The Corner

Sen. Rand Paul’s Plan to Cut Spending

According to Politico, Sen. Rand Paul (R., Ky.) is about to unveil a plan to cut $500 billion in the upcoming year’s budget.

The tea party hero is at the bottom of the Senate in seniority and was sworn in” just “two weeks ago, but he’s about to unveil his own sweeping budget plan that would result in a $500 billion cut in just one year – about five times more than what the House GOP has promised to do. […] 

Paul’s version of the federal budget — which he’ll unveil as early as next week — would target programs at virtually every federal agency, including the Defense Department, and would eliminate the Education Department. He plans to follow up with a five-year budget with even deeper spending cuts, a move likely to prompt backlash from groups that would be affected by his proposal.

Like other Republicans, Paul is pushing a constitutional amendment to force Congress to balance its books, calling for a two-thirds-majority vote to increase taxes.

I think this is great — bold, too, and we need bold lawmakers. I’m not under the illusion that this will got very far or get much support from Senator Paul’s colleagues, but it should get the conversation going at least. In the last three weeks, I have collected a list of $850 billion in cuts, so I am also interested in seeing what he has on his list that isn’t on mine yet. Of course, I am also interested to see his ideas for entitlement reform.

Let me put this $500 billion number in perspective: In fiscal year 2010, which ended last September, the government spent $3.6 trillion. That’s roughly 25 percent of GDP. According to the mid-session review, the projected spending in FY 2011 is $3.8 trillion, so cutting $500 billion means a budget of $3.3 trillion. Since revenues in 2011 are projected to be $2.4 trillion, it still means almost $1 trillion in deficit in 2011.

Veronique de Rugy — Veronique de Rugy is a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University.

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