Board members and investors of the Knox Regional Development Alliance got a personal visit Monday from U.S. Sen. Rand Paul.
“I think it’s just wonderful Sen. Paul would be willing to take some time to spend some time with members of the Knox Regional Development Alliance,” said Beth Avey, vice president for operations.
Avey said Paul always has interesting facts to share. Some of the information he shared Monday during the development alliance meeting hosted at Swope Toyota in Elizabethtown revolved around the economy and military.
Paul said 137,000 people are coming up out of extreme poverty every day.
“Our country’s unemployment is about 3 percent; the economy is booming … it is a good time right now,” he said.
Paul said the country has doubled its economy eight times over the last 200 years.
“Why is our economy thriving? Why is the world economy thriving? To me, it is a very simple answer. It is allowing people to be free to trade their services or their goods with very little interruption from government and also allow them to trade them across country lines,” said Paul, a Republican.
Paul also mentioned two bills he is sponsoring. One is a bill for widows of people who died in combat. He said there has been a quirk in the payment where they get less. He said the government is trying to get that fixed.
Avey said it was good to hear the work Paul is doing to correct the situation with widow benefits.
“Anything that we can do collectively at all levels to support soldiers and families or military and their families is a win,” she said.
The second bill has to do with soldiers in Afghanistan.
“I think we have been too long in Afghanistan. I think the mission is completed. You can’t find a General who can tell you what the mission is any longer,” he said, noting it is very expensive. He said it costs about $51 billion a year to have troops deployed there.
“I have a bill to end it. To get rid of the 2001 authorization and give everybody who served over there a $2,500 bonus,” he said. “ ... I think at the very least we need to debate it. We voted in 2001. I would have voted for it in 2001 but it is a long time. I think we need to reassess what the mission is there.”
Paul said he continues “to believe we shouldn’t spend money we don’t have whether it is for a good cause or bad cause.”
He said the country now is running on trillion-dollar deficits.
“Whose fault is it, Republicans or Democrats? I say, yes. It’s both parties. Both parties want to spend money for different reasons,” he said. “ ... The right wants more military money and the left wants more welfare money and they both get it and everything goes up.”
“We can’t just spend money we don’t have,” Paul added.
Al March of the Fort Knox area chapter Military Officers Association said he always has been impressed with Paul’s view of economics.
“He would readily agree what we are doing as a nation wouldn’t ever work as an individual household,’’ March said. “Historically, we’ve spent more and more money than we have and it is just not supportable in the long run. It just does not make sense. From an individual point of view you can understand that. But it is just as true at the nation level.”
Paul also mentioned his new book, “The Case Against Socialism” to those in attendance.