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March 18, 2011

Rand Paul's Five Year Budget Plan: Surplus by 2016, Four Federal Agencies Eliminated

I used to say that plans like this weren't realistic. But the situation has changed, the Overton Window has moved, and what was unrealistic is now a lot more plausible. Plus, even if it's still not doable, it is always useful to push towards the right here.

Let us not presume that all federal agencies are needed. Zero-based budgeting: Every year an agency must argue for its relevance.

It's time to start cutting, seriously, and this seems serious. Via Hot Air.

Senator Rand Paul, R-Ky., unveiled today his five-year path to a balanced budget, leaving several federal agencies behind. Among the items on the cutting room floor are the Departments of Education, Energy, Commerce and Housing and Urban Development.

“There’s a lot of things in here that everybody could agree to, Republicans and Democrats, but nobody’s leading on the president’s side and on our side we felt we needed to put this forward to get the debate started, at the very least,” the freshman Senator explained at a Capitol Hill press conference this afternoon.

The proposal also calls for the repeal of “Obamacare,” but leaves entitlements untouched.


According to Paul, a Tea Party conservative, the proposal will bring spending to the “historic average since World War II” in just one year. He further claims the budget achieves a $19 billion surplus by FY2016 and will bring all non-military discretionary spending back to FY2008 levels.

"Leaving entitlements untouched" is a nice selling point to get these cuts enacted -- and all cuts are good -- but the fact is there is no way to balance our longer-term budget without some combination of jacking up taxes on those working or reducing some benefits for those retiring. There is no Option C. If you're in favor of full benefits, they you're also in favor of hiking taxes on workers to historic highs. That may be a lot of things but it's not remotely conservative.

So I presume Rand Paul means this would balance the budget only in the time frame proposed and, likely, only with respect to the non-entitlement side of things. But that's okay -- we are in such dire fiscal straights we need an All of the Above policy. If Paul is proposing to get the current operating budget side of things in shape -- good, that is one of the things we need.

We need other things, but we need that too.

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posted by Ace at 01:44 PM

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