Senator Rand Paul has been blowing up in the headlines since his epic thirteen hour filibuster a few weeks ago. His CPAC speech received praise from the more conservative wing of the GOP, he's being labeled as a future leader of the part, there have been a few hints around a possible presidential run in 2016, and, most recently, he has introduced a few bill proposals.
This morning the Senator joined Glenn on radio to discuss a few of those proposals, his immigration bill and his budget proposal. Glenn kicked the discussion off with the immigration bill.
Yesterday, after Rand spoke at the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce to discuss comprehensive immigration reform, the mainstream media started buzzing about the Senator allegedly taking being for amnesty — a "path to citizenship". Glenn gave Senator Paul a chance to set the record straight.
"Help me out on the 'path to citizenship', because that is a red light for a lot of people," Glenn questioned.
"I think a lot of that was misreported yesterday," Senator Paul responded, "because in my speech to the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce that never came up, the word 'citizenship'."
True. In fact, the only time Rand Paul mentioned "citizenship" was when he was referring to himself as a teenager, "not being a model citizen".
"We didn't mention citizenship, but what my amendment is called is Trust But Verify. Which means, in the past we've been snookered into doing immigration reform with the promise that border security's going to come later. I think conservatives, if they want conservatives to be part of this and if they want us to support immigration reform, we have to have a guarantee," Sen. Paul continued. "We have to have a verifiable guarantee of border security. So in my amendment what has to happen is each year there are certain border security targets that have to be medicine. An investigator general looks at this, the border patrol looks at this, and does a report. We're going to have the governors of each of the border states look at this as well. And then that report comes back and has to be voted on. The big difference is it has to be voted on by congress. The bipartisan commission is saying, oh, the president will issue a report. But that, to me, means a rubber stamp and not much. So ours is mostly about ensuring border security."
Sen. Paul clarified that he does not want to create any new path to citizenship.
"The only thing new is we're saying that if you're here and you've been here and you're working and you want to work and you don't want to get welfare, we'll give you a work visa. If you're here and you have a work visa, you can get in the same line that already exists for citizenship. This isn't a new line. This is like the same line if you're in Mexico City and you want to come to this country, you get if line," he said.
Not shockingly, this is what everyone in the mainstream media is getting wrong. The media is making the reform amendment sound like Senator Paul is proposing that everyone will become a citizen, which is absolutely not the case.
"You know, one of the things I repeat in my speeches all the time as Milton Friedman stated, you can't have open borders in a welfare state," the Senator said. "And we've got the welfare state. So do you have to have a secure border. You also have to have a secure border for national security reasons."
According to Senator Paul, his amendment is for conservatives do want some kind of reform, but refuse to vote for any unless there is a guarantee that the border is going to be secure.
"We have serious problems," Glenn started. "First of all, the door to citizenship is too narrow. It's not that it is open. They are coming through the windows, not through the door. So the door is too narrow. We have to make the ‑‑ we have to make the path to citizenship to come into this country from another place easier. Because we want new people to come. It replenishes us and it makes those of us who have forgotten what it's like to be an American, or what an honor it is to be an American, it refreshes that. It's important. But nobody trusts anybody in Washington on the border because they all say they are going to do something and they don't."
Rand Paul confirmed Glenn's point by explaining that most of the people who are in the country illegal came so that way because legal immigration is not working. A million workers came in to pick crops last year, but only 65,000 work visas were given. The agricultural work visa program has to be fixed.
Glenn transitioned to Senator Paul's budget plan which is being released today.
"We're going to balance the budget in five years," Rand told Glenn. "We do it by downsizing government. Basically sending a lot of powers and money back to the states and the responsibility for education which has always been a state function, send it back to the states."
Five years — that's half the amount of time that Paul Ryan's plan. Ryan's budget actually doubles the budget of 2002 and adds another 3.4% increase per year over the next ten years. Yet the Democrats are somehow calling it "draconian". What does Sen. Paul's plan do that makes it so much more efficient?
"The Ryan budget goes from the growth of government of 5% a year to a growth of government of 3.4% a year. So government still grows under his," Senator Paul explained. "In ours we go ahead and eliminate some departments. We eliminate the Department of Education, most of the Department of Energy, most of the Department of Commerce."
Music to Glenn's ears.
Senator Paul went on to explain that they're taking things like the Department on Energy and cutting the federal loans to the Kennedy & Kaiser types, along with the DOE loans to companies like Solyndra and BrightSource. He is eliminating the government's role in paying for corporate CEOs around the world to make trips across the globe to make business deals.
"The average CEO makes about 7 million a year, why does the American taxpayer have to climb around on U.S. Government jets," Sen. Paul said.
