Rand Paul targets college-age voters in campaign swing through Minnesota

REUTERS/Brian C. Frank
Sen. Rand Paul: “Frankly [today], Minnesota needs Republican like me. I think Minnesotans want to be left alone.”

Republican presidential candidate Paul Rand is taking a swing through Minnesota Monday, delivering what his campaign calls a “unique” message to college students.

All three of Paul’s stops are geared to students. The first two are on campus at the University of Minnesota and University of Minnesota-Duluth. The third is in Rochester.

In a phone interview during a campaign swing through South Carolina, Paul explained his appeal to students in a single phrase: “phone warrants.” 

“Students believe that the government shouldn’t collect your records,” he said. “They believe that the government went too far in collecting all of our phone records.” 

The U.S. senator from Kentucky is largely credited with temporarily stopping the renewal of the Patriot Act, the set of laws enacted after the 9/11 terrorist attacks that gave the U.S. government virtually unlimited access to American phone records. After its forced expiration, President Obama signed the renewal in early June.

Paul is milking that victory and his libertarian credentials in speeches and rallies at college campuses nationwide. In Minnesota, Rand’s father, Ron Paul, had a similar approach during his presidential campaign in 2012. It resonated so well that the delegates who went to the Republican National Convention that year cast their votes for Paul over Mitt Romney.

“Frankly [today], Minnesota needs Republican like me,” Rand Paul said.  “I think Minnesotans want to be left alone.”

In national polls, Paul continues to hover around 4 percent, allowing him to make the cut for the fourth Republican debate Tuesday. Paul’s appearance in Minnesota comes on the eve of the Fox Business Network debate, where he will be one of eight candidates on stage in a newly winnowed field. 

I asked him what he hoped to communicate in this smaller group. “I’m really the only fiscal conservative on the stage because I’m willing to hold the line on military and domestic spending,” he replied.

He elaborated that his tax plan demonstrated that commitment by leveraging a 14.5 percent flat tax to cover all domestic spending, including Social Security and Medicare.

Under the Paul tax proposals, those programs would get priority funding but enrollment would be raised from 65 to age 70 over the course of a generation. “If you want to save Medicare and you want to save Social Security you have to raise the age,” he said. “You don’t have a choice, because we are living longer and our families are getting smaller, so you have to raise the age.”   

Comments (13)

  1. Submitted by joe smith on 11/09/2015 - 09:51 am.

    Rand Paul needs to understand his audience a bit better. He is in Minnesota where Bernie has promised free college for all, at least at State schools where Bernie can turn higher education into an extension of public schools K-12 (oh boy where can we sign up for that). Hillary is on board that train and forgiving college loans also. Beat that Rand!! Plus the college age voters of this generation vote constantly for more Government here in Minnesota, not less. They seem to buy into the theory that they are incapable of deciding their own future or things are so bad they need Big Brother (Government) to pull them up. That is the simple reason the DFL constantly tell young folks you are getting screwed on one level or another and we will help you, don’t hold your breath young people. Folks who believe they are in control of their own destiny don’t need Big Brother to hold their hand at every turn. They make decisions not for just today but for their future and understand life is a bumpy road where everything doesn’t go your way all the time.

    I don’t see or hear much of that anymore here in Minnesota.

  2. Submitted by Jim Million on 11/09/2015 - 10:43 am.

    Great Race

    Is this country great, or what? As we look just a little bit more like the EU each year in social legislation, we now also have two Euro-like presidential candidates to perk up an otherwise mainline race: a Socialist Democrat and a Libertarian Republican. And, for a change, they both receive reasonable press coverage. That’s the 2016 difference.

    While neither Sanders nor Paul has an electoral chance here (not yet, anyway), each makes us think seriously about various dirty little secrets of eventuality.

    Paul is absolutely correct in his discussion of the Social Security and Medicare pyramids. Those bases are no longer broad enough, and the pinnacles no longer sharp enough to make the design work much longer without significant modification. As the funding base narrows and the benefits peak broadens, the old pyramid becomes more like a silo, or at least a blunt cone, as benefits to the old increasingly consume current contributions by the young. This is 8th grade math, not calculus.

    Program recipients aren’t stupid–rather wary and reasonably anxious–in these realities. Why are conventional candidates so afraid to take the discussion to them? Most do not want to bleed their grandchildren dry, or leave them with no old-age services. Let’s all get a bit more honest here.

  3. Submitted by Jim Million on 11/09/2015 - 10:50 am.

    Great Race

    Is this country great, or what? As we look just a little bit more like the EU each year in social legislation, we now also have two Euro-like presidential candidates to perk up an otherwise mainline race: a Socialist Democrat and a Libertarian Republican. And, for a change, they both receive reasonable press coverage. That’s the 2016 difference.

    While neither Sanders nor Paul has an electoral chance here (not yet, anyway), each makes us think seriously about various dirty little secrets of eventuality.

    Paul is absolutely correct in his discussion of the Social Security and Medicare pyramids. Those bases are no longer broad enough, and the pinnacles no longer sharp enough to make the design work much longer without significant modification. As the funding base narrows and the benefits peak broadens, the old pyramid becomes more like a silo, or at least a blunt cone, as benefits to the old increasingly consume current contributions by the young. This is 8th grade math, not calculus.

