Rand Paul: Automatic cuts may be the only way
November 20th, 2011
10:25 AM ET
11 years ago

Rand Paul: Automatic cuts may be the only way

(CNN) - Rand Paul, the Kentucky senator who was elected with strong support from the tea party, said Sunday the automatic cuts that would follow a super committee failure may be the only way for Congress to reach a debt-cutting deal.

“Automatic cuts (sequestration) are sort of like telling your children that, you know, if you don't clean up your mess, or else,” Paul said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

“Maybe we need the ‘or else’ because Congress isn't behaving the way they should be behaving. Maybe sequestration is our only way we will get any kind of cuts,” Paul said.

Paul said the major cuts to budget of the Department of Defense wouldn’t actually amount to spending cuts, only cuts in proposed expenditures.

“I think we need to be honest about it,” Paul said. “The interesting thing is there will be no cuts in military spending. This may surprise some people, but there will be no cuts in military spending because we're only cutting proposed increases. If we do nothing, military spending goes up 23% over 10 years. If we sequester the money, it will still go up 16%. So spending is still rising under any of these plans. In fact, if you look at both alternatives, spending is still going up. We're only cutting proposed increases in spending.”

Last week, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta sent a letter to lawmakers describing the potential cuts as “devastating,” saying the impact would be substantial upon the armed services.

“These changes would break faith with those who maintain our military and seriously damage readiness,” Panetta wrote.

On Sunday, Paul downplayed Panetta’s forecast.

“That's an interpretation,” Paul said. “But what I can tell you … is that defense spending will go up $100 billion over 10 years even if we sequester $600 billion, because the curve of spending in our country is going up at about 7.5% a year. All spending goes up.”

Another consequence of not reaching a deficit reduction deal is the expiration of unemployment benefits by the end of the year. Paul said he couldn’t support extended those benefits unless they’re funded.

“If you want to extend unemployment benefits, they have to be paid for,” Paul said. “We have an unemployment program. We have a tax for it. It's paid for for 26 weeks. So the question is, do we want to borrow money from China to pay people not to work?”

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soundoff (21 Responses)
  1. Four and The Door

    Although I am generally not a huge fan of his, I totally agree with Rand Paul here. The automatic across-the-board cuts are the best result we are going to get. They are good and they are needed. If everyone walks away from the super-committee right now, America wins. Let the cuts begin!

    November 20, 2011 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  2. SixDegrees

    The problem with this is simple: Congress is ALREADY maneuvering to weasel out of the "automatic" cuts, just as they are poised to weasel out of any agreement the super-committee manages to reach. All these histrionics are a farce; Congress is completely incapable of reducing its own spending.

    The only realistic solution is to toss some bleach into the toilet that Washington has become, and vote against ANYONE who already holds office.

    November 20, 2011 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  3. steven harnack

    I once thought that Panetta was a cut above the other money-grubbing politicians but he has shown himself to be just another puffed up rooster out to defend his little piece of farmyard.

    November 20, 2011 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  4. Seattle Sue

    Why would I listen to a crazy man? I would not put any credence in his crazy father either.

    November 20, 2011 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  5. scott

    And yet Rand Paul forgets that we "Borrow money from China" to pay his salary and he makes no mention of that. Are there only Hypocrites left in the World?

    November 20, 2011 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  6. Clwyd

    Yup! it is maybe the only way to slash the spending for our military and our constant state of war brought on by bush aand the republicans! Cut, slash, but increase revenue by letting the bush tax cuts expire!

    November 20, 2011 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  7. Tony in Maine

    Mr. Paul will not be content until there is no government that is paid for by him. He will tolerate government that does not hinder him in any activity as long as it is financed by others – preferably the "little people."

    November 20, 2011 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  8. Edwin Merit

    Although I am normally more of a fan of his father more-so than Rand, I agree that the automatic cuts should probably be triggered. I mean, a super-committee? How would our founders feel about us allowing for something as ludicrous as a bipartisan committee deciding what is best for everyone when it comes to the nat'l debt and the future of our nation? I have been slowly losing faith in the American political system, but this one may be the icing on the cake...

