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Coburn: The 9 Trillion Dollar Man
In a press conference on July 18th, 2011, Senator Tom Coburn, Republican representing the United States of America, unveiled his plan to reduce the debt and deficit. In this exhaustive and thorough review of literally thousands of government programs, he released “Back in Black”, stating his goal to stop making excuses and start solving the problem. Speaking plainly with respect to D.C. politics he went on to say;
“The American people are tired of Washington waiting until the last minute to avoid a crisis, particularly when it is a crisis Washington itself created. The crisis, though, is not the debt limit deadline. The crisis is Congress’ refusal to make hard choices and reduce a debt that has become our greatest national security threat. The plan I am offering today gives Washington 9 trillion reasons to stop making excuses and start solving the problem.”
Senator Coburn then took a defensive tone stating, “Both parties will no doubt criticize portions of this plan and I welcome that debate.” The seasoned veteran Senator from Oklahoma quickly pivoted to continue on message, convincingly putting Country above politics. "My goal is not to replace the work of the budget committees but to show the American people what is possible and necessary. What is not acceptable, however, is not having a plan and delaying reform until some perfect political moment that will never arrive. The fact is doing nothing is a tax increase, a benefit cut for seniors and the poor, and a betrayal of the core values both parties hold dear,” Dr. Coburn said.
“Back in Black”, this 614 page report, can be accessed online @ Coburn.Senate.gov… The following is a summary of what I believe to be relevant. Arguably, the entirety of the report is relevant; therefore I highly recommend this as required reading.
Executive Summary: Senator Coburn wasted no time to call it the way he saw it. In his first paragraph he criticized his esteemed colleagues in Congress stating how they wait until the last minute to resolve a problem they created. The term limited Senator didn’t stop there, although I was barely through smiling from his initial comment. The good Doctor went on to declare his outrage of spending of money we don’t have for things we don’t need. As for me, this is just too good to be true. Senator Coburn then began articulating his reasoning behind this uber debt reduction plan while debunking the solution of strictly continued borrowing.
“…But any debt increase not accompanied with meaningful savings will only temporarily postpone the inevitable. Real choices must be made to reduce spending, increase revenues, or both. If Washington does not begin making these difficult choices today, those decisions will be made for us tomorrow and the results could be catastrophic. “
Dr. Coburn went on to pontificate the future of Americans proclaiming the lower standards of living due to debt are the only guarantee. He backs this prescient thought with the Congressional Budget Office warning that the trajectory of U.S. debt will result in lower incomes, making future generations worse off. In this Executive Summary portion of the report, he continues with unforeseen problems that would essentially render the Federal Government helpless to respond.
There are no sacred cows in this report. He then went after special interest groups and politicians citing billions of dollars of waste, fraud and abuse under the guise of fear. This is the point at which I supposed this guy is either an authentic patriot or he’s floating a trial balloon for 2016. After a quick jab he continued on his methodical reasoning approach citing the savings in the proper management of programs saving billions.
Senator Coburn continues his approach of attacking the absurdity of today’s Congressional response to issues, followed by facts to back up his assertion of the absurd, then offering a pragmatic solution. He attacks the fact we spend 40 cents per dollar on interest. He attacks the fact only 15 senators voted against the infamous “Bridge to Nowhere.” He also described capping spending as an over simplistic solution. Dr. Coburn calls out those represented by Lobbying groups; he describes Congressional partisanship as a game of political brinkmanship, claiming “the current environment makes it nearly impossible to navigate.”
The report identifies Nine Trillion Dollars in very specific savings over the next 10 years. Senator Coburn believes a practical review of the federal budget is overdue.
“This report does just that. It provides a plan to put the U.S. back in black by identifying $9 trillion in very specific savings that can be achieved over the next decade. These savings are derived from consolidating duplication, weeding out waste, eliminating special interest subsidies, reducing overhead costs, demanding results, and setting priorities.”
That’s a glimpse into the Executive Summary section. For as it is, was and always shall be...The devil is in the details.