The Debt Bomb: Sen. Coburn’s new book lashes out at both sides
During the fight over the debt ceiling last year, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) took a lot of heat from conservative groups for his part in the “Gang of Six” negotiations, which would have raised taxes in addition to cutting spending.
Coburn, who has been on the frontlines in fighting government waste during his two terms in the Senate, fought back as loudly as much as he could until it was evident that the bipartisan group’s efforts would go to waste. While I don’t agree that revenues are the problem in Washington, Coburn at least took a principled stand and worked for a solution to the nation’s long-term fiscal problems, not just short-term fix on which so many eventually settled.
But Coburn done with the issue. In his new book, The Debt Bomb: A Bold Plan to Stop Washington from Bankrupting America, Coburn explains our fiscal situation and offers his own plan for bring Washington back on the path to sustainability. He also criticizes “careerist” politicians for catering to special interests instead of tackling fiscal issues:
Sen. Tom Coburn’s new book, “The Debt Bomb: A Bold Plan to Stop Washington from Bankrupting American,” critiques Congress in harsh terms and warns of further economic crisis if lawmakers do not get the nation’s deficit under control.
“Congress today is a stagnant pond that needs to be drained and refilled with a steady stream of new public servants,” he writes, according to excerpts provided to ABC News. “I’m a fan of the Jack Welch principle in reverse for Congress … fire 90 percent of members every election and only keep the 10 percent who were productive.”
Coburn, R-Okla., writes that the nation will face a debt crisis within two years if Congress does not enact a long-term deficit reduction plan, according to ABC. Doing nothing will lead to tax increases and cuts in entitlement programs, he argues.
The senator slams members of both parties for putting their political careers before the nation’s fiscal health — “careerism” — but criticizes Democrats in particular for refusing to embrace entitlement reform.
“Most politicians were content to sit in their partisan bunkers and cling to the illusion that they were holding a line, when the reality was, there were no more lines left to hold,” Coburn writes. “Both parties had betrayed their core beliefs and positions. We were under siege and surrounded on all sides, not by a foreign army but by foreign creditors.”
I picked the book up for my Kindle last night. It does look like a good read. Coburn points out, using a quote from Admiral Mike Mullen, that the national debt is the greatest threat to our security; strong words, given the source. He lays out a scenario in 2014 where the investors and countries buying our debt suddenly walk away, causing a ripple effect in the economy that causes the Dow Jones to lose 40% of its value. It may seem overly dramatic, but this is a real threat we face.
Coburn also writes that he intends to keep his term limit pledge, similar to that he had placed on himself when he was in the House during the 90s. He’ll finish out this term and retire, noting that he doubts he’ll ever seek public office again.
Again, I don’t agree with all of Coburn’s conclusions, but they’re something on which we should have a robust debate; but his candor on the issue is not typical of a politician, and it’s something we could use more of in Washington.