Rand Paul by Gage Skidmore

Senator Rand Paul officially launched his 2016 presidential campaign last Tuesday, calling for “a return to a government restrained by the Constitution” and for a “return to privacy, opportunity, liberty.”

Paul noted that “too often when Republicans have won we have squandered our victory by becoming part of the Washington machine” and that “big government and debt doubled under a Republican administration.” He also observed that, now, under the Obama administration, “we borrow a million dollars a minute,” and “this vast accumulation of debt threatens not just our economy, but our security.”

What to do? “We can wake up now and do the right thing. Quit spending money we don’t have.” Toward that end, Paul continued, we should, “force Congress to balance the budget with a constitutional amendment.” Of course, balancing the budget would be great—so long as it is done by cutting spending and not by raising taxes. Unfortunately, Paul did not specify that as part of what should be mandated. But he did say, “Currently some $3 trillion comes into the U.S. Treasury. Couldn’t the country just survive on $3 trillion? I propose we do something extraordinary. Let’s just spend what comes in.” That’s a worthy initial goal.

Paul also called for limiting the terms of Congress, which is a good idea, and for passing a law to force Congress to read the bills, which sounds good but may be impossible to enforce.

In an effort to convey his position on defense policy, Paul said:

In my vision for America, freedom and prosperity at home can only be achieved if we defend against enemies who are dead set on attacking us. Without question we must defend ourselves and American interests from our enemies, but until we name the enemy, we can’t win the war. The enemy is radical Islam. You can’t get around it. And not only will I name the enemy, I will do whatever it takes to defend America from these haters of mankind.

We need a national defense robust enough to defend against all attack, modern enough to deter all enemies, and nimble enough to defend our vital interests. But we also need a foreign policy that protects American interests and encourages stability, not chaos. . . .

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