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Interview with Senator Rand Paul

Interview with Senator Rand Paul

By The Situation Room - January 26, 2011


BLITZER: President Obama may have called for belt tightening, but one upcoming Republican wants to go way beyond that. Joining us now from Capitol Hill, Senator Rand Paul, the newly elected senator from Kentucky.

Senator Paul, thanks very much for coming in.

SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: Good to be with you, Wolf.

BLITZER: Let's talk about your $500 billion proposal to cut all the spending, including basically eliminating or restructuring the departments of housing, energy, education, a lot of people are saying it's not going to go anywhere. Give us the bottom line. What's going to happen to all these people who are going to lose their jobs?

PAUL: Well, here's the amazing thing. I'm talking about $500 billion in cuts, but that's only a third of the problem for one year. Our deficit is $1.5 trillion so I figure I'm being very modest with my proposal because I'm only going to tackle a third of the problem.

And what I tell the people who say we can only go $50 billion or $100 billion because it will dislocate people. What I say is what are you going to do when we have no money left to pay for our bills? Can we continue to borrow from China to pay for operating costs?

It's untenable. The Federal Reserve chairman says it's unsustainable. A lot of smart people are starting to wake up and say we can't sustain this level of debt.

BLITZER: Have you done a study how many people if your plan were approved would lose their jobs? How many federal employees?

PAUL: Well, I guess, I look at it the opposite way. If you shrink the government sector, you expand the private sector. Right now, the government sector is spending one out of four GDP dollars. Twenty five percent of our gross domestic product is being spent by government. I want to reduce that percentage, but that allows the private sector to grow and more private sector jobs to be created.

BLITZER: Because our little, you know, ballpark estimate based on your proposals, about 100,000 people would be out of work if these programs that you recommend be killed actually were approved. That's a lot of people who would lose their jobs.

PAUL: Well, the other thing is $500 billion that's being borrowed from China wouldn't have to be borrowed from China. What I'm concerned about and I admit it won't be easy. But what I'm concerned about, if we do nothing, if we coast along as we've been coasting, entitlements and interests will consume the whole debt within a decade. It will consume the whole budget.

There'll be nothing left for anything else. What my fear is we can have a precipitous calamity where nobody gets any checks from governments. Social Security fails, Medicare fails. Unless we start making the tough decisions now, and where I'm different than some in Washington is I'm willing to stand up and say these are tough decisions. They're not easy. I'm going to propose a solution before we have a calamity.

BLITZER: You basically though not touching at least very much, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security of defense for that matter are you?

PAUL: Well, we do cut military spending by 6 percent out of the 2011 budget and I think that is the only compromise that will ever balance the budget or get us out of our debt problems, is conservatives have to be willing to give up military spending and liberals have to be willing to give up some welfare spending. When those two get together, we can cut spending enough to really have a serious impact.

BLITZER: You want to end all foreign aid as well, is that right?

PAUL: Yes and in fact, the other day Reuters did a poll, 71 percent of American people agree with me that when we're short of money, where we can't do the things we need to do in our country, we certainly shouldn't be shipping the money overseas.

BLITZER: What about humanitarian aid for example to Africa? Do you want to end all of that?

PAUL: Well, you know, it's interesting. I have a great deal of sympathy for people in Africa or struggling under AIDS and various diseases, malaria, but it's interesting. Foreign aid has been estimated that 70 percent of foreign aid is stolen off the top by corrupt dictators in Africa and various other places.

You know, look at Haiti. I have a great deal of sympathy. I've been to fundraisers privately to send money to Haiti, but at the same time. You don't want to just keep throwing money to corrupt leaders who steal it from their people.

Look at Zimbabwe where the money is stolen by the leader. They don't have running water and electricity in most of the country, but they've got rubies and diamonds and leaders who live in mansions bigger than anyone in the world.

BLITZER: What about the $2 billion or $3 billion that goes every year to Israel? Do you want to eliminate that as well?

PAUL: Well, I think what you have to do is you have to look. When you send foreign aid, you actually quite a bit to Israel's enemies, Islamic nations around Israel get quite a bit of foreign aid, too.

BLITZER: Egypt gets almost the same amount?

PAUL: Almost the same amount so really you have to ask yourself, are we funding an arms race on both sides? I have a lot of sympathy and respect for Israel as a democratic nation, as a, you know, a fountain of piece and a fountain of democracy within the Middle East.

But at the same time, I don't think funding both sides of the arm race, particularly when we have to borrow the money from China to send it to someone else. We just can't do it anymore. The debt is all consuming and it threatens our well being as a country.

BLITZER: All right, so just to be precise, end all foreign aid including the foreign aid to Israel as well. Is that right?

PAUL: Yes.

BLITZER: All right, Senator Rand Paul, thanks very much for coming?

PAUL: Thank you, Wolf.

 

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