On Tuesday, presidential hopeful Kentucky Senator Rand Paul released a video showing how much he hates the U.S. Tax code. In the bizarre 51 second video, the Republican Senator unleashes his latest gimmick to stay relevant in the GOP presidential race. He wants to be the candidate who can devise the most creative way to kill the tax code.
In the video, Rand Paul finds three different ways to demolish the pages of the U.S. tax code. He uses a wood chipper to shred the pages, starts a fire to burn the pages, and he saws the tax code into paper “sawdust” with a chainsaw. He does so while sporting an oxymoronic “Detroit Republican” T-shirt, because nothing says Detroit, like a white Libertarian-leaning Senator from Kentucky who was raised in East Texas.
Presumably, Rand Paul thinks America needs a leader strong enough to defeat reams of paper with a chainsaw. It may seem like overkill, but maybe he just isn’t familiar with a conventional pair of scissors.
In the circus-like atmosphere of the GOP primary where Donald Trump is lapping the field with his loud, unhinged brand of crazy, Rand Paul is struggling to return to his past glory as the pied piper for the Republican fringe.
The tax code may seem an easy and inviting target. However, fellow anti-tax zealot whisperer Ted Cruz hasn’t gained much traction with his calls to make the tax code so simple you can fill out your income taxes on a postcard. Rand Paul wants to reduce the tax code to one page, but if it still fits on an 8 by 11 sheet of paper then Ted Cruz has outflanked him on the anti-tax issue.
The problem for Paul, Cruz, and Trump is that they are more interested in style than substance. Now in fairness, Rand Paul at least has explained what his tax plan is. He proposes a 14.5 percent “flat tax” that includes exemptions at the lowest levels of the income pyramid. While this may sound superficially appealing to many voters, the catch is by eliminating income taxes, capital gains taxes, payroll taxes, estate taxes, and tariffs, Rand Paul’s plan is simply unsustainable unless it also includes massive cuts or the elimination of Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, the defense budget and social programs.
His tax plan simply doesn’t bring in enough revenue to cover necessary budget items, and it would likely morph into a value added tax that would place the highest tax burden on low and middle income Americans, while the wealthy reap the main benefits of his plan. Behind the symbolic gimmick of ripping apart the tax code, Rand Paul’s plan is impractical at best, and an economic disaster waiting to happen, at worst.
The Republican primary has taken on a carnival like atmosphere from the beginning. The emergence of Donald Trump as a viable candidate has only intensified the cartoonish nature of the GOP race. However, Rand Paul seems to have adopted the “if you can’t beat him, join him” strategy. His latest video represents Rand Paul’s desperate attempt to stay relevant in a race to attract GOP voters, where the goalposts keep moving, making it harder and harder for candidates to maintain their appeal to the ever expanding Tea Party GOP fringe.
Keith Brekhus is a progressive American who currently resides in Red Lodge, Montana. He is co-host for the Liberal Fix radio show. He holds a Master’s Degree in Sociology from the University of Missouri. In 2002, he ran for Congress as a Green Party candidate in the state of Missouri. In 2014, he worked as a field organizer for Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick’s successful re-election bid in Arizona’s 1st Congressional District. He can be followed on Twitter @keithbrekhus or on Facebook.