Everyone knows what must be done, but who will step forward with a plan, a place at least to start? Not the president. Not Harry Reid. Not John Boehner. Not Mitch McConnell. And it’s not because they haven’t had time to ponder the possibilities.
Who did? Rand Paul. He’s been in office for less than a month.
The newcomer to the U.S. Senate from Bowling Green put his cards on the table Wednesday morning with a proposal to cut spending by $500 billion in a single year. We don’t like it. Nobody likes it. Paul probably doesn’t really like all of it.
But, as almost every household and business in America knows, cutting your budget is not supposed to be something you like. It’s something that hurts, something you put yourself through to get better. It takes discipline and character.
Paul did what no one else at the federal level has yet shown the courage to do, and that’s show the American people that there are, indeed, things to be considered for the chopping block, if that’s not too harsh an image for political correctness these days.
If not the things he proposes — food stamps, education, international aid, defense — then cut something else, but the rhetoric must stop and some real, specific proposals, like Paul’s, should begin to come from more supposed leaders than just him.
At the same time, some of the savings should be invested in growth potential, growth that turns into revenue. The Republicans, Paul included, don’t like the word “invest” because they say progressives have abused it, substituting the word for “spending” of almost any kind, but investment in improvements in infrastructure, for example, creates jobs for people who pay taxes and commerce for businesses that do the same. So invest, please. With the appropriate budget restraints, it can be done without raising taxes.
Other than Paul, and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who has made difficult decisions at the state level, our leaders have been challenging each other to go first, none wanting to take responsibility, substituting leadership with self-preservation.
Paul has taken the expected heat, not the least of which came from Matt Erwin, a spokesman for the Kentucky Democratic Party, who said in part, “Nothing about a politician introducing legislation that would harm his constituents is commendable.”
We suggest that doing nothing, period — imposing harm on the entire country — has been even worse.