The 2016 election season has already started. To help organize myself I am once again creating a page to track various resources about the various statewide races in South Dakota (I also have apage to track the current statewide office holders). I plan to look at the issues being touted by each presidential candidate. So far I have been able to look at the issues on Ted Cruz’s website. Now it is time to look at the issues for another Republican hopeful: Rand Paul.
Rand Paul has a list of 17 issues on his website. Generally I have been supportive of Rand Paul, because I believe he would bring some libertarian policies to the table. Below is the list of his seventeen issues and what I think about them.
In part Paul has this to say:
As President of the United States, I will work to balance our budget and only spend what comes in. We must cut spending in all areas, particularly areas that are better run by state and local governments.
This is one area I hope he would keep his word on (although I would say Congress has more to do with this). There are simply too many areas the federal government spends money that should be left up to the states, local governments, or not handled by any level of government. It would be refreshing to see a President that actually believes in local control. It will be interesting to see how well he handles people saying that would also place more burden upon states and other local governments.
Here is part of what Paul says about Term Limits:
It is time to put an end to the profession of “career politician,” and impose limits on how many times a member is allowed to seek re-election. As a Senator, I introduced legislation that would limit the amount of time a member of the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate may serve.
Personally I like the idea of term limits, but it’s not an issue I see going anywhere. There are people who have served in Congress longer that I have been alive! These long-term politicians from both parties seem more beholden to DC politics than they do their “home” states. But I don’t see term-limits as a fix. In order for term-limits to work properly it would require voters to actually choose politicians that would do as they say during campaigns. Until that would happen I don’t see term limits as actually fixing anything.
Paul has quite a bit to say about taxes. I would like to highlight this one line:
Politicians and lobbyists tinker with the tax code so they can pick winners and losers.
Too often pro-tax advocates seem to make the tax system about class warfare. I find that to be an odd approach. But when watching politicians in DC it becomes quite obvious that lobbyists and special interest groups actually use the tax code to pick winners and losers in the market. Tax code is often used by big industry players to hurt small business owners and restrict the market.
Paul says his plan would “cut spending and balance the budget in just five years.” I believe such a move would do more to actually expand the economic growth within the United States and allow more Americans of all income levels to prosper and choose how to spend their own money. Such a move would be hard though. Special interest groups and a majority of politicians in both parties would fight against such changes. That would move much power away from DC politicians and special interest groups.
Here is part of what Rand has to say about Auditing the Fed:
The Federal Reserve was created by Congress and is supposed to be overseen by Congress. The Fed is now in every nook and cranny of banking with unprecedented regulatory powers and no Congressional oversight. I believe the Fed should be audited and the regulatory power should be placed back under the control of Congress.
This issue of course was championed by Rand’s father Ron Paul for decades. Ironically it was also championed by many Democrats in the Senate during the Bush years, but then was suddenly dropped when the Democrats gained a majority.
Personally I would love to see the Fed abolished. But that is not likely to happen. So at the very least it would be good to have full audits done to ALL areas of the Fed. Oftentimes those opposed to auditing the Fed will bring up that the Fed is one of the most audited organizations that exist. That is somewhat misleading. Yes, the Fed does get audited a lot, but there are four key exemptions that don’t get audited.
These areas as laid out in 31 U.S. CODE § 714 include:
- transactions for or with a foreign central bank, government of a foreign country, or nonprivate international financing organization; (foreign version of The Fed)
- deliberations, decisions, or actions on monetary policy matters, including discount window operations, reserves of member banks, securities credit, interest on deposits, and open market operations
- transactions made under the direction of the Federal Open Market Committee
- a part of a discussion or communication among or between members of the Board and officers and employees of the Federal Reserve System related to clauses (1)–(3) of this subsection
Basically almost anything the Fed wants to hide from Congress and the American people can fall under these exemptions. I find it odd that Congress has outsourced monetary policy to what is now the largest private bank in world, but they are not able to fully audit certain areas of that bank that impact monetary policy. Perhaps with the Democrats losing the Senate they will swap sides on this and work towards transparency within the Fed. If not at least a few politicians like Rand are willing to do so.
