Sunday, February 13, 2011

Rand Paul at CPAC

Sen. Rand Paul spoke to CPAC and argued that cutting government spending requires more boldness than the "incrementalism" of simply freezing spending to 2008 levels. He also reiterated the need for Republicans to cut military spending. He's right about that; the debt has become the greatest threat to our national security, and there is doubtless plenty of fat in the military budget that needs to go.

Here's the video link, if you want to watch. And here are a few excerpts:

So what I’m going to tell you next you may not want to hear, but it’s true. The House Republican proposal will freeze this much of the budget at 2008 levels and will add $3 trillion to the debt over five years. It’s too little. It’s not enough. It’s too timid, and we must be more bold.

They’re talking about cutting $35 billion. We spend $35 billion in five days. We add $35 billion to the debt in nine days. It’s not enough, and we will not ruin in our country unless we think more boldly. We must cut more spending. We must cut out the unconstitutional programs we never intended to have here. We used to say as Republicans that we thought education was for the states and the localities and now we have a Department of Education that is consuming $100 billion and it’s time we go back to the Republican roots that says, we believe in abolishing the Department of Education.

There is, though, one compromise we will have to make as conservatives. Those of you who know me know I don’t like to compromise, but there is one compromise you have to make. And this is the compromise, and you have to think this through.

We have always been, as conservatives against the domestic welfare, the abuses of domestic spending, for making domestic spending smaller, but you have to understand that that’s this much of the budget. If you cut out all discretionary non-military spending you don’t balance the budget. You can’t get there unless you look at the whole budget. That means we will have to have entitlement reform. But here’s the compromise that also conservatives will have to make. We will have to look long and hard at the military budget – I knew there was going to be – I knew there had to be some dissension somewhere.

The thing is, is that the most important thing that our government does, the one primary and most important constitutional thing our government does is our national defense. Absolutely. But you cannot – you cannot say that the doubling of the military budget in the last 10 years has been done wisely and there’s not any waste in it. If you do – if you refuse to acknowledge that there’s any waste can be culled from the military budget, you are a big-government conservative and can you not lay claim to balancing the budget.

With regard to entitlement reform, it has to happen. There isn’t any question that it will happen. It’s whether we do it gradually in a rational manner, or whether we wait until there’s a collapse of the country and we have to do it dramatically. Everybody knows the answer. I said it in my campaign. The Republicans attacked me for it and so did the Democrats. The age of Social Security will have to gradually rise.

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