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Can Rand Paul's Stimulus Plan Save Detroit's Economy?

Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) went to Detroit this past week to open the first of several Republican outreach centers in inner cities. Sen. Paul discussed his plan for the bankrupt city – but can he get voters on board?  

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Paul’s plan for economic “freedom zones” in depressed areas includes:  setting a flat individual and corporate tax rate of five percent, giving parents more school choice and education credits, and loosening visa rules to encourage foreign entrepreneurs.

Today on Fox News Sunday, host Chris Wallace noted that critics say more money needs to be poured into inner cities in order to make a difference.

Paul countered, “Well, Chris, it hadn’t worked. The president poured a trillion dollars into the nation’s economy, and when you divided it out it was about $400,000 dollars per job. The problem with a government stimulus is you pick the winners and losers.”

The senator said his “free market stimulus” would leave the money in the hands of those who earned it. Therefore, customers choose the people who are going to be successful.

The unemployment rate among African Americans is 12 percent, over four percent above the national average. In his weekly address, President Obama criticized Republicans for refusing to extend unemployment benefits. Paul argued, “I do support unemployment benefits for the 26 weeks that they’re paid for. If you extend it beyond that you do a disservice to these workers. […] When you allow people to be on unemployment for 99 weeks, you’re causing them to become part of the perpetual unemployed group in our economy.”

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In November 2012, 97 percent of Detroit voters supported President Obama for re-election over Mitt Romney. When asked how he’d convince African American voters in Detroit that his plan works for them, Paul answered, “My economic stimulus plan for Detroit would leave over a billion dollars in Detroit’s economy and would stimulate Detroit. […] There’s not going to be some grand bailout that’s going to go through Congress.”

He added, “I’m also talking about voting rights, I’m talking about school choice. I think there’s a lot to offer in the Republican message that hasn’t been offered in the past.”

Looking ahead to the 2016 presidential election, Paul revealed this week that his wife Kelley is strongly opposed to him running. The senator told Wallace he’s “seriously” thinking about running for president, but is also taking into serious consideration the toll it could have on his family. “There are great things to be part of – the debate over the Fourth Amendment and the Constitution. I love that stuff, but I also hate it when family is attacked.”

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