The Debt Bomb: A Bold Plan to Stop Washington from Bankrupting America
by U. S. Senator Tom A. Coburn, M. D.
Review by John E. Wade II
The Tea Party Republicans may be part of the solution. Over and over President Obama was given the chance to lead. One instance was evident at the time of the report by the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility, known as Simpson-Bowles, on how to reduce the deficit, which was closer to President Reagan’s 1986 tax reform than President Obama’s tax increase proposals. President Obama didn’t embrace the recommendations. According to Senator Coburn, “His [President Obama] decision, I believe, will be remembered as one [of] the greatest failures of presidential leadership in American history.”
We must not take a chance of future failures. If we are to wait until after the 2012 elections, Republicans must “win the White House, maintain a solid majority in the House, and win about sixty-five seats in the Senate to control the national agenda.”
There are answers. What is needed is courage to do what is right. Senator Coburn and his staff identified $9 trillion in savings over ten years in a 624-page report which he called Back in Black.
We should watch and learn from the events unfolding in European countries, such as Spain, which has high and unsustainable yields on government debt, as well as unemployment at 25 percent.
Duplication in government spending is an obvious starting point, and Governor Romney is ideal to direct such an endeavor, supported by a Republican Congress. We should shrink government, but with thought and planning to assist those who will lose their jobs. I believe optional occupational interest tests, ability tests and privately-administered outplacement services could allow workers to assume fruitful private sector jobs or self-employment.
The General Accounting Office said, “Reducing or eliminating duplication, overlap, or fragmentation could potentially save billions of taxpayer dollars annually and help agencies provide more efficient and effective services.” “Senator Coburn estimates we can save $3 trillion over ten years by ending duplication.”
- S. Senator Joe Lieberman said, “We can’t save Medicare as we know it. We can only save Medicare if we change it.” Unsustainable demographics and benefits confront maintaining entitlements in their current state. “Medicare is already broke and running on empty.”
So, what is the Medicare solution? Senator Coburn gives two answers: “(1) adjust the eligibility and generosity of the Medicare benefit by relating benefits to income (i.e. forcing wealthier Americans to pay more) while raising the retirement age to reflect changing life spans, and (2) transitioning Medicare from a defined benefit to a defined contribution.”
Social Security is now cash-flow negative and, “Between 2012 and 2013, the program’s cash deficits are projected to total $630 billion.”
Senator Coburn tells it like it is: “It is not that hard to fix these problems. The truth is, we have a surplus of solutions, but a deficit of courage.” President Obama has graphically demonstrated a lack of courage and competence. I believe Governor Romney and a host of Republicans at all levels can and will provide solutions.