He’s not. Here’s why.
There’s a lot of talk lately about Rand Paul, especially now that he’s running for President, and his misguided belief that he’s good for young people.
As one of the youngest Members of Congress, I know a thing or two about young people. Pro-tip: we can’t stand with Rand. In fact, if he’s president we won’t be able to stand at all, we’ll be stuck in financial quicksand.
I chair the Future Forum, a group of some of the youngest members of Congress, focusing on the issues that truly matter to young people: addressing student loan debt, making home ownership more affordable, and promoting innovation…just to name a few. The Future Forum is traveling around the country to listen to young people and discuss ways we can help America’s next generation get ahead.
So why is Rand so bad for us? I, like you, find a lot of value in lists these days. So, I wanted to throw at you four reasons why Rand Paul is not right for our generation (and there’s a TL;DR at the bottom if you want to skim).
Reason #1: Got Student Loans? He’s not looking out for you.
Like most of you, I’m up to my neck in student loan debt. I’ve got nearly $100,000 worth. And I know this feeling especially well:
For millions of Americans, federally subsidized student loans and Pell Grants are an important resource for us to get ahead so we can achieve the American dream. Rand Paul just doesn’t get it.
Here he is on why we shouldn’t let young people refinance their federal student loans. He even opposed the bill that would allow people to refinance at the lower rates:
“Paul said there’s a ‘danger’ with the government ‘overturning contracts’ [by refinancing student loans]…”
Even more dangerous: He doesn’t believe in investing in federal student grants in the first place.
And not only does he not believe in federal student grants, his budget proposals freeze Pell Grants at 2008 levels. That’s a massive effective cut for low income students who need Pell to go to college.
7 in 10 college students graduate with nearly $30,000 in debt. This debt weighs them down like an anchor as they start a career. In fact, this debt is like a dark cloud that follows our generation around for every major decision we make: when and whether to start a family, buying a first home, and leaving your job to follow your passion or take a risk and start a business. But Rand Paul clearly doesn’t understand the connection between student debt and the health of our overall economy.
Where would President Paul spend the money instead? Paul has proposed a “Flat Tax,” which amounts to a massive tax break for millionaires and big corporations.
Reason 2: He opposes marriage equality.
Last year, he was asked about it while he was traveling through Iowa, and he said this about a constitutional marriage amendment:
“I am in favor of traditional marriage, and I think that’s been the foundation for civilization for thousands of years.”
“And the loss of the idea of marriage is probably the leading cause of poverty in our country, in the sense that if you [have] kids before you’re married, your chance of being in poverty is three of four times that of anyone else,”.
And then it came out that the concept of same sex marriage “offends” him.
“I’m for traditional marriage,” Paul said. “I think marriage is between a man and a woman. Ultimately, we could have fixed this a long time ago if we just allowed contracts between adults. We didn’t have to call it marriage, which offends myself and a lot of people.”
And then there was this recently reported bit.
He doesn’t believe in the concept of “gay rights” because that would indicate that we’re bestowing “rights based on your behavior.”
Think about that. He wants to take us back in time. Our generation believes love is love, and no law should stand in the way of that.
One time, he got asked if he’d ever change his mind on his staunch opposition on it, and this was his actual reaction:
Reason #3: He thinks climate change is nbd.
Spoiler alert: It’s a big deal.
Do you know who this is?
This is the senator that the GOP has put in charge of their environmental policy. He’s holding a snowball because it snowed in DC one day, and he was using it to prove that climate change isn’t real.
Rand Paul stands on the side of Senator Inhofe, and all of the flat-earthers who believe that climate change science is a hoax. Check this out from 2010:
“In his speech, [Paul] denounced cap-and-trade regulations, called the EPA ‘an out-of-control regulatory agency’ and said ‘we must stop these fanatics’ who advocate government action to combat global warming.
Fanatics. So, by fanatics, does he mean the 97% of climate scientists who believe that not only is climate change real, but that man contributes to it? As a Member of the House Science Committee, I find this anti-science stance from Rand scary.
Reason #4: He doesn’t support women’s rights
Rand has been a huge supporter of personhood legislation — which would not only ban all abortion, but could even ban common forms of birth control. Without this severely backwards legislation and more than 20 anti-choice bills he’s sponsored, he claims that he doesn’t “think a civilization can long endure that doesn’t respect the rights of the unborn.”
The bill’s aim is to overturn Roe v. Wade. And who is one of the biggest defenders of the Hobby Lobby decision, which lets your boss decide which birth control is covered by your insurance? You’re starting to get good at this… Rand Paul.
But beyond your right to make your heath care decisions yourself, Rand Paul has even opposed commonsense legislation like the Violence Against Women Act.
And even in a country where women still make 78 cents on the dollar that a man makes, to Rand Paul, the notion of passing equal pay legislation is reminiscent of Soviet Russia.
TL;DR: Rand is Wrong For Millennials
There’s a whole lot more about Rand that you’ll be hearing as we move through the 2016 cycle. But as he desperately tries to make appeals to young people, it’s important to know where Rand Paul stands on the issues that matter to us.
Rand Paul believes in the kinds of tired GOP policies of the past that have helped limit opportunity for everyone except those at the top. He’s an apostle of Bush & Reagan economics — the policies that helped grow inequality and reduce opportunity for the middle class.
Millennials are jumping into a wild new world — an economy built first and foremost on innovation, risk taking, and ideas. But how are we supposed to take risks if people like Rand Paul are making it harder for us to get ahead, buy a house, pay off our student loans, and save?
I’ve got just under $100,000 in loans — that’s a lot, and I’m lucky to have been elected to Congress. But even still, my student loan debt affects my budgeting choices every single month. Imagine the drag this is putting on our economy, as people with great ideas can’t take risks like starting their own business because they’re buried under debt.
Democrats are fighting to make sure that everyone, no matter your background, has a chance to get ahead. But Rand Paul and the GOP are looking out for the needs of the very few. The differences between Rand Paul and millennials are vast — not just on economics, but on social issues that matter to young people, too.
So, when Rand Paul criss-crosses the country saying he’s good for young people, he really means the children of very rich people. They will grow up and benefit from his trickle-down policies. The rest of us, in a Rand Paul administration, we’ll be working harder, for less, and buried deeper in student loan debt. We just can’t afford Quicksand Rand.