSPORTATION……………………………………..$42,810,000,000. (49%)
Notes: Amtrak is completely de-funded.

VETERANS’ AFFAIRS……………………………………No cuts

CORPS OF ENGINEERS.……………………………….$1,854,000,000. (27%)

EPA……………………………………………………..$3,238,000,000. (29%)

GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION…..$1,936,000,000. (85%)

INTERNATIONAL ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS…$24,300,000,000 (100%)

NASA……………………………………………………………….$4,500,000,000 (25%)

NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION……………$4,723,000,000. (62%)

OFFICE OF PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT…….$9,070,000,000.

SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION………No cuts

FCC…………………………………………………..$2,150,000,000. (22%)

ABOLISH………………………………………………………$2,050,000,000. (100%)

(1) Affordable Housing Program.
(2) Commission on Fine Arts.
(3) Consumer Product Safety Commission.
(4) Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
(5) National Endowment for the Arts.
(6) National Endowment for the Humanities.
(7) State Justice Institute.

MISC

Collect delinquent taxes from Federal Employees……..$3,000,000,000.
Freeze Federal Government employee pay……………….$2,000,000,000.
Reduce Federal Government travel…………………………$7,500,000,000.
Repeal Davis-Bacon…………………………………………….. $6,000,000,000.
Prohibit union project labor agreements………………….$2,000,000,000.
TARP repeal………………………………………………………..$4,481,000,000.
Sell Federal Buildings…………………………………………..$19,000,000,000.
Reduce Federal vehicle budget……………………………………$600,000,000.

Go here to read the entire bill he has introduced in the Senate to make these cuts.  Of course, this bill has no chance to be enacted into law this year.  However, what Paul proposes this year will become reality in the very near future.  The federal budget house of cards is very near collapse, and our ability to create money out of thin air, and to sell our future debt, is manifestly near its end.  Paul’s proposal is not a wild eyed scheme but a sober look at our fiscal reality.  The true crazies are those who think that the current situation can go on much longer before a meltdown that will make the 2008 start of the Great Recession seem like a momentary fiscal hiccup.

16 Responses to Rand Paul Gets It

  • Even if adopted, that would leave a $1 trillion deficit. Even eliminating DoD will not balance the budget. You either have to acknowledge that the deficit will disappear on its own once economic growth is back in full swing or taxes have to rise.

    I’m all for cutting discretionary spending, though I’d do it more gradually when it involves middle-class jobs. And I’ve been a fan of Ron and Rand, though not a disciple. But Rand’s proposal is junk. Read the end where it sounds like he’s running out of steam. He literally makes up numbers. What the CBO traditionally does, he does and includes in the bill! Did this get vetted at all? It’s not legislation. It’s a blog post. And, he makes all these cuts to regulatory agencies without reducing their regulatory mandates. Cutting FDA funding doesn’t reduce regulation, it just creates delays increases the regulatory burden by increasing delays. He would eliminate the State Department’s International Commissions which would effectively withdraw the US from binding international treaties. He would also eliminate the Bureau of Indian Affairs which literally means anarchy on Indian territories. I don’t mean belt tightening. I mean there would be no cops or courts. Rand may argue that the Indians should be allowed to fail as nations. I think the least the government can do is ensure they have law and order.

  • He does not go far enough. Of course, principle and practical reality must be reconciled. The problem is that reality is uncomfortable and inconvenient.

    If these ‘programs’ are not cut now – they will self-destruct soon.

    Comparing where we are to some Utopian ideal is foolish. We have to take measures now in relation to reality. Within a short while, without course correction (drastic), we will experience hyper-inflation, the implosion of the dollar, world wide depression, civil unrest, supply shortages, massive unemployment and war, possibly civil war too. This is an extreme outcome, but it is inevitable – unless, we cut all spending that is not actually essential. This requires a true assessment of reality, as it is objectively, irrespective of the lack of desire by anyone to actually see it.

    Will there be some unpleasant consequences? Surely. Will some people become very uncomfortable in the short run? Without a doubt. Would we prefer to avoid this and ease into some kind of fiscally prudent reform? Of course, but that time has long past, at least 30 or 40 years ago. As bad as these short-term consequences will be, the consequences of soft measures, political ploys and other irresponsible measures will be far, far worse – probably the end of the United States as we know them.

    It is past time to act and the longer we actually wait, the more drastic the measures will have to be. If we wait too long, then nothing will stop the inevitable destruction.

    As for tax increases, those will only serve to hamper our economic growth – no matter whose taxes are increased. What we should do is reduce taxes slightly, cut spending dramatically and reduce or eliminate most ‘regulation’ – that is political interference in the economy, not authentic regulation that makes the market more free. We need to unleash the massive creative energy of the entrepreneurial American economy in order to grow our way out of this mess. Spending cuts alone won’t do it and tax increases and more debt will never do it.

