Paul: I’ll raise the debt ceiling in exchange for a balanced-budget amendment

posted at 9:30 am on April 18, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

CNN’s Candy Crowley interviewed Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) on the debt-ceiling increase and the issues of government spending, and got perhaps a mild surprise for an answer. Yes, Paul will vote to raise the debt ceiling — but only in exchange for a balanced-budget amendment that ends deficit spending in Washington. Furthermore, Paul rejects the notion that a compromise on the budget involves raising taxes. A compromise means that conservatives will have to give up some defense spending as liberals give up some social-policy spending. Under no circumstances should Washington be trusted with even more money:

CROWLEY: I want to just add that the president has said in recent interviews that his vote against raising the debt ceiling was a political vote by a novice senator and he regrets it. But moving you along here, if — it just seems completely unlikely to me that there will be a vote for a constitutional balanced budget amendment. It seems unlikely to me that the president would agree to just use existing funds to pay off the interest on the debt. Seems to me that the only way this is going to go is that there will be the prediction (ph) of a bill to raise the debt ceiling. So if there is that, could you see yourself just voting no and letting it go at that, or would you stop at any means?

PAUL: I think we haven’t yet determined what our strategy will be, but I can tell you that the people of Kentucky elected me to shake things up. They didn’t elect me to raise the debt ceiling. They didn’t elect me to pass budgets that add — you know, the president’s budget will add $7 trillion to the debt if you believe his numbers. But whatever the numbers are, our government and our leaders are still adding enormous amounts of debt, heaping this burden on our kids and our grandkids. It is precisely why I was elected, to oppose this type of behavior.

CROWLEY: As you know, there is a so-called gang of six on the Senate side, three Republicans, three Democrats, trying to come together to come up with a bill that could pass, that would deal with the debt that you’re talking about here. Because the president has a plan, House Republicans have a plan, there’s not a lot of middle ground there other than everybody thinks — everybody says we’ve got to cut the deficit. I want to read you something that Senator Tom Coburn, a fellow Republican from Oklahoma said about these negotiations and about how to bring down the deficit — the debt. And he said. “I agree that we ought to cut spending. But will we ever get the spending cut to the level that we need without some type of compromise?” He’s talking tax increases here. Can you see yourself agreeing to a tax increase to help with this debt that you’re so concerned about?

PAUL: Yeah. I think there is a compromise. But the compromise is not to raise taxes, the compromise is for conservatives to admit that the military budget’s going to have to be cut. We’ve doubled military spending. I believe in a strong national defense, but conservatives will have to compromise and we will have to cut military spending. Liberals will have to compromise and we will have to cut domestic welfare. The compromise is where we cut, not where we raise taxes. The problem is, if you give them more money in Washington, they’re not to be trusted. I mean, there was $100 billion in last year’s budget that is unaccounted for. They don’t even know where the money was spent. Recently when we bailed out the banks in our country, guess who got bailed out? The Libyan National Bank. It was a pass-through. AIG became a pass-through for foreign banks. We don’t know where all of our money is going to be spent.

When I want to turn in money for my office, I want to turn a couple hundred thousand dollars back in that I’m not going to spend? It is unclear where that money goes. We cannot even be confident that the couple hundred thousand I want to give back goes towards the debt. Our government is out of control. They don’t need more money, we need to give them less money.

Expect to hear more of the argument that Republicans agree with Barack Obama — circa 2006, though, not 2011, on debt ceilings. Crowley notes that the White House now says that Obama regrets the vote, and it’s clear that he does, but for all the wrong reasons. Republicans have a good argument in this case that a vote against a debt-ceiling hike is a mainstream and not extreme position, but that enabling trillions more in deficit spending is not just extreme but also extremely dangerous. For the White House to argue otherwise is to admit that Obama really was the emperor who wore no clothes in 2006, just a year before he claimed to have all the expertise necessary to be President of the United States.


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I’ll bet you every penny I have that Paul Ryan and John Boehner vote against it.

MadisonConservative on April 18, 2011 at 2:07 PM

They often set the vote up ahead of time so that those who need to be seen doing to politically smart thing can do so and the legislation is doomed anyway.

