A More Just America
Bold reforms are needed for our criminal-justice and education systems.


Rand Paul

They say education is the great equalizer. But all schools are not equal. Many of the schools in our large cities are functioning with low standards. Many of the schools have become dropout factories. Some schools lack discipline and are unsafe.

The status quo is unacceptable, and Washington has no clue how to fix education. Washington has no clue who is a good teacher and who isn’t. We should allow innovation to occur at the local level.

I propose that we allow school choice, vouchers, and charter schools. Competition breeds excellence and encourages innovation — and boy do we need innovation.

My kids went to great public schools. I went to great public schools. The president’s kids go to great private schools. All Americans deserve the option of choosing the best school for their kids.

If we are to fix our criminal-justice system and fix our schools, we must also fix long-term unemployment and the cycle of poverty.

Detroit has nearly 20 percent unemployment, but so do many counties in rural Appalachia.

I propose we try something no one has really tried before. Let’s try a stimulus that works for all of us, that leaves more money in the local economy.

Let’s leave more money in Detroit; I’m not talking about sending money from Atlanta or Houston to bail out Detroit. I’m talking about leaving money that originates in Detroit in Detroit.

This stimulus would come from simply not sending the money to Washington. This stimulus would come by allowing money to stay at home.

The poverty problem is not new, nor will it easily go away. Black unemployment is still twice that of white unemployment. I have a ten-year plan to lower taxes and promote employment in areas of poverty. My plan would leave $1.3 billion in Detroit and over a billion dollars in Appalachia.

How is this different from a government stimulus? In the past, government chose who to give the money to, and since most small businesses fail, government often gave the money to the wrong people and no jobs were created.

In my plan, the government doesn’t choose who gets the money. The money will go to businesses that the local consumers have already chosen. The businesses that provide the most jobs will get the biggest reduction in taxes.

I believe my economic-freedom zones could transform the poverty problem in America.

Republicans are sometimes accused of being for no government. To point out the fallacy, I often joke that I’m for $3 trillion dollars’ worth of government. I’m for spending what comes in, but not for borrowing from China to pay our daily bills.

And if I had it my way, not one penny will be altered from the safety net before all corporate welfare is eliminated!

Last year we gave $20 billion in direct subsidies to big corporations. In fact, we gave the top 100 corporations in America an average of $200 million dollars each. In addition, we give around $20 billion in loans to big business.

For America to thrive again, for Americans to have meaningful jobs again, we need to consider ideas we haven’t considered before.

They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. We’ve being trying the same thing over and over again in education, in combating poverty, in combating drugs. I say look to the horizon and consider that maybe we do need some fresh ideas to combat old and festering problems.

As a physician, I was trained to diagnose the problem and find a solution. As a legislator, I try to do the same thing.

I hope that each and every one of you will work with me to find solutions that aren’t hung up in partisan politics. And that together we might find a way to rise above the dysfunction that stifles Congress.

— Rand Paul represents Kentucky in the U.S. Senate.