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Friday, January 28, 2011

Louisville Courier Journal Looks For Reason To Bemoan Rand "Paul's Meat Ax".

Paul's meat ax

Well, that didn't take long.

As President Obama delivered his State of the Union address to the nation, newly elected U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., let drop his competing vision for how to deal with the country's deficit challenge. The President proposed a five-year federal government spending freeze; the senator proposed $500 billion in spending cuts in fiscal year 2011.

Kentucky voters can't say they weren't warned of their junior senator's radical approach to government. Candidate Paul was not shy about his distaste for entire departments of the federal government, nor was he bashful about his fealty to the “enumerated powers” of the Constitution, when he ran for office last year.

There was plenty of truth in that campaign advertising: The senator's 12-page bill and its 37-page explanation make for interesting, if not surprising, reading.

What Department of Education? In Sen. Paul's proposal, it is all but defunded with its 83 percent decrease; Pell Grants are preserved.

The Department of Energy is zapped, “100 percent decrease,” at a time when the nation is moving, and needs to move faster, toward cleaner, renewable energy sources and alternatives.

Housing and Urban Development? Gone.

Homeland Security shrivels by 43 percent, including a big whack out of the Transportation Security Administration, which provides safety screenings at most U.S. airports.

Department of the Interior? A 78 percent liposuction, including a sizable decrease for the National Park Service. The senator proposes returning these precious, protected lands back to states or to private interests.

Oddly, the Labor Department survives almost intact (the Mine Safety and Health Administration is among those spared). Sen. Paul exempts unemployment benefits from cuts, but he does warn that the program will need to be reformed and re-evaluated.

In Sen. Paul's world, no walking softly, only the carrying of big sticks: State is gutted, Defense rolls with a 6.5 percent decrease.

The fine print? Social Security is untouched. But — Amtrak subsidies are gone, there's no more Corporation for Public Broadcasting, no more Consumer Product Safety Commission, and there's a 62 percent reduction for the Food and Drug Administration.

A senior analyst for the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, a conservative Washington think-tank, described the senator's prescribed cuts as “a meat ax approach to the government, with no real effort to look at costs and benefits of programs, and the huge unintended consequences” of the cuts.

With his first piece of legislation, Sen. Paul is demonstrating to Kentuckians the huge, unintended consequences of sending a guy with a meat ax to Washington.

Editor's note: Check out story of Rand Paul's proposals.

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