I agree that they are against it. This is more Kabuki theater without meaning.

sharrukin on April 18, 2011 at 2:12 PM

Interestingly, the one source OI found that didn’t highlight the phrase or put it in quotes was Pravda, suggesting that those scrupulous fact-checkers may be the source.

RINO in Name Only on April 18, 2011 at 2:10 PM

RINO in Name Only on April 18, 2011 at 2:14 PM

Re: Israel and spying, allies spy on each other all the time. It’s part of ‘smart diplomacy’.

I would be more concerned if our allies did NOT spy on us, as that would show an appalling naivete regarding the world.

Scott H on April 18, 2011 at 2:15 PM

OK. Why not have them come on over to the USA then?

Are you serious? If Indonesia decides to take Australia do we just send ships for the refugees and to hell with backing our ally?

Thats insane.

Or, do you think we should involuntarily offer up our military men and women to be killed so the Israelis can live where they want to live?

No. We should voluntarily fight for our allies because the day may come when we very much need them and if we make a habit of betraying them we will find ourselves alone when trouble finds us.

And, if we’re talking about preventing people from being slaughtered, then we have much work to do in Africa as well. Or, is being slaughtered OK for people who aren’t allies of the USA?

j_galt on April 18, 2011 at 2:11 PM

Thats right, it is. We don’t own the world and we should look out for our own and our friends.

It isn’t something we want to happen but there is no reason we should spend blood and treasure in defending our enemies, or those who don’t care what happens to us. Thats insane as well.

sharrukin on April 18, 2011 at 2:18 PM

Or, is being slaughtered OK for people who aren’t allies of the USA?

j_galt on April 18, 2011 at 2:11 PM

:pondering

justltl on April 18, 2011 at 2:31 PM

Thats right, it is. We don’t own the world and we should look out for our own and our friends.

It isn’t something we want to happen but there is no reason we should spend blood and treasure in defending our enemies, or those who don’t care what happens to us. Thats insane as well.

sharrukin on April 18, 2011 at 2:18 PM

So, I was referring to the “we have to help them from getting slaughtered” defense for defending Israel. I only wanted to point out that isn’t the real reason we should support Israel.

The real reason we should support Israel is that the State of Israel is our ally. However, alliances aren’t permanent and most people who want to support the State of Israel unto death realize that alliances aren’t permanent.

Most people who want to support Israel think there is a moral reason to do so, no matter the cost in American blood and treasure. If that’s the case, they should make that case.

If I point out that political alliances can be changed, then some people will say we must defend Israelis “from being slaughtered.” If I point our that morals can change, some people claim we should support the State of Israel because they are our ally. And on and on it goes.

j_galt on April 18, 2011 at 2:31 PM

Or, is being slaughtered OK for people who aren’t allies of the USA?

j_galt on April 18, 2011 at 2:11 PM

Um, yes?

MadisonConservative on April 18, 2011 at 2:37 PM

j_galt on April 18, 2011 at 2:31 PM

Your definition of an ally may be the problem. It often has nothing to do with a piece of paper. There was no formal military alliance with Britain in 1940-41, but the US was a de facto ally. The Soviet Union was a formal ally of the US in 1944-45 but it was an alliance of convenience.

Saudi Arabia is an ally of convenience but they will never be an ally of like minded peoples. Australia is such an ally and no paper makes that true.

Israel is an ally in a way that the Muslim nations will never be, due to their holding to the same values that we share as people. Those peoples who do hold to those same values are far more likely to be there when the chips are down than those who hold other values.

sharrukin on April 18, 2011 at 2:42 PM

Crowley notes that the White House now says that Obama regrets the vote, and it’s clear that he does, but for all the wrong reasons.

More precisely, she noted:

CROWLEY: I want to just add that the president has said in recent interviews that his vote against raising the debt ceiling was a political vote by a novice senator and he regrets it.

This wasn’t meant as a mere iteration of what the president had stated but as a broadside against Rand Paul, himself.

Such a tool!

Sailfish on April 18, 2011 at 2:56 PM

Your definition of an ally may be the problem.

sharrukin on April 18, 2011 at 2:42 PM

My problem is when people dismiss a man, who could (maybe) help Americans by stopping the insanity in Washington DC, and the first response by many paranoid folks is “He’ll sell out Israel!”

