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
Around the world Senator Coburn and I see the fall of the “International Welfare State,” including Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Ireland and Japan—all in “serious risk of default.” There is a very real possibility of a worldwide depression.
My calculation from the U. S. Debt Clock of our national debt ($15.8 trillion) to our Gross Domestic Product ($15.2 trillion) is just over 100 percent. The book described a debt-to-GDP ratio of 90 percent as “dangerous.”
Careerism on the part of our elected officials is cited as the root cause of our present state. Republicans and Democrats have lavished the government’s money in ways that they figured would allow them to stay in office, practically at any cost. Why do they want to stay? They are surrounded and courted by staff, lobbyists, party leaders, and special interest groups. And there are all kinds of perks.
The Constitution has been largely ignored over the last few decades, as career politicians concentrated on the next election with “unsustainable debt” as the result. Earmarks such as the expensive “the bridge to nowhere” in Alaska demonstrate sadly the careerism and parochialism (obtaining federal spending for one’s own district or state, usually referred to as pork barrel spending).
To quell the myth that there is a continuing stalemate in Washington, Sen. Coburn writes, “Our economy is on the brink of collapse not because politicians can’t agree, but because they have agreed for decades.” Getting our country in fiscal shape will require that politicians learn to say “no.”
President Reagan in his first inaugural address, 1981, said, “In this present crisis government is not the solution to our problem; government is our problem.” I firmly believe that Governor Romney could step forward and lead a host of Republicans in 2013 in a manner like President Reagan. On the other hand, President Obama is part of the problems.
Our government itself is in dire need of kind, but firm and extensive innovation. The stimulus simply didn’t work. Part of the money, $535 million, went to Solyndra, a solar-power company that went bankrupt. “One of the administration’s key donors … had a financial stake in the company.”
Senator Coburn made two key statements: “We are on the edge of an abyss not because we had too little faith in government but because we had too much faith,” and “A government that works is a government that is limited.”