Heading into the eighth GOP presidential debate tonight in Las Vegas, libertarian Rep. Ron Paul of Texas is trying to shake things up with a budget plan that would eliminate five cabinet-level departments as soon as he takes office.

While Paul’s plan isn’t likely to garner the wide-spread attention that GOP hopeful Herman Cain did with his 9-9-9 tax reform plan, Paul is hoping for some kind of game changer that will elevate him from the third tier of Republican presidential candidates.

Like other Republican challengers, Paul says he would repeal President Obama’s health-care-reform and the Dodd-Frank financial overhaul legislation enacted last year. Paul would also allow young workers to opt out of Social Security.

Paul’s “Plan to Restore America” would slash $1 trillion from the federal budget and wipe out the Departments of Energy, Interior, Commerce, Education, and Housing & Urban Development. It is fairly common for conservative Republicans to trash the Education Department, because of alleged “meddling” in a local issue. But calling for elimination of five major departments is some kind of record for a serious presidential candidate.

Continue reading →