Sen. Rand Paul shredded Congress to their faces over the "monstrous" coronavirus relief bill, urging his fellow lawmakers to stop piling debt on future generations, open the economy, and cut waste in the budget.
"Republicans like to mock Modern Monetary Theory—the idea that government can print money with impunity, that government can spend whatever it wants without the need to tax," Paul prefaced the speech to his colleagues published Monday.
Paul explained that Modern Monetary Theory is essentially the "Dick Cheney 'deficits don't matter' crowd" trussed up "with a new fancy title."
Most Republican "rightly lampoon this quackery," Paul continued, noting that GOP members do so when "they’re not practicing the quackery themselves."
Many of these same Republicans today will vote for a bill that makes Modern Monetary Theory "look like child’s play in comparison," Paul alleged, referencing the mammoth package of emergency economic relief, government funding, and tax cuts that the Senate approved late Monday.
The move marked one of the largest pieces of legislation ever approved by Congress sent to President Donald Trump for enactment.
"The monster spending bill presented today is not just a 'deficits don’t matter disaster,' it is everything Republicans say they don’t believe in," Paul argued. "This bill is free money for everyone. Proponents don’t care if you’re fully employed and own your own house." He then mimicked: "Free money for everyone, they cry."
Paul questioned: If free money were the answer, if money really can be grown on trees, why not give out more free money? Why stop at $600 per person? Why not a thousand? Why not two thousand?
"Maybe these new 'free money Republicans' should join the 'everybody gets a guaranteed income' caucus. The treasury can just keep printing up the money," Paul charged.
Lambasting the "so-called conservatives who are quick to identify the socialism of the Democrats," Paul snapped back: "If you vote for this spending monstrosity you are no better."
"When you vote to pass out free money, you lose your soul and you abandon forever any semblance of moral integrity," he asserted. "So, the next time you see Republicans in high moral dudgeon complaining about spending or Democrats and socialism—remind them—if they supported this monstrous spending bill, that really the difference between the parties is less Adam Smith versus Marx and more Marx versus Engels."
Paul moved on to illustrate how egregious the nation's fiscal situation is, citing that the federal government brought in $3.3 trillion in revenue last year and spent $6.6 trillion for a record-setting $3.3 trillion deficit.
"If you are looking for more COVID bailout money, we don't have any," he fired. "The coffers are bare. We have no rainy-day fund. We have no savings account. Congress has spent all of the money. Congress spent all of the money a long time ago."
He emphasized that the economic damage from the pandemic is not the reason for this "runaway spending," but that this has persisted for decades.
"Today's money is gone, so Congress is spending tomorrow's money. When you look at a graph of our projected spending, you see a big spike this year. The spike is a mountain of money doled out to pay for the economic ruin of the government mandates," Paul stated.
"When we talk about spending tomorrow's money, this is not just money we will need next month; this is money we will need in a decade—money we will need in one, two, and three generations from now," he pressed. "For national defense. For infrastructure. This is money that your children and grandchildren will pay back with interest, and it is going up by more than a trillion dollars every year."
Instead of enjoying the same wealth and opportunity that the public celebrates in this country, the future generation will be stuck paying the their predecessor's bills, Paul contended, adding, "with interest."
Every taxpaying American already owes $136,754 today are staring at a red-ink projection into the future, Paul said, pointing at the $27 trillion total debt today.
"How do we expect a child to have economic opportunity when crushing debt is their inheritance from Congress?" he asked.
This relevalation should be setting off alarm bells, but Congress has only signaled more spending, more debt, Paul went on, quipping, "No cuts. No offsets. No pay-fors. No prioritization. Just debt."
"Spend all the money and leave the future to figure itself out," he declared. "By refusing to acknowledge the debt crisis, we are only hastening the day of economic reckoning."
The budget deficit for 2020 was $3.3 trillion and the projected deficit for 2021 is nearly $2 trillion. Paul highlighted that this calculation was before any additional spending on another round of coronavirus bailout money.
Now we are borrowing and worsening this debt crisis, because too many governors and mayors have imposed heavy-handed restrictions that are crushing small businesses, he said. "The pandemic itself was disruptive, but Congress is being asked to help perpetuate lockdowns and shutdowns through bailouts and debt."
"Every bailout dollar printed and passed out to governors only allows these tin pot dictators to perpetuate the lockdowns," he reiterated. "Their rules are arbitrary, and governors and mayors across the country are picking winners and losers."
Family businesses are being wiped out, because they are prohibited from offering their services. Such mom-and-pop stores and specialty stores are forced to close, but big box competitors are allowed to stay open because they have a grocery aisle, Paul pointed out. "How is any business expected to survive that kind of regulation?"
Restaurants have to close for indoor dining or remain open at limited capacity but bars must remain shut down. "Confusing doesn't explain the half of it," Paul snapped back.
"Businesses are told they have to close at an arbitrary time determined by government officials, as though the virus only comes out late at night. A business in one zip code can be open but one in the adjoining zip code has to close, as if the virus can't cross an imaginary line," he poked. "Airlines are allowed to fly but hotels have to limit their occupancy, so you may not have anywhere to stay when you get there."
Meanwhile, numerous schools shut down despite overwhelming evidence proving that kids can safely learn in-person with basic precautions, Paul maintained. Parents have been unable to go to work, which has forced many to leave their jobs to take care of home-bound kids. Now these households have no income while children are struggling with an improvised virtual school.
"It is clear that government has worsened the economic damage and acted as the biggest obstacle to economic recovery," he expressed. "There is no free money to get us out of this situation. In fact, there is no more money at all."
The answer is not printing and distributing "free money" to everyone, Paul challenged. "The answer is immediately opening the economy. We can choose to let our economies open, with guidance and precautions but not obstruction. Let people rebuild their livelihoods. Reopen our schools so kids can learn and parents can go back to working and earning a living."
Congress should do away with automatic spending increases and scrutinize where in the budget the people can find savings to pay for the pressing needs arising from the pandemic, Paul offered. "Or Congress can follow the status quo: Congress can continue to borrow from our kids—the same ones whom we have locked out of schools. Congress can keep enabling the shutting down of business by force, spend all of today's money and all of tomorrow's money. Then good luck figuring out how to pay for all of this massive debt."
Calling the debt crisis "preventable crisis," Paul urged Congress to change course, cut unnecessary spending, eliminate waste, and stop fighting the $50 billion per year "forever war" in Afghanistan.
"We can't keep pretending that more debt is a sustainable policy course. Leadership is not passing on the problem to someone who can't protest; leadership is making the hard choices now," Paul concluded.