Republicans in Congress are using their leverage in the ongoing fight to raise the federal government’s debt limit to demand spending cuts and a balanced budget. But some of them aren’t serious, Senator Rand Paul says in a new interview with BASEDPolitics, because they’re not willing to touch our huge entitlement programs or military spending.
In fact, Paul says Republican cowardice is what got us into this mess.
“Republicans… they’re fit to be tied if we don’t spend unlimited amounts on the military,” the senator said. “Democrats are the same with welfare. So, between welfare and warfare, the money just ratchets up. The compromise has always been to raise both… the compromise now should be to lower both.”
It’s simply not possible to balance the federal budget without cutting these areas, Paul points out: “I’ve been telling them the math doesn’t add up… the budget never balances. You have to look at the numbers closely.”
He explained that you could eliminate all non-military, discretionary spending and still you wouldn’t close the federal budget gap. (And that is just not going to happen).
But establishment Republicans’ unwillingness to touch entitlements doesn’t just doom the GOP’s chances of following through on its commitment to a balanced budget. It also dooms these programs themselves to cuts by default when they become insolvent in just a few years.
“I worry that [some] conservatives are saying, ‘we’re not going to look at Social Security or Medicare,’” Paul lamented. “Well, if you don’t look at reforming these big programs, you’re not a serious person. You have to — they’re going broke! They both spend more money than comes in.”
“The math doesn’t work,” he continued. “And so you have to do something, not because you dislike old people or you want to punish them, you have to do something to preserve these programs. If we do nothing, instead of gradually increasing fees, you have a cliff. That cliff is a 20% reduction in benefits in the next several years. We do have to do something to reform all of these programs and we have to get to the point where we spend what comes in.”
Senator Paul also discussed several proposals to reform the budget process, like mandating spending cuts instead of government shutdowns and instructing the Treasury Security to avoid defaulting on the debt by instead cutting federal spending elsewhere so they can make interest payments on time.