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A Few Quick Words About Small Government May 22, 2010

We don’t have a lot of time for a big discussion today, but I wanted to take a second and talk about basic Federal Government economics as they apply to Rand Paul.

It is his stated vision to reduce the size of Government…and it is an undeniable reality that the vast majority of the Federal Budget is focused on only a few areas of spending.

Today, we’ll quickly run through that economic reality, and we’ll challenge Dr. Paul to tell us where he stands.

So it’s about as basic as this: the four biggest items in the budget are Medicare/Medicaid, Social Security, the Department of Defense budget, and interest on the Federal debt.

Those four items are 80% of the total 2011 budget.

What does that mean?

That means you can get rid of every other thing that Government does–no more people overseeing oil drilling, no food inspections, or border security, no FBI or ATF or DEA or CIA, or OSHA or MSHA, no National Guard or air traffic control or Coast Guard or NASA…or Department of Agriculture or food stamps, either–you can get rid of all of it, and government will still be 80% of what it is today.

And that means that the only way you can really make the Federal Government smaller…is to cut one or more of those four core activities that Government is performing.

So which one will it be, Dr. Paul?

Are you against Medicare and Medicaid?
Should it be ended today?

What about Social Security?
Are you ready to tell Kentucky voters that Social Security should end, today?

Are you ready to tell Kentucky voters that you do not believe that the US should be the world leader in military technologies?

Do you think China should be the preeminent military power?

Let’s get these questions in front of Dr. Paul, and even as he tries to dodge questions about the right of Woolworth’s to keep its lunch counter white, let’s make him face these questions as well…which are neither abstract nor obscure.

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6 Responses to “A Few Quick Words About Small Government”

  1. You’re exactly right.
    Don’t Paul and his Libertarian buddies talk about getting rid of entitlements? I know I’ve heard Rand’s daddy say some pretty strange things about what he’d like to get rid of.

    • it’s an odd situation: paul reports at his website that he wants the government limited to constitutionally enumerated functions, but wants medicare to provide higher reimbursement for eye doctors…which seems a bit hypocritical, considering he’s an eye doctor.

  2. hoboduke Says:

    The government budget with healthcare means 99% of our government budget can never be reduced. When we extend social security benefits after “government” stole $2.5 trillion dollars from Treasury deposits paid by workers nearing retirment, it means 115% of our budget can never be reduced. Wait a minute? We have no budget. Prez B.O. considers it too complicated to submit a budget for review, so we’re just printing money without a budget. That is brilliant policy followed by Greece!

    • we do in fact have a budget, and you can learn all you would ever want to know about it here or here.

      now, i don’t mean to be impolite…but where did that $2.5 trillion you’re talking about go, exactly?

      it appears that the vast majority of that money went to pay for a tax cut the bush administration failed to pay for and a war the bush administration failed to pay for.

      you may recall that when the clinton administration left office, they were spending less than they were taking in in taxes, and they were paying down the national debt, a situation the bush administration immediately reversed.

      but that said, how do we make things better?

      social security may be an easier fix than you think.

      if we raise the retirement age to 75, make people who earn over $100,000 pay social security taxes on their entire income, and put an upper income limit on who can get social security, things will be in pretty good shape.

      medicare…that’s bit tougher.

      a lot of what the obama health care plan wants to do is what we need to do: more emphasis on wellness helps reduce all sorts of costs later on, and universal care reduces the number of people who only get their care at the emergency room, which is the most expensive care of all.

      i’d prefer a version of “single-payer”, myself, because we know what kind of savings we could expect by studying the single-payer systems in place in other countries today…and it looks like we could cut the national heath care bill by about 1/3 and still give everyone coverage.

      every year we keep older folks in their homes, instead of nursing homes, saves billions upon billions later on, and that may require a national strategy as well.

  3. hoboduke Says:

    So $2.5 trillion of social security was used by President Bush? Does not congress have control of releasing funds? How about all of the thieves get the credit? Oh yes, our new HealthScare Bill is building a surplus through extra taxes before it takes full effect in 2014! Do you suppose President Bush will be spending that surplus collected, even though he is out of office? I will bet you $2.5 trillion dollars, that the surplus money being collected, will be spent just like Social Security.

    • it would be accurate to say that the decision to allocate those dollars was a shared one, and you may recall that the majority in the congress from 2000-2004 was entirely willing to agree to anything the bush administration asked for.


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