Rand Paul: It’s time to end foreign aid, including aid to Israel

posted at 7:42 pm on January 28, 2011 by Allahpundit

Skip ahead to 3:15 for the exchange on foreign aid generally and to 4:15 for the key bit. Paul’s not singling Israel out here; it’s Blitzer who brings it up, and Paul’s careful to offer praise before making his case that we simply can’t afford it anymore. He knows he’s suspect on this point because of his surname and has tried to deal with it behind the scenes. Remember this tidbit from that GQ hit piece on him last year?

Ron Paul, in addition to his extreme views on the federal government, has been a harsh critic of the Republican Party’s “military adventurism,” and in the past Rand has faithfully echoed his father’s views. He opposed the war in Iraq, once characterized the September 11 attacks as “blowback for our foreign policy,” and scoffed at the threat of Iranian nukes. And yet here he was in Washington, seeking out a secret meeting with some of the Ron Paul Revolutionaries’ biggest bogeymen. At a private office in Dupont Circle, he talked foreign policy with Bill Kristol, Dan Senor, and Tom Donnelly, three prominent neocons who’d been part of an effort to defeat him during the primary. “He struck me as genuinely interested in trying to understand why people like us were so apoplectic,” Senor says of their two-hour encounter. “He wanted to get educated about our problem with him. He wasn’t confrontational, and he wasn’t disagreeable. He didn’t seem cemented in his views. He was really in absorption mode.”

The following month, he met with officials from the powerful lobbying group AIPAC (the American Israel Public Affairs Committee), which has frequently clashed with Ron Paul over what the group views as his insufficient support of Israel. Paul, according to one person familiar with the AIPAC meeting, “told them what they wanted to hear: ‘I’m more reasonable than my father on the things you care about.’ He was very solicitous.”

The debate over foreign aid reminds me of the debate over earmarks. Yes, as Paul notes, plenty of it is wasteful, and indeed, when we’re trying to dig our way out of an umpteen-trillion dollar hole, every little bit helps. But compared to the real driver of America’s fiscal catastrophe, it’s small potatoes. That’s what I was getting at in my post about Boehner and Social Security the other day: Every relatively minor spending issue we lay on the table is an opportunity for opponents of entitlement reform to change the subject. Paul, to his great credit, is ready to go after Social Security too, but Democrats are already strategizing on how to short-circuit this debate. The latest: A new “Social Security Caucus” in the Senate aimed at giving Bernie Sanders and Chuck Schumer an extra megaphone to screech about how Republicans want to collapse a social safety net that’s well on its way to collapsing anyway. The foreign aid debate will go one (or both) of two ways for opponents of entitlement reform: Either (a) they’ll force a showdown on the issue to show how “heartless” the GOP is to the impoverished peoples of the Third World and/or (b) they’ll agree to some token reduction in aid and then tout it as a big concession in order to keep public perceptions of what constitutes a “meaningful” cut nice and low. Let’s deal with entitlements first and then start trimming around the edges with earmarks, foreign aid, etc, no?

The other reason this is a bad foot to start off on is, of course, that it’ll never pass. Financial support for Israel is deeply bipartisan in Congress. Even some pro-Israel tea partiers, like Allen West, would be loath to cancel their aid, I suspect, especially with Hezbollah now in control in Lebanon and the Muslim Brotherhood poised to ascend in Egypt. Until Iran’s regime, at least, is replaced with something less feral, there’s simply no way Congress will leave Israel to fend for itself. But I get that he’s making a principled point here about every last expense having to be on the table, so fair enough.


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Comment pages: 1 2 3 4

You don’t understand how that aid furthers US strategic objectives and buys influence

bayam on January 29, 2011 at 4:14 PM

Is anyone else creeped out that foreign aid is an un-Constitutional BRIBE? And that we have slimy canaries singing a song of corruption, and thinking that will lead to something good?

I like Israel, but we are broke and it’s high time we start following Constitution Law and other countries start supporting themselves. There are other ways we can support our allies than resorting to sending them taxpayer dollars illegally.

dominigan on January 30, 2011 at 9:35 PM

Please point out the Article, Section and Clause in the Constitution that entitles foreign countries to the dollars I have earned, because I’m having a REALLY difficult time finding it…

dominigan

Art I Sec 8

audiculous on January 30, 2011 at 10:00 PM

That’s almost as dumb as Chris Matthews Bubble-headed rant. It was FDR that was an isolationist until we were bombed at Pearl Harbor. BTW, in case you don’t remember; FDR was a progressive Democrat.

mizflame98 on January 28, 2011 at 9:17 PM

You shouldn’t rewrite history. Remember Lend-Lease?

Or the gunboats in China?

Here’s a succinct history of US Diplomacy leading up to WWII; read the section entitled “Roosevelt’s War”:

“If my neighbor’s house catches fire,” the president explained to one of his advisers, “and I know that fire will spread to my house unless it is put out, and I am watering the grass in my back yard, and I don’t pass my garden hose over the fence to my neighbor, I am a fool.”

I don’t like FDR, but he certainly was no foreign policy slouch.

unclesmrgol on January 30, 2011 at 10:46 PM

unclesmrgol,

anybody who thinks that FDR was an isolationist instead of a president fighting the isolationists in the Senate needs all the help you’re offering.

audiculous on January 30, 2011 at 11:15 PM

Tennesee farmers get over 4 billion a years in direct welfare payments This is no different than any other inner city welfare program does rand support cuting the welfare payments for farmers

georgealbert on January 31, 2011 at 6:30 AM

Art I Sec 8

audiculous on January 30, 2011 at 10:00 PM

Which clause? It’s not “General Welfare” since that is only a introduction clause tied to the specifics under it.

