Rand Paul unveils deficit cutting plan

It has the virtue of not having been tried before. And there's no doubting that as a starting point, it cuts deeper, faster, than any other plan including Rep. Paul Ryan's Roadmap.

But I think he's a tad optimistic on how much will really be saved. ABC News:

Senator Rand Paul, R-Ky., unveiled today his five-year path to a balanced budget, leaving several federal agencies behind. Among the items on the cutting room floor are the Departments of Education, Energy, Commerce and Housing and Urban Development.

"There's a lot of things in here that everybody could agree to, Republicans and Democrats, but nobody's leading on the president's side and on our side we felt we needed to put this forward to get the debate started, at the very least," the freshman Senator explained at a Capitol Hill press conference this afternoon.

The proposal also calls for the repeal of "Obamacare," but leaves entitlements untouched.

"There's an argument for every federal program up here... Nobody's coming up here asking me for money that's not for a good reason. But the alternative is that we get into a point of financial disaster where nobody gets any money," he said.

According to Paul, a Tea Party conservative, the proposal will bring spending to the "historic average since World War II" in just one year. He further claims the budget achieves a $19 billion surplus by FY2016 and will bring all non-military discretionary spending back to FY2008 levels.

Paul's proposal gained support from freshman Senator Mike Lee, R-Utah, who today challenged anyone who opposes the plan to come up with a better option.

If he's going to keep entitlements, what's the point of getting rid of the cabinet departments? Sure, there will be administrative savings - big savings - but the programs will simply be transferred to another department where additional bureaucrats will be hired to run them.

What I like about the plan is that it is ambitious. What I hate about the plan is that it is too ambitious. It sure beats the piddling cuts being offered by both parties to date. But as I mention above, the programs have to go somewhere, be run by someone, so in the end, I question how much will really be cut by beheading some government departments.

The whole point of existence for departments like Energy and Education was that related programs were scattered all over the map in every federal department. There is something to be said for consolidation, but obviously, that's not what we got. We got expansion - huge expansion. Can we lop off a couple of hundred line items in the budgets of those departments while keeping the core intact? I think we should look at that option before deep sixing the whole smash.

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