Appearing on CNN’s State of the Union with Candy Crowley, Rand Paul called Barack Obama “irresponsible” for scaring the American people with his strident warning about the debt ceiling battle.
Senator Paul, I know you said that you don’t think that the debt ceiling is that big of a deal, but the more you listen to people, the more you read from economists, read what economists have to say, do you think it’s worth the risk not to raise the debt ceiling deadline?
I think it’s not a good idea to go through the debt ceiling deadline. I think we should have an agreement in advance. That being said though, I think it’s also irresponsible for the president, who, when he was a senator actually voted not to raise the debt ceiling, it’s irresponsible for him to scare people. He should be the opposite. The leader of the country should be soothing the markets and saying, “We will always pay the interest on our debt.” We do have plenty of revenue. We bring in 250 billion dollars a month and we have 20 billion in interest payments. There’s absolutely no reason ever to default, and a good leader would be saying, ” We will never default.”
Crowley grouchily asked, baiting him, “Would a good senator be saying we will never default?”
Paul responded, “Absolutely. And I’m trying to be that. We should never default. We should never miss a payment. But people have to realize that not raising the debt ceiling means you have to balance your budget. It doesn’t mean you default, and people are conflating these two and they’re not the same thing.”
Paul later added,
I think it is untenable for the president to say he won’t negotiate, and he still repeated that when we were in the White House the other day. He is talking to us, which I think is negotiation, but he’s also saying “I will not pay for a raising of the debt ceiling, I have to get this without any conditions,” which is sort of him saying unconditional surrender, which is not negotiation. In 2011 we added the sequester. That was a good thing. We need to add more restraints and controls to government spending, and this is precisely the time to do it. He’s unlikely to negotiate when he doesn’t have a deadline.