The Washington Times - October 19, 2011, 08:58PM

LAS VEGAS — Republican presidential contender Ron Paul said Wednesday that the federal government needs to cut spending now, starting with reducing the money spent overseas, eliminating five federal departments and reducing government salaries.

The 12-term Texas congressman said that if he is elected president he’ll set the example by taking a salary that matches the median salary of everyday taxpayers, which amounts to less than $40,000 a year.


“If debt is the problem than accumulating more debt is not the answer,” Mr. Paul told the crowd here at the Western Leadership Conference.

Earlier this week, Mr. Paul rolled out a plan to cut federal spending by $1 trillion his first year in office, in part by closing federal agencies, attrition in the federal workforce and ending the wars overseas. He also opened his Las Vegas office, a move that suggest he plans to fight in the state’s caucuses, which are scheduled for Jan. 14.

In his speech, he said that elected officials in Washington have habitually put off making the tough spending reductions that are needed to get the nation’s fiscal health in order and move toward a free society.

“I think the easiest place to cut spending is overseas,” Mr. Paul said, noting the nation has spent trillions on wars. “It doesn’t make us safer. It doesn’t make us richer. It makes us poorer.”

“The one thing we have to come to realize is military spending is not equivalent to defense spending,” he said.