U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn, never one to mince words, is true to form in his new book about the country's dire financial straits. But will Coburn's warnings and his criticism of both parties move the needle in any meaningful way?
Our guess is that it won't, because so much of what emanates out of Washington today is dismissed as spin or blather or self-promotion — everybody's playing an angle, everybody's out to score points to help them get re-elected. But Coburn, R-Muskogee, has never really played that game; indeed he said he would serve no more than two terms in the Senate and, with four years remaining in his second term, hasn't backed off that promise.
His observations in “The Debt Bomb: A Bold Plan to Stop Washington from Bankrupting America” reflect what he has said many times since getting to the Senate — if we don't stop spending like this, particularly on entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare, we're headed for real trouble. And in order for real changes to occur, both sides of the aisle have to give a little.
The Oklahoman's Chris Casteel reports that in the book, Coburn doesn't apologize for having reached out to Democrats to try to come up with debt-reduction plans. Coburn served on a bipartisan debt commission whose work was rejected by President Obama — something Coburn called “one of the greatest failures of presidential leadership in American history.” But the senator also skewers the GOP for its spending when it controlled the House under President George W. Bush, and says those in his party who reject any talk of raising taxes are helping block the path to real reform.
Government analysts disagree with Coburn's dire concerns about China holding so much of our nation's debt. We hope they're right. If they're not, well, no one can say Coburn didn't try to warn us, in plain English.