How Much Is Rand Paul Like Ron Paul?

April 7th 2015

Laura Donovan

On Tuesday, Senator Rand Paul (R) confirmed his much anticipated presidential run, making him the second Republican to announce officially a 2016 run this year. As Rand launches headfirst into his campaign, many are wondering whether he'll emulate his dad's dynamic presidential runs, all of which captivated the media and Americans alike.

“Some folks expect there to be an automatic rollover in support from his father, and I don’t think that is going to be the case,” Joel Kurtinitis, Ron Paul’s former Iowa state director, told The Daily Beast in 2013. “It’s not automatic.”

As we wait and see whether Ron Paul voters transition into 2016 Rand Paul voters, let's take a look at the father-son duo and their divergence in opinions on some of the more polarizing issues. 

The Civil Rights Act


In 2011, Ron Paul told MSNBC host Chris Matthews that he wouldn't have voted for the Civil Rights Act of 1964 "because of the property rights element," but "not because it got rid of the Jim Crow law." When asked whether he thought it should be legal for store owners to refuse service to black people, Ron responded, "That’s ancient history. That’s over and done with."

For Ron, it ultimately comes down to his libertarian roots, "I think we would be better off if we had freedom, and not government control of our lives, our personal lives, and our — and policing the world."

In 2004, Ron was the sole Congressman to vote against a bill celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act, saying in a speech on the House floor, "[T]he Civil Rights Act of 1964 did not improve race relations or enhance freedom. Instead, the forced integration dictated by the Civil Rights Act of 1964 increased racial tensions while diminishing individual liberty. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 gave the federal government unprecedented power over the hiring, employee relations, and customer service practices of every business in the country. The result was a massive violation of the rights of private property and contract, which are the bedrocks of free society."


For the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act, Rand attended a ceremony in honor of late civil rights advocate Maurice Rabb. This was regarded by many as an attempt to increase his outreach to the black community in preparation for the 2016 election, but it clashes with comments he made on the Civil Rights Act in 2010.

Before the Senate election that year, Rand said of the law, "I think it's a bad business decision to exclude anybody from your restaurant — but, at the same time, I do believe in private ownership."

When MSNBC inquired about his 2010 Civil Rights Act comments last year, Rand became defensive, "I never was opposed to the Civil Rights Act, and I’ve been attacked by half a dozen people on your network trying to say that I’m opposed to the Civil Rights Act."

Rand also addressed his father's issue with the Civil Rights Act in 2012, telling CNN, "It’s not all about race relations, it’s about controlling property, ultimately."

The Federal Reserve


Ron has been vocal about abolishing the Federal Reserve, federal income tax, and the CIA for a very long time. In 2009, Ron published a book titled End the Fed, arguing the demise of the federal reserve would mean no more dollar depreciation, no more money for wars, the end of inflation, and prosperity for the American people, among other things. According to Paul, life after the Fed would look like “all the privileges of modern economic life without the downside of business cycles, bubbles, inflation, unsustainable trade imbalances and the explosive growth of the government that the Fed has fostered.” 


Earlier this year, Rand introduced the Audit the Fed bill in hopes of increasing transparency in the Federal Reserve by granting the Government Accountability Office (GAO) the authority to question the Federal Reserve's decisions. 

"[T]he fight is also about restoring fiscal sanity to our nation's checkbook," Rand wrote in a Breitbart column. "It is alarming that the Federal Reserve, which was granted Monopoly money-making power, is now specifically trying to stop my legislation. The Fed, with unlimited ability to print money, now prints that money to lobby against Congressional oversight.  It is a disgrace and every citizen in the land should rise up and say: We the people are in charge and we demand an audit!"

The War on Drugs


Ron came out strongly against criminalizing drugs on many occasions. Three years ago, he said in an interview with CNN, "This War on Drugs has been a detriment to personal liberty and it's been a real abuse of liberty. Our prisons are full with people who have used drugs who should be treated as patients -- and they're non-violent. Someday we're gonna awake and find out that the prohibition we are following right now with drugs is no more successful, maybe a lot less successful, than the prohibition of alcohol was in the '20s."

It seemed he's never wavered on this issue. Back in 1988, when  he first ran for president, Ron said in a National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws meeting that America's war on drugs stemmed from racism. 

Ron had a solid following of young people during the 2012 election, and many say this was partially because of his platform on decriminalizing drugs. 


In 2000, Rand said during a Kentucky Tonight TV appearance that "the War on Drugs is an abysmal failure and a waste of money."

Bill Maher revisited these remarks when Rand appeared on his HBO series last year. When asked whether he still agrees with his 14-year-old statement, Rand said, "I'm absolutely there, and I'll do everything to end the war on drugs....The War on Drugs has become the most racially disparate outcome that you have in the entire country. Our prisons are full of black and brown kids. Three-fourths of the people in prison are black or brown, and white kids are using drugs, Bill, as you know...at the same rate as these other kids. But kids who have less means, less money, kids who are in areas where police are patrolling...Police are given monetary incentives to make arrests, monetary incentives for their own departments. So I want to end the War on Drugs because it's wrong for everybody, but particularly because poor people are caught up in this, and their lives are ruined by it."

In 2014, Rand launched the Reclassification to Ensure Smarter and Equal Treatment Act (RESET) to get rid of the sentence disparity regarding crack cocaine and powder cocaine offenses since current laws are easier on powder substances. 

Income Tax


Ron supports completely eliminating income tax and the Internal Revenue Services (IRS), according to his website, "An income tax is the most degrading and totalitarian of all possible taxes. Its implementation wrongly suggests that the government owns the lives and labor of the citizens it is supposed to represent. To provide funding for the federal government, Ron Paul supports excise taxes, non-protectionist tariffs, massive cuts in spending."

During his campaign in 2007, he spoke out against income taxes:

Last year, Ron Paul's Campaign for Liberty (CFL) announced a lawsuit against the IRS after the CFL was penalized for failing to disclose donors as a 501(c)(4) tax-exempt organization.


In 2013, Rand told conservative publication NewsMax that he supports a flat tax, which would rightfully end the IRS, "What I've promoted is a flat tax, 17 percent for individuals as well as corporations with about a $50,000 deduction for families ... If we had that kind of simple tax deductions or simple tax form where it was one small card, you multiply your income by 17 percent, you wouldn’t need much of an IRS. So I'm for eliminating most if not all of it. But you can't just say we're going to keep the current tax system and get rid of the IRS. You've got to get rid of the tax system."