Coburn says America is ‘rotting’ from too much dependence on government

The penultimate meeting of President Obama’s debt commission Wednesday was a data-heavy affair, with members and reporters poring over the 58-page final report brimming with facts and figures.

Each member of the commission who attended the meeting — only Republican Rep. Dave Camp of Michigan and Democratic Sen. Max Baucus of Montana were absent, negotiating the Bush tax cuts — spoke for several minutes.

Most speeches stayed policy-focused, with members saying what parts of the plan they liked and didn’t like.

Then, after two hours of speeches, Sen. Tom Coburn took his turn.

Coburn’s eight-minute speech made a few nods to data and policy, but was more of a plea for a wholesale change in American culture.

“Nobody is looking at what the real problem is. And the real problem is us,” said the recently bearded Oklahoma Republican.

“We have way too much government and not enough of the thing that made America great, which is independence, personal responsibility and self-reliance,” he said. “We have abandoned the principles which made America exceptional, which wasn’t the government. It was the people. It was us relying on ourselves, not saying I can take a pass and depend on the government.”

He pointed to what he said are too many people who are receiving disability payments from the government as one example, and to the fact that two new categories of disabilities are in the process of being created right now. He added that the government should help “those who cannot fix their situation any other way.”

The senator said that historically democratic republics only last about 200 years before they “rot from within” and then are conquered militarily.

“And we’re rotting. We’re rotting as we sit here and speak today,” he said. But he said the committee could help set a different course to “cheat history.”

“History says we’re not going to make it,” he said. “The way we cheat history is for all of us to give up something: everybody at this table give up something, and then say, ‘The way forward for America is for everyone to start sacrificing so we create a future that is honoring the tremendous sacrifices that came before us.'”

Coburn’s ode to self-reliance drew a respectful silence from those in the Senate hearing room, Hart 216, the same used by the Senate Judiciary Committee for confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominees.

After Coburn finished speaking, commission co-chair Erskine Bowles, a former White House chief of staff to President Bill Clinton, said of his speech: “I hope everybody sees that.”

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  • J L Fuller

    What was telling int his piece is REPORTERS poured over the 58 pages report. Essentially, reporters, whose job is to raise doubt and incite rebellion, were looking for some red meat for the headlines – anything so that they would not be ignored. Reporters are next to used politicians and car salesmen in the credibility department. So when we read anything about reporters looking into something, we should just move on. What ever they write will probably be wrong.

  • truebearing

    As bizarre as this may sound, and is, we the people need to infiltrate our own government and take it away from the Statists. We literally have to get involved in our government, on every level, and wrest control from the career overlords who see themselves as entitled to power and as superior because they have acquired unearned power by playing Robin Hood.

    The reason we are in trouble is because of entitlements. We have entitlement programs, all of which are bankrupt, and we have politicians who mortgaged our future, and now our present, by repeatedly using our tax dollars to buy our votes so they could stay in power.

    Every election resembles little kids at Christmas, writing their wish lists, with the politician/Daddies promising big presents if they get elected. The politicians feel entitled to stay in Washington so they ply us with entitlements so they can maintain theirs. It’s a shell game.

    The majority of people have stopped seeing their relationship with our nation as one requiring loyalty and duty, even sacrifice. The politicians see the nation as either taxpayers (cash cows), or those superior beings (themselves)who are entitled to squander the tax revenue for the good of their self perpetuation of power, but not for the good of the country.

    We will never break this death spiral unless we stop voting for entitlements, or those who feel entitled. Those who feel entitled are drunk with power and it will take a huge amount of self sacrifice to loosen the vice that is clamped on our freedom and future. There are no entitlements except the one we earn for ourselves, and willingly share with the truly needy. Entitlements are the bastard children of laziness, dishonesty, and enslavement.

    • flips

      Please turn in your social security and medicare and library cards.
      And stay the hell off our interstate highway system.

      Prove your are not a socialist.

