Coburn: Obama Needs to Implement Smart Savings Cuts

Friday, 08 Mar 2013 12:03 PM

By Dan Weil

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The problem with automatic spending cuts isn’t the amount, but the nonsensical manner in which they are being implemented, says Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn.

The solution is for President Barack Obama to implement the sequester in a constructive way, the two-term Republican writes in The Wall Street Journal.

“Sequestration’s across-the-board, rather than specific, cuts are a dumb way to reduce spending,” Coburn says. “But if sequestration is dumb, it’s even dumber not to cut spending at all. . . . The outcome of sequestration depends on how the administration chooses to cut.”

For example, the Obama administration has sought to scare Americans with the possibility of flight delays. But Coburn proposes $1.2 billion in savings that would more than make up for the Transportation Department’s $600 million shortfall.

“[It] could start by curtailing subsidies for ‘Airports to Nowhere’ that serve fewer than 10 passengers a day,” he writes. “The department also has $34 billion in unobligated funds lying around that could help prevent delays and disasters.”

Congress would be happy to give Obama the authority to prioritize spending cuts, Coburn says.

“Forcing working families to bear the brunt of Washington’s refusal to use discretion in spending cuts is economically indefensible and morally reprehensible,” he says.

“The president should instead work with Congress to make smart cuts that will strengthen the nation and its families.”

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