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Sen. Tom Coburn: Balanced approach offers best solution

BY SEN. TOM COBURN Published: December 9, 2012

The president and his party have abandoned a balanced approach. They believe Republicans have no leverage to stop automatic tax rate increases on Jan 1. They're probably right. If current tax rates go up for everyone, including the middle class, Republicans will share a disproportionate amount of the blame and rates will still go up for high-income earners.

The president, however, is playing a dangerous political game. Any approach that doesn't deal with the true driver of our deficits — entitlement spending — isn't balanced. In just two years, entitlement programs such as Social Security disability could start going bankrupt. Ignoring this looming crisis will trigger a debt bomb that will wipe out the middle class.

Many of my Republican colleagues are willing to accept additional revenue, either through closing loopholes or even tax rate increases, if that's what is required to persuade the president to save our economy.

Policymakers in Washington can solve this problem if we act quickly, and like adults. This starts with acknowledging that a balanced approach involves two willing parties, not one.

Coburn is a Republican from Muskogee.

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