Kentucky GOP Senate candidate Rand Paul warned Monday that unless Congress acts to reduce federal spending, the interest payments on the federal debt could balloon to the point where they consume the entire budget.
Rand's comments came during an interview on the Rush Limbaugh radio program with guest host Walter E. Williams, the conservative economics professor at George Mason University.
"Do you think we can ever recover a limited government again, and if so how can we do it?" Williams asked Paul, who generated controversy last month when he questioned the constitutional basis for civil rights reforms that he later said he supported.
"I think I'd look at it in the sense that: If we don't do something, what is the disaster that looms ahead for us if the deficit overcomes us as a country?" Paul asked. "What if interest rates go to 15 percent and we have to pay this enormous debt with much higher interest rates? I think the interest will consume all [of] the budget."
Paul said the interest on the federal debt currently "consumes nearly $400 billion."
"We spend more on interest than we spend on roads," he told Williams. "And so I tell people you just can't keep doing it at the same level."
Among proposals Rand says should be considered in order to trim the federal deficit:
- Freeze federal hiring
- Freeze federal pay increases
- Cut federal spending
- Consider "across the board" cuts
In the process of balancing the budget, one option that should not be put on the table, he said, is tax increases.
"I'm for a rule that says you have to balance the budget. But I would do it only by cutting spending," Paul said. "I think our taxes are already plenty high enough."
The core problem, he said, is that members of Congress shy away from making tough decisions.
"They get elected, they get more PAC money, by giving out more goodies," said Paul.
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