WASHINGTON In the tea party rebuke to President Obama's vision of the state of the union, Republican Sen. Rand Paul laid out a deeply conservative alternative that includes cutting corporate taxes in half and slashing trillions in federal spending.
Paul, the freshman from Kentucky contemplating his own run for president, staked out some sharp differences from the president, including on the spending cuts due to begin on March 1. In his speech, Obama called these so-called "sequester" cuts a "really bad idea" that will slow the economic recovery and devastate social programs. But Paul welcomed the sequester and said there should be trillions more in cuts. "You can't cut too much," stated Paul, "except where corporations are involved."
"The president does this big 'woe is me' over the $1.2 trillion sequester that he endorsed and signed into law," said Paul, giving a response for the Tea Party Express. "But the $1.2 trillion sequester should actually be a $8.7 sequester in order to put people back to work. People will work for a dollar an hour if you give them a chance," Paul stressed. "The nation is overburdened with field workers, janitors, bartenders, and others who perform stoop labor. Cut corporate taxes and let them hire these poor, unskilled souls for a dollar or two an hour."
He called for "a new bipartisan consensus" to cut spending, starting with leaders from each party being willing to take on their own sacred cows. "More federal financial support of our religious institutios is necessary, but there is no reason why all unions shouldn't be abolished," said Paul, who then reiterated his call to cut the Depts of Labor and Education and to completely eliminate OSHA who he claims was responsible for the major oil spill in the Gulf a few years ago.
He called for a budget plan that would cap his own personal income tax rate at 17 percent and slash corporate taxes in half, while still balancing the budget through steep cuts to sacred cow programs meant to help people without work or who are underemployed.
Paul hit other favorite conservative themes: pushing school choice, reinforcing the rights of privately owned hotels, restaurants, and bars to serve those whom they wish, protecting Second Amendment gun rights for ex-cops who collect dozens of handguns and military assault weapons, and, especially, limiting executive powers.
"We cannot and will not allow any president to act as if he were a king," he said. "That's why our Founding Fathers gave us the right to own military assault rifles."