Rep. Ron Paul wants to cut federal spending by $1 trillion, and he will propose a line-by-line way to do it, he said at a National Press Club luncheon Wednesday. He indicated that the plan, which he estimates will be available in a couple weeks, will detail every line item he'd like to cut if he becomes president.
"You could slash the budget probably by 70 percent if you said: Anything that is not authorized directly by the Constitution no longer can be paid for," he said. "We have just gone so far from what was originally intended by the founders of this country."
The comments came in response to a question on why Paul hasn't released specifics on what he wants to cut, though Paul argued he has been pretty specific already. "If I want to get rid of the Department of Education, the Department of Energy, the Department of Commerce, the Department of Agriculture, and cut the military budget in half," he explained, "that's a pretty good start, and that's pretty specific."
The military cuts would come mainly from bringing troops home, Paul explained, which would also allow them to spend their money in the United States as opposed to overseas, acting as an economic stimulus. Paul criticized U.S. foreign policy for keeping too many troops and bases spread out around the world, something he sees as an unnecessary waste of resources.
He added that when people say he wants to cut defense, they are misinterpreting him. What he wants to cut is the military, he said, and he believes bringing troops home will actually provide more defense. "Our Coast Guard is over in the Persian Gulf. Where do you think our National Guards are when we want to use them to help rescue operations when natural disasters [happen]?" he asked. "They're over in Afghanistan."
Paul said his fundraising indicates grassroots support for such ideas. He announced his campaign received $8 million in donations during the third quarter, from more than 100,000 unique donors. "All donors are not equal," he said. "I will take my smaller donations with the enthusiasm of the people who sent me the money."
He added that he sees donations from soldiers in particular as confirmation of the war-ending, military-budget-cutting policies he advocates. "We don't know about this quarter, but so far I've gotten more than twice as much money from active military duty than all the other Republican candidates put together, so that should be a message," he said. "The young people, the military people, they're sick and tired of the war; they want to come home."