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Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., Tuesday night took aim at President Obama’s economic policies after the the State of the Union address, contending the nation already has tried-and-true solutions.
“The crisis that existed when Reagan took office was very similar to the one we face today. Large numbers of people unemployed and even more dropping out of the workforce. A stagnant economy, a growing federal government,” Paul said. “We solved these problems by… implementing the right ideas.”
To revive the economy, he said, it is important to understand what caused the current prolonged downturn. Paul points to too much control by the Federal Reserve and the federal government.
“The housing bubble and subsequent crash was caused by the Federal Reserve keeping interest rates too low for too long,” Paul explained. “If we don’t understand the cause of joblessness we’ll have trouble fixing it. As we entered into the great recession both Republicans and Democrats misdiagnosed the problem as too little government.”
Paul proposed a series of reforms, including economic freedom zones, which he distinguishes from the president’s “promise zones.”
Paul’s economic freedom zones would cut payroll taxes for employers and employees to a flat 5 percent while removing strangling government regulations.
“Economic freedom zones won’t pick winners and losers; the money will go to businesses that consumers have already voted for,” Paul said. “[Obama’s] idea is that we should make it easier to funnel federal dollars back to local governments. I think it would be better not to take the money from the businesses in the first place. We need more jobs created in the real world not more government promises.”
He hit the president hard on the issue of job creation, asking, “Mr. President, where are the jobs?
“Hope and change needs to be more than just a slogan,” Paul said. “The lesson should be that sending money to Washington and expecting them to send it back is foolhardy.”
Paul, a tea party favorite, has not been shy about pushing back against Democrat claims that the Republican Party is engaged in a war on women.
In a recent appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Paul said Democrats supporting Hillary Clinton for president would be helping return a sexual predator to the White House.
“I think, really, the media seems to have given President Clinton a pass on this,” Paul said. “He took advantage of a girl that was 20 years old and an intern in his office. There is no excuse for that and that is predatory behavior and … we shouldn’t want to associate with people who would take advantage of a young girl in his office.”
Echoing Ronald Reagan’s theme of confidence in the American people, Paul said he believed most Americans despised being on the government dole and that the country can still see great days ahead.
“I fully believe that most Americans hate the trap of dependency but they can’t escape because government gives them no exit,” Paul said. “I believe a better tomorrow is around the corner if we can see beyond those who entice us with the easy way out. America has much greatness left in her. We must believe in ourselves, believe in our founding documents, believe in our future and then we will thrive again.”
See full coverage of Barack Obama’s 2014 State of the Union: