Rand Paul speaks with Erin Burnett: Where does bungled reasoning come from? Bungled understanding?
Consider what happened when Rand Paul appeared with Erin Burnett.
We know—that sounds like a terrible match! At one point in Wednesday night's CNN program, Paul stated a standard GOP position concerning the upcoming debt limit fight.
Who’d afraid of a debt limit fail? Paul explained why failure to raise the federal debt limit wouldn’t necessarily lead to default:
PAUL (10/2/13): I'm for taking default completely off the table. I'm promising to the American people and to the markets to Wall Street that we will always pay the interest on the debt as a priority.As noted, this is a standard GOP presentation. Despite what you saw Rachel say the next night, this isn’t some crazy stupid thing The Paul Family weirdly dreamed up.
Do you know how we do that? We bring in $250 billion in tax revenue every month. The debt payment is about $30 billion. We just promise we will always pay it. What's going on is interestingly the Democrats are scaring people and saying, we might not pay it because Republicans don't want to raise the debt ceiling. If you don't raise the debt ceiling, what that means is you have a balanced budget. It doesn't mean you wouldn't pay your bills. We should pay the interest and we should never scare the markets. So if I were in charge, I would say, "Absolutely, we will never default." I would pass a law saying that the first revenue every month, the first revenue, has to go to pay interest.
(Rachel likes to clown.)
According to Paul, it wouldn’t necessarily lead to default if we don’t raise the debt limit this month. The federal government receives $250 billion in tax revenue every month, he said. And it only needs $30 billion per month to service federal debt.
Does this standard claim make sense? Briefly, Burnett tried pushing back. But Paul just kept on coming:
BURNETT (continuing directly): But it is still defaulting if you were late on Social Security payments or anything, anything like that.According to Burnett, it would still be default if the federal government didn’t make its Social Security payments. Paul said there’s also plenty of money for that, at which point Burnett gave up.
PAUL: Why would you be late on your Social Security payments? We have a bill that is called The Full Faith and Credit bill. And we passed it in the House before. We have introduced it in the Senate. And it says you pay Social Security, you pay Medicare, you pay your soldiers' salaries and you pay with interest on the debt. We have money for all of that.
BURNETT: All right. Well, thank you very much, Senator Paul. Thank you very much. We appreciate you taking the time, Senator Paul.
As noted, this presentation was made on CNN last Wednesday night—and it’s a standard presentation. Voters see this standard GOP pitch all the time.
As was the case this night, cable talkers rarely seem prepared to discuss the merits of this presentation. Our major newspapers have made little effort to subject this pitch to review.
Over the first few days of the coming week, we’ll see what has happened on other shows when this presentation is made. Within our routinely hapless press corps, is anyone prepared to critique this standard GOP pitch?