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A large crowd filled Harvest Coffee and Caféon Wednesday afternoon to great Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) as he stopped through the county after visiting Frankfort.
Before speaking, Paul took time to shake hands with nearly everyone in attendance and even stopped to take a few pictures with voters and children.
Paul had been visiting the Kentucky legislature to urge state senators to restore the voting rights of felons who had committed non-violent crimes.
“Some of you may agree with me, and some of you may not,” he told the crowd stacked several deep inside the coffee shop at Masterpieces for Your Home. “But as a Christian I believe in redemption and second chances. There are a disproportionate number of poor kids caught making mistakes, and many of them go to jail.”
Paul then asked those in attendance that had made mistakes to raise their hands, noting that most had and didn’t get caught.
“We need to show compassion for those that make mistakes and those that are down on their luck,” he said.
Those that are down on their luck may not be in jail, but Paul, sticking with a line of showing compassion to those less fortunate, noted that we as a people need to continue to help those that have less, just in a different way than the government has been helping.
“It’s not about one side having compassion, and the other side not,” he said. “We do care. What I was promoting in Eastern Kentucky was an Economic Freedom Zone. In areas with high unemployment, one and half times that of the national average, lets give them breaks to help energize the economy.
“Take Harlan, for example, they have about seventeen percent unemployment. What I’ve proposed, instead of asking Shelby County to send tax dollars there, or Louisville, we lower their taxes, so they keep more of their own money. It’s the same thing in several pockets of Louisville and Jefferson County.”
Paul also discussed a plan to help infrastructure funding, which includes allowing companies to repatriate earnings oversees at a rate of 5 percent instead of the current rates that can reach 35 percent.
“If you’re a CFO of a company, it’s against the law for you to not try to maximize profits,” he said. “So much of the money just isn’t coming home. It’s a tax-code problem. If we did that and put the money directly into an infrastructure fund – because you can’t put it in the general fund; I’ve seen what those people [Congress] do with extra money – it would virtually double the funding we have for infrastructure now.”
Paul said he was told in a Congress-wide meeting President Barack Obama that it couldn’t be done because it would be considered a loss.
“It doesn’t seem like a loss to me because we’re not getting any of that money brought back now,” he said. “So I said, ‘We don’t follow any of the rules anyway. Why follow this one now?’”
To wrap his discussion – which also touched on Social Security, Medicaid and reevaluating how we give tax breaks to businesses – Paul took a few questions from the crowd.
A couple of questions centered on the civil unrest in the Ukraine, and what, if any, the U.S. response should be. He also was asked about the Affordable Care Act and what those against it should do now that it’s in place.
“I think the program is even more of a disaster than I originally predicted it would be,” he said. “The only reason he [Obama] hasn’t asked us to fix it, so far is because he’s changing it on his own, which I believe is unconstitutional and illegal. I think it’s going to be a high risk pool and it’s going to be more expensive than people think because young healthy candidates aren’t signing up and sick people are.
“I would repeal the whole thing, but if I can’t, then the short fix would be to not make it mandatory, let insurance companies sell over state lines, and let the marketplace work it out.
“Ideally you could buy health insurance like you buy life insurance. If you get, say, a thirty year policy when you’re twenty-two, it goes up a little each year with your age but not because you get sick.”