Rand Paul on Welfare & Poverty



Income inequality comes from Democrats & the Fed

Q: Fifty years ago, the average CEO of a big corporation in this country earned 20 times the average salary of one of his or her workers. Today, that CEO earns about 300 times the average salary of a worker. Does it matter at all that the gap between the rich and everyone else is widening?

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.

Source: Fox Business/WSJ First Tier debate , Nov 10, 2015

Federal "gifts" don't generate wealth but perpetuate poverty

Those of us who are actively pursuing the American Dream simply want government to get out of our way. For those of us who feel separated and distant from the American Dream, we don't want be perpetually talked down to, forgotten, and left in perpetual poverty. Many are discouraged that the "gifts" offered by liberals have not generated wealth, but rather perpetuated poverty. People want a way out--not fake concern and baubles.

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.

Source: Tea Party response to the 2015 State of the Union address , Jan 20, 2015

Be aware of those who are missing out on American Dream

At home, much of nation still suffers. Dr. Martin Luther King spoke of two Americas. He described them as "two starkly different American experiences that exist side by side." In one America, people experienced "the opportunity of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness in all its dimensions." In the other America, people experienced a "daily ugliness" that dashes hope and leaves only "the fatigue of despair."

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."

Source: Tea Party response to the 2015 State of the Union address , Jan 20, 2015

Tax cuts help the poor because local businesses will hire

Q: You've been out to Detroit, going after audiences that we don't see Republicans go after--minorities, young people. What is your party doing wrong to alienate so many young voters and minorities?

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.

Source: ABC This Week 2014 series of 2016 presidential hopefuls , Apr 13, 2014

Strong safety net, but one that doesn't suffocate us

Let me say from the outset, I will work with the President, Democrats, Independents and anyone else who wants to get people back to work and alleviate poverty in our country.

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.

Source: Tea Party response to 2014 State of the Union address , Jan 28, 2014

Economic freedom zones: low taxes in high unemployment areas

I'm not against having unemployment insurance. I do think, though, that the longer you have it, that it provides some disincentive to work, and that there are many studies that indicate this. So we have to figure out how to create jobs and keep people from becoming long-term unemployed. That's why I promoted the economic freedom zones which would dramatically lower taxes in areas where there's long-term unemployment. What I would like to do is:
  1. If we extend unemployment insurance, we pay for it
  2. But we add something to it that would create jobs. And so what I have been promoting are economic freedom zones, which any area that has unemployment one-and-a-half times the national average, we would dramatically lower taxes to try to spur and stimulate the economy there and create jobs.
Source: ABC This Week 2014 series of 2016 presidential hopefuls , Jan 11, 2014

Economic freedom zones in depressed inner cities

Q: In your trip to Detroit this week, you unveiled your plan for economic freedom zones in depressed areas. Let's take a look at that plan. You would set a flat individual and corporate tax rate in those depressed areas of 5%. Give parents more school choice and education tax credits. And loosen visa rules to encourage foreign entrepreneurs to open businesses. Critics say, well, those are all good ideas, but you've got to pour more government money into those inner cities if you're going to make a difference.

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.

Source: Fox News Sunday 2013 series of 2016 presidential hopefuls , Dec 8, 2013

Poverty line is $11,490, but welfare adds $25,000

The definition of the "poverty line" for a single individual in the United States is $11,490. This certainly isn't very much to live on, but according to the Senate Budget Committee, this individual may qualify for up to $25,000 in various forms of federal welfare. In addition to the salary, welfare benefits would put this individual at more than 300 percent above the poverty line.

[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."

Source: A Clear Vision to Revitalize America, by Rand Paul, p. 29-30 , Oct 1, 2013

Block grant welfare to states and communities

Education, housing, and local commerce, among many other welfare programs for citizens should be the responsibility and role of the states & communities. This budget will provide assistance to the states to perform functions like supplemental nutrition, low-income health care and other assistance needs. Not only does this significantly lower the cost to the federal government, but also it achieves the goal of bending the cost curve for these programs down.

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.

Source: A Clear Vision to Revitalize America, by Rand Paul, p. 30-31 , Oct 1, 2013

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Page last updated: Mar 24, 2016