Sen. Rand Paul talks immigration reform and his plan to balance the budget in 5 years

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."

It's never too early to start your Christmas, Hanukah, or Kwanzaa shopping. Or even birthday gift shopping. Especially if that special someone in your life is a Democrat. Because at last count, pretty much all the Democrats are now running for president. And that means there has never been a wider selection of official candidate merchandise to choose from. Whether you're into environmentalism, feminism, classism, socialism, or just plain love, there is a smorgasbord of classy items that you and yours will treasure forever... or at least until the next presidential election.

We have browsed each of the candidates' online stores, so you don't have to (it only took us three months). We have curated only the finest items from each of the Democrats running for president of the United States of America. Without further ado, here is your handy progressive gift guide – or maybe your what-not-to-gift guide.

First, the bargain basement options. Hurry! Time is running out to grab your Beto bandana, or your Delaney pack of golf balls, because at this point Stu has as much of a chance as these guys of getting the nomination.

Tom Steyer, for example – is he still in the race?


https://shop.tomsteyer.com/collections/frontpage/products/tom-2020-pattern-tee


There's way too much Tom here. That shirt's got more Toms than a Caucasian dentists' convention.

For the slightly more moderate Democrat in your life, perhaps they'd like to join the "Yang Gang"…

https://shop.yang2020.com/collections/bumper-stickers/products/yanggang-decal


Andrew Yang is a lock for Math Club president…


https://shop.yang2020.com/collections/apparel/products/math-hat


But for actual president? Well, I wouldn't make plans for how you're going to spend your $1,000-per-month Yang allowance just yet.

If you happen to be shopping for your dog, may I suggest this lovely "Dogs for Delaney" dog collar…


https://store.johndelaney.com/products/dogs-for-delaney-collar


John Delaney's definitely going to secure the canine vote with this kind of outreach. As for any human votes, that's another question entirely.

How 'bout this tastefully understated "Natural Canvas" Michael Bennet tote to remind you he's also still here?...


https://store.michaelbennet.com/michael-bennet-for-america-natural-canvas-tote/


Then again, it's a tote. So, it'll end up on the floor of your closet and you won't have it with you until that one random moment when you're out somewhere and you really need a tote bag. Just like Democrats will really wish they had a moderate when we're in the middle of the socialist nightmare of their creation.

Captain Planet himself, Jay Inslee recently dropped out of the race, but don't let that stop you from picking up what may be the greatest single item sold by anyone in this race…


https://store.jayinslee.com/elvis-the-elves-the-mystery-of-the-melting-snow-by-jay-inslee/


A children's book called Elvis & the Elves: the Mystery of the Melting Snow. Written and illustrated by Governor Jay Inslee. Talk about a whodunnit – how could that snow possibly be melting? Spoiler alert: it's because of evil, white, patriarchal capitalism. And Donald Trump.

Then there's the candidate who thinks you're a moron that can't pronounce his last name: Steve Bullock...


https://shop.stevebullock.com/collections/apparel/products/emoji-t-shirt


Get it? Bull. Lock. Oh, so that's how you say the name that sounds exactly how it's spelled.

There's another candidate who also thinks you need help pronouncing his last name…


https://store.peteforamerica.com/collections/apparel/products/boot-edge-edge-t-shirt


And he is definitely right about that. So, thank you, Pete "Boot Edge Edge." That helps.

Just outside the bargain bin section, but just barely, are candidates like Julian Castro and his "El Presidente" t-shirt…


https://store.julianforthefuture.com/julian-castro-loteria-card-white-tee/


When your last name's Castro, do you really want to go with a weird drawing of yourself as if you're a classic Latin American dictator on a postage stamp?

If you prefer a little "dark psychic forces" battling in your candidates, you'll love Marianne Williamson's "Turn Love Into a Political Force" rally sign…


https://store.marianne2020.com/collections/signs/products/love-rally-sign


"Turn Love Into a Political Force" would be an even better title for a Marianne Williamson album of 80s cover songs. And if you think I'm joking, then you haven't heard Bernie Sanders' classic 1987 folk album, We Shall Overcome. That's not a joke. Well, it is a joke, but it's also a very real thing.

Now, just a quick pause to consider the peculiar baby-wear that way too many candidates are selling…

…including Elizabeth Warren's trans-pride flag onesie. Let me get this straight – we can't force any gender on a child, because that's just cruel. But we can force a political advertisement on a baby? How do we know that baby is actually a Biden or Warren fan? The child may not even be a Democrat or a Socialist at all. That baby might self-identify as a Libertarian, or Republican, or even worse – a moderate Democrat.

Now to the premium items from the premium candidates. Elizabeth Warren – the candidate with the most honesty in her advertising…


https://shop.elizabethwarren.com/collections/apparel/products/impolite-arrogant-women-make-history-unisex-t-shirt

-AND-

https://shop.elizabethwarren.com/collections/drinkware/products/strong-american-unions-mug


Warren's merchandise reflects the woman herself – cold and humorless (watch her "This isn't funny" clip from the last debate here at the 4:27 mark). I'm sure she's really fun once you get to know her. Then again, maybe not.

Speaking of serious women, Kamala Harris wants to be president very badly for you, the people, as you can tell from her "For the People" poster…


https://store.kamalaharris.org/poster-for-the-people/


At $29.99 though, she's sure not charging "people's" prices. Of course, she might be having to pay royalties to a certain someone for riffing on their poster. Just saying.