    November 20, 2011 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  9. bcrunner

    It's not the best way to cut spending, but if it happens, I personally will be OK with it. Because the Democrats have given and given and the Republicans will not compromise to reach a deal. This way, you couple the spending cuts with the Bush tax-cuts expiring next year and it may work. We already knew there would be spending cuts... and they do not start until 2013 which is important to see if we can get the economy to move in the meantime...

    November 20, 2011 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  10. KatR

    If unemployment benefits are not renewed before the end of this year, as Paul suggests might happen, we will see the revolution he and his father predict will happen because those who really need that check will storm the Capitol.

    November 20, 2011 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  11. GI Joe

    Oh God, we're stuck with this self-agrandizing idiot from Kentucky four more years. He's as looney-toons as his father and will spout anything his corporate masters tell him to spout.

    November 20, 2011 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  12. RonFromNM

    Growing the govt at 7.5% per year is unsustainable. We have to get our house in order before it bankrupts the country. We need cuts, we need the Bush tax cuts to expire and the capital gains taxes to be progressive with income level.

    November 20, 2011 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  13. diridi

    idiots, cuts, cuts, cuts..medicare, social security, health care...what a nonsense...if you have guts, raise revenue by Tax on who make 250k or more.....o.k, cut defense...we do not need wars...if GOP idiots say wars, send their sons, daughters, wife, to wars, not innocent poor white, black, brown...o.k, GOP idiots are for rich, corporate., insurance looters...not for you Middle Class America....not for you...

    November 20, 2011 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  14. chuck weidemann

    The question is Ron Paul ...What do you do with a nation full of people not working !! Most blue collar workers while unemployed will work for cash...gee no tax revenue there. Defense industry lays off workers because of projected earnings decline more unemployed. But you got yours don't you Ron!!! Must be nice to take our money...then take things we pay for away?? Get real!!!

    November 20, 2011 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  15. chuck weidemann

    The question is Ron...why can't educated people do the job they are paid to do? Make it work!! Peoples 401ks decline,savings investments decline all because you and others of your mind set don't care for the working class. Your fat pensions and healthcare are paid for. Let's cut those 100%

    November 20, 2011 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  16. chuck weidemann

    Like father like son! Rand.Least both Bushes had the same name.

    November 20, 2011 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  17. justathought

    The best way to "borrow" money from China, is to bring home the jobs. The only way to do this is to raise 'duty fees'[fees levied on retailers to bring foregin products into the country] so high , that it would make manufacturing in the U.S. more practical. Excepting certain agriculture products, i.e. seasonal products and products that can not be grown in the U.S.

    November 20, 2011 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  18. chuck weidemann

    Maybe .let's cut all funds for education!!! Then we might not know there is a better way!!! Hey Rand what's the or else with your kid? Just curious???

    November 20, 2011 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  19. sd

    FIRE THEM ALL !!!! They enrich themselves using inside information to trade stocks, buy real-estate, and leave office much wealthier than when they arrived...

    Seriously, why do we even have them....I vote for term limits, or at least STRIP THEIR BENEFITS !! no salary, no health insurance, nothing...THEY ARE THE PROBLEM, not the hard working tax payers in this country....VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE THEM ALL OUT !!!!!!!!!!!

    November 20, 2011 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  20. Ranger Dan

    The other inevitabilities are big tax increases for everybody when the Bush tax cuts expire next year, and of course 14 million more in poverty when extended unemployment runs out.

    November 20, 2011 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  21. w l jones

    What so bad about borrowing money from Chinia? Every since ww11 every country in world we gave and loan money only none of them paid us back. But they can thank us for theirs high stander of living which indeed a plus for all of us. With some exceptant and old Jewish once said if you have enough to give to the poor one have enough for himself that said we our government is not as poor as the media proclain. Enough said.

    November 20, 2011 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |