Senator Tom Coburn’s town hall in Muskogee, Oklahoma touched on many issues. The meeting was calm but the
questions were sincere, serious and solemn. The following are snippets of the transcript (not necessarily in order with the video), and note that I didn’t have time to listen to the entire meeting. No surprise that he repeats his objections to trying to defund ObamaCare by voting to pass the Continuing Resolution without ObamaCare included. See the full video below.
“I used to have a great fear of constitutional conventions…now I have a great fear now of not having one.”
Later, as Coburn talked about our debt, he said
“I’m afraid not to have a constitutional convention. I don’t think we have time to wait. I think Mark Levin has done a great service to this country by raising those issues. Now, he’s pretty harsh sometimes, but the fact is we have real problems and we need real solutions. And that’s one and no one else has offered anything that comes close to it.
Coburn reminded us that if interest rates were historical, rather than historically low:
…the U.S. would have $1 TRILLION MORE in debt in interest alone. “We are at $17 Trillion in debt now, in 10 years we will be at $30 Trillion…our historic is about 5.89%, and we’re paying about 1.35% right now. Instead of $233 Billion dollars in interest cost a year, we’d have a Trillion dollars in interest costs a year. And that’s a Trillion dollars that you’re not going to pay. Your kids are not going to pay it. How they are going to pay it is through a markedly decreased standard of living. The inability to purchase a home, the inability to send your kids to college. That’s what’s going to happen.
Coburn says the 30-year projections of spending and the 30-year projections of revenue show our government is “totally unsustainable.”
QUESTIONER: Why do we keep letting them spend our money, where does that come from? I thought Congress was the one that allocated money. How do they get all this billions of dollars to give away?
COBURN: The answer…first of all the federal budget under the Johnson administration was unified, so you confuse Social Security excesses monies, which started running a deficit about 5 or 6 years ago, with everything else. So there is mandatory spending which Congress doesn’t appropriate, and it’s the vast majority of spending. (more to the question in the video below).
IMHO, the problem is that we use baseline budgeting. Each department’s revenue-coming-in from We the People is increased every year as irresponsible departments (Energy, EPA, HHS) spend every dime they get in order to get more the following year. Huge sums are given to departments, and they spend the money as they want to spend it, not as Congress has allocated it to be spent.
This is how billions went to Obama’s green companies for autos, solar panels, batteries – now many of them in bankruptcy and still costing us everyday. Congress voted for none of the above.
QUESTIONER: Are you aware that the Bureau of Land Management in Tulsa is currently proposing to consolidate with Oklahoma City at cost to taxpayers of $2.5 Million and that it is going to take 20 years to recoup those moving costs?
COBURN: No, I’m not. I’d love to have the details on it. We’ll ask the questions…
COBURN: Do you understand that we spend $5 BILLION per year maintaining buildings the government owns that are empty, and that rather than moving into buildings and buying them…none of the agencies build new buildings anymore, they lease them? Why is that? Because of the stupid accounting rule that says if you buy a building, you have to expense it in the year that you bought it…you don’t write off a building in the first year…in fact, the government won’t let you write off the building the first year that you buy it. We have biased ourselves into leasing. There is no way the federal government can’t save tremendous amounts of money by owning their own buildings and getting rid of the excess property, and I’ve been trying to do that for 5 years.
On the issue of Mark Levin’s proposed State Constitutional Convention (not a Congressional Constitutional Convention) he recommends we read the book, The Tragedy of American Compassion by Marvin Olasky to prepare to lobby our states.
I don’t have time to listen to the entire video right now, so perhaps will add more at a later time.