Sen. Paul went on to explain where else his plan makes cuts:
"Well, basically Department of Education, Department of Energy, Department of Commerce. A lot of the Department of Commerce is corporate welfare and I think we as Republicans need to show that we're not the party of just big business. We're the party that says, you know what, we're going to cut government waste even if it helps, you know, rich business friends of ours and not be just this crony type of government.
And then Housing and Urban Development really has torn down more houses than it's built. The government can be involved but I think at a local level. Probably Habitat For Humanity has done more for building houses than HUD has done in its entire existence."
His budget also removes the waste from Social Security and Medicare. With S.S. they reduce spending through means testing, gradually raising the age. His plan for Medicare allows every senior citizen to have the same health plan that congress does.
"It saves a trillion dollars over ten years and it also allows us to have a sustainable entitlement program, basically fixes Social Security for 75 years," Sen Paul explained. "And then if that's not enough for you, Glenn, we have one more thing. We do a flat income tax of 17% which gives a $600 billion stimulus to the economy and allows for, you know, we estimate somewhere between 8 and 12 million new jobs."
Rand Paul's flat tax is 17% with an exemption for the first $50,000. So, it's graduated in that anyone making under $50k wouldn't pay an income tax.
"I will tell you if this would have been Romney's plan, we would be calling him president today," Glenn responded after hearing Rand's plan.
Glenn also warned that he was going to get slaughtered in the press — and not just from the left. He thinking the Senator should expect for attacks from the progressive Republicans as well.
"Look at how many people lose power here," Glenn stated. "I mean, this is the kind of thinking that America needs."
"The real problem, the reason why we're not getting to this, is so many Republicans are trapped into this idea that tax reform has to be revenue‑neutral" Sen Paul responded. "I want tax reform to leave more money in the hands of those who earned it and more money in the states in which people live — because that's the only economic stimulus that's ever worked and that's leaving money in the hands of the people who earn it."
Both Glenn and Sen. Paul emphasized how out-of-control the federal government's spending is, and how ridiculous their's and the media's reaction has been to the sequester.
"They had a St. Patty's Day party at the White House but they are going to cancel the Easter egg hunt," Glenn pointed out. "And if they think that this is going to be ‑‑ I mean, I love this. The media and everybody is trying to make this into a big deal and wasting time on Capitol Hill to try and get these things reinstated. Why? Are you kidding me? The president says he doesn't have time to enforce the laws, you know, on pot. So we're going to put ourselves into some sort of constitutional crisis where, you know, whose law do you enforce? Do we enforce all of the laws, some of the federal laws, none of the federal? You don't get into that and he's arguing about the stupid Easter egg roll?"
"Here's the thing, Glenn. He's releasing criminals that we're in captivity that were immigrants that were felons. So he's releasing these criminals because he says he's saving money. But the federal government last year had $117 billion that was unaccounted for, improperly spent. They are not exactly sure where it went. They say the defense department or the Pentagon, $25 billion could be saved just simply by doing an audit. They say $7 billion in the Pentagon is spent on things that have nothing to do with the military. Or national defense. And yet he can't ‑‑ says he doesn't have enough money to keep people in prison. So it's inexcusable," Sen. Paul said.
Senator Paul is optimistic though, he believes the majority of Americans are waking up to the hypocritical actions of the current administration.
"I think it's backfiring on him. I think the American people are going to see that he's playing games and letting go criminals. And I think he's going to have repercussions for that."
Another issue that is likely to backfire on this administration is their attempt to send a German family seeking political asylum back to German — after they were ruled on favorably in court. Glenn explained this situation, which he discussed yesterday on radio, to Sen. Paul.
"All they were trying to do was homeschool their children in Germany, but there is a law done by the Nazis. It's an old Adolf Hitler law that was never removed from the book that says you cannot homeschool your kids. They were going to take their kids away. So they moved here to the United States, they did it the right way, and they asked for political asylum," Glenn explained. "They won in court, and this administration is now arguing in court that homeschooling your children is not a basic human right."
"Well, you know, I'm a big fan of homeschooling and you've just given me an idea," Sen. Paul responded. "I think maybe we'll see if we can file an amicus or a friend of the court on their behalf and see if we can get involved with that because one member of my staff back in the Seventies when he was a kid was home schooled and his parents in Kentucky were given a year in prison for homeschooling and while their case was still pending the appeal, we got the law changed in Kentucky. So in the 1970s it was illegal to homeschool and much of America. But we've changed those laws. And if the president thinks that homeschooling is something that can keep you out of the country, we're going to make sure he knows otherwise."