Conservatives Introduce Plan to Balance Budget in 5 Years--Eliminate Education, Energy, Housing, Commerce Depts.

March 8, 2012 - 6:00 PM
Rand Paul

Republican Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky. (Photo: Senator's Web site)

(CNSNews.com) – Senators Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Mike Lee (R.-Utah) and Jim DeMint (R.-S.C.) introduced a budget plan on Thursday that would balance the budget in five years and pay down $2 trillion of the national debt in 10 years.

The plan includes spending cuts, entitlement reforms and tax reforms.

Paul said that the “Platform to Revitalize America” is the only plan consistent with the balanced budget amendment Republican advanced in the U.S. Senate because that amendment requires that Congress balance the budget in five years.

The plan eliminates the Department of Commerce, the Department of Education, Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of Energy.

“By eliminating departments we don’t have to make as significant of cuts in other areas,” Paul said.

“So entitlement reform could be more gradual because we eliminate some departments that we think should be done by the states and the localities,” he continued.

Other comprehensive steps to scale back the size of the federal government include selling off excess federal properties and land and defunding duplicative agencies.

On the regulatory side, the plan eliminates the president’s health care law and the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.

On the energy side, besides eliminating the Department of Energy, the plan proposes to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for oil and gas exploration and permits the Keystone XL Pipeline project.

Tax reform includes a 17 percent flat tax for individuals and corporations.

“We think if the country would pass a flat tax like this that would eliminate a lot of the loopholes and special interest that lowers the rate for everybody, we think you’d see an economic boom in this country like you’ve never seen before,” Paul said.

Through the Congressional Health Care for Seniors Act, Medicare reform will allow seniors to receive the Congressional Health Care plan.

Social Security reform is achieved through increasing the retirement age and means-testing the benefits.

It also allows defense spending to rise at a rate faster than increases under the current sequester and eliminates the fiscal year 2013 sequester cuts.

“So there have been some saying they want to avoid the Budget Control Act and the sequester on military spending,” Paul said. “I have said that is a bad idea unless we find savings elsewhere, but in our budget we find savings elsewhere and still allow spending to rise above the sequester,” he continued.

The bill is co-sponsored by Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Sen. Jim Demint (R-S.C.).

Paul said that they have been talking to House members about his budget plan and will try to get it introduced in the House.

“It’s easier to get a vote in the Senate, so we’ll probably get a vote in the Senate. I don’t know if they will in the House,” Paul said.

DeMint said that they need to emphasize what he thinks a lot of their colleagues are missing: “a genuine and very real sense of urgency that our country is in very deep financial trouble and well on the way to look like Greece in a few years.”

DeMint said that any member of Congress who thinks the debt is unsustainable must look at balancing the budget within 10 years.

“What we are going to wait to see is how many members of Congress have the courage of their convictions,” Demint said.

CNSNews.com asked DeMint: “How would you respond to criticism that cuts that are this large and this fast actually hurt the economy because they shift, they end up shifting demand from the government sector to wherever it goes?”

DeMint said: “I think it’s a pretty bogus claim that government spending is keeping our economy up. If that were true, our economy would be better than it’s ever been before.

He continued: “We saw what happened when we borrowed a trillion under the president’s economic stimulus plan. We saw what happened to our economy. We never spent that much. We never approached spending that much for economic stimulus. It doesn’t work.”

DeMint went on to say that if investors had tax certainty and regulatory certainty, the investments we need in the private sector to grow jobs would happen.

“We cannot continue this charade that government spending is actually making our economy work because I don’t know how you could look at any indicator and prove that,” Demint said.