Senator Rand Paul delayed the budget vote today, pointing out that Republicans were just as hypocritical as Democrats when it came to government spending and the deficit. After speaking about the hypocrisy, he then launched into a list of wasteful examples of government spending. You can watch the speech live on C-SPAN here.
“Does taking selfies make you happy?” he said, reading about one program in particular.
“A Streetcar Named Waste.” He said, “It goes a mile, it goes from nowhere to nowhere.” It costs a fortune, he said, and no one rides it. “1.6 million dollars. You have to ask yourself…would you give money to this? If you have a $100…would you give to the Salvation Army or the federal government?”
He shared that the government spent $356,000 studying whether Japanese quail were more promiscuous on cocaine. If there’s a big bill that no one looks at, he pointed out, they’ll never find these things.
The he spoke about the $29 million of heavy equipment that the Department of Defense lost in Afghanistan. He noted that if we want more money for infrastructure and where you could find it: “Some of it is in our foreign policy. We don’t have enough to be involved in seven wars… Or maybe we should not be involved in any of the ones we’re involved in at this point… We should declare victory and come home from Afghanistan, because right now we’re nation building.” Then he started listing all the places our country is right now, including many places people may not know about.
“I think we have to defend ourselves… but the thing is if we go and stay for decade after decade… They don’t see us as liberators. They kind of see us as occupiers.”
He then addressed the broken spending process in Congress overall, talking about an unlimited credit card that the government essentially has.
“I personally think the more obstacles we have in place to spending money we don’t have, the better we’ll be… Everything about this stinks, to tell the truth. Everything about this process.”
“We will have a trillion dollar deficit this year,” he emphasized. He addressed his Republican colleagues, telling them that every one of them will say they’re fiscally conservative but still vote for the debt.” He then reminded everyone that Republicans were against Obama’s debt, but seem fine this time around.
“At least the Democrats are honest,” he said, noting that Democrats only seem concerned about the debt when it involves taxes.
Interestingly, when he said this, a top Google search term was: “Is Rand Paul a Democrat?” No, he’s not. But today he was speaking out against both parties.
He continued. “Taxes are really about how much of your liberty you get to keep.”
“Are you going to cheer for the Republicans and Democrats holding hands (about the deficit) or are you going to say to yourselves, ‘Hmmm, I’m suspicious?’… Are we so excited about civility that we don’t care what the results of the civility is?”
“We’re going to ignore the constitution, the waste is going to continue on, nothing’s going to be fixed? … I think we’re smarter than that. I think in the end the American people will see through this…as the stock market continues to be jittery…As the ramifications of having so much debt come home…”
Later this year, he said, he would offer a budget to freeze all spending. If you freeze spending, he said, you can balance the budget within five or six years. But, he said, Congress will freak out about the idea.
“Are you happy with your government? … Are you happy with trillion-dollar deficits? … They care somehow more about this clasping hands?… What do you want from the government? … Is the government here to give you some physical item, a cell phone, a car? Or is government here to preserve your liberty?”
“The Republicans are telling America trillion-dollar deficits are bad when you’re Democrats but OK when you’re Republicans.”
“My hope is that both sides of the aisle will look long and hard and say this isn’t the way we should run our government… I promise you that both sides of the aisle have told me this week, ‘You’re exactly right… It’s a terrible way to run the government.’ … The only way this ever gets fixed is you need to call these people and tell them they need to do their job…or frankly you need new people.”
Around 7:04 p.m. Eastern, he stepped down and stopped his speech.