It’s not tied to taxes, imposts or duties.

You might try to tie it to “regulating foreign commerce”, but that doesn’t fit either. Foreign aid is not commerce, but a gift to the country.

So please answer the question.

dominigan on January 31, 2011 at 9:13 AM

Let’s deal with entitlements first and then start trimming around the edges with earmarks, foreign aid, etc, no?

Lets try to do the impossible first, then we can worry about what we can actually fix? Allah sometimes you analysis sucks. Dude if we cant touch 1%s of the budget what makwes you think we can hit the big stuff. Furthermore what senior is going to vote for cutting their own SS payments or Medicare subsidies while we still send $$$ to Micronesia or whatever. Im not arguing the numbers but rather the politics of what you suggest. Until we at least do the token stuff and prove it can be done, why battle the 800lb gorilla?

snoopicus on January 31, 2011 at 9:15 AM

“If my neighbor’s house catches fire,” the president explained to one of his advisers, “and I know that fire will spread to my house unless it is put out, and I am watering the grass in my back yard, and I don’t pass my garden hose over the fence to my neighbor, I am a fool.”
I don’t like FDR, but he certainly was no foreign policy slouch.

unclesmrgol on January 30, 2011 at 10:46 PM

In your example, he used an analogy about individual responsibility and charity to promote governmental intrusion. Individuals and Governments have different sets of responsibilities.

And the last time I checked a map, Europe isn’t our neighbor.

dominigan on January 31, 2011 at 9:18 AM

snoopicus on January 31, 2011 at 9:15 AM

ABSOLUTELY! Foreign aid should be the easy stuff.

dominigan on January 31, 2011 at 9:20 AM

You might try to tie it to “regulating foreign commerce”, but that doesn’t fit either. Foreign aid is not commerce, but a gift to the country.

So please answer the question.

dominigan

Congress is granted the power to tax and to regulate foreign commerce.
foreign aid may be seen as simply a gift by yourself, but it is not generally seen that way and even the granting of gifts is not expressly denied.

audiculous on January 31, 2011 at 9:23 AM

Stop it. I didn’t say all children of illegal Mexican immigrants were like that and you know it.

I also know you didn’t say some.

Absent the use of all and some, how is one to read your mind?

And don’t use military crap on me again.
ladyingray on January 30, 2011 at 11:27 AM

I will use *U.S. Army Private Armando Soriano on you again. He is not military crap.

Please explain how their children are able to contribute to our society.
ladyingray on January 29, 2011 at 3:26 PM

*U.S. Army Private Armando Soriano’s military service is one explanation for how their children are able to contribute to our society.

* Hat Tip to unclesmrgol for informing HA about U.S. Army Private Armando Soriano’s sacrifice for our country.

rukiddingme on January 31, 2011 at 9:47 AM

Wrong. Time to end foreign aid, I agree, but we MUST support Israel.

CynicalOptimist on January 31, 2011 at 4:33 PM

in the past Rand has faithfully echoed his father’s views. He opposed the war in Iraq, once characterized the September 11 attacks as “blowback for our foreign policy,” and scoffed at the threat of Iranian nukes.

Rand Paul is dead to me.

There is no room in Congress for truthers. period. no exceptions.

Lothar on January 31, 2011 at 5:41 PM

Rand Paul is dead to me.

There is no room in Congress for truthers. period. no exceptions.

Lothar on January 31, 2011 at 5:41 PM

Why is everyone surprised by Rand Paul’s kookiness!?

Like father, like son. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree here.

Rand Paul should not have been elected. Period.

Conservative Samizdat on January 31, 2011 at 6:07 PM

Some of us tried to warn you half-wits about this kook, but your minds were as closed as your mouths were wide open, spewing meaningless platitudes and slogans.

The Tea Party Movement was fine, but the “Tea Party Express” group tried to co-opt the name and were responsible for some horrible choices which probably cost us elections. While Johnson in Wisconsin came out of the movement and Rubio in Florida was endorsed early, the rest of the TPX-endorsed candidates for major offices were mainly kooks.

Paul in Kentucky, Miller in Alaska, Buck AND Maes in Colorado, Angle in Nevada, and of course O’Donnell in Delaware, who is cheerfully living off the leftover money you suckers sent her – not a sane one in the bunch.

Paul did manage to win, but this is just the first of many moments where anyone not as insane as he is will experience pangs of regret over the next six years. Don’t worry that you might miss one, either – I’ll be around to remind you just how stupid you were.

You’re welcome!

Adjoran on February 1, 2011 at 12:25 AM

You can give support without aid. Isreal has a good economy. They can and do purchase weapons as well as develop them. If there was some sort of emergency we could send cash. But we need our money now. Stop sending it away, keep it within our economy. Egypt got something like 1.3 billion from us. How much would that be per state, per person? what a waste. Most places we send cash dislike us anyway, its just trying to buy friends. When and if things get better we can continue to send to some countries. But not right now.

Greed on February 1, 2011 at 1:10 PM

In your example, he used an analogy about individual responsibility and charity to promote governmental intrusion. Individuals and Governments have different sets of responsibilities.

And the last time I checked a map, Europe isn’t our neighbor.

dominigan on January 31, 2011 at 9:18 AM

So, your position is that we should not have involved ourselves in the war in Europe?

unclesmrgol on February 27, 2011 at 3:00 AM

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