Monday, May 24, 2010

Rand Paul opposes government spending — except for when it benefits him

Tea party darling Dr. Rand Paul won an upset victory in Kentucky’s Republican Senate primary by running on a “resolute pledge to balance the federal budget and slash the size of government.” In an interview following his win, Paul explained that his campaign was “all about federal spending” and the “tea party message.” Republicans “need to regain our believability as fiscal conservatives,” he added. But as former Bush speech writer David Frum noted, “Paul’s libertarianism stops where his pocketbook starts.” Frum highlighted a Wall Street Journal story from last week in which Paul said he doesn’t want to cut Medicare payments to doctors like himself, because “[p]hysicians should be allowed to make a comfortable living“:

But on Thursday evening, the ophthalmologist from Bowling Green said there was one thing he would not cut: Medicare physician payments.

In fact, Paul — who says 50% of his patients are on Medicare — wants to end cuts to physician payments under a program now in place called the sustained growth rate, or SGR. “Physicians should be allowed to make a comfortable living.

In an interview on’s Freedom Watch, Paul vowed he would never give up his “tea party values,” which apparently include pushing for self-serving legislation. As the Wonk Room’s Igor Volsky noted, Paul likely already makes a “comfortable living,” as the average salary for an ophthalmologist is $256,320.

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