That’s my problem and my concern. Because that kind of reaction will simply mean we continue the status-quo where America falls and Israel falls to the peaceful religion of Islam.

j_galt on April 18, 2011 at 2:59 PM

My problem is when people dismiss a man, who could (maybe) help Americans by stopping the insanity in Washington DC, and the first response by many paranoid folks is “He’ll sell out Israel!”

You are correct, that is in fact the initial reaction, but it means far more than you realize.

Those who are willing to trade an Israeli alliance for Muslim friendship as do so many liberals, are being very short sighted. We have seen time and time again how such Muslim alliances have turned around to be worse for the United States than hostility would have been.

It is the liberal instinct to blame the west/Israel for all the ills of the world that make people suspicious. Ron Paul has also said that the US conduct in the world is responsible for 911 which is an attitude he shares with liberals.

They believe that if we did what they wanted the bad guys would stop giving us their pimp hand. Doesn’t work that way and never has. Islam attacked the US in 1785 leading to the Barbary Wars and this had nothing to do with Israel or American arms sales.

That’s my problem and my concern. Because that kind of reaction will simply mean we continue the status-quo where America falls and Israel falls to the peaceful religion of Islam.

j_galt on April 18, 2011 at 2:59 PM

If not for the Muslims what possible harm could there be in an Israeli alliance?

It is in fact because of Islam and its conduct that the Israeli alliance is so problematic.

We need to get our financial house in order that is absolutely true but abandoning our position in the world won’t help in doing that. American power is not a small part of why we are the economic powerhouse of the world.

sharrukin on April 18, 2011 at 3:11 PM

Easy first step, unearth a federal budget from 2003-2006, and use that as baseline for further cutting, -nothing to be increased including headcounts. Our country did just fine under those budgets.

slickwillie2001 on April 18, 2011 at 3:14 PM

And, if we’re talking about preventing people from being slaughtered, then we have much work to do in Africa as well. Or, is being slaughtered OK for people who aren’t allies of the USA?

j_galt on April 18, 2011 at 2:11 PM

“Mankind has got to know his limitations.”

Count to 10 on April 18, 2011 at 3:36 PM

Easy first step, unearth a federal budget from 2003-2006, and use that as baseline for further cutting, -nothing to be increased including headcounts. Our country did just fine under those budgets.

slickwillie2001 on April 18, 2011 at 3:14 PM

Apparently, Ryan’s budget has 2006 levels of non-defense discretionary spending. It’s the entitlements that are killing us, and those are statutory rather than really part of the budget.

Count to 10 on April 18, 2011 at 3:38 PM

RINO in Name Only on April 18, 2011 at 2:10 PM

Really? Do you really doubt Israel’s espionage activities against the US?

Ben-ami Kadish

From The American Conservative:

Virtually every U.S. government body concerned with security has confirmed that Israeli espionage takes place, though it is frequently not exposed because FBI officers know that investigating these crimes is frustrating and does no favors for their careers. But Israel always features prominently in the annual FBI report called “Foreign Economic Collection and Industrial Espionage.” The 2005 report states, “Israel has an active program to gather proprietary information within the United States. These collection activities are primarily directed at obtaining information on military systems and advanced computing applications that can be used in Israel’s sizable armaments industry.”

Lawrence A Franklin

Do I really need to go on? Israel spies on us. They have always spied on us. There is no indication that they have any plans to stop spying on us.

JohnGalt23 on April 18, 2011 at 3:55 PM

MadisonConservative on April 18, 2011 at 1:27 PM

Support of a state is now equivalent to religious belief.

No. Blind, unwavering support of a state in which we have no security interest, to the detriment of our fiscal stability and diplomatic ability… that’s what approaches faith.

Once again, it’s called the Amen Corner for a reason… or rather, for its lack of reason.

Let me counter your demagoguing: hmmm, you reduce support of Israel to “faith”. I wonder if that has something to do with the primary faith Israelis hold.

I don’t care about their faith any more than I do the faith of Germany, S. Korea, or Japan, all of which suck at the US defense teat, and all of which I hold to the same standard as Israel…

DEFEND YOUR OWN SHORES. And if you can’t, submit your sovereignty to somebody who can.

Of course, unlike Germany, S. Korea, and Japan, Israel demands that the US suck on some other body part of theirs… which the Amen Corner seems more than willing to do.

