Sen. Coburn on Debt Deal: 'Politicians Won, and America Lost'

Tuesday, 02 Aug 2011 08:49 AM

By Hiram Reisner

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Sen. Tom Coburn says the debt-ceiling compromise might have been “great theater” for the politicians, but there is no gain for the country in the long run. “Well, I think the politicians won, and America lost,” the Oklahoma Republican said today on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

Sen. Tom Coburn, debt, deal, politicians, America
Sen. Tom Coburn: "We’re playing the Washington game again." (Getty Images Photo)
“I don’t know of any program that was eliminated. I don’t know of any duplication that was eliminated. I don’t know of anything that’s set in stone that it can’t be reversed with a vote of 60 people in the Senate,” Coburn said, adding that “98 percent of this thing, nothing happens on for another year and five months. We didn’t cut spending to increase the likelihood we can protect our debt limit. I think [for] the politicians it was great theater, but in the long run, the country lost.”

Coburn went on to say there are no real cuts in the deal and that it just plays with the numbers.

“There’s an $830 billion increase in discretionary spending over the next 10 years under this — $830 billion — almost a trillion dollars more we’re going to spend,” he said. “So we’re playing the Washington game again, where we call a cut a slowdown in spending versus what America thinks of a cut, that I am going to spend less next year than I did this.

“And so if $830 billion — and by the way, with our economic numbers looking the way they are, our pinch is going to get tougher, not easier — I think we just ought to be dead honest with the American people and say there is just a lot of things that we are not going to be able to do,” Coburn said.

“There’s not one tax expenditure eliminated in this,” he said adding that none of the loopholes that address a “select few” are addressed in the deal.

The problem with tax loopholes is that they prompt people to misdirect capital, which gives less benefit to the country as a whole in job creation, he said.

“When you’re directing capital to lessen somebody’s tax liability, versus increase the return on that capital from its employment, we actually hurt everybody — those that are paying taxes and those that aren’t,” he said. “Because we eliminate opportunity.”

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