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When Did Rand Paul Become A Very Serious Politician For Economic Answers?

(Relevant portion begins at 2:20) Oh my goodness, the media is setting up Rand Paul as an economic oracle, haven't they? Funny that most of them could barely give his dad the time of day when he ran for the Republican presidential


(Relevant portion begins at 2:20)

Oh my goodness, the media is setting up Rand Paul as an economic oracle, haven't they? Funny that most of them could barely give his dad the time of day when he ran for the Republican presidential nomination, even though he polls higher than the media-deemed Serious Candidates. Maybe it's because they collectively get all a-tingle at the Ayn Rand call back of his nickname.

In any event, the Villagers have decided that Rand Paul--the guy who brought Aqua Buddha to our collective consciousness, who created his own certification group to give himself certification as an opthalmologist, who thinks that civil rights legislation is government overreach and who gladly accepts Medicare payments from the government while openly denouncing the program--without benefit of a single day in office (he's not sworn in until January 2011) and apparently little knowledge of how government works, is the Republican from whom we should get answers for our struggling economy. I'm sure actual Republican leaders like John Boehner and Mitch McConnell appreciate this media coronation for the apotheosis of the tea party movement.

Rand Paul appeared Sunday on Face the Nation and host Bob Scheiffer asks him where he's willing to compromise to get the people's work done. No surprise, the only area from which Paul will not budge is raising taxes:

When asked by host Bob Scheiffer about specific revenue-raising options suggested by last week's report by the president's National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, such as a hike in the gasoline tax, Paul said, "I don't think I want to raise taxes right now."

"I think the best thing is to make the tax cuts permanent. And the reason is people are talking as if this is something new. Businesses have predicated and made their business plans based on these tax cuts now for five, six, seven, eight years. And so if you abruptly change that, you're changing the business model."

But when asked if he could support a temporary extension, Paul replied, "If that's all we can get, that's better than nothing."

For you and your wealthy friends, sure. For the rest of the country and the economy, not so much. It would be a mind-blowing moment of actual journalism for Schieffer to point out that these tax cuts have been in place during the entire recession, so asserting that these tax cuts would actually help anything (especially since tax cuts are the least effective stimuli for the economy historically) is a dubious claim at best. But then again, no one should be foolish enough to expect journalism on the Sunday shows.

But would it surprise you that the face of the Republican populist movement is actually not listening to the population wants?

The Tea Party senator wants [..] to focus on reducing spending because he sees the federal government as too big and too ineffective.

"[The government] now consume at the federal level 25 percent of the gross domestic product. Historically we were at 20 percent. So we've taken 5 percent away from the private sector," Paul said.

[According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the percentage of GDP for the 3rd quarter of 2010 attributed to government consumption expenditures and gross investment was 20.5%, and has been in the range of 20.3-20.8% since the 3rd quarter of 2008.] [..]

When asked if he could support raising Social Security taxes for higher-wage earners, Paul said he preferred instituting means testing for higher-income recipients of Social Security and Medicare benefits. He said instead of sending a government check to someone who makes $200,000 a year in retirement income, don’t tax them.

"Let's just not send the money to them. You don't want to tax them though, because they are creating jobs. You don't want to take more money out of the private sector."

Paul also said he wants to cut the federal work force by 10 percent.

"The federal employees unions are pretty strong, but you have to do it," Paul said. "I think you should shrink the federal work force and make their pay more comparable. Right now the total compensation for government workers versus private workers is almost two to one."

[Paul's claim that federal workers earn twice as much as private workers comes from an August USA Today article that cited Bureau of Economic Analysis data. But the Bureau notes that comparing compensation of all federal and private workers does not lead to an accurate account, since skill and education levels of federal workers tend to be higher. The BEA lists a number of factors that explain the disparity, and a Politifact article aimed to analyze USA Today's claims.]

So Paul bases his stance of fiscal responsibility on his erroneous grasp of facts? Typical. But moreover, it ignores what tea partiers say they want too:

A new poll contradicts the widely held belief that the Tea Party movement is opposed to government action to help the economy. It shows that self-described Tea Party supporters are very much in favor of government action to revitalize America's manufacturing base.

Seventy-four percent of self-described Tea Party supporters would support a "national manufacturing strategy to make sure that economic, tax, labor, and trade policies in this country work together to help support manufacturing in the United States," according to the poll, put out by the Mellman Group and the Alliance for American Manufacturing. Likewise, 56 percent of self-described Tea Party Supporters "favor a tariff on products imported from other countries that are cheaper because they came from a country that does not have to comply with any climate change regulations in the country where the products were made."

There are your economic stimulus marching orders. Get to work.

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