A clear pattern of Ron Paul’s campaign is that his staunchest critics are self-proclaimed conservatives and GOP spokesmen. This is ironic and unfortunate, because Paul, according to the American Journal of Political Science, is the most conservative congressman since 1937. As John Nichols puts it so well:
Ron Paul represents the ideology that Republican insiders most fear: conservatism.
Bucking the establishment line, in his long congressional career, Paul has remained steadfast to the Constitution. Not that there was any doubt about Paul’s record, but the Constitution Party’s 2008 presidential nominee, Chuck Baldwin, has aggressively supported and campaigned for Paul towards 2008 and 2012. And when Paul failed to receive the 2008 nomination, he reciprocated the support with his endorsement of Baldwin.
The fact is that when Paul espouses a limited federal government and spending cuts, he actually means it, and he has the voting record to back it up. In doing so, however, he shows his opponents to be phonies. So the knives are out.
A friend of mine, Sven Larson of the Wyoming Liberty Group, has just released an article in the Liberty Bullhorn that mischaracterizes Paul’s Plan to Restore America. He describes the plan, which would close five unconstitutional (illegal) federal departments and balance the budget within one term, as “Wormhole Economics.” For those unfamiliar with the term, as I was, that infers that it is completely implausible and belongs in science fiction.
He also describes Paul’s foreign policy approach as “naive [and] left-of-Obama,” even though Paul is extremely well read on history, foreign policy, and the implications of foreign, interventionist meddling. I’ll let Rand Paul respond to the foreign policy accusation below (nine minutes).
Normally I promote Larson’s work, but a fundamental problem with this dismissive assertion regarding Paul’s economic plan is that it rejects an American style of government—one of limited, enumerated powers. A plain reading of Article 1 Section 8 and the 10th Amendment is enough to affirm that.
It also infers, although perhaps not consciously, a faith in government provisions and our need for them. New Zealand and Chile of the 1970s and 1980s have already shown the immense success of dramatic cuts, as opposed to incremental games that entrench rather than eliminate government agencies.
Regarding balanced budgets, as I’ve noted before, the United States has already been through sharp cuts before in its history, and with a great outcome:
Some economists might question a cap on so-called stimulus spending… but they ignore the post-World War II counterexample. Despite a dramatic cut in spending, civilian production expanded rapidly. Even after the return from war of 10 million men, unemployment did not surpass 4 percent until 1949.
Larson makes the claim, though, that $1 trillion worth of cuts are simply untenable:
Either Ron Paul will have to shut down every other agency of the federal government within 12 months of taking office [in addition to the five he has proposed], or he will have to start cutting Defense, Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.
Of course. He has openly stated that he wants to make cuts to the bloated Pentagon bureaucracy. Consider the perspective of Robert Steele, a former United States Marine Corps infantry and intelligence officer for twenty years.
I absolutely believe in a strong national security, but what we have today is not strong. What we have today is fraud, waste, and abuse… Four percent of the Department of Defense personnel take 80 percent of the casualties and receive 1 percent of the total Pentagon budget… I would be glad to have Ron Paul on my cabinet or to serve Ron Paul in any way, shape, or form. America needs people that tell the truth.
At the end of the day, Paul represents the change that others demagogue about rather than enact, that’s why they are so afraid of him—not because of any legitimate economic problems. On the other hand, incremental tinkering with a $200 trillion-plus, debt ridden train wreck—that is a problem.