Sen. Tom Coburn says Congress is failing the nation as it teeters on the brink of economic collapse because most of its members are so consumed with achieving power and control in Washington that they are willing to lie to the American people.
Interviewed Tuesday night on Fox News’s “On the Record with Greta Van Susteren,” the Oklahoma Republican — known as Congress’s chief budget hawk — described what he called a “culture of careerism” that promotes lying and deceit in the interest of personal and political survival.
“I think we are failing — as an institution we’re failing,” Coburn said. ”Both parties have members who are failing. We’re making decisions that are politically expedient for our position, rather than telling the truth to the American people.”
In his new book, “The Debt Bomb,” Coburn is even tougher, saying that American voters should fire most of their lawmakers who day after day refuse to address the nation’s debt, which he says is “absolutely unsustainable.”
“I think it’s the culture of careerism,” Coburn told Van Susteren. “I don’t mean to demean any of my colleagues.
“But a large portion of them have never done anything but public service — and, so, you know, it’s part of the career path — and so you want to stay on your career path,” he said. “So you do what is politically expedient, rather than what is not expedient. In other words, counter to your best political interests to fix the country.”
Coburn, a physician who has served 13 years in Washington as a member of the House and the Senate, outlined what he called a “debt bomb” of growing problems, ranging from Social Security and other entitlement commitments that can’t be met to new program spending that isn’t paid for up front.
“Tell me why we are not addressing that, right now, rather than playing political games about the election come November 2?” Coburn asked. “When in fact, the future of our children and grandchildren, their standard of living, their ability to supply themselves what is needed for them and their families is put at risk.
“I would tell you that we are examples of people who have failed our character test,” Coburn added, putting the blame for the nation’s debt crisis squarely on the shoulders of its elected leaders.
Coburn went on to describe a country where — regardless of political affiliation, class, or economic status — everyone is in the same boat.
“We ought to be talking about the real problems in the country today, explaining them in an adult way saying these are not partisan problems,” he said.
As an example, Coburn cited the problem of maintaining Social Security, which he said would soon collapse without a fix.
“Every American is going to get cut . . . when it fails. It is three years closer to being bankrupt this year than it was last year” he said. “It doesn’t matter if you are a Democrat or a Republican, your Social Security’s going to be cut.”
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