Q & A – Senator Rand Paul Town Hall Meeting – Murray State University January 11, 2012
Editor’s Note – Questions and answers are as I heard them – either or both may be incomplete. Do not consider this an official transcript, but a sampling of the issues raised and the answers given.
Q.: Judge Mike Miller – Region needs help with lock project – running out of money. What can Senator do?
- Sen. Paul – EPA gets in the way. Find ways to reduce spending. Hickman can’t dredge port – ask Corps to get out of the way snooping on private property owners – corps spending 100 million – use that $$ for dredging ports
Let people bring foreign capital back at 5% - and use it for infrastructure
420 million KY gets is not enough – narrow bridges over KY Lakes – he’s been on bridges. With a 3.8 trillion budget take from what is being wasted and put it into something useful.
Q.: How much is locks funding paid for – shouldn’t user fees be more of percentage?
- Sen. Paul – asks Miller if he knows. –
Miller: A pretty good percentage comes out of user fee for barge companies.
- Sen. Paul – Commenting on gas tax at same rate – let gas tax go up – only if part of something that lets other taxes go down – wants tax reform
Comment from audience – If gas tax gets raised – that raises their food costs. New regs on truckers will raise prices.
- Sen. Paul - I will oppose new regulation on truckers.
Q.: GE pays no tax – make a new bracket
- Sen. Paul – What I dislike most about President’s rhetoric – he thinks it is a zero sum game. If you do something well, you will be more successful. We have a significantly progressive tax code.
Some anger is justified. I’m not happy that you work for a bank on Wall Street, get in trouble, you get bailed out. When I ran for office – I said I would have let the banks go bankrupt.
Q.: I have a small farm with my husband. We compost manure. Friends and neighbors purchase composted manure. We just received letter on fertilizer laws from the state. It requires three different forms filed quarterly and pay a fee of $500. Residual nitrogen phosphorus. Not calling fertilizer. Cannot afford to hire anyone because of regulations.
- Sen. Paul – Regulations have become particularly insane. With a state issue, we can write a letter for you.
In 1970s – Clean Water Act said no one can dump into lake. Someone decided clean fill, compost is a pollutant. Wetlands not in the Act. If bird in Florida flies to KY – lands in your backyard – you could be a wetlands.
Q.: When you ran, you said you would reduce the size of tax code. – what specifically have you done ?
- Sen. Paul: On two sides of ledger– plan to cut spending and simplify code. Wrote GOP jobs plan – included simplification of tax code.
Q.: from Carol Forman – pancreatic action network. SB 362 reintroduced – 42 co-sponsors – 4th leading cause of cancer deaths. Treatment options limited. Lowest survival rate 6% In KY – pancreatic cancer is on the rise. When bill comes to floor would you support?
- Sen. Paul – dealt with pancreatic cancer patients as a doctor. We should keep looking for the answer. There is some debate on whether Congress should make the decision. I will look at the proposal.
Q.: from Joseph – on the issue of wealth equality – US in bottom 5% in wealth equality. What do you plan to do regarding this growing disparity.
- Sen. Paul : – in Soviet Union – more equality of wealth or in Cuba. Wealth inequality – difference based on how hard you work. If you think wealth is related to work – Work correlates to education. Not perfectly
Believes in a free enough society that govt not making someone rich. Do not like idea that very wealthy people should get bonuses guaranteed by gov’t. Don’t believe that it is just for gov’t to do that.
Q.: Tony – Heard you opposed voting rights act and Civil Rights Act of 1965. Came to hear it from you – do you support them?
- Sen. Paul – strong believer of 14th A no deprivation of civil rights by state. Would have voted for Civil Rights Act. Still had some concerns about restaurant service under law.
Q.: from Kirk Freibert – What is near term outlook on the military budget?
- Sen. Paul: – most important thing gov’t does is national defense. We need to take care of our veterans. Wife works with wounded soldier project. In overall ramification of the numbers – cuts in spending are in the rate of increase.
Baseline on everything is going up. Sequestration – 60 billion against proposed increases. Takes a real cut first year. Spending from 2001 has doubled. Wants best weapons and best soldiers – but have to consider that we cannot give a blank check.
Q.: 9% approval rating of Congress – how about Congress give up insider trading exemption?
- Sen. Paul –Insider trading law does not apply to Congress. Do I think there should be some rules – absolutely. If I know something in private that there will be a contract with Raytheon I should not go out and buy stock.
Should pass no law that exempts Congress from that law.
Q.: from Will – US - highest corporate tax rate in the world? Competitive disadvantage?
- Sen. Paul – cosponsored bill with McCain that divided tax rates in half.
Infuriating – cannot get a narrow portion passed. If part of overall tax reform – there are 1000 moving parts. Foreign investment coming back at 5% tax could go into infrastructure.
Nothing personal against the president – 5 to 6 issues that could pass. But they should be in pieces.
Q.: I see a big corporate assault on unions. Big corporations locking out unions –
- Sen. Paul – With regard to unions – when they serve a useful role – like United Steel Workers in Paducah working with management to keep USEC.
Not an either or – I’m for open agreements. Union members should not be forced to contribute to political views. AARP – one of the most liberal lobbies up there. Send stuff out on me that I am against old people.
Q.: Mike Nutter – recently retired – just moved to Murray. Supported amendment to repeal Obamacare.
- Sen. Paul – Bill to overturn health care law passed in House – could not get it passed in Senate. Short of getting a new president – Not sure where it is going . People who have businesses that don’t have health insurance will suffer. Met a man with 400 temps – can’t afford health insurance for them. There are problems with health care. Should have tried to fix problems rather than passing Obama-care
Q.: from Dottie Cramer – drug free coalition in Calloway Co. addresses substance abuse issues at the local level. It is a cost efficient way to deal with problem. Over ten years we have seen significant reductions in drug issues. It is cost effective.
- Sen. Paul – look forward to seeing her in WA. Teen challenge near Madisonville – combine work with faith based program. Drug addiction is a health problem. Not easily fixed.
Q.: (Rand Paul’s) Daddy has brought a lot of attention to himself. Auditing the Federal Reserve. I want to say I believe the Federal Reserve is at the base of all our problems.
- Sen. Paul – I was lead co-sponsor of the audit the Fed bill. Fed bill bailing out rich Wall Street people and rich foreign bankers.
Not just 700 billion from taxpayer. Fed did 7 trillion on their own. People at top of food chain didn’t suffer at all.
Great inflation in housing – wrong signal. Keeping interest rates above market should have slowed the economy down. If interest rate at zero – then message was keep building houses.
Q.: What is it going to take to turn a do nothing Congress into a do something Congress?
- Sen. Paul – talked with President, rode on Air Force One – ones (Dems) who will talk to me want a big deal. We need to divide up the problems – tax problems, foreign investment – infrastructure fund. One I spoke to said he would never consider it unless $$ goes into infrastructure bank. I am trying – I do have an open ear.
Q.: When are you going to run for president?
- Sen. Paul : Lucky enough to be come well known. Want to be part of national debate.
Q.: What about incomplete legislation being passed?
- Sen. Paul – worked on REINS act – make Congress vote on regulation. Rep. Geoff Davis got it passed on the house side. Any regulation that costs more than 100 million gets vote in Congress. That would apply to 200 regs passed every year. More things happen in regulatory agencies. 55000 pages of regulations. EPA is enemy to coal industry. 100K work directly or indirectly for coal.