Senator-elect Rand Paul (R-Ky.) is among the most forthright of conservative deficit hawks when it comes to straight talk about cutting spending, but in his interview with Christiane Amanpour on ABC’s This Week, even Paul largely shied away from specifics:
“Republicans traditionally say, ‘Oh, we’ll cut domestic spending, but we won’t touch the military,’” Paul explained. “The liberals — the ones who are good — will say, ‘Oh, we’ll cut the military, but we won’t cut domestic spending.’”
As for Paul and his tea party friends, “Bottom line is, you have to look at everything across the board.”
To Paul’s credit, he’s honest about his desire to make changes to Social Security and Medicare, saying the age of eligibility might have to increase. But his other talking points — cutting federal worker wages and freezing hiring, ending earmarks — sound surprisingly like those of some of his less serious Republican colleagues. The question likely to dominate the next Congress is what programs and/or parts of government Republicans will point to when it comes time to put their proposed cuts into writing. The idea of cutting spending is often, as the recent elections demonstrated, quite popular, while specific cuts are just as often not. So far, however, even Paul is staying largely mum on the big question.