The PJ Tatler

Why Rand Paul's Budget Defiance Proved Impotent

Rand Paul put forth a valiant effort last week to place a small speed bump in the path of the debt-building federal budget. He defied his colleagues in the Senate to poll their constituents about eliminating the debt ceiling. From The Blaze:

“The establishment in Washington is completely and utterly tone-deaf to the way America feels about this,” the Kentucky senator said.

Paul then challenged the senators to “drive outside the beltway” and talk to individuals they randomly encounter.

“Ask the first person you meet at the supermarket, ‘Do you think we should keep borrowing more money?’ I don’t care what party they are in. I defy you to drive outside the beltway — stop at a gas station, stop at a supermarket — and ask the first person: ‘Do you think we should increase the debt and increase spending at the same time?’”

Paul may be right about how people outside the beltway would respond to that question. The problem is that they’d likely give contradictory answers when presented with cuts to specific programs.

Cap the debt? Sure. Cut spending in the abstract? Right on. But cut my Social Security check? Raise my retirement age? Close my military base? Hell no.

That’s why Paul’s defiance proves impotent, and why so many supposed conservative Republicans went along with this budget. They are in touch with their constituents, and know that any anger over lifting the debt ceiling would be dwarfed by anger over reductions in subsidy.

We the People are the problem.