Here is part of what Rand says:
I believe in Ronald Reagan’s “Peace through Strength.” I will continue to stand with Israel and our allies abroad, and I vow to explore all diplomatic options before sending our armed forces into battle. Finally, if and when we choose to fight, we will empower our military to fight to win.
I agree with exploring all diplomatic options. But I do think Rand is still a little hawkish in his foreign policy. He has vowed not to go around Congress before declaring war. Yet I’m sure he would agree that “war” is usually not officially declared. Thus any president, including potentially Rand, could easily decide to deploy troops for short-term actions, knowing full well that it will end up being a long-term campaign. Plus citing Israel as part of his foreign policy seems to be keeping with the status quo war hawks.
I would rather see a President that sticks with the first line of what Rand says in this section:
I believe that one of the primary functions of the Federal Government is national security.
No disagreements there. But “national security” has been so twisted over the last few decades and has been used by Presidents from both parties to intervene in the national affairs of other countries. I would rather see less non-interventionist talk from a President. As Commander in Chief I would like to see Rand work with Congress to create a more efficient and modern army. Doing so would help to reduce the deficit (by stopping unnecessary defense spending going to special interests) and increase security (by actually focusing on military defense strength).
This is a hot topic for Republican candidates. Here is part of what Rand has to say:
As a doctor, I have had firsthand experience with the immense problems facing health care in the United States. Prior to the implementation of Obamacare, our health care system was over-regulated and in need of serious market reforms—but Obamacare is not the answer.
I’ve spoken to quite a few doctors in my local area that have said about the same thing as what Rand is saying: ACA has pushed them further away from their patients. Creating more regulatory layers between the doctor and patient was not the answer to the layers that already existed. Unfortunately Obamacare has placed even more power in the hands of insurance companies than they had before. That is not a natural result of the market. That is the result of regulation being driven by special interest groups. Rand actually seems to get that more freedom is needed in healthcare to allow healthcare providers to innovate new and more efficient ways to deliver their services.
Here is part of what Paul says here:
Cutting the red tape and encouraging energy freedom, new technologies, and discoveries will be a priority in my administration. Like all other sectors of the economy, allowing businesses to compete in a free market will not only produce the most efficient forms of energy, but will also pass along the cost savings to the consumer.
This is another area I feel Rand “gets it”. Proponents of red tape seem to think energy producers want to use less efficient forms of energy. That just doesn’t make sense. What makes market sense is for energy producers to innovate newer, more efficient ways to create energy. Sadly the current regulatory environment just doesn’t allow that. Current regulations are adding too many costs to current energy production, thus reducing the amount of money energy companies have to invest in newer, clearer, energy alternatives.
There is one part of Rands energy policy I don’t agree with:
I support the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline and I have repeatedly voted to allow this project to proceed.
I do think President Obama’s dragging out the KXL decision has been bad. But in South Dakota there are valid concerns about eminent domain abuse involved with KXL. If ind it odd any small government advocate would simply overlook potential eminent domain abuse. But other than the potential eminent domain abuse I also believe KXL should be allowed to move forward (as long as property rights are observed).
Some of Paul’s words:
I do not support amnesty, but rather I support a legal immigration process. I recognize that our country has been enriched by those who seek the American Dream and have a desire for a better life. However, millions of illegal immigrants are crossing our border without our knowledge, and this threatens our national security.
As President, I would secure our border immediately. Before issuing any visas or starting the legal immigration process, we must first ensure that our border is secure.
Here is another area I disagree with Paul on, and probably will for all of the Republican candidates. Securing our border simply isn’t going to happen (short of creating a DMZ along our border with Mexico). I would rather see politicians focus on fixing our current immigration system by streamlining the whole process. Immigration has become such a bureaucratic nightmare for those wanting to come into the US to work. If we can get the immigration problem fixed, it will likely create a situation where border security suddenly becomes a lot less relevant.
Some of Paul’s words on regulation:
In the Senate, I proudly introduced the Regulations from the Executive Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act. This legislation is designed to increase accountability for and transparency in the Federal regulatory process.
