Liberty, Integrity, Personal Responsibility, and Accountability
The United States of America was founded on these principles. Liberty and personal responsibility are the values that drive us. Liberty is the ability for people to make their own decisions. Personal Responsibility means that people reap the rewards and consequences of those decisions. We believe every unnecessary law that is passed decreases liberty and undermines personal responsibility. It is time to restore these values so that we can build a better nation for our children and grandchildren.
Integrity and accountability are the standards by which we guide our actions. It is fruitless to “stand for liberty” if we compromise all our values and morals to get there. Character matters. Not only do we need to maintain integrity if we really want to lead effectively, but we must be held accountable for our actions by a vigilant, educated constituency.
It is upon these standards and principles that Paul bases his positions on the issues.
Government spending continues to spin out of control. In 2014 the federal government spent $3.5 trillion and in 2016 it spent $3.9 trillion with a $587 billion deficit. In addition to the massive burden this places on current taxpayers, the $22 trillion national debt ensures future Americans will be working to pay these expenses for generations to come. The United States needs a comprehensive plan that decreases spending significantly, and seeks to begin paying off our national debt. This can be achieved by shrinking and eliminating a wide range of government programs. It will require compromise on both side of the aisle, and must result in a budget that includes a large enough surplus to start paying off the debt.
Congressional leadership herald’s the fact that in 2016 the deficit was “only” $587 billion, because it was up to $1.4 trillion in 2009. This would be like a family celebrating because they only spent $50,000 more than they earned in a year, instead of $150,000 more like they had a few years prior.
If we really want to address the national debt, we have to stop patting ourselves on the back because we had a smaller deficit, and we must not relent until federal revenues outpace federal expenditures.
Paul supports the full legalization of Cannabis. Like sugar, alcohol, tobacco, and a host of other substances, Cannabis can be abused. But that does not mean it should be illegal. The War on Drugs has effectively fueled and propped up a black market for narcotics that has funded terrorists, guerrillas, cartels, and gangs for decades.
Individual rights and state’s rights have been eroded for decades by overreaching Federal legislation and the expansion of executive powers. Our right to speak freely, practice religion, bear arms, and avoid unreasonable search and seizure are being presently violated by federal law. This alarming trend towards more authoritarian government must be halted and reversed. Laws that violate the Bill of Rights must be repealed, and those who violate these rights must be held accountable.
Job creation comes from private industry, not from the government. All government jobs are overhead on the economy, in that they serve to create expenses without generating revenue. It is the free market economy and the grace of God that have driven the United States to be the largest economy in the world, not government programs. The best thing Congress can do for the economy get out of the way. Giving individual Americans and companies the freedom to fail or succeed on their own terms is the greatest incentive to productivity and prosperity we can give. Competition breeds success.
There is no positive correlation between Federal education spending and performance in schools. In fact, while Department of Education spending has increased, test scores have decreased and the price of education has skyrocketed. The Federal Government has severely mismanaged the budget, foreign policy, and the economy. There is no reason we should allow the same people to mismanage our children.
It is a well-known fact that US reliance on foreign oil has been a problem for a long time. Cutting off our foreign energy reliance, and focusing on domestic oil and other energy sources has several benefits including better energy prices, more jobs at home, and insulation from some of the turmoil that occurs in the Middle East and other oil-rich regions.
Foreign Policy and National Defense
One of our biggest lapses over the last 70 years has been our handling of foreign policy. Enamored by the concept of “limited warfare,” decision makers have refused to commit fully to any conflict since World War II, simultaneously increasing our willingness to enter foreign conflicts while decreasing our effectiveness in those conflicts. As a Marine Corps veteran of the Global War on Terror in Iraq, Paul can attest first hand that our efforts have been ineffective. The United States must change the way it approaches war from legal, strategic, and tactical perspectives if we want to remain free, secure, and just. We must only fight wars we are truly willing to win, admitting the true cost up front, and holding our elected officials accountable for the outcome of those conflicts.
Currently the United States is engaged in active conflicts around the world, including Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, the Philippines, Libya, and Nigeria. Yet, no declaration of war has been issued for any of these conflicts. Whether US remains engaged in these conflicts or not, Congress must ultimately be held responsible for the decision, rather than relying on an outdated, broad Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) from 2001.