For the race's number one socialist, there's a whole lot of capitalism going on in Bernie Sanders' campaign. He sells so many delightful items that it's hard to choose. But we did anyway. The most random item is this hundred-dollar, black, "Art of a Political Revolution – Artists for Bernie Sanders Coaches Jacket"…


https://store.berniesanders.com/collections/apparel/products/artists-for-bernie-coaches-jacket


Coaches across the land will be clamoring for this one. You know, since coaches are such a strong Bernie-socialist demographic.

If that's a little over your budget you might consider a "Feel the Bern" fanny pack, to help store all those government freebies you'll get from Bernie…


https://store.berniesanders.com/collections/apparel/products/feel-the-bern-fanny-pack


This is the only context in which you'll ever want to hear "feel the burn" and "fanny" in the same sentence.

And finally, from front-runner Joe Biden, we have this fine "Women's Fitted Biden Polo." Which is just about the best polo description ever…


https://store.joebiden.com/collections/apparel/products/biden-polo-womens-fit


It promises the kind of snug approach that Biden loves to provide women. Even when they don't ask.

This was one of the first homesteads in the area in the 1880's and was just begging to be brought back to its original glory — with a touch of modern. When we first purchased the property, it was full of old stuff without any running water, central heat or AC, so needless to say, we had a huge project ahead of us. It took some vision and a whole lot of trust, but the mess we started with seven years ago is now a place we hope the original owners would be proud of.

To restore something like this is really does take a village. It doesn't take much money to make it cozy inside, if like me you are willing to take time and gather things here and there from thrift shops and little antique shops in the middle of nowhere.

But finding the right craftsman is a different story.

Matt Jensen and his assistant Rob did this entire job from sketches I made. Because he built this in his off hours it took just over a year, but so worth the wait. It wasn't easy as it was 18"out of square. He had to build around that as the entire thing we felt would collapse. Matt just reinforced the structure and we love its imperfections.

Here are a few pictures of the process and the transformation from where we started to where we are now:

​How it was

It doesn't look like much yet, but just you wait and see!

By request a photo tour of the restored cabin. I start doing the interior design in earnest tomorrow after the show, but all of the construction guys are now done. So I mopped the floors, washed the sheets, some friends helped by washing the windows. And now the unofficial / official tour.

The Property

The views are absolutely stunning and completely peaceful.

The Hong Kong protesters flocking to the streets in opposition to the Chinese government have a new symbol to display their defiance: the Stars and Stripes. Upset over the looming threat to their freedom, the American flag symbolizes everything they cherish and are fighting to preserve.

But it seems our president isn't returning the love.

Trump recently doubled down on the United States' indifference to the conflict, after initially commenting that whatever happens is between Hong Kong and China alone. But he's wrong — what happens is crucial in spreading the liberal values that America wants to accompany us on the world stage. After all, "America First" doesn't mean merely focusing on our own domestic problems. It means supporting liberal democracy everywhere.

The protests have been raging on the streets since April, when the government of Hong Kong proposed an extradition bill that would have allowed them to send accused criminals to be tried in mainland China. Of course, when dealing with a communist regime, that's a terrifying prospect — and one that threatens the judicial independence of the city. Thankfully, the protesters succeeded in getting Hong Kong's leaders to suspend the bill from consideration. But everyone knew that the bill was a blatant attempt by the Chinese government to encroach on Hong Kong's autonomy. And now Hong Kong's people are demanding full-on democratic reforms to halt any similar moves in the future.

After a generation under the "one country, two systems" policy, the people of Hong Kong are accustomed to much greater political and economic freedom relative to the rest of China. For the protesters, it's about more than a single bill. Resisting Xi Jinping and the Communist Party means the survival of a liberal democracy within distance of China's totalitarian grasp — a goal that should be shared by the United States. Instead, President Trump has retreated to his administration's flawed "America First" mindset.

This is an ideal opportunity for the United States to assert our strength by supporting democratic values abroad. In his inaugural address, Trump said he wanted "friendship and goodwill with the nations of the world" while "understanding that it is the right of all nations to put their interests first." But at what point is respecting sovereignty enabling dictatorships? American interests are shaped by the principles of our founding: political freedom, free markets, and human rights. Conversely, the interests of China's Communist Party are the exact opposite. When these values come into conflict, as they have in Hong Kong, it's our responsibility to take a stand for freedom — even if those who need it aren't within our country's borders.

Of course, that's not a call for military action. Putting pressure on Hong Kong is a matter of rhetoric and positioning — vital tenets of effective diplomacy. When it comes to heavy-handed world powers, it's an approach that can really work. When the Solidarity movement began organizing against communism in Poland, President Reagan openly condemned the Soviet military's imposition of martial law. His administration's support for the pro-democracy movement helped the Polish people gain liberal reforms from the Soviet regime. Similarly, President Trump doesn't need to be overly cautious about retribution from Xi Jinping and the Chinese government. Open, strong support for democracy in Hong Kong not only advances America's governing principles, but also weakens China's brand of authoritarianism.

After creating a commission to study the role of human rights in U.S. foreign policy, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo wrote last month that the principles of our Constitution are central "not only to Americans," but to the rest of the world. He was right — putting "America First" means being the first advocate for freedom across the globe. Nothing shows the strength of our country more than when, in crucial moments of their own history, other nations find inspiration in our flag.

Let's join the people of Hong Kong in their defiance of tyranny.

Matt Liles is a writer and Young Voices contributor from Austin, Texas.