    Program recipients aren’t stupid–rather wary and reasonably anxious–in these realities. Why are conventional candidates so afraid to take the discussion to them? Most do not want to bleed their grandchildren dry, or leave them with no old-age services. Let’s all get a bit more honest here.

    • Submitted by Roy Everson on 11/09/2015 - 09:57 pm.

      Huh?

      How is Rand Paul the least bit Euro-like? Can’t see it. He represents a strain of American shirking of responsibility to the commons, to each other, and to the peoples abroad who rely on positive American engagement. His policies carried out in Europe would incite strikes and riots.

      • Submitted by Jim Million on 11/10/2015 - 03:46 pm.

        Yup

        Just like some now taking power in the UK and elsewhere. The Brexit debate is a good place to start reading.
        Portugal and Greece are known quantities that promote extreme politicians. Germany now sees a re-emergence of the “old Right,” those guys who brought us WWII. Oh, and Scotland’s SNP is still thinking about bolting to a fully devolved state (independent nation), but not likely until oil prices rise significantly to cover their sovereign budget liabilities.

        Bernie Sanders would be an unremarkable politician in most EU nations. Rand Paul would fit in less snugly, but do quite well.

  4. Submitted by Todd Hintz on 11/09/2015 - 12:36 pm.

    Social Insecurity

    Paul has missed a very easy solution to Social Security that does not involve raising the age limit: just take the cap off of SS taxes.

    Currently people only pay tax on the first $118,500 they earn. Anything after that is tax-free. Take that artificial limit off and suddenly Social Security has plenty of money to play with without having to tell your grandparents to suck it up and work longer.

    • Submitted by joe smith on 11/09/2015 - 02:23 pm.

      Does the payout schedule represent the lifting of the $118,500? Will some one who pays in at a $1,000,000 annual salary see an increase in his SS pay at 65 vs someone who pays in at a rate of $80,000? It seems fair to me if you paid in at a 10x rate as to what I pay in you should do better on the backend than me.

      • Submitted by Dennis Tester on 11/09/2015 - 02:58 pm.

        Right

        The reason there’s a cap on SS taxes is because there’s a cap on the monthly benefit SS pays out.

        • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 11/10/2015 - 08:38 am.

          Very Interesting

          Are you saying that if the wealthy pay more into SS they should get proportionately more?

          I ask because the wealthy have taken a disproportionately large share of the increased wealth that the economy has produced in recent years. This has not happened because the wealthy have been responsible for a disproportionately large share of said increased economic productivity. For example, while CEO pay in the 70’s was 40-45 times the pay of the average shop floor employee, the difference today is closer to 400-450 times shop floor pay; and no one is claiming that CEO’s productivity has increased ten times as fast as that of shop floor employees.

          Most people have been “paying into” the economy by working harder, but getting less in return. Less income, less affordable health care, less retirement income security. The army of the unemployed have kept wages increases to absolute lows.

          So if Mr. Tester is suggesting that we keep everything proportionate, that the rising tide will really lift all boats, I find myself in the rare (but not unprecedented) position of being in agreement with him. That would be much more desirable than recent decades, when a select few have acquired ever larger yachts, and far too many leaky boats have been swamped.

          • Submitted by Jim Million on 11/10/2015 - 09:22 am.

            Point taken

            Most metrics have changed since our various public programs have become embedded expectations. Perhaps the argument should simply acknowledge that “a select few have acquired ever larger yachts,” and focus effectively on repairing those “far too many leaky boats.”

    • Submitted by Camden Pike on 11/10/2015 - 12:52 am.

      His plan is simple, but he handles Social Security funding differently than it is currently done. His plan would eliminate the payroll tax, so social security and medicare would be funded through the general budget (vs. the budget bills, like the one that he just [albeit briefly] filibustered that takes money away from social security and medicare). The last take would be 14.5% of your income. His plan would create a $15,000 Single/$30,000 Couple deduction w/ a $5,000 person exemption. He’d close all the current exemption loopholes (with rare exceptions like home mortgage interest). What I love about this is a single mom of one wouldn’t pay any taxes on the first $25,000 of income PLUS get the FICA back. Anything made in excess would go into the general fund including monies that would fund SS & Medicare.

  5. Submitted by Eric Ferguson on 11/09/2015 - 08:33 pm.

    That’s not true

    …about everyone living longer. White collar workers have been living longer, but not manual laborers. Telling them to work until 70 comes in somewhere between cruel and physically impossible. As Paul Krugman cleverly explained raising the retirement age, janitors have to delay retirement because accountants are living longer.

    • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 11/10/2015 - 07:40 am.

      “Senior” Fellows

      Senior fellows at D.C. think tanks love to talk about raising the retirement age. These guys (nearly all of then are guys) have never cleaned a hotel room, mopped a floor, spent a day mining coal or iron ore, worked on a construction site when it’s 10 degrees or 98 degrees, or spent a week in July shingling houses much less doing it year in and year out. Would you hire a crew of 68 year old roofers to shingle your shack? Or sheetrock your new house?

      It’s pretty easy to work in climate controlled D.C. offices for decades and stay “productive” well into your 60’s. That’s not so true for those who must climb 60′ vessels at a refinery.

      And notice that despite conservatives complaining about the “everyone gets a trophy” society we’ve become, there are no “junior” fellows, or even just “fellows”. They are all “senior” fellows.

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