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Op-Ed: "Coburn doesn't tire of fighting for fiscal responsibility"

Published in Blog on August 30, 2018 by Article V Patriot

Former Oklahoma Senator and Convention of States Project Senior Advisor Tom Coburn has for years been fighting for the good of the country he loves. That dedication to fiscal responsibility was highlighted this week by The Oklahoman Editorial Board, and we wanted to share it with you.

RETIREMENT from the U.S. Senate did nothing to temper Tom Coburn's interest in the affairs of Washington or his concerns about the future of this country. They're as evident as ever today.

Coburn, who turned 70 in March, wrote a book last year called “Smashing the DC Monopoly” about the need for an Article V convention of the states, and has traveled the country promoting that idea. He touched on it again last week in an interview with Rick Santelli on CNBC in a discussion about federal spending concerns.

“The only ultimate strategy is to have a constitutional amendment that requires fiscal discipline from Washington, which means you're going to use generally accepted accounting principles, which they never use,” Coburn said.

“And No. 2, give them a period of time where they have to balance the budget, then you have a supermajority of the states say, ‘Yeah, you can spend more money than that.' That's the only way we'll ever control it. We have to have a structural change in how we spend money in Washington.”

Coburn was a fiscal hawk throughout his time in Congress, first as a three-term member of the House and later in the Senate, where he spent 10 years before retiring in early 2015. As a senator, he was part of a commission that was charged by former President Barack Obama with coming up with proposals to reduce the nation's debt. The panel's work, which included changes to Social Security and Medicare, was ignored.

Coburn published a book in 2012 in which he said members of both parties needed to compromise to stave off a catastrophe. He carries the same message today.

Santelli noted that the tax reform bill signed by President Trump in December 2017 has led to revenues increasing by more than 1 percent, but that spending is up four times that amount. What to do?

“You're not going to do anything about it because there's not the political will in Washington to actually make those hard choices,” Coburn said. (Social Security and Medicare are the two best examples of this — the trustees who oversee these programs regularly note that without reform, the programs are headed for insolvency in the next two decades. Their reports are met with yawns by the political class.)

Coburn mentioned that the Treasury Department has said it plans to borrow three-quarters of a trillion dollars more this year than last year, “and most of that's associated with spending. So, there's no discipline.”

He also noted that's a problem regardless of which political party is in charge. While on the one hand Trump signed what has been a successful tax reform bill, he also signed a $1.3 trillion omnibus spending bill, after first threatening to veto it.

“He has to re-establish fiscal discipline,” Coburn said on CNBC, “which means if they send him a bunch of appropriations bills this year that are above what they were last year, then what he's got to do is veto 'em. He's got to say, ‘No, we're going to hold the line, we're not going to increase spending.'”

That may be a long shot. What's not a long shot is the chance that Coburn will ever tire of fighting the good fight on behalf of fiscal responsibility.

Want to join Sen. Coburn in the fight? Click the blue button below to get involved in the Convention of States movement in your state.

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