Putting his money where his mouth is, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) returned $600,000 to the U.S. Treasury this week – or one fifth of his office budget from the previous fiscal year. Paul has now returned $1.1 million to the Treasury during his two years in Washington, D.C.

Will taxpayers see a dime of these savings? Of course not … the federal budget is $3.8 trillion, people, of which at least $900 billion is deficit spending. In other words this isn’t even a molecule of a drop in the bucket.

Paul himself acknowledged the futility of his efforts …

“Unfortunately I have to tell you that would have to be done about 900,000 times to get to one year’s annual deficit,” he said.

Still, it’s the principle that counts – and if the head of every agency were to mirror Paul’s commitment to the taxpayers’ bottom line, we’d be talking about some real money. And more importantly our nation might be able to start reversing the fiscal damage it continues to do to future generations.

We’ve been harshly critical of Paul in the past for failing to live up to the standard set by his father, former U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, but in this case we’ve got to give credit where credit is due.