I really wish the REINS Act could have passed and been enacted into law. The REINS Act wouldn’t’ stop bureaucratic overreach, but it would at least slow it down and create more counter balance between Congress and the bureaucrats in the Executive branch. I would think even advocates of federal regulation would be in favor having accountability and transparency added to the process. With his record in this area I actually believe Rand could do some good as President in reducing the regulatory state.
Here is how he starts this section:
Since taking office, I have found that one of the biggest impediments to finding a job is a criminal record. Upon examining our nation’s criminal justice system, I found that the system is in desperate need of reform.
That is an understatement! So far everything I’ve heard from Rand on this issue gives hope that there is one presidential candidate that actually wants to fix the countries broken criminal justice system. This is an area I plan to do more posts on as the campaign continues so I will keep this short.
Of course trying to get any of the above legislation passed has been near-impossible. There is so little willpower in DC from either party to work with Paul in restoring power to the people.
Here is one part of what Paul says in this section:
I believe that America can successfully protect itself against potential national security threats without sacrificing our inalienable rights.
Even though I still found Rand a little hawkish on foreign policy, I agree that national security can be dealt with and inalienable rights can be protected. It seems Presidents from both parties have continuously placed national security threats over civil liberties. I believe Rand with his libertarian leaning may actually do the opposite, and ensure civil liberties are protected.
Here is part of this section:
Parents and teachers should play an active role in their child’s education and should be encouraged to choose the most appropriate educational institution for their child. We should encourage a variety of educational formats—whether it’s public, charter, private, religious, homeschool or online. Our children should not be constricted to a one-size-fits-all format, as implemented by Common Core.
Notice in the paragraph above it doesn’t say “government should play an active role”. No instead Rand focuses on the need to parents and teachers. That is the key to successful education. The one-size-fits-all approach will continue to drive down the education in the US, especially if outcome-based education systems such as Common Core are utilized. This is another issue I think may be bigger in 2016 than it has in previous election cycles.
Here is part of what Paul says:
That’s why I proposed a bill called the “Stand with Israel Act” to cut off the flow of U.S. taxpayer dollars to the Palestinian Authority.
I’ve already stated I believe having a policy on Israel is too hawkish for me. But I do support his Stand with Israel Act, but only because it reduces foreign aid spent to a group that works against US interest. Personally I think we need to reduce foreign aid across the board. Too much of that money is used to prop up governments that work against the US. Plus that money is often used by foreign government agencies to pick and choose winners in their market. That just isn’t a wise move.
Here is part of Rand’s stance:
Millions of Americans depend on Social Security and if we are to keep our promises to them, we can no longer ignore the fiscal state of this undoubtedly important program. Continuing to push Social Security reforms into the future will only make solving the problem harder and will require more painful changes for seniors.
Personally I don’t think any true reform will happen until the system collapses. No matter who gets the presidency I just don’t see this problem being fixed.
Here is part of this section from Rand:
We consider all veterans, service members and their families to be an important part of our local communities. As President, I will continue to support veterans and service members of this country. It is my strong belief that we must protect those who have made the ultimate sacrifice to protect our nation.
I won’t really go into this section either. There isn’t going to be a lot of disagreement between candidates on this issue.
Here is part of what Rand says:
I believe we may be able to save millions of lives, and do no harm, by allowing states to pass their own anti-abortion laws. By giving this power to the states, I sincerely believe we would save hundreds of thousands of lives.
Rand is definitely pro-life. He actually says he believes life begins at conception. But he also can see that this is not a federal issue, and instead should be left up to the states.
Some of what Rand says:
As President, I vow to uphold our entire Bill of Rights, but specifically our right to bear arms.
This is another area I won’t really go into. Rand has a long history of supporting all of the Bill of Rights, especially the Second Amendment.
Overall I think Rand Paul is the Republican candidate that I would vote for. There are arguments out there about whether he is ‘libertarian’. Personally I don’t think he is libertarian. But I do feel he would bring some libertarian ideas forth as President and actually work to defend the liberties of every individual. Going forward I will pay close attention to what he says about civil liberties and justice reform.