Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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September 14, 2010

RAND PAUL'S LIMITED UNDERSTANDING OF THE BUDGET.... For an issue he claims to care deeply about, Rand Paul (R) doesn't understand the federal budget especially well.

For some in the Tea Party movement, the standard they plan to judge the party's progress by is sky high. A spokesman for Rand Paul, the Tea Party-backed Senate candidate in Kentucky, said Paul "will vote against and filibuster any unbalanced budget proposal in the Senate."

At face value, this is a pretty absurd position to take. Putting aside the fact that there are plenty of circumstances in which running deficits is the smart, responsible thing to do, there's the small matter of the trillion-dollar deficit Republicans left for Democrats to clean up. This year, the deficit will be about $1.3 trillion -- almost exactly the size of the budget shortfall George W. Bush bequeathed to the Obama administration.

In order for Paul's pledge to make sense, the right-wing ophthalmologist would have to believe Congress can, as early as 2011, close a $1.3 trillion budget gap in one year. And since that couldn't possibly include tax increases, Rand Paul would like to see a budget next year that cuts $1.3 trillion all at once.

And then there's the other problem with his bold vow: the budget isn't subject to filibusters.

This is the kind of nonsense that makes it impossible to take Rand Paul seriously. His radical ideology puts him on the fringe, but it's the fact that he doesn't know what he's talking about that really rankles.

Steve Benen 2:35 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (15)

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Comments

FYI...link is broken.

Posted by: Nate on September 14, 2010 at 2:40 PM | PERMALINK

I agree with you, but you are obviously not IN Kentucky. Many Democrats have Rand Paul signs in their yard. It's pretty scary actually...

Posted by: andyvillager on September 14, 2010 at 2:40 PM | PERMALINK

It's fine for him to not understand the budget, because anyone who's listening to him either a) doesn't understand the budget either, or b) doesn't care that he doesn't understand just so long as he promises end the Socialist takeover in Washington (which is a whole other level of not understanding).

Posted by: AnotherStrayCat on September 14, 2010 at 2:42 PM | PERMALINK

It's not the victory, it's the fight that counts.

Posted by: martin on September 14, 2010 at 2:54 PM | PERMALINK

The link you provided shows that the budget resolution cannot be filibustered but an appropriations bill can be. The latter is a bit more consequential than a nob-binding resolution.

Posted by: wordtypist on September 14, 2010 at 2:54 PM | PERMALINK

maybe he'll propose closing the pentagon...that would take $800 billion off the deficit....

Posted by: dj spellchecka on September 14, 2010 at 3:09 PM | PERMALINK

Paul's appeal is that he's saying what a fair number of people want to hear; whether it is possible or not doesn't interest them. The same audience generally believes government doesn't work anyway, so they have low expectations.

That's why lying to the voters can work. They don't care if he delivers as long as he can keep reinforcing their beliefs.

That pretty much sums up the Republican Party strategy in general.

Posted by: xaxnar on September 14, 2010 at 3:12 PM | PERMALINK

"it's the fact that he doesn't know what he's talking about that really rankles."

Yes of course his ignorance is appalling, but after all he will fit right in with his fellow Republicans and that Nelson person from Nebraska.

Posted by: robert on September 14, 2010 at 3:28 PM | PERMALINK

Rand Paul is in good company. Paul Ryan was on Charlie Rose last night. The man is DELUSIONAL.

Posted by: Joe Friday on September 14, 2010 at 3:29 PM | PERMALINK

His radical ideology puts him on the fringe, but it's the fact that he doesn't know what he's talking about that really rankles.

No, the fact that he doesn't know what he's talking about is precisely why he's going to be elected this November, probably in a landslide.

-Z

Posted by: Zorro on September 14, 2010 at 3:50 PM | PERMALINK

The road to Hell is paved with good intentions, often by the laborious efforts made by the ignorant!

Rand Paul obviously works for CalTrans! -Kevo

Posted by: kevo on September 14, 2010 at 3:53 PM | PERMALINK

Let me be upfront. I would vote for Rand if I could...but if you are a lefty, there are going to be some things about Rand that you will like; for one thing; he's not afraid of talking about cutting military spending...it really will be a version of Ron Paul in the Senate. At the very least, you have to admit it'll be interesting! And you might as well get used to it because even the Daily Kos today has him winning by 7 pts. Here's the link to Rand's pledge to cut ALL spending: http://www.dailypaul.com/node/142309

(You do realize that the gov't has no money of its own, right?)

Posted by: Aaron on September 14, 2010 at 6:22 PM | PERMALINK

the budget isn't subject to filibusters
Normally, I would agree with you on this point but for FY2011, it doesn't work that way.

Since the House failed to pass a budget by April 15 as required by law, but rather "deemed" a budget at the beginning of July, there are no rules for reconciliation which are normally in a passed budget.

This means for FY2011, there is no reconciliation. Without reconciliation, the no filibuster rule doesn't exist.

Posted by: Neo on September 14, 2010 at 7:25 PM | PERMALINK

At the very least, you have to admit it'll be interesting! -- Aaron, @ 18:22, about Rand Paul as future Senator

For very good reasons, "May you live in interesting times" is a curse, not an expression of goodwill. The Senate may already seem like a clown car to many of us but, if I want entertainment, I *still* buy a ticket to a revue, not to the Senate gallery.

Posted by: exlibra on September 14, 2010 at 7:53 PM | PERMALINK

"... the fact that there are plenty of circumstances in which running deficits is the smart, responsible thing to do ..."

The "fact"? You've just asserted (without any citation whatsoever) that it's smart and responsible to live outside of one's means. Pardon me, but that's not a fact at all. You, Mr Benen, appear to not understand the concept of a "budget."

Posted by: J on September 18, 2010 at 2:55 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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