It irks me that Ron Paul manages to escape widespread ridicule for his proposals. Instead of taking his ideas at face value, people tend to ignore them altogether and praise his consistency or courage. I suppose everyone can find something to like about Paul, but let us not gloss over his actual plans, including his 11-page "Plan to Restore America."
The plan is full of (you guessed it) budget and tax cuts. It is a libertarian's dream! But Paul's vision would not improve market efficiency. By gutting popular regulations and devolving that power from the federal government to the states, Paul will empower states to create a tangle of competing policies, tax structures, and bureaucracies. Many states will race to the bottom.
In Paul's plan, the FAA would be privatized and unregulated. Transit revenue would come exclusively from gas tax receipts (about $30 billion per year). The FY 2010 transit budget was $76 billion. A 60% cut would lead to the rapid deterioration of roads — perhaps within several months of enactment. Without huge state tax increases, the dangerous roads would cause untold damage to vehicles, increases in insurance premiums, and loss of life.
The FDA, the EPA, and the CDC will face cuts of 40%, 30%, and 20% respectively. At best, this would lead to massive delays in project approval or drug approval. At worst, this would directly lead to hundreds of thousands of deaths.
Paul would shut down the Department of Interior altogether, and (I assume) auction off most federal land. To the states? To private charities? I am not sure. Either way, flooding the market with millions of acres of land would drive land prices down and destroy the American residential and commercial building market permanently.
Even Paul's most laudable proposal — a drawdown of American troops abroad — is a mockery of good public policy. Paul would cut the military immediately by 15%. Wouldn't gradual cuts produce a smaller shock on the economy while accomplishing the same thing? Paul doesn't seem to care about or understand the huge shocks caused by radical shifts in policy.
Finally, he would switch the United States to the gold standard or another sound money scheme. This would solve our massive imaginary inflation problem. That is right: You will no longer be forced to pay 0.07% more per month for bread. The result: Shifting to gold will immediately destroy all foreign credibility in the American political/financial system.
There is nothing admirable about Paul's plans. If we destroy the FDA, thousands of children could be poisoned by unsafe food. If we eliminate FEMA, thousands will suffer after national disasters.
Don't gloss over Paul's plans. Take his stated positions literally.
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