HANNITY: Now, under the president’s budget proposal, over the next 10-year period, tax increases will total $2 trillion. The projected federal debt by 2025 will topple $26 trillion.
So what is he thinking? By the way, he said $9 trillion in debt was unpatriotic and irresponsible.
Here with reaction, Kentucky senator, potential presidential candidate Rand Paul. Senator, what’s your reaction?
SEN. RAND PAUL, R-KY.: Well, it’s more of the same. I mean, this president now is going to add more to the debt than all 43 previous presidents combined. And there’s no slowing up on it.
He doesn’t get what every American family gets. We can’t spend what we don’t have, or we go to bankruptcy court. And how are we supposed to be a powerful nation from bankruptcy court? So I think it’s exactly the wrong recipe for the country.
HANNITY: OK, I agree with all of that. I have yet to see the Republican plan, either, that says not only are you going to reduce the rate of increase but really cut in real dollars money so we stop robbing our kids and grandkids. Is there a proposal that would work that you support?
PAUL: I put forward a plan every year that I’ve been here to balance the budget in five years. That’s consistent with the balanced budget amendment that we vote on. This year we’ll vote again on the balanced budget amendment. The real question you should have for Republicans is, well, you’re for balancing it in five years by the amendment, but how come you’re not balancing it when you put forward a budget?
So I’m still a stickler. I think we should. You can do it one way. This is called the penny plan. Cut one percent across the board of all spending, and it balances in less than five years.
HANNITY: By the way, I’m a big supporter of the penny plan. You cut one penny out of every dollar the government spends every year for five or six years, you get to a balanced budget, you can start paying it down.
All right, class warfare rhetoric, the president’s back at it again. He wants a seven percent increase in discretionary spending, $320 billion he’s proposing in new taxes.
Let’s go to the “Hannity” big board here and show everybody. Right now, the top one percent of wage earners pay 38 percent of the tax bill and the bottom 50 percent pay 2.78 percent of the bill. So one percent pays 38 and 50 percent pay two percent, a little less than three percent. Isn’t that redistribution of wealth? Isn’t that pretty complete?
PAUL: We’ve been doing this for a long time, and so I don’t think taxing the wealthy even more than they already are taxed is going to fix income inequality. It’s a little more complicated. But it’s important to note that income inequality is worse in cities run by Democrat mayors, states run by Democrat governors and countries run by Democrat presidents. So really, we should be asking the president if he is truly concerned about income inequality, how come it’s worse under his watch?
HANNITY: Yes, all right, household median income’s down, you know, $3,000. The average household cost for health care is up thousands of dollars. I don’t think that helps the poor and middle class.
There’s a perception out there, though, that conservatives don’t care about the poor, don’t care about the middle class. You’ve been trying to go into the African-American community, the Hispanic community and say, no, our policies will help your families. Explain how that’s going over when you go speak at historically black colleges, et cetera.
PAUL: I went to Detroit last year and I told them, you know what? I’ll leave $1.3 billion in Detroit, a $1.3 billion stimulus, by not taxing you. By lowering your taxes dramatically, that tax would never leave Detroit, never come to Washington and would stay there.
This is the opposite of what the president wants. The president wants more tax money in Washington. I want more money left in the communities, particularly poor communities, particularly communities that have high unemployment. So I would fix the problem by leaving money in the productive sector. And this is a fundamental disagreement between the president and I. The president wants that money to go to Washington. I want to leave it in your community.
HANNITY: Yes, all right, well, 2016 is heating up. And you know how I know? Because you have a Web site. And on your Web site, you say, Oh, cut this out, and you can turn this into, like, one of those footballs that you play when you’re out with your friends and you’re eating dinner and you hit field goals with, you know, clicking it with your finger. And it says on there “Rand 2016.” And your website put it out.
Is that an announcement that Rand Paul is a candidate for the presidency?
PAUL: You know, I am up for reelection to the Senate also in 2016, so it could be either or both. We’re not quite certain yet, but we’re in the process of discovering that over the next couple of months.
HANNITY: All right, let me go to a comment that many thought that you were taking a shot at Jeb Bush, and it had to do with that you think it’s hypocrisy that people on our side include a lot of people making mistakes growing up, admit their mistakes, but they still want to put people in jail for smoking pot.
Would you want to legalize pot like they did in Colorado or would you — what’s your position?
PAUL: I’m not really promoting legalization, but I am promoting making the penalties much less severe and not putting people in jail for 10, 20, 30 years. Here’s the problem. If you’re white and you’re rich in our country, if you get busted for drugs, you get a good attorney, and you in all likelihood serve no time.
But if you’re poor, black, Hispanic, or poor and white for that matter, you can get put in jail sometimes — one young man was 24, caught for selling marijuana, got 55 years in prison. And I kind of laughingly said you can kill somebody in Kentucky and get out sooner.
California recently started taking some of these felonies and making them misdemeanors. You know what the result was? They can now keep violent prisoners in for their whole sentence or most of their sentence instead of releasing them early. So I want…
HANNITY: All right, but you’re saying — you’re saying…
PAUL: … violent prisoners to stay in jail.
HANNITY: You’re saying you’re not promoting marijuana legalization. Do you support marijuana legalization?
PAUL: I would let states choose. And I don’t know what’ll happen, whether it’s going to end up being good or bad. But I would let the states choose because I believe in federalism and states’ rights.
But I think it is hypocritical for very wealthy white people who have all the resources to evade the drug laws to say, oh, well. I mean, particularly in Jeb Bush’s case, he’s against even allowing medical marijuana for people that are confined to wheelchairs from multiple sclerosis.
Or I know a family whose child has 200 seizures a day, and they’ve tried all of the traditional medicines for seizures, and their child still suffers. They’ll move to Colorado because they want to use the THC — or actually, the cannabis oil without the THC, so it’s a part of the plant, but that’s illegal in Florida. And still Jeb Bush would keep that illegal.
I would let doctors prescribe that, and I think that’s the least we can do for some of these people with chronic illnesses.
HANNITY: All right, I think between the football, the paper football and the Jeb Bush references, I think we might have a candidacy emerging here. Senator, thank you. Good to see you.
PAUL: Maybe. Thanks.