I just saw Senator Paul on Fox News, where he made four substantive statements, one nonsensical, one innumerate, one economically illiterate, and one evasive to the point of dishonesty.
On the subject of collecting cellphone data without warrants, the host posed a hypothetical situation where a foreign terrorist is identified and we want to know which Americans he’s been talking to for the past six months. Paul’s answer: Get a warrant. The problem, of course, is that not even the US government, even newly armed with a warrant, is powerful enough to gather calling data that vanished into the ether six months ago. When the host pointed this out, Senator Paul ignored it.
On the subject of his tax plan, when presented with estimates that he’d be cutting taxes by 3% for the poor and by 13% for the rich, the senator could either have denied those numbers or defended them. Instead, he patiently explained that if you cut everyone’s taxes by 10%, then of course the rich will get bigger cuts (in absolute terms) than the poor. True, but to think that this was in any way relevant to the question requires a complete abandonment of all knowledge of arithmetic.
His answer on Social Security was the most disheartening of all — he plans to shift the legal burden of the tax entirely to employers, which, as everyone who has taken Economics 101 is aware, will cause wages to drop by the exact amount that workers save in taxes, leaving them not, as Senator Paul claims, with an extra $2000 in their pockets but with exactly an extra $0. The suggestion that the laws of economics can be repealed by the US Congress is the sort of thing I expect from only the sleaziest of politicians.
And finally, when asked for some indication of how he planned to cut federal spending by $3 trillion — how much from entitlements? how much from discretionary spending? —- his answer was that the government spends too much. I agree, but I still have no idea what he plans to cut.
I went in with extremely high hopes for this guy, and I still think he’s shown a lot of insight and a lot of courage over the years, speaking truths that other politicians dare not speak. But this was a sad, sad showing.