Newly minted US Senator-elect Rand Paul scrambled yesterday when pressed to come up with federal cost cuts—but finally said he'll aim to slice the number of federal workers and their wages by 10%. Pit bull reporter Christine Amanpour repeatedly needled Paul on ABC's This Week to move beyond "slogans and platitudes," and to name specifics on how the GOP will balance the budget and its $1.3 trillion debt. Paul said he'd push for a balanced budget amendment and repeatedly said he would look at cuts "across the board," dodging questions about Medicare and Social Security.
When pressed again to "name one specific," Paul responded: "I would freeze federal hiring. I would maybe reduce federal employees by 10%. I'd probably reduce their wages by 10%. The average federal employee makes $120,000 a year. The average private employee makes $60,000 a year. Let's get them more in line." It wasn't clear where Paul obtained his statistics, or how much those cuts would amount to. He'll also consider military cuts and raising the retirement age. The other Tea Party powerhouse-apparent, Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina, yesterday urged a return to "pre-Obama" spending, which Meet the Press host David Gregory noted wouldn't be anywhere near a balanced budget. For more, check out the Huffington Post here.