Oh, it does my heart good to watch Baby Paul schooled in such a direct fashion. This little "debate" on food programs for seniors highlights the Randian "screw you, I've got mine" attitude so well. This video is from a Senate hearing on the Older Americans Act. Here are some highlights:
FRANKEN: Make no mistake, the Older Americans Act saves money. It allows seniors to stay in their homes, who wouldn't otherwise be able to stay in their homes.
PAUL: It's curious that only in Washington DC can you spend two billion dollars and claim that you're saving money. Here's a thought. Perhaps the two billion dollars we spend on OAA, if we subsumed that into another program and didn't spend it, that might be saving money.
So, let me see if I have this right. Baby Paul is saying that by merging OAA with another program but not funding it, there would be savings to the government. Yes, that's what he's saying. Sanders and Franken have an answer for him.
SANDERS: Senator Paul has suggested that only in Washington can people believe that spending money actually saves money. And I think that is the kind of philosophy which results in us spending almost twice as much per person on health care as any other country on earth, because we have millions and millions of Americans who can't get to a doctor on time. Some of them die, some of them become very, very ill. They end up in the emergency room, they end up in the hospital at great cost rather than making sure they have access to a doctor. Maybe it's the same reason why we have more people in jail than any other country on earth including China, tied to the fact that we have the highest poverty rate among children than any other major country on earth.
So the point is, and I think we have a bit of a difference here, I believe -- I think Senator Franken has spoken to the fact -- that prevention, keeping people healthy, taking care of their needs at home does actually save money. And that if you deny those resources, if you leave a senior citizen home today, alone, isolated, confused about medicine, not getting the nutrition they need, you know what happens to that person? That person collapses, that person ends up in an emergency room, that person ends up in a nursing home, at much greater cost to the system.
FRANKEN: Here's my very precise question. Does the Older Americans Act save taxpayers money by allowing seniors to stay in their homes as opposed to going to nursing homes?
MS. GREENLEE: Yes, Senator.
FRANKEN: Thank you.
SANDERS: Senator Paul wanted to make another comment.
PAUL: I appreciate the great and I think very collegial discussion, and we do have different opinions. Some of us believe more in the ability of government to cure problems and some of us believe more in the ability of private charity to cure these problems. I guess what I still find curious though is that if we are saving money with the two billion dollars we spend, perhaps we should give you 20 billion. Is there a limit? Where would we get to, how much money should we give you to save money? So if we spend federal money to save money where is the limit? I think we could reach a point of absurdity. Thank you.
FRANKEN: I think you just did.
That Baby Paul mind-bent wandering down stupidity lane there at the end is mind-boggling, isn't it? Start with the old "private charity" nonsense. Private charities do not, have not, and can not handle the need. It's that simple. It's ridiculous to make this argument at all. And the rest of it is pure nonsense, which Franken handled quite nicely.
Understanding this just requires a little bit of thought. If we cut spending on volcano monitoring and tsunami warnings, we save a little money on maintenance, but pay a lot of money on damage repairs after disaster strikes. If we cut spending on food safety, we save a little money on inspection, but pay a lot of money on health care costs when consumers get sick. If we cut spending for the Securities and Exchange Commission, as Republicans are desperate to do, we save a little money on enforcement, but pay a lot of money to clean up financial catastrophes.
For every dollar the IRS spends on audits, liens, and property seizures, the government brings in more than $10. If we spend less on IRS enforcement, as Republicans demand, it costs us more.
Is this really that confusing?
Yes, evidently it is that confusing to Baby Paul, who has been raised on the bitter taste of human selfishness rather than human kindness.
None of this is new, and most of you reading already know how bent this guy is when it comes to social programs. But it still merits attention, if only to demonstrate yet again how insanely selfish the Ayn Rand set is when it comes to smart spending. I wonder if Baby Paul has maintenance done on his car? Would he consider that to be wasteful spending, even though it extends the life of his car and prevents major breakdowns?
But of course, auto maintenance isn't something charity provides. It's business. So there's that. In Rand Paul's weird, skewed universe, he only lives in a place where he is forever exempt from need, want or hunger and therefore has no compassion for those who do.