U.S. Sen. Rand Paul – a potential presidential candidate in 2016 – said he fears that Thursday’s sharp downturn on the stock market could be a signal of a longer “correction’’ that could hit investors hard in their wallets.
The stock market has been doing well for years, Paul said here Thursday, because people who could afford it have defected from banks because of the low interest rates the institutions have been offering.
“You go a whole year and it’s like, ‘I got 30 cents last year on $50,000 or something. It’s ridiculous,’’ said Paul, a Republican from Kentucky.
Paul said that the low bank interest rates have hurt middle-class and lower-class Americans, many of whom had been early supporters of President Barack Obama.
“The constituencies that voted for him aren’t doing very well,” Paul said.
His message to them: “If you are unemployed or underemployed, maybe you need to look to other people and new policies.
"Maybe you people need to give Republicans another chance if you want to improve the lot of people who are suffering.”
Paul said that income inequality is worse in states and cities with Democratic governors and mayors.
Paul, a Republican from Kentucky, talked to St. Louis Public Radio after addressing guests at a $5,000-a-person event Thursday night in Clayton for the Show-Me Institute, a local free-market think tank founded by some of the region’s wealthiest businesspeople, many of them Republicans.
Paul’s chief pitch is that “capitalism, free exchange and marketplaces are the best way to create the most prosperity for the most people.”
“The message really is that I’m concerned about every person who is either under employed or unemployed,” he said. “That the way we get them jobs is by enhancing capitalism. What does that mean? Smaller government and bigger market place. Lower taxes and less regulation, more trade.”
He also calls for taking other actions, such as lowering taxes, to help business. “There’s a great deal of opportunity in our country for an explosion in business,” he said. “There’s a lot of pent-up uncertainty, and a lot of money that’s been saved that’s sitting idle, that would come back to the marketplace if we would encourage it.”
Paul said he expects to make a decision about his 2016 plans sometime next spring. “It’s a family discussion. It’s also a political discussion,” he said. The questions that he and his family will consider include, “Is the message resonating? Do we have a chance of winning? I don’t want to do it if we don’t have a chance.”
On Friday, according to Politico, Paul met with black leaders in Ferguson: "Paul met for 45 minutes with a group that included pastors, local businessmen and representatives of the NAACP, the Urban League and the Anti-Defamation League." Paul is, reported Politico, the first potential 2016 presidential contender to visit Ferguson.