The Unbearable Unbearableness of Rand Paul

Rand PaulSen.-elect Rand Paul (R-Ky.) | Flickr/Gage Skidmore (Creative Commons).

Renowned philosopher and sometime savior of all mankind Jesus Christ said the poor will always be with us. But in the tea party libertarian fantasyland Sen.-elect Rand Paul (R-Ky.) inhabits, there are no poor people. There are no rich people either:

We’re all interconnected. There are no rich, there are no middle class, there are no poor. We’re all interconnected in the economy.

Wait, what?

We’re all interconnected. There are no rich, there are no middle class, there are no poor. We’re all interconnected in the economy.

Oh, now I get it! In the Randian paradise, no one suffers in the streets. The difference between someone with an apartment on Park Avenue and a house in Easthampton, and a tire salesman in Lexington doesn’t matter. The guys living on their 500-foot yachts are in the same boat as folks who, well, aren’t in the same boat.

Seriously, if Paul really thinks there are no rich or poor, just the “interconnected,” his assets may as well be divided up among us interconnected people. Actually, forget that Senate salary, too. He won’t miss being rich, because he’s not really rich at all, he’s just like everybody else. 

I asked Dean Baker, an economist at the lefty Center for Economic and Policy Research, what he thought of Paul’s comments. They’re “close to just idiocy,” Baker says. “He seems to be saying it doesn’t really matter who gets the money, since we’re all interconnected. But how many people would be willing to see their neighbour get everything they had? And if it’s all the same, then why why not give money to the poor or the middle class?”

Paul also said this:

We all either work for rich people, or we sell stuff to rich people. So just punishing rich people is as bad for the economy as punishing anyone.

There’s a third option, of course, that goes unmentioned: some of “us” are rich people. TPM commenter ct also had a good response to this:

Yes, after all nobody ever mowed lawns lawns of middle class people all summer. As we all know middle class people never hire anyone.

Likewise, nobody ever got paid because a middle class person hired a plumber, or a poor person shopped at a grocery store. People only work for, and sell stuff to, rich people.

Baker says he thinks Paul is “going to be a good source of amusement for the next six years.” But I’m not sure how much more of this I can take. 

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Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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