July 2nd, 2010
02:29 PM ET
13 years ago

Rand Paul compares U.S. economy to fall of Roman Empire

Washington (CNN) - Kentucky Senate candidate Rand Paul sees economic doom possibly on the horizon for the U.S. using one of the most spectacular collapses in history to illustrate his point.

Paul says there's a similarity between America's current economic situation and the fall of the Roman Empire. On Thursday, the Republican compared recent U.S. government assistance programs – such as the stimulus package – to Roman emperors giving away food and entertainment as the Roman economy collapsed.

"In the latter days of Rome, the economy was crumbling, the emperor…would placate the mob with bread and circus - food and entertainment to placate them since the economy was in shambles and dwindling around them," Paul told Tea Party activists at a rally, according to the Louisville Courier-Journal and confirmed to CNN by Paul's campaign.

"Now in our country, as our economy is in shambles, they give us Cash for Clunkers and a stimulus check and they tell us to go to the mall and spend your money and everything will be OK," the Courier-Journal reports Paul added.

Paul campaign spokesman Jesse Benton told CNN the candidate was simply using a metaphor to make a serious point.

"He uses it as a metaphor to illustrate that great nations can fall if they're not respectful of their great traditions," Benton said. "If we don't avert ourselves from our path of unsustainable debt…we are going to see some cataclysmic consequences."

Benton was asked if Paul's "metaphor" means the candidate believes the U.S. government is doling out something akin to "bread and circus – food and entertainment" simply to satisfy angry mobs of Americans.

"People are scared and they very much want action," Benton told CNN. "So the government is trying to placate people by showing them they're taking action. But it's the wrong action."

The campaign for Paul's Democratic opponent, state Attorney General Jack Conway, is responding to Paul's words.

Conway press secretary Allison Haley told CNN, "With the unemployment rate in Kentucky well over 10%, Jack Conway is focused on bringing jobs to Kentuckians and restoring accountability to Wall Street and Washington. And we'll leave the comparisons to others."

Filed under: 2010 • Kentucky • Rand Paul
soundoff (63 Responses)
  1. jojo

    Paul is correct to a degree...I do believe the U.S. is headed for collapse and since our economy "drives" most of the world the world will follow us to probably the worse economic depression in history.

    But like most "Depressions" some people will remain very wealthy. This is the problem with our society, we earmark people by the size of their purse rather then the size of their character. It's going to get ugly and IMO the next 10 years will be the beginning of the end for our way of life...I think only the European Union can somewhat survive as they have a stronger interstructure and aren't dependent on us like China, India, Japan, Middle East & South America are.

    The sad thing is...even if you have savings, how valuable are those savings when the U.S. dollar is rendered worthless...?

    July 2, 2010 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  2. Larry

    And we compare Paul's stupidity to bad genes.

    July 2, 2010 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  3. LB in FL

    And Paul would be correct that the U.S. resembles the fall of the Roman Empire if he and the other teabaggers get elected as Senators and Congresspersons this November.

    And they call President Obama radical! It is always opposite day in the world of right wing nuts!

    July 2, 2010 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  4. Iowa

    The Romans gave free bread and "circuses" to the population of the city of Rome in the heyday of the Republic.

    They gave free bread and circuses to the population during the glory days of the Empire.

    They continued to give free bread and circuses to the population as the Empire slowly teetered towards collapse, after many, many centuries of free bread and circuses.

    Of all the many reasons for Rome's collapse, their penchant for public spectacles and their distribution of bread rations as a reaction to the real world challenge of sustaining a megacity of 1,000,000 people should not be included.

    July 2, 2010 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  5. sammieb51

    And when is Rand going to be on MTP or any other reputable non-scripted news show so we can see what he is really made of? He cancelled his May 23 appearance - not ready for prime time and he thinks he will stand a chance in congress? Maybe he and Sarah can both be on the same show since she won't appear on them either.

    July 2, 2010 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  6. Warren

    Rand Paul–not even fit to teach a high school civics class with an analogy like that!

    July 2, 2010 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  7. Jonny-Boy

    It is clear that Mr. Paul doesn't understand much about history. He would know that the grain dole system in Rome had been in place since before Augustus, and games for the masses had gone on about as long. I don't know, Rand, Rome lived about 500 years after this system was put in place, if that's the run the US has ahead of it we have nothing to worry about.

    July 2, 2010 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  8. Silence DoGood

    We need to break from the one party system (RepubDemLicanCrats) or we will keep doing the same things over and over.

    July 2, 2010 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  9. Kwesoe

    Mr. Paul seems to have a skewed concept of history. The economy of the Roman empire was based on a command model and not on capitalism. To equate the two is like comparing apples and oranges. But that is the type of gabbage the tea partiers like to hear. It would be refreshing if the republicans can come up with some solution rather than sitting back to criticize the administration that at least trying to help people.

    July 2, 2010 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  10. chuck

    Yes, please let's have more Tea Party idiots run as Republicans in November. Rome's economy collapsed because of corrupt poiticians with all the wealth and power at the top and no one had any more money to pay their taxes. The army stopped getting paid and so they stopped fighting for the empire and decided to freelance for whoever would employ them. We do have a similar issue here today, and the only way to solve it to separate the extremely wealthy from the wealth their simply sitting on or passing around amongst themselves. If they don't want to invest in jobs to get this economy back on it's feet, tax them and redistribute it that way.

    July 2, 2010 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  11. Mickey, NY

    Yes, Ron, and you can thank the Conservative movement and those Domestic Terrorists, the GOP, for that.

    July 2, 2010 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  12. Republicans is smart in the head area

    I love Rand Paul. He's going down the tubes faster than BP stock and he's going to take the Tea Party and Republican Party with him. He's a complete tool.

    July 2, 2010 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  13. PacificView

    I think I'd apply a metaphor of snake oil salesman to Rand Paul.

    July 2, 2010 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
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