CPAC 2012: Rand Paul has a few questions for the President

Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) began his address to CPAC 2012 with a question for the President: “Do you hate all rich people, or just those who aren’t campaign contributors?”

Paul noted that two-fisted class warrior Obama certainly seems to like some rich people, such as billionaire George Kaiser, whose coffers he has filled with taxpayer cash.  Obama did this using what Paul described as “a brilliant plan: Let’s appoint people to approve the loans who are related to the people who are going to get the loans.”  This led to Solyndra’s attorney calling up her husband, who works for the Department of Energy, to secure a half-billion-dollar loan.

Alas, that compulsory “investment” in Kaiser’s Solyndra Corporation got “flushed down the drain,” but it doesn’t seem to have dimmed Obama’s affection for his favorite rich people.  “They say it’s not easy to be rich, especially if you inherit the money,” said Paul.  “They think you’re just laying by the pool and playing polo.”  He said he was excited to learn Robert Kennedy was going to shatter that stereotype by starting his own business… but was then crestfallen to learn Kennedy would be doing it with $1.6 billion in taxpayer money.  He did this by getting one of his employees a job at the Department of Energy, and the employee went on to approve Kennedy’s loan.

“So, while the President roams the country,” Paul surmised, “moaning about millionaires and billionaires not paying their fair share, his aides are in the White House making sure that millionaires and billionaires are getting their fair share… of your money.”

Contemplating this White House drive-thru lane for crony capitalists led Paul to ask a second question: “Mr. President, do you hate poor people?  Or do you just hate poor people with jobs?”

Paul pointed out that a world full of $4 (and soon $5) gasoline, rising food prices, and four-dollar light bulbs that require a hazmat team to clean up when they break is mighty tough on the working poor… which is a dwindling group, given Obama’s years of grinding unemployment.  Obama has directly contributed to this environment, by sealing American energy resources in moratorium crypts. 

“I really want to know, Mr. President,” challenged Paul.  “Does your ideology… does your yen for windmills… trump your concern for the poor?  Does it bother you that Americans live paycheck to paycheck, in order to pay for Mr. Kaiser’s loan?  In order to pay for Mr. Kennedy’s loan?  Do you, Mr. President, ever reflect that a country which borrows $40,000 per second is headed for a cliff… and you’re at the wheel, stepping on the gas?”

That Obama bus may look clumsy, but it really picks up when the gas pedal bites the floor.  “We now spend nearly 25 percent of our GDP in Washington, and nearly half of that is borrowed,” warned Paul.  “Entitlements and interest on the debt will consume all tax revenue in the near future.”

Senator Paul was gamely willing to let Obama up, after pinning him to the mat with class-warfare judo.  “I don’t think he hates poor people.  In fact, I don’t impute to the President bad intentions at all.  A misguided philosophy, yes.  But not bad intentions.” 

He went on to condemn that philosophy as “objectively false,” citing statistics that show Obama’s hated “millionaires” – defined under Democrat Party dogma as people who make over $200,000 per year – pay a higher total percentage of their income in taxes, and shoulder 70 percent of the income tax burden in the country.  Meanwhile, “the bottom 47 percent of earners pay no income tax.”  True “fairness,” argued Paul, would involve reducing the tax burden of the upper middle class and “rich,” not increasing it.

Paul got a hearty round of applause by asking if everyone was tired of hearing about Warren Buffett’s secretary.  “We’re encouraged to mourn for his poor secretary, who some have estimated probably makes more than $200,000 per year.”  He called the Saga of the Secretary a “charade” designed to attack Republican candidates who were successful businessmen.  “The truth is that Warren Buffett pays tens of millions of dollars in taxes, while his secretary pays thousands of dollars in taxes.  Buffett, in fact, pays a thousand times more in taxes than his secretary.”

The bitter politics of envy have led us astray from the American Dream, which Paul came to celebrate.  “Do we believe in an America where We The People interact voluntarily, to determine who the winners are?  Or do we want a President to dictate who the winners and losers are?  Do we really want a Fairness Czar to enforce equality on us?” 

He used the lesson of China’s enforced collectivism, in which profit and individual ambition were treated as capital crimes, to illustrate how difficult it can be to reverse course on Obama’s path.  The end of that story shows that it can be done, but “as China awakens to capitalism, our President is heading the other way.  He’s embracing more government, more debt, more government control.  This election may be the last, best hope of saving the American Dream.”

Paul wants the Republican candidate who enters that contest to embrace Ronald Reagan’s optimism, which endured through all hardships, and retreated from no challenges.  Optimism flows from faith, and faith in the American Dream has great power, when shared with enthusiasm.  Optimism avoids crumbling into folly only when the magnitude of the danger we face is properly grasped, and Paul isn’t convinced his own Party fully appreciates how terrible the coming debt crisis will be.

Once again, the Democrats offer malaise, as they did when Carter ran for re-election.  Ayn Rand wrote of “moochers” and “looters.”  Rand Paul looks at the steps of the White House and sees “beseechers.”  They’re trying to squeeze blood from a stone.  “There’s nothing left to give,” Paul pointed out.  If the beseechers fully grasp that, before the defenders of liberty do, the results will not be pretty.