Oklahoma GOP Sen. Tom Coburn
warns Social Security solvency should not be contingent on the federal government’s continuing ability to borrow money and previous Congresses have “stolen” the trust fund intended to make the American people secure in retirement.
“We have stolen $2.6 trillion from it. We put paper money in there. The problem is, we spent the money – we didn't just take it, we took it and spent it,” Coburn said Thursday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “Social Security ran about a $53 billion deficit last year – it's projected to run a continuous deficit.
“There's no question that there's an IOU in there,” Coburn said. “But our country’s borrowing $4 billion a day. There’s no question, if we had the money, we could wait 10 or 15 or 20 years to fix Social Security.
“Because we don’t have the money and we have to borrow the money, we have to create an environment where people trust us,” he continued. “They are saying this thing is on the downstream – you better fix this if you want us to loan you the money.”
Coburn, who was a member of President Barack Obama’s debt commission, said the panel made specific recommendations to fix Social Security, and “we don’t have to raise the first tax to do that. “
“It’s all through delaying the time at onset and creating the proper expectations,” he said. “But, you cannot borrow the money this country needs. Pimco got out of U.S. bonds last week – that ought to send a big signal to everybody in this country – they’re worried about us, they’re the biggest bond trader in the world.”
Turning to healthcare, Coburn, a physician, was asked whether he felt efforts to repeal Obamacare would be successful.
“I don’t know what’s going to work. I can tell you, this bill isn't going to work,” Coburn said. “Our problems with healthcare – there’s no question there was access problems. But the big problem, the reason people don’t have access is because healthcare costs too much. This bill didn't fix the underlying problem of healthcare – that's cost.
“And you can’t fix it with a government agency mandating what the prices are going to be,” he continued. “If that was the case, Medicare would be in great shape. What we have to do is reconnect consumer purchase with payment. If we’ll do that, a lot of this will fall away.
“Almost a trillion dollars worth of waste every year in healthcare that doesn’t help anybody get well or prevent anybody from getting sick,” Coburn added. “We have to take those drivers out that cause us to spend money that doesn’t help anybody.”
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