    We also must have realistic expectations. Things will get much, much worse before they get better and it will take a long time, over a decade. If we think that these changes will yield immediate results, we will be disappointed, then we’ll become agitated and some will resort to plunder, group violence, lawlessness, anarchy. What else can you expect when we now have legalized political plunder as the order of the day. One group against the others, even those alive today against those near death and those not yet born (not only through euthanasia and abortion), but by putting future generations in so much debt that they will be born slaves. Slaves with no incentive to build civilization, merely work off the burden we have laid upon them. Of course, the massive size of the burden will lead to their deaths before it is ever retired.

    We must have a federal government that protects the national borders (all of them, land, air, water, virtual) and a strong military so that no one will take advantage of our internal weakness to attack us. Everyone, will have to let go of their favorite national issues and plunder of the treasury. Everything, save national defense, must become local. This will have many problems and will eventually need to be corrected – but we have no choice.

    The false prosperity of fiat debt renders this argument as cookoo and way out there, but it is not. Correct it now, or possibly never have a chance to correct it again.

    We need more Rand Pauls. Don, despite not being a fan of Ron Paul, we need him and more like him. He will never be president, and I don’t think he’s suited for it, but we need him to bring these issue to the table, issues politicians DO NOT want to discuss – but, they must be addressed. Within the form now, or through violence later. I prefer we keep the form, but time is short.

    It seems to me the only solution is to elect moral men of principle, or at least a suicide squad that has no future political aspirations. The crony culture we have now is nothing but protection of the status quo, which is essentially a socialist revolution that has occurred within the form. Unlike 1789, 1917, 1933 and 1934 in France, Russia, Germany and Spain our revolution occurred gradually and virtually unnoticed. The destructive effects are the same, the difference is we have allowed a back-build to be created and when these forces are unleashed rapidly the destruction will be far worse than anything the Jacobins, Marxian Leninists, Nazis and socialist/anarchists ever unleashed upon the world.

  • “You either have to acknowledge that the deficit will disappear on its own once economic growth is back in full swing or taxes have to rise.”

    Raising taxes to solve this problem is complete non-starter rr. You couldn’t raise them enough to accomplish the goal without killing the economy, not to mention the fact that since the Sixties increasing taxes have never been tied to reducing government spending. We have to radically change the nature of government in this country and our reliance upon it, and Paul Rand understands this. As I noted in my post however, those who pooh pooh this and prefer the status quo are those not dealing with reality. We are near the end of the era of government through endless borrowing. In the future we are going to have a much smaller and more affordable government, by force of our lack of resources if for no other reason.

  • Rand Paul destroys Energy bureaucrat Kathleen Hogan
    hes been on a roll

  • How did the US exist before the federal government spent $1.5 trillion more each year than it spent in 2008?

  • PS: What did we the people get for the $3 trillion in additional national debt?

    Was it $5 a gallon gasoline/home heating oil? Or, an 8.9% unemployment rate?

  • T. Shaw,

    1. As a Confederated Republic

    2. War, socialism, devalued dollar

    3. All lies – everything costs much more than that and when the paper bubble blows we’ll see the real prices, which none of us can afford. Unemployment is closer to 20%.

  • And, he makes all these cuts to regulatory agencies without reducing their regulatory mandates.

    RR is right. If you want to get serious about making these kinds of cuts, then attack the legislation that drives the spending. Instead of throwing out numbers, Paul should tell us which things he would have the Federal gov’t not do. The funny thing is, Americans say they want to control spending, but when asked if they want to do without the major drivers of the spending, they back off. Suddenly, the prospect of the FDA not inspecting food and the FAA not inspecting planes or licensing pilots doesn’t sound so appealing.

    In one section of his proposal, in the very same sentence, Paul claims he wants to cut the civilian defense workforce AND cut waste, fraud, and abuse. What exactly does he think those civilian workers are tasked to do? Then he proceeds to show a histogram showing the growth in the civilian defense workforce… all the while failing to show how military end strength has concurrently declined. The jobs that servicemembers used to do are being taken over by civilian workers.

    I have no problem with getting serious about cutting Federal spending, but I keep waiting for conservatives to understand what needs to change before that spending can decrease. (With due apologies to all that claim civilization as we know it is going to melt down, anyway, and force our hand. I’m leaving that off the table here.)

  • Do the math.

    Think “aggregate demand” (AG), people. There are (rounded) 100,000,000 million households in the USA. In an alternative reality, the NEW, SPENT debt of $3,000,000,000,000 could have been paid pro-rata to each American family. COMMON GOOD/SOCIAL JUSTICE: The American family would have $30,000 to spend or invest – AG. Instead, each household NEWLY owes $30,000 more than it did before American became blessed with hope and change. Extra credit question: how does excessive debt affect AG?

    WHERE’S THE MONEY?

    Your children and grandchildren will suffer for this.

    Corporate Financial Management 301: When revenue decreases (either from lower sales/lower taxes or higher expenses) the corporation needs to act to rectify the situation. If revenues (sales for businesses, taxes for government) can’t be increased, expenses (cost of goods sold, salaries, benefits, etc.) must (business MUST there is no money/state governments MUST: cannot print money) be cut.

