Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., spoke to students about the growing debt situation in Europe and America during a speech Friday at WKU. His visit was co-sponsored by the BB&T Center for the Study of Capitalism and the Departments of Economics and Political Science.
Paul is a member of the tea party movement and discussed the principals of limiting the power of government. He also came to educate students about the debt situation.
"There's room for optimism, and there's also room for worry, and if we don't change our ways, my concern is that this imploding debt crisis is going to affect you," Paul said. "What I would say is be active, participate, go out there and say, 'It does matter who represents me if I want to get a job when I finish.'"
Paul held a question and answer session for students and faculty after the speech.
He was asked if people who can't afford to get college degrees could still succeed economically.
Paul said there are many successful people who do not get college degrees and hard work was important for success.
He also fielded a question about the federal income tax.
"For people who say the rich aren't paying their fair share is a lie," Paul said.
Paul said that about 96 percent of the income tax is collected from Americans who make more than $75,000 a year.
"If you want me to pay more, that's fine," he said. "I'll have the debate, but we have to start with the facts."
Some students at the event, such as Elizabethtown junior Griffin Mather, said he disagreed with the way Paul represented things.
"Very charismatic, but he chose to leave out several points of contention," Mather said."He didn't explain how he would be able to help students wanting to go to college if he cuts 85 percent of the education budget."
City commissioner and WKU instructor Melinda Hill came to see Paul speak and was happy other students were there.
"I thought it was excellent, and I was thrilled with all of the students who came out to this," Hill said.
Hill said the whole country needs to be concerned with the debt situation.
"You are the leaders of the future, and I want you to be able to have the country that my generation had growing up," she said.
Bowling Green sophomore Shannon Baize said she manly came to earn extra credit for a class but was surprised with Paul.
"It was a little bit more interesting than I was expecting it to be," Baize said. "I didn't actually expect to want to pay attention."
Baize said Paul taught her about the economy.
"I definitely learned a lot more about the debt and stuff that we're in," she said.