Rand Paul Wants to Swing the Big Hammer

The junior Senator from my former home state takes budget-cutting seriously. Talking Points Memo reports he will be introducing a bill that will cut the federal budget by a half-trillion dollars between now and September. Some of the highlights?

It calls for rescinding all funds to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (that’s the agency that offers protection from unsafe cribs and lead paint). It dramatically reduces spending to nearly every government agency. It rescinds most of the Department of Energy’s funds and transfers the remaining dollars and accounts to the Department of Defense.

Paul would reduce Health and Human Services funding by over $26.5 billion, including over $5.8 billion in reductions for the National Institute of Health. He’d slash defense spending by over $47 billion, and defund all Department of Education programs immediately, while capping Pell grants at just over $16.2 billion. He does not, however, propose to touch Social Security between now and the end of the fiscal year.

Meanwhile, he makes significant cuts in defense spending as well. The real fun for me, however, can be found in the comments, where apoplexy reigns supreme. I particularly like the lines from one NerdRage, who says [ellipses in original, capitalization mine]:

[B]ut why wouldn’t you want to vote for Rand Paul…

[I] mean…he only wants to destroy everything that’s made America[.]

Yes, that’s right. I remember reading in my childhood about when the brave boys of the Consumer Product Safety Commission stormed the cliffs at Pointe-du-Hoc, and when the Department of Education ended slavery.

Here’s another good one from jsfox, who regales us with:

Look[,] if you like small government so much[,] I suggest you go try it before touting it. Somalia would be a good place to start your experiment in a society with nothing but guns, but no government.

Yep, because dammit, if only those Somalis had a National Endowment for the Arts, they’d abandon piracy for performance art. And clearly, what Mogadishu needs is Section 8 housing.

In point of fact, I think elements of the plan are more radical/theatrical than practical — what’s being proposed here is ripping the carapace off the turtle. I suppose I’m more of a gradualist, but I’d be OK with making a vision like Paul’s an eventual target, allowing the system to absorb the diminution of government over several years, rather than a little over seven months. What Rand Paul recommends is cold turkey. I think weaning is more appropriate.

In a way, it reminds me of something I hear during our occasional snows. Various enterprises announce, “Only essential workers should report.” The obvious question is that if some workers aren’t essential, why are they being paid? Paul’s answer is that they shouldn’t be — if it isn’t essential, it’s a luxury, and these days the U.S. can’t afford luxuries. He’s got a point.

H/T: Reason.

About profmondo

Dad, husband, mostly free individual, medievalist, writer, and drummer. "Gladly wolde he lerne and gladly teche."
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