Ron Paul talks budget issues in Cedar Rapids


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CEDAR RAPIDS — In front of a crowd of Iowans, Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, said emphasizing small and local governments is the path to solving national budget issues.

He pointed specifically to the recent narrowly avoided government-shutdown scare as an example.

During a lecture at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids on Monday, he outlined his political stances for 2012 and addressed the budget crisis in Washington.

“Coming in from Washington, I’d love to be able to tell you all that the budget is balanced and everything is taken care of for the next year — but you wouldn’t believe that, it’s a mess over there,” Paul told the crowd of roughly 70 students and community members.

Though he focused on the cost of education, abortion, and gay marriage at his March 8 visit to the University of Iowa campus, his brief Monday visit to Iowa addressed mainly national deficit issues.

But optimism also permeated the potential presidential candidate’s 20-minute talk.

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“People who are working and are paying their bills are outnumbered, but it’s going to come to an end, and that’s why I’m so energized,” he said.

Government officials need to prioritize by focusing on small government, local government, a balanced budget, and a sensible foreign policy, he said. But people have to first believe in the Constitution, Paul said.

“The Constitution was written not to run your life and drain your paycheck, it was written to restrain the government,” he said.

UI junior Ani DeGroot, the president of the UI chapter of Young Americans for Liberty, said she believes Paul might finally be reaching people with his message of reforming the monetary system.

“It’s a point that always drives it home,” DeGroot said after Paul’s speech. “It’s phenomenal that it’s finally getting some light, and Ron Paul’s words really educate the people.”

DeGroot said Paul’s speech spoke “to the core” of what people need, and she noted the audience sporadically stood up and applauded throughout his talk.

Kirkwood freshman Taylor Nelson, the vice president of the Kirkwood Community College Republicans, said he supports any Republican who supports a smaller government, lower taxes, and decreased spending in the budget.

Nelson’s family runs a small business, and he said governmental restrictions have made it difficult.

“The government makes it harder for people such as my dad to succeed because of the regulations they put on us,” he said.

Addressing such issues, Paul discounted the idea that people must sacrifice if they want things to change.

“I’ve decided I’m not going to come and tell you you’re going to have to sacrifice,” he said. “Why should it be a sacrifice for you if I get the government off your back, out of your wallets, get rid of the income tax, and let you keep what you earned?”

But not everyone believes his plans are feasible.

UI senior Jacob Rosenberg, the vice president of the UI Democrats, said he agrees with Paul’s call to shut down the Federal Reserve but said he isn’t persuaded it will happen.

“I think Ron Paul throws a lot of comments out there, but it’s hard for him to back them up,” Rosenberg said. “It’s one thing to say it, but it’s another to act on it.”

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