Rand Paul on Welfare & Poverty
PAUL: Absolutely. And I think that we ought to look where income inequality seems to be the worst. It seems to be worst in cities run by Democrats, governors of states run by Democrats, and countries currently run by Democrats. So the thing is, let's look for root causes. But I would also lay some blame at the feet of the Federal Reserve. I think the Federal Reserve has made this problem worse. By artificially keeping interest rates below the market rate, average ordinary citizens have a tough time earning interest, have a tough time making money. But the bottom line is, if you want less income inequality, move to a city with a Republican mayor, or a state with a Republican governor.
The war on poverty is 50 years old, and still black unemployment is twice that of white unemployment. Income inequality has worsened under this Administration, and tonight President Obama offers more of the same policies--policies that have allowed the poor to get poorer, and the rich to get richer.
Pitting one American against another is not a pathway towards prosperity. The President is intent on redistributing the pie but not growing it. He misunderstands that the bulk of America wants a bigger pie. They want to work and don't want a handout--but a hand up.
Although I was born into the America that experiences and believes in opportunity, my trips to Ferguson, Detroit, Atlanta, and Chicago have revealed what I call an "undercurrent of unease." There is a tension that has become visible in the protests in every major American city. I think peace will come when those of us who have enjoyed the American Dream become aware of those who are missing out on the American Dream. The future of our country will be secure when we break down the wall that separates us from "the other America."
PAUL: You know, it's a hardened resistance. It's been going on for decade after decade. So it's not going to easy to change. We got 3% of the vote in Detroit [for Romney in the 2012 election]. There's not one Democrat that's offered to help the people in Detroit. I went to the people of Detroit and I offered them a billion dollars of their own money to try to help them recover.
Q: But you're offering tax cuts. If you don't have a job, if you're in poverty, tax cuts aren't going to help.
PAUL: That money would be left in the hands of businesses that people in Detroit are already voting on. Let's grow those businesses and they will employ more people.
I believe in an America with a strong safety net, but one that doesn't suffocate our resolve to better ourselves and our country.
We must choose a new way, a way that empowers the individual through education and responsibility to earn a place alongside their fellow Americans in the most prosperous nation ever conceived.
PAUL: Well, it hasn't worked. I mean, the president poured $1 trillion into the nation's economy. And when you divided it out, it was about $400,000 per job. The problem with a government stimulus is you pick the winners and losers. With this stimulus, a free market stimulus, you simply leave the money in the hands of those who earned it. So customers have actually picked out the successful people, the ones they choose to buy products from. Those people get more money.
[One pundit wrote], "Today 99 percent of Americans living below the poverty line have electricity, water, flushing toilets, and a refrigerator; 95 percent have a television; 88 percent have a telephone; 71 percent have a car; and 70 percent have air-conditioning. This may not seem like much, but one hundred years ago men like Henry Ford and Cornelius Vanderbilt were among the richest on the planet, but they enjoyed few of these luxuries."
Through reform ideas like block granting, we can provide federally assisted funds to local communities to help them facilitate and tend to those in need of such essentials such as food or health care. Such proposals would return the responsibility back to the states and promote the opportunity for states to innovate and plan based on the needs of their constituency. Most importantly, it would encourage states to take a more direct look at who is in poverty, who is receiving unnecessary aid, and to facilitate a lessened dependency on government.
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