If Rep. Ron Paul becomes president, he would cut his own salary to less than $40,000 a year, end five cabinet-level departments, audit the Federal Reserve, end all foreign wars, and trim the federal workforce by 10 percent. These and other cuts are part of Paul's "Plan to Restore America," released Monday, which details how he would decrease federal spending by $1 trillion during his first year as president and balance the budget by his third year.
The details of the plan should come as no surprise to those who have paid attention to Paul and his libertarian political philosophy, which emphasizes free markets and a limited government based on what he sees as the principles of the Founding Fathers. "He's the only presidential candidate that's introduced a plan that actually balances the budget in a reasonable amount of time," claims campaign spokesman Gary Howard. "These are things that have to be done now to head off any long-term damage that's coming. We're in over our heads as far as debt goes, and it's only getting worse."
On Paul's chopping block are the Departments of Energy, Commerce, Interior, Education, and Housing and Urban Development. He would privatize the Federal Aviation Administration and the Transportation Security Administration while freezing spending for most other departments. He also plans to repeal President Obama's signature healthcare law, as well as the Dodd-Frank and Sarbanes-Oxley financial regulations.
The plan would freeze spending for Medicaid and a few other social programs like the Child Nutrition Program, changing them into block grants to the states and moving them from the mandatory spending section of the federal budget to the discretionary spending section, which means the programs' budgets would need to be approved by Congress annually.
Paul's desired presidential salary of $39,336—what the campaign identifies as the approximate median personal income of American workers—is a way "to stand with the American People," the plan explains.
There is one notable area of government that would survive Paul's knife. Department of Veterans Affairs funding would continue to increase at the currently scheduled levels, according to the plan. Howard says that Paul believes that since "you send people all over the world to fight for America and to fight for freedom, we shouldn't be cutting any benefits once they get back."
Again, this is no surprise. Paul, who served as a flight surgeon in the U.S. Air Force, has emphasized his support for veterans in the past, including through a campaign ad called that featured former soldiers appreciating his advocacy on their behalf and calling him "a veteran's best friend."
Paul has also said that support from active-duty members of the military is a sign he is on the right track with his push to end foreign wars and cut military spending. "We don't know about this quarter," Paul said at a recent luncheon at the National Press Club, "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."