“I just think it’s wonderful that he’s willing to come to Casey County and spend so much time,” local business woman Susan Dixon said. “I am in general agreement with a great deal of what he says. I think it’s great to have a fresh voice in Washington.”
Paul segued from the debt to the "enormous amount of waste" at the federal level, reeling off a list of silly sounding government funded projects like $100,000 for a white squirrel sanctuary in Tennessee, $500,000 for college students to travel to Hawaii to develop a menu for Mars — "Guess what's on the menu. Pizza, he quipped" — and $3 million to study monkeys on methamphetamine.
Eliminating such projects won't do much damage to $16 trillion of debt, "but you've got to start somewhere," said Paul, who also railed against sending foreign aid to countries "that burn the American Flag," including supplying tanks and fighter jets to Egypt.
Paul, who will give the Tea Party’s response to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address on Tuesday, took jabs at the Medicare/Medicaid and Social Security programs he says must be drastically cut to shore up the country’s financial footing.
“Social Security is no longer a pension program, it’s a disability program,” he said, suggesting the program is infested with too many able-bodied moochers. “If you look like me and you hop out of your truck, you’re not disabled.”
Liberty dentist Michele Beeler, one of the roundtable panelists, told Paul 60 percent of her patients are Medicaid recipients and it would cutbacks to that program would mean lots of kids with troubled teeth wouldn’t get treatment and make it difficult for rural providers such as herself to remain in business.
“We depend on Medicaid to keep our doors open,” Beeler said.
Paul responded that the number of Medicaid recipients will go up dramatically under Obamacare, adding an additional 400,000 people in Kentucky alone. “We’re going the wrong direction with Obama,” he said.
He proposed Medicaid include a substantial co-pay to force those who abuse the system to think twice before seeking medical attention. He called the program “a credit card without limits.”
When Beeler said instituting a co-pay would mean many parents would stop bringing in their kids for treatment and they would be walking around with toothaches and infections, Paul responded, “I want the same thing you want. I’m not sure I know the answer.”
Casey County High School Principal Josh Blevins asked Paul about his stance in favor of diverting federal funding for public education into homeschooling. Paul responded that most school funding comes through the state, and he prefers tax money stay closer to home rather than be routed through Washington for redistribution.
“I’m not for taking money away from public schools, I just want more local control,”
When high school student council president Sara Coffman asked what Paul was doing to help keep jobs in America and create new ones, especially in rural areas like Casey County, the senator spent much of his answer deriding a 35-percent corporate tax rate that is twice as high as Canada’s and excessive governmental regulation.
“I don’t believe in no regulations but we are going overboard with regulations. The rules are going too far and chasing people away,” he said.
He called claims that “the Statue of Liberty is drowning” because global warming is causing ocean levels to rise “a bunch of malarkey.”