Entries in Tom Coburn (3)


Sen. Tom Coburn’s New Book Warns of Economic Crisis

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The leading Republican budget hawk in the Senate, Sen. Tom Coburn, R-OK., is coming out Tuesday with a new book that provides a harsh critique of Congress and a dire warning for the future economic situation of the nation.

The picture Coburn paints in his new book, The Debt Bomb: A Bold Plan to Stop Washington from Bankrupting America, is not a rosy one of the state of the U.S. Congress.  He lambasts the upper chamber as a body that is “heavily sedated” and calls for 90 percent of unproductive members to be fired.

“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 in advance of release.  “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 says that the “root of almost all that ails Washington,” is careerism.

“Careerism is the dark matter of the political universe.  It is the unseen force that bends decisions, and character, in ways that defy common sense and obvious explanations,” he writes.  "If members of Congress knew their current term would be their last, I have no doubt we could defuse the debt bomb within a matter of days … Bridging the gap between conservatives and liberals is easy compared to bridging the gap between courage and cowardice. ”

Coburn has himself spent 13 years in Congress. He was first elected to the House in 1995 as a 48-year-old doctor, and served three two-year terms before declining to run for a fourth.  He was elected to the Senate a few years later in 2004.

Coburn says that the federal debt is now so out of control that doing nothing “is a recipe for mutually assured destruction,” for both parties, which will represent “real betrayal and the heresy” to their constituents.

He says the fiscal threat is greater to the nation, in no uncertain terms, than any foreign army or terrorist network.

The senator refers to the situation facing the nation as, the namesake of his book, a “debt bomb” that is in dire need of being diffused.

As a former doctor, Coburn provides a harsh prognosis.  He says that if America were his patient, “I would tell her she had a 100 percent chance of experiencing a major cardiac event -- a potentially fatal heart attack or stroke -- if she failed to take immediate steps to get healthy.”

Getting “healthy” for the nation means getting control of the nation’s debts, he writes.  Coburn warns that the nation will face a debt crisis within two years if a long-term deficit reduction plan is not enacted.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Sen. Coburn: US Borrowing Money from China -- for China

Hemera/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- More is coming out about Sen. Tom Coburn’s report on what he terms frivolous or unnecessary projects that cost taxpayers $6.5 billion last year.

One of the most outrageous examples of waste cited by the Oklahoma Republican is the $17.8 million the U.S. sent to China for economic development and social services. The kicker is that the funds the U.S. used is money that the government borrowed from China.

Coburn said that he only gave 100 egregious examples of waste, but that he could have listed a thousand.

Among them: millions of taxpayer dollars were spent on producing a version of Sesame Street for Pakistan, and about a hundred grand that went towards studying why chimps toss their feces.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


'Stupid Projects' Cost Taxpayers $6.5 Billion Last Year

Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Most Americans don't have a clue as to where most of their tax dollars are going.  If you're one of them, a new report by Sen. Tom Coburn is bound to make you feel a little ill -- or more than a little furious.

The Oklahoma Republican claims that $6.5 billion was wasted on so-called "questionable initiatives" during the 2011 fiscal year ending last Sept. 30.

Coburn says his study, "details 100 of the countless unnecessary, duplicative, or just plain stupid projects spread throughout the federal government and paid for with your tax dollars this year that highlight the out-of- control and shortsighted spending excesses in Washington."

According to the lawmaker, post-death improper payments are among the most egregious instances of waste that have totaled over $600 million during the past five years. Coburn points to the example of one former government worker's son who cashed his dead dad's checks for 37 years, stealing more than a half a million dollars from taxpayers.

The study also lists a $113,000 federal grant to preserve the history of video games and another $130,000 for robot "dragons" to help preschoolers learn language skills.

Through it all, Coburn points to the real culprit, stating, "There was no bigger waste of the taxpayers’ money in 2011 than Congress itself. The dismal nine percent approval rating, the lowest ever recorded, would indicate the vast majority of Americans would agree."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio