A short note on Rand Paul’s shaming of the GOP

For those who don’t know what I’m talking about, Rand Paul delayed a new, 700-page congressional budget that purportedly adds $300 billion to the deficit. CNN has the money shot:

“When the Democrats are in power, Republicans appear to be the conservative party,” Paul said at one point. “But when Republicans are in power, it seems there is no conservative party. The hypocrisy hangs in the air and chokes anyone with a sense of decency or intellectual honesty.”

Read the rest. The delay lasted a couple of hours. What I found most interesting was the complaining, by Senators and House Representatives alike, about having to stay up until 4 or 5 in the morning to pass the budget.

Good. At first I was incensed that politicians could think of nothing other than getting a good night’s sleep after adding hundreds of billions of dollars to the deficit (these are the same people who have voted to give themselves six-figure salaries for their “public service”), but then I remembered, thanks in part to Rick’s constant reminders, to give my enemies all my faith. Washington’s politicians probably believe they are doing honest work, and that adding to the already massive deficit is okay as long as it achieves a bipartisan consensus.

One other thought: Rand Paul is playing politics when he uses the term “conservative” to describe budget discipline. He knows, like Jacques, that conservatives are unprincipled, middle-of-the-road opportunists, but in today’s public discourse, fiscal discipline is somehow associated with conservatism, so he uses the term “conservative” to describe his libertarian politics.

Does anybody know where the deficit actually stands?

5 thoughts on “A short note on Rand Paul’s shaming of the GOP

  1. It occurred to me as I was writing this how little I pay attention to domestic politics anymore.

    I used to write a great deal on politics, and to pay a great of attention to the doings of politicians, but nowadays I pay much more attention to judges and diplomats than I do to politicians.

    This likely has to do with the fact that I’m getting older, but also that I’ve morphed over time from a left-liberal into a libertarian. It might also have to do with the fact that I’ve received a formal education, but I am less certain of this. Many people have degrees today who are very passionate followers of politicians and their promises, after all.

    I can’t remember when it dawned on me, but politicians are supposed to tell you want you want to hear. That’s how they get votes. The whole system is set up to make them look bad. This is a good thing, too, because it forces you to think for yourself. I think I came across this insight in Tocqueville’s Democracy in America, but I can’t be sure anymore.

    I still don’t know how we’re supposed to pay off the deficit. My initial thought is to start selling off land out west, which would pay off a good chunk of the deficit, and also pay out all those bureaucrats who would no longer have a department to work in (because they’ve been eliminated). What would you do?

  2. I am proud of Paul’s principled stand.

    The deficit is about $60,000 per person, $124,000 per taxpayer. It was comparatively higher post WWII. It’s not completely obvious the deficit should be paid off, and certainly not completely. Where do old geezers park their money if there are no T-bonds? The post-WWII deficit was reduced to little by economic growth supported by demographic growth, I think.

    Going into debt to buy plumbing tools is not the same as going into debt to remunerate strippers, for example.

    • Right, but if Congress just cut taxes, wouldn’t it be wise to cut spending as well? This is the impression I got, from you, when you criticized Obama and the Democrats for the large deficits they gave us.

      Also, are you going to attend Il Dunce‘s military parade?

      • You got the wrong impression. OBama expanded fed costs enormously and id nothing to accelerate economic growth after his first six months. Some of his measures would obviously, predictably slow growth, practically all environmental measures. His main economic adviser, Larry Summer even gave the policy a name” secular stagnation.” Let the record show that I think Pres. Trump is too optimistic about the effects of his policies on growth. And his stance on international trade is awful and counterproductive.

  3. It’s not obvious that cutting taxes requires cutting spending. It depends if cutting taxes produces higher economic growth . The latter results in automatic growth in government revenue. So far, a very short time after the mere announcement of tax reform, that’s the scenario I am seeing. Too early to tell; we will see in one year (or less). I believe that is overwhelmingly what happened in the past, in the US and elsewhere. I think the fed government should cut spending for other reasons, including ethical ones. But then, no one really believes Trump is a conservative, and much of the Rep. Party in Congress is composed of old-style, self-indulgent types.

    It’s easy to make jokes about the elected president. He offers a broad enough surface. But see what company that puts you in. The project of an annual military parade has one small merit. Showing your gun sometimes saves you from having to use it. It would have no effect on he Chinese or on the Russians but it might impress petty tyrants who live in a bubble.

Please keep it civil

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