Ron Paul, fierce defender of liberty (there are exceptions!) is having a tough time distinguishing himself from the rest of the GOP field before tonight's debate in Las Vegas. So yesterday, Paul released his "bold, ambitious, Plan To Restore America" [pdf] that would eliminate $1 trillion in government spending his first year in office. Man, weren't things great before the Department of Education, the Department of Energyin the late 70s?

Paul's plan offers all this and more, including deep cuts to programs like Medicaid and food stamps, and the elimination of 221,000 government jobs. Unless Ron Paul plans on hiring them as campaign employees (or seducing them into being groupies) this plan has some problems. Here's John McCain's former economic advisor: "At the scale he’s talking about, it’s unlikely you could have an immediate reduction in government without hurtling the economy into recession."

The advisor also points out that opt-outs to Social Security and Medicare don't make sense: “The system taxes young people to pay for benefits for old people.  If young people opt out, who will pay for the benefits?” Just about every serious economist, including the director of the CBO, has been arguing that austerity is a bad thing for an ailing economy, but Ron Paul is a doctor, so shut up.

Paul also says he'd lower the salary of the president from $400,000 to $39,336, "approximately equal to the median personal income of the American worker." At least until President Cain takes office, in which that median income will be half of a radial tire, three conch shells and a gently used boxed-set of the third season of Burn Notice.