    • riseabove

      It’s a lot more complicated than how you present it, truebearing. People think if you don’t have a job then all you have to do is get one. Sounds simple in theory but it can be a nightmare in real life. You lose your means of supporting yourself. You get evicted or your home is foreclosed on. Your unemployment benefits run out and through a chain of unfortunate events you find that you’re homeless. You can’t even afford to pay relatives to take you in. If you have no mailing address, you can’t even get government assistance, let alone be able to properly groom and take care of yourself to be able to seek employment.

      When basic needs aren’t even being met people resort to cheating, lying, prostitution, theft, burglary, robbery, drugs and a whole slew of desperate measures which generally results in violence, imprisonment, hospitalization, etc. Who pays for their basic needs then? Taxpayers. How many charity organizations funnel donations to prisons and hospitals?

      We should never paint ALL government assistance recipients with the same brush. We’re not all lazy or fraudsters. There are Veterans and Disabled folks who can’t work even though they would love to be independent again. Retirees earned their Social Security benefits. In fact, I wouldn’t even call it “earned” since they’ve been paying into the system for decades.

      We know the water is dirty but there would be serious, unintended consequences if we drained the whole pond. We must find logical and fair solutions to this crisis!

      Anyone who disagrees should remember the old saying, “There, but for the Grace of God, go I”.

  • sunnyr

    LBJ and the Great Society was the beginning of the end of our Republic. These Liberal maggots have bribed their ignorant minions with entitlements, destroyed families and turned our economy into utter chaos. All so they could stay in power. Their little destructive game is over. It will take some time but WE will prevail in the battle for our country. You are witnessing the beginning of the great American Revolution. Tsumani 2.0 in 2012 will continue to clean out the garbage in our Government. Never again!

  • loudog

    David Stockman, Reagan Budget Director tells the truth:

    “IF there were such a thing as Chapter 11 for politicians, the Republican push to extend the unaffordable Bush tax cuts would amount to a bankruptcy filing.
    Through the 1984 election, the old guard earnestly tried to control the deficit, rolling back about 40 percent of the original Reagan tax cuts. But when, in the following years, the Federal Reserve chairman, Paul Volcker, finally crushed inflation, enabling a solid economic rebound, the new tax-cutters not only claimed victory for their supply-side strategy but hooked Republicans for good on the delusion that the economy will outgrow the deficit if plied with enough tax cuts.

    By fiscal year 2009, the tax-cutters had reduced federal revenues to 15 percent of gross domestic product, lower than they had been since the 1940s. Then, after rarely vetoing a budget bill and engaging in two unfinanced foreign military adventures, George W. Bush surrendered on domestic spending cuts, too — signing into law $420 billion in non-defense appropriations, a 65 percent gain from the $260 billion he had inherited eight years earlier. Republicans thus joined the Democrats in a shameless embrace of a free-lunch fiscal policy.”


    • kingfish

      Americans can’t afford THE FED either, but it’s STILL THERE! Under the constitution, only Treasury can print money, not a PRIVATE BANK like the Federal Reserve which is owned by 13 mostly European elite families and the Rockefellers. The ENTIRE federal deficit is owed to the FED by virtue of their printing paper money out of thin air, and charging us interest on each one of those pieces of paper. Andrew Jackson, Lincoln, and JFK tried started printing money in Treasury and intended to RID THE COUNTRY OF THIS PARASITE. THEY WERE ALL SHOT!

      • loudog

        The Federal Reserve wasn’t started until 1913. What did that have to do with Lincoln and Jackson?

        Not sure where you get the “13 elite European families and the Rockefellers own the Fed”, but
        “The stockholders in the 12 regional Federal Reserve Banks are the privately owned banks that fall under the Federal Reserve System. These include all national banks (chartered by the federal government) and those state-chartered banks that wish to join and meet certain requirements. About 38 percent of the nation’s more than 8,000 banks are members of the system, and thus own the Fed banks.”

        The Fed was created with the interests of big business in mind, to ensure a money supply in a period of bank panics. Not likely that’ll change considering who pulls the strings in Washington.

