Ron Paul unimpressed by debt deal, calls for much more serious spending cuts
After weeks of Congressional wrangling over raising the debt ceiling, U.S. Rep. Ron Paul**threw a wet rag on celebrations by his Republican colleagues**, with a commentary in the Houston Chronicle Monday.
As in the past, Paul said the Republican plan for the national debt is all politics and no substance. “In spite of the rhetoric being thrown around, the real debate is over how much government spending will increase,” he wrote.
In reality, bringing our fiscal house into order is not that complicated or excruciatingly painful at all. If we simply kept spending at current levels, by their definition of “cuts” that would save nearly $400 billion in the next few years, versus the $25 billion the Budget Control Act claims to “cut”. It would only take us 5 years to “cut” $1 trillion, in Washington math, just by holding the line on spending. That is hardly austere or catastrophic.
Paul wistfully recalls the halcyon days of 2002, when the federal government spent just $2.2 trillion — “and the government was far from small that year” — compared to $3.7 million today.
We pay 35 percent more for our military today than we did 10 years ago, for the exact same capabilities. The same could be said for the rest of the government. Why has our budget doubled in 10 years? This country doesn’t have double the population, or double the land area, or double anything that would require the federal government to grow by such an obscene amount.
In Washington terms, a simple freeze in spending would be a much bigger “cut” than any plan being discussed. If politicians simply cannot bear to implement actual cuts to actual spending, just freezing the budget would give the economy the best chance to catch its breath, recover and grow.
In a separate statement on the debt ceiling deal, Paul further explained his opposition to the Republican deal, saying it was “good to see serious debate about our debt crisis,” but that “I have never voted to raise the debt ceiling, and I never will.”
Paul goes on:
This deal will reportedly cut spending by only slightly over $900 billion over 10 years. But we will have a $1.6 trillion deficit after this year alone, meaning those meager cuts will do nothing to solve our unsustainable spending problem. In fact, this bill will never balance the budget. Instead, it will add untold trillions of dollars to our deficit. This also assumes the cuts are real cuts and not the same old Washington smoke and mirrors game of spending less than originally projected so you can claim the difference as a ‘cut.’
The plan also calls for the formation of a deficit commission, which will accomplish nothing outside of providing Congress and the White House with another way to abdicate responsibility. In my many years of public service, there have been commissions on everything from Social Security to energy policy, yet not one solution has been produced out of these commissions.
Rather than leave things on such a down note in the midst of a presidential campaign, Paul closed with a message of hope, or something like it:
These difficult times require a President willing to stand against runaway spending. If elected, I will veto any spending bill that contributes to an unbalanced budget, and I will balance the budget in the first year of my term. I will not allow the Federal Reserve to destroy the value of our money by shoveling dollars into the pockets of its banker friends.