    Anyhow, I wish I had time. Too busy making money for my family. Pull out the “budget. Get out one of them two-foot accounting (or excel) worksheet with at least 12 columns. List the revenues and expenditures from largest down. Start columns with 2007, leave two columns between each year: one for the $ change and one for the % change. Fill it in. Then look at each line item’s level change and trend. VOILA!

    Spending has to decline. This is like gravity. This is hard fact. This is unalterable by appeals to “common good” or “social justice” or “charity.” It is what it is.

    AGAIN: On what did Obama spend $3 trillion in additional national debt?

    Everyone write a letter to your congressman and two sentators asking . . .

    I’m think instead of giving your family $30,000, the zero paid his base $3,000,000,000,000.

    In any event, we are ruined.

  • “RR is right. If you want to get serious about making these kinds of cuts, then attack the legislation that drives the spending.”

    A true recipe for getting nothing done is getting lost in a legislative thicket. Take an axe to the funding first.

    “Suddenly, the prospect of the FDA not inspecting food and the FAA not inspecting planes or licensing pilots doesn’t sound so appealing.”

    This of course is the routine strategy trotted out by people who do not want any government expenditures. (I do not accuse you of being in this camp J. Christian.) I have no doubt that the essential functions of government could be performed quite nicely without the nation going bankrupt.

    “What exactly does he think those civilian workers are tasked to do?”

    Some of my active duty friends are often puzzled by that same question.

    http://www.federaltimes.com/article/20100723/DEPARTMENTS01/7230302/-1/

  • If I am not mistaken, the operating budgets of federal regulatory agencies in the fiscal year concluding in September amounted to about $65 bn, or less than 2% of all federal expenditures. (A similar sum was expended on the civil police and courts). That may be excessive, but you would have to have fairly granular knowledge of the operations of these agencies to know that. Regulatory agencies are just not a rich vein to mine for cuts.

  • I have no doubt that the essential functions of government could be performed quite nicely without the nation going bankrupt.

    But what are the essential functions? No one addresses the root cause of all this “overhead.” People don’t realize how many statutory requirements are out there that drive the workload of all of these contractors and staff. Simple example: Nunn-McCurdy. It’s there to catch cost overruns. Is the marginal benefit of the law greater than its marginal cost of enforcement? I don’t know. Repeal it and find out. What *doesn’t* work is to cut funding and leave things like Nunn-McCurdy in place. I don’t know about you, but passing lots of laws and not enforcing them seems like a waste of time. Delving into the legislative thicket would stop these round-and-round budget debates, because we could once and for all decide what it is we want the Federal government to do.

    Some of my active duty friends are often puzzled by that same question.

    Actually, it’s often the other way around. The military isn’t doing quality assurance on the products it buys, it’s the civilian workforce. Same with a bunch of other functions. I recently heard a contractor say, “We do all of the work for the military guys, they just take the credit.” I say, let the military do its core job and get out of the business of business. We could eliminate half of the uniformed “Chair Force” that way.

  • Regulatory agencies are just not a rich vein to mine for cuts.

    I would like to know what’s included in the definition of a “regulatory” agency. Is DoD? What those 700,000+ civilian workers are doing might not be strictly called regulatory/compliance work, but a lot of it is program analysis and management — which is an essential function of every agency but probably gets called “overhead” for the purposes of rhetoric.

    but you would have to have fairly granular knowledge of the operations of these agencies to know that

    Exactly. I think that’s what we need. I’m afraid that too many in the civil service are vested in the system, and too many outside it are too detached to care or try. Who is going to take that granular look at what every dept. and agency does, and decide what is truly “essential”? I wouldn’t make broad cuts and just hope that things will turn out okay… I would prefer a more directed approach.

  • I would like to know what’s included in the definition of a “regulatory” agency.

    An agency whose task is in whole or in part to enforce legislated constraints on the conduct of private parties or to collect taxes from them. Excluded from the definition would be agencies (uniformed or no) responsible for enforcing the federal penal code.

    Generally, the Appendix to the Budget of the United States Government indicates in its tables or in annotations and discussions thereto which funds are intended for the regulatory component of an agency’s function, so the spending of agencies which are service providers as well as regulators (e.g. the Federal Aviation Administration) can be parsed.

    It was a back of the envelope exercise on a rapid reading of the Appendix and my memory is not what it used to be, so I may have missed and forgotten some expenditure. The Environmental Protection Agency has a ten-figure budget the bulk of which is devoted to enforcement, but as a rule the budgets of individual agencies are quite modest. IIRC, the regulatory functions of FAA cost about about $1.7 bn. The Securities and Exchange Commission spent (in 2009/10) about $1.1 bn. These two are among the more richly endowed agencies.

    By way of contrast, the National Institutes of Health puked about $30 bn into the patronage of bio-medical research.

  • Rand Paul is proof that sometimes the apples fall far enough from the tree to not get contaminated.

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