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. Rick in OP

    As much as I hate to admit it, I think he is absolutely correct.

    July 2, 2010 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  2. Larry

    How the hell can a guy with "Dr." in front of his name be this f...ing stupid.

    July 2, 2010 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  3. John

    Of course he did. Because Rome's economy had SO much to do with its fall. Another idiot on the verge of being elected! Heaven help us!

    July 2, 2010 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  4. faux news lamebrain

    Unbelievable !!! I am ashamed that this turkey is even a citizen of the US. I live about one hour from where he lives. He needs to get his head out of his own ass and help with solutions instead of being a freaking Chicken Little.

    Tea Party= Hypocrites.

    What is YOUR solution Rand???????....that's what I though....all blame and NO game!!

    July 2, 2010 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  5. Djinn

    And perhaps he is saying that he and Palin and Beck and company are the circus???

    July 2, 2010 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  6. Marie MD

    Oh gawd!!!
    If I was this guy I would keep my trap shut. He put his foot in his mouth from the get go and every time he opens it the foot goes deeper and deeper.
    Who is scared? And who wants action? Oh yes, the teabaggers because their country was taken off planet and they want it back.
    The only circus in town is this clown.
    Oh yeah, get a haircut will you?

    July 2, 2010 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  7. Get A Grip

    Well, at least there are some politicians that aren't wearing rose colored glasses. We're in big trouble and the last folks to get us out of it is Obama and his administration.

    I'm beginning to like this Rand Paul more and more everyday.

    July 2, 2010 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  8. American Patriot - a "real" tea partier

    Is this man really this stupid?

    July 2, 2010 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  9. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Yea Rand! Way to lift up the spirits of your fellow Americans! Definite leadership qualities you have...NOT!

    July 2, 2010 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  10. Phatti D'Pozit

    This man is an idiot and a scary one at that. Interestingly, he has put forth no better "action". I guess it's just easier to bash a group or a person to take the spotlight off yourself....the Romans did that too to the Christians and one person in particular. Need I say more?

    July 2, 2010 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  11. CaliforniaBC

    WOW!! Here we go...another "American" with a poor understanding of history. This is not what brought down the Roman Empire. There were NUMEROUS reasons for the collapse and giving out bread at events in one place, the Colosseum, out of the entire Empire had no effect on this. Where did he get his history lesson from? Watching Gladiator?

    What a moron. Remember this people when you go to the polls. Do you really want such and uneducated idiot in a leadership role??

    July 2, 2010 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  12. ccm123

    Why is our economy in shambles Rand? Didn't Bush cut everyone a stimulus check and tell everyone to go shopping? I remember getting $300 from the treasury. I have not received any free bread or have gone to the Circus Maximus under our current "emperor."

    For someone who wants to be a Senator and aligning themselves with the Tea Party, a organization of "real americans", I find your lack of faith in our country most disturbing!

    Please, do not open your mouth any more until you have received a history lesson.

    July 2, 2010 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  13. maf

    Keep talking Rand, we can't wait to hear what comes out of your mouth next!!!

    How simplistic are you? Compare this time with the collapse of the Roman Empire?? Do you have any solutions?? Were you a Republican during the last administration??? Were you against the huge debt build up then???

    Give your head a shake man!

    You are providing some TEMPORARY comic relief though. Can't wait for the elections!!

    July 2, 2010 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |

    What a DRAMA QUEEN

    July 2, 2010 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  15. hobart

    Yes Rand Paul thinks that the greatest country in the world cannot afford public schools, much less social security, or anything that benefits society as a whole. He thinks that BP should not have to clean up its mess in the Gulf, and to all those who lost their jobs as a consequence, tough luck.

    We all played by Republican rules during the Bush administration, and thanks to their failed policies, many of us lost our life savings and retirement plans with the collapse of Wall Street, many of us lost our health care with their unregulated skyrocketing costs in spite of record profits, and now along the Gulf Coast, many of us have lost our livelihoods thanks to Republican deregulation of the oil industry.

    And Rand Paul's solution to all this? Tough luck, we're just collateral damage in the grand Republican economic experiment and their worship of free enterprise.

    Rand Paul, why do you hate America?

    July 2, 2010 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  16. Marcus

    'In the latter days of Rome, the economy was crumbling, the emperor…would placate the mob with bread and circus'

    Besides being a racist idiot he's another person who needs to go back to school and re-read his History books.
    'Panis et Circensis' (Bread and Circus) was the way that the Monarchy, after that the Aristocratic Republic, then later the Republic (with the participation of the commoners) and finally the Empire, dealt with the Roman citizens ever since the beginning of Rome.
    It wasn't enough when things were really tough for the people, when the government either did its job or faced a revolution/big transformation.
    So besides ZERO in Arithmetic, Economy and US History, Mr. Paul also lacks knowledge of Ancient History...

    July 2, 2010 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  17. Greg Pottstown PA

    Rand hit the nail right on the head.

    July 2, 2010 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  18. PIERCE

    Rand forgot to say that in his vision of the world as it should be, only those with stimulus checks who the mall owners want in will get in.

    Minorities can go elsewhere.

    All those civil rights laws are so inconvenient, aren't they, Rand?

    July 2, 2010 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  19. Tulsa

    This guy is a liar and idiot.
    Check out his "medical" practice.
    He's a charlitan who would have us go back to a time when segregation was the law.
    No Education, no Health care, no Social Security, the good life for the rich and hell for the rest.
    Is that what you really want?

    July 2, 2010 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  20. ST

    Hey Rand Paul, The Roman emperors gave food to its people to avoid death. If it were you, would you have watched them dying? This man needs to polish his tongue. He seems to talk with a loose tongue quite different from his father!

    July 2, 2010 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  21. Greg

    Can you say Nut Job. I hope this thing looses big time, if not Kentucky and the United States are in serious trouble.

    July 2, 2010 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  22. ex-repulican since McCain picked Palin

    OMG! Is this guy a nuts or what? The only thing worse than him is Palin.

    July 2, 2010 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  23. Irma in North Carolina

    So Rand is out there shooting of his mouth again, following in Sarah's foot steps. Neither of them know what they are talking about. They also don't have any solutions how to fix things. Lets keep the teabaggers and racism out of washington. The republican party is full of them and they need to go.

    July 2, 2010 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  24. Brett from Oriskany,VA

    Rand Paul needs a history lesson. The fall of the western Roman empire in 476AD was caused by many factors.The largest factor probably was the quality of the Roman army. Roman armies by 476 had become comprised of mostly Germanic and other barbarian mercenary types. Basically from about the time of Honorius( circa 400AD) they gradually gained control until the title of emperor was no longer necessary. Odoacer returned the imperial regalia to Constantinople in 476 after deposing the child emperor Romulus Augustulus.
    The free bread and games were always apart of Imperial policy to control the populations of what we might call today the inner cities. Roman economy had many ups and downs, just like ours. In the late 200's Rome was on the verge of collapse but was saved by the reforms of Diocletian and upheld by strong leaders like Constantine and Theodosius. America's impending collapse might be better paralleled by the decline of the Ottoman empire in the 19th century, when special interests and coinage debasement robbed the central government of power.

    July 2, 2010 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  25. Save the metaphors until describing your campaign loss in November.........

    Where does the Tea Party learn about it's Political ideology ???

    It must be from "Politics for Dummies"............

    July 2, 2010 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
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