JohnGalt23 on April 18, 2011 at 4:03 PM

Amen Corner…Amen Corner…

JohnGalt23 on April 18, 2011 at 4:03 PM

You’ve entered the realm of “troll”.

MadisonConservative on April 18, 2011 at 4:10 PM

You’ve entered the realm of “troll”.

MadisonConservative on April 18, 2011 at 4:10 PM

Uh huh.

I expected so much more from you MadCon, a man of your education and experience.

JohnGalt23 on April 18, 2011 at 4:25 PM

One thing I thought of while commenting in another thread, but this belongs over here.

I get the feeling from Rand that he is moving headlong into the Ron Paul “I’ll push and vote for stuff that has no way of passing so I can have the issue and benefit from the stuff I’m ‘against’ passing” philosophy.

catmman on April 18, 2011 at 4:27 PM

No, no no. Taxes are too low, you see. They’re the lowest they’ve been for decades. All serious people agree that we’re going to have to raise taxes a lot and cut spending a little if we expect to cut the deficit. You know, Reagan was a big tax hiker. That’s why he gave us such high deficits! No, wait, he gave us high deficits because he cut taxes too much. But I’m sure he regretted cutting taxes, because he said he didn’t like high deficits, and you have to raise taxes or you can never cut the deficits, as all serious people agree. You just don’t agree because you’re not serious! Of course, I can name a couple Republicans who say we should raise taxes, which proves my point. These are serious Republicans, you know. We know that, because they want to raise taxes.

No one’s made this argument yet, but it’s just a matter of time before some troll pops up and tells us we need higher taxes or we’re just not serious about the budget.

tom on April 18, 2011 at 4:32 PM

Rand Paul rocks. I love that he rejects the assumptions that reporters use when asking him questions. Conservatives need to learn from him that you don’t have to argue on the opposition’s turf.

It’s not tax increases vs. budget cuts. Tax increases don’t increase revenues. And we don’t have a revenue problem, we have a spending problem.

hawksruleva on April 18, 2011 at 4:39 PM

DEFEND YOUR OWN SHORES. And if you can’t, submit your sovereignty to somebody who can.

JohnGalt23 on April 18, 2011 at 4:03 PM

To be fair, Israel doesn’t ask for us to defend it militarily. They just ask that we keep the UN from legislating them out of existence.

But I’d be fine with a setup where the U.S. didn’t technically support Israel, but had a clear policy that allowed/encourage Americans to send their own money for that purpose.

hawksruleva on April 18, 2011 at 4:43 PM

Uh huh.

I expected so much more from you MadCon, a man of your education and experience.

JohnGalt23 on April 18, 2011 at 4:25 PM

I’d say the same, but then, I haven’t devolved into simply using some asinine inexplicable label of mockery against anyone who doesn’t share the same views I have on Israel.

MadisonConservative on April 18, 2011 at 4:47 PM

I haven’t devolved into simply using some asinine inexplicable label of mockery against anyone who doesn’t share the same views I have on Israel.

MadisonConservative on April 18, 2011 at 4:47 PM

Uh… yeah… you have.

JohnGalt23 on April 18, 2011 at 4:58 PM

They just ask that we keep the UN from legislating them out of existence.

hawksruleva on April 18, 2011 at 4:43 PM

And I have no problem supporting them diplomatically. In fact, I’d feel much better if we gave them a free hand to deal with their internal problems the way they see fit.

But that feeling ceases when it means borrowing money from China (or anyone else, for that matter) to do for them what is their primary responsibility as a sovereign state – national defense.

And that goes for every sovereign nation on the face of the Earth.

JohnGalt23 on April 18, 2011 at 5:02 PM

Those who are shocked by this have a Peter Pan view of the world.

sharrukin on April 18, 2011 at 1:32 PM

pretty well describes paultards.

jp on April 18, 2011 at 5:43 PM

Uh… yeah… you have.

JohnGalt23 on April 18, 2011 at 4:58 PM

And that would be…?

MadisonConservative on April 18, 2011 at 6:19 PM

I rarely agree with Rand Paul…but I agree with him 100% with what he said here.

At least he’s smarter and some what more sane than his father.

Conservative Samizdat on April 18, 2011 at 7:16 PM

Noooooo!