Gun Rights (Second Amendment)
Paul is a certified concealed handgun instructor in the state of Texas, a certified NRA instructor, a gun owner, and a life member of the NRA. He strongly believes that the second amendment protects the right of individual Americans to keep and bear arms. The United States was founded on a principle of checks and balances. States and Federal; Executive, Legislative, Judicial; and finally the Government and the People all serve to balance each other out. The Second Amendment does not exist simply to protect the rights of hunters, the military, target shooting, or some other specific segment of the firearms world. It exists to give individuals the ability to counteract government forces (foreign or domestic) in the event that they should need to do so. Laws that ignore the Second Amendment and increase restrictions on firearms not only do not work, but they also decrease individual liberty and security.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), also known as Obamacare, is a shining example of government overreach and authoritarianism. Not only has Obamacare already increased the price of healthcare and further complicated the already complex healthcare system, it also treads on the individual’s fundamental right to choose whether or not to purchase something. Congress should work pointedly towards repealing this legislation, and getting the government out of healthcare as much as possible. Current Republicans in Congress have promised time and time again to repeal Obamacare, but they have failed to keep these promises. Instead, they tried to follow a “repeal and replace” strategy, that failed completely.
Immigration is a complex issue, and Congress has been passing the buck on this one for years. There may not be a simple answer, but several things are clear. Getting into this country illegally should be far more difficult than it currently is. For those that are serious about becoming productive citizens, we need a better, more efficient, stream-lined process for bringing them in legally. With more incentives to enter legally and disincentives to enter illegally, we should see a large drop in illegal immigration.
It is said that individual Americans commit on average three felonies per day. Though actual numbers clearly vary, most people have unknowingly broken many laws in their own lifetimes. In most cases these actions do not hurt anyone or harm anything, and many of these laws are rarely enforced because they are vague, absurd, and overreaching. Laws that are vague, absurd, and rarely enforced constitute a form of tyranny that most people do not consider. You may be a “law abiding citizen,” but if you fall out of favor with a government official, you could be targeted using one of these laws. In addition to being a threat to personal liberty, too many laws on the books increase the hoops businesses and individuals must jump through in order to thrive, hurting our economy and livelihood.
Sanctity of Life
Paul supports the immediate, total abolition of abortion. Since Roe vs. Wade in 1973 over 60 million babies have been aborted legally in the United States at a current rate of roughly one million per year. Gridlock, and complacency have put this issue on the back-burner for many, but that does not mean the battle is not worth fighting. It is a battle we must fight with great conviction and vigor.
State and Local Powers (10th Amendment)
The tenth amendment gives states and localities authority to regulate those issues not specifically delegated to the Federal Government. Primarily this means two things: First, states cannot counteract that which is outlined in the Constitution. For instance, states and localities should not pass laws violating our right to free speech, right to bear arms, and so on. Secondly, the Federal Government should not regulate issues that are outside of its purview as outlined in the Constitution. For instance, the Federal Government should not legislate marriage, or narcotics. Those should be legislated by states or localities if they are to be legislated at all. But over the years the Federal Government has used and abused the interstate commerce clause to involve itself in nearly every aspect of our lives.
Federal income taxes and corporate taxes are far too high in the United States. Not only does this take money from individuals to spend on programs many do not support, but it also hurts the economy, further hurting individuals’ ability to thrive. Furthermore, US tax code is far too expansive and complex. Our tax code is overseen by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), which has been embroiled in several recent scandals including the receipt of large bonuses for many of its employees (including those that owed back taxes), and targeting of conservative groups (and subsequently lying about it). The US should pursue drastic changes to the manner in which we levy taxes, especially the “flat tax” concept.
Knowing what your own government is doing is an important part of being an effective citizen. It is important for all legislators to discuss legislation with constituents, explaining their position and why they voted one way or another, as well as soliciting feedback. It is the job of political leaders to serve the people, not rule over them. If elected Paul will strive to communicate information about legislation to his constituents, discussing how he voted and why.
As a Marine Corps veteran who served in Iraq, Paul can say first hand that US military veterans are some of the most capable, intelligent, well-trained individuals in the world. Veterans care about what happens in this nation because they have sacrificed. Wars, foreign policy, taxes, and liberty: These are just some of the many reasons we signed the dotted line and wrote a blank check to the US government up to our own lives. Veterans hate to see the nation they fought and bled for being mismanaged. They want liberty, not tyranny, and foreign policies that work, not half-measures to appease public opinion. The first step towards better serving veterans is to take care of the country for which they served. The second step is to actually take care of veterans, especially those with service-related disabilities. The Department of Veterans Affairs provides invaluable services to veterans, but some of those services would be better handled by the private sector.
The GI Bill, and VA Loans are shining examples of programs that the VA has handled quite well. But in matters of healthcare, the VA has failed time and time again. The VA should provide coverage for veteran healthcare, but the actual care should be provide in the private sector.