        • flips

          “13 elite European families and the Rockefellers own the Fed”

          Kingfish is a Bircher.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Madeleine-Tector/1346178094 Madeleine Tector

    I don’t know i fMr Coburn understands that this is not what we asked for, i tis what was shoved down our throats every time we turned around. When an immigrant comes to this country now they don’t have a trade or a sponsor the way they used to, they are given a medicaid card and social security disability cards , they get an apt and even can go to school to learn English all on our dime. We didnt’ ask for medicare, my husband and I had insurance, once he retired he was automatically put on Medicare which now paid 80% while our insurance paid 20% and they wonder why they are going broke, that in addition to the 20.00 per band aid in a nursing home and the 10.00 an aspirin in a hospital. We epaid into our social security, a lot of us didn’t ask for it, but you can’t work with out a SS card, if you dont’ have one you don’t work, they take your social security money wether you want to give it or not, we also pay for medicare, 200 a month in addition to insurance from my husbands union. and of course we had arrp for years until we realized they pay nothing. that was 60 dollars a month. We pay for everything, we get nothing for free and the Gov. now makes it sound like its an entitlement, it may be for them but it isn’t for us. The first thing they cut is SS. and then medicare after making sure you are now too old to get out and get a job. meanwhile they have been helping themselves to SS funds for years , where I come from they call that stealing. Mr. Coburn needs to adress his speech to the people who are getting the entitlement,s the legals and the out of work and the illegals as well. its certainly not us. I spend a fortune on my kids and grandkids, I spend more than any 20 year old so I do contribute to the economy,I am also helping my son to get his masters degree. We wanted to buy a house but because of the so called housing bubble we are afraid to buy one, we are afraid of banks and we are afraid of having any money at all. we are now afraid of everything. I have no idea how we are considered dependent on Gov. we just want to live our lives, what we have left, without waking up in the morning to some other horror show that leaves us wondering what is going ot happen to us, we hven’t had a decent day since my husband retired. We sold our house ot get a smaller one, there is just two of us, now we are stuck in the middle of this fiasco being pulled off to satisfiy others , while we pay through the nose for an apt. you owe us, we dont’ owe you.the (Government) and we certainly don’t denpend on you( the Gov. ) because you are undependable, we dont’ trust you and we are disgusted with you (the Gov). but we are not dependent. You have a progressive caucus in the house, we have no judges or courts that are fair and balanced, we have no supreme court at all. All we have is chaos and a bunch of power elites who have obviously bought off anyone they want to buy off and no one with any integrity is in our white hosue so how can you say we are rotting from dependency, we may be rotting but thats not the cause, we are lawless , we are helpless , with out an American army to protect us, but plenty of armies to restrain us while the real danger is waiting at the gates of arizona , and the other enemy has been brought into our country while we are at war with them, all members of Government are against us and the constitution, there should be penalties for that. There are no penalties for anything in Gov. thats the problem. Revisit your views and maybe you will admit what the real cause of our problem is . I can name names but you already know who they are. I keep my house clean, now go clean uyours once and for all.

    • taz

      Well said, I have to agree with your comments fully. Me and my wife run a pretty tight ship in my household when it come to fiscal issues. Sometimes we make mistakes but we make it a point not to live off credit, and pay everything on time when they are due! Some of my family members call me cheap, I call it being realistic and displaying fiscal responsibility. Every single congressmen, presidents the past 40 years (maybe more) to include all those interest groups have displayed a profound lack of fiscal responsibility. You have to seriously wonder what exactly are they doing? The bills these folks in D.C. are passing would not pass muster in “any family home who uses any common sense.” I aspect more from them, then what we are getting. I expected honorable men and women whom understood what there job is. However, we have witness the worse governing body of elected officials ever seen (note this goes back to the 90s). In conclusion, I would like to believe the way we do business in this nation will change, but I’m certainly not encouraged in what I’m seeing of late. We need to understake a serious reeducation of what this nation was founded on and stick to it instead of this utopian world that has taking the foundation of this nation away from its roots.

    • Supernatural Witness

      If the system is broke one fair way to settle it is to give people the money they paid in with tax free compounded interest at 10%. IF they had been voluntarily investing their money it would have easily produced such a return. As for those who are getting benefits they did not pay into: UH, too bad!