The Spectacle Blog

Tom Coburn on the Debt ‘Disease’

By on 5.25.12 | 1:11PM

Sen. Tom Coburn, a doctor, utilized his medical expertise when he declared that "the country's sick" while discussing his new book, The Debt Bomb: A Bold Plan to Stop Washington from Bankrupting America at The Heritage Foundation's Bloggers Briefing on Tuesday.

His diagnosis? A dysfunctional political class right here in Washington.

More specifically, he lamented the absence of leadership in the current political arena, dominated instead by politicians who focus on the "symptoms" rather than the "real disease" and its "treatment options."

Coburn has at times been labeled a deficit hawk, but has also been a divisive figure on the right. Last year, he publicly butted heads with Grover Norquist and his anti-tax colleagues when he pushed for a plan to eliminate ethanol subsidies, which Norquist viewed as a gross violation of the advocacy group’s Taxpayer Protection Pledge, as the proposal did not offset the new government revenue with tax cuts elsewhere. Coburn argued that higher revenues are necessary to reduce the nation’s massive deficit.

"[T]here has to be some revenue component to [the tax structure], and anybody that says that’s not the case, I think they’re just wrong and they're not thinking about the long-term health of our country," Coburn had said then.

He described his new book, The Debt Bomb, as "a compilation of how we got where we are, conflict of interest in the average politician, and why they would vote for their next election rather than the best interest of the country."

As a three-time cancer survivor, Coburn is all too familiar with effective treatment options. His prescription for the nation’s debt crisis was a "very limited government," which he believed to be "the principle and the key behind our freedom." In order to attain this, Coburn called on the American citizens to demand action from their representatives.

Coburn expressed hope that "we will re-embrace [this] principle." For more on Coburn's commitment to principle, I heartily recommend this report by Andrew Ferguson.

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