That just means higher taxes and spending. It doesn’t control the spending.

AshleyTKing on April 18, 2011 at 8:32 PM

sharrukin on April 18, 2011 at 2:42 PM

Very good distinction.

AshleyTKing on April 18, 2011 at 8:35 PM

Funny coming from a group of people that, 70 years ago, identified themselves as “America-firsters”.

MadisonConservative on April 18, 2011 at 11:40 AM

Hey, you can be old right and still ardently pro-Israel.

AshleyTKing on April 18, 2011 at 8:40 PM

My problem is when people dismiss a man, who could (maybe) help Americans by stopping the insanity in Washington DC

How is Paul supposed to stop the insanity in Washington when he brings so much of it there himself?

xblade on April 18, 2011 at 9:47 PM

And I have no problem supporting them diplomatically. In fact, I’d feel much better if we gave them a free hand to deal with their internal problems the way they see fit.

But that feeling ceases when it means borrowing money from China (or anyone else, for that matter) to do for them what is their primary responsibility as a sovereign state – national defense.

And that goes for every sovereign nation on the face of the Earth.

JohnGalt23 on April 18, 2011 at 5:02 PM

Yep.

j_galt on April 18, 2011 at 10:14 PM

If not for the Muslims what possible harm could there be in an Israeli alliance?

It is in fact because of Islam and its conduct that the Israeli alliance is so problematic.

sharrukin on April 18, 2011 at 3:11 PM

Really? You’re going with the “It’s all the bad Muslims’ fault?” I mean, I agree that the Muslims, and Islam, have caused most of their own problems, but you don’t see any possible complications or consequences of an alliance with Israel aside from “Muslims don’t like Israel?”

Well, there could possibly be all sorts of harm in an alliance with Israel, just as there could be with an alliance with any nation state. Really, the nation state Israel isn’t special.

j_galt on April 18, 2011 at 10:20 PM

Well, there could possibly be all sorts of harm in an alliance with Israel

j_galt on April 18, 2011 at 10:20 PM

Why don’t you tell me what that might be without mentioning Islam or Muslim states?

sharrukin on April 18, 2011 at 10:22 PM

Noooooo!

That just means higher taxes and spending. It doesn’t control the spending.

AshleyTKing on April 18, 2011 at 8:32 PM

Do people bother to read the proposed legislation at all before commenting? It keeps spending = to revnue and not over 18% of GDP, requires a 2/3 majority for any tax increase to raise revenue, and 3/5 majority to raise the debt limit. Text here.

Firefly_76 on April 18, 2011 at 10:31 PM

Firefly_76 on April 18, 2011 at 10:31 PM

Thanks, but why go through all the trouble of amending to say the federal government can take nearly 1/5th of the goods and services produced each year? How about just limiting government to its proper functions and spend that amount?

AshleyTKing on April 18, 2011 at 10:39 PM

AshleyTKing on April 18, 2011 at 10:39 PM

I’m not opposed at all to what you suggest, although your proposal is begs the question as to what the “proper functions” and proper “amounts” are. That’s a long, uphill battle.

I see this BBA as more of an immediate across-the-board “neutral” solution. I think I saw stats that the last time federal spending was 18% of GDP was just post WWII. Without completely gutting entitlements, then, that’s probably about as low as you can go.

If it were up to me, I’d do other things, like clarify the commerce clause, get rid of the 16th and 17th amendments (or at least have a low flat tax), completely defund 4-5 agencies (at least) … just don’t think that’s achievable in the near term.

Firefly_76 on April 18, 2011 at 10:51 PM

Why don’t you tell me what that might be without mentioning Islam or Muslim states?

sharrukin on April 18, 2011 at 10:22 PM

Well, perhaps the nation state Israel will pick a fight and drag the USA into it because we are allies. My point is that conflict can arise via alliances without Muslims.

j_galt on April 19, 2011 at 7:02 AM

This wasn’t meant as a mere iteration of what the president had stated but as a broadside against Rand Paul, himself.

Such a tool!

Sailfish on April 18, 2011 at 2:56 PM

I noticed that was pretty nasty, but it also states how stupid people were for being Obama supporters, and yet that doesn’t sink in either.

scotash on April 20, 2011 at 4:06 AM

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