Newsmax interview: Senator Paul discusses possibility of including entitlement reform in budget discussions

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., told Newsmax Tuesday that when it comes to balancing the budget, Congress needs to take a sobering look at entitlement reform.

“Both parties have their head in the sand and are unwilling to look at entitlement spending, which is two-thirds of the spending driving the debt,” Paul said during an appearance on Newsmax’s “Carl Higbie FRONTLINE.” “Military also has to be looked at, and so does the welfare. Everything has to be looked at if you want to try to balance your budget.”

“Most politicians are mistaken that you can’t talk about entitlement reform,” he continued. “I’ve run three statewide elections, and I said from the very beginning that Medicare and Social Security were going bankrupt and that the only way to save them was actually to gradually raise the age at which we start them. We did it for Social Security. Back in the ‘80s, we raised the age from 65 to 67, and, once the initial debate was done, there really wasn’t a lot of public pushback. People just recognized it had to be done.”

Faced with the possibility of a government shutdown if a deal isn’t reached by Sept. 30, Paul said he thinks the time has again come to raise the retirement age for Social Security from 67 to 70.

“You do it a couple of months a year, and it takes about 10 or 15 years to actually get to 70, but it helps to balance the books,” he said. “Right now we spend more on Social Security, more on Medicare, than what comes in and this chronic imbalance is really what drives the deficit.”

When asked if there’s a more rational approach to resolving the government’s spending problem than shutting it down, Paul said that should never be the goal, “but it’s also irresponsible to keep it open and keep the status quo and keep spending $1.5 trillion more than comes in.”

“What I have advocated for is that we continue to keep government open – we have a continuing resolution – but we basically just provide for the essentials,” he said. “That would be the military, Social Security, Medicare and we have enough money for that. We still have enough money for most of the rest of government, and so what we would do is downsize. About 70% of government, we have money for. Let’s decide the 70% that we actually have to have and keep that 70% open and start trimming everywhere else.”

“If you did it to my druthers though, I would actually put forward a plan – and I have for several years now – to cut 5% of spending across the board,” he continued. “You do it over a five-year period and you balance your budget. Almost every business person I’ve ever talked to says that they could cut 5% out of their budget without cutting workers or salaries or anything. They could really cut 5% just in waste, so I think it could be done, but somebody’s got to get started. We just keep putting it off.”


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Nicole Wells

Nicole Wells, a Newsmax general assignment reporter covers news, politics, and culture. She is a National Newspaper Association award-winning journalist.

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