Coburn sour on economy
BY RANDY KREHBIEL World Staff Writer
Thursday, August 18, 2011
8/18/11 at 4:40 PM
Audio: Listen to Sen. Coburn's town hall event at Langley (1 hour audio mp3 file that might require additional load time).
PRYOR - U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn spread his dire warnings through northeastern Oklahoma on Wednesday, predicting economic disaster, the quick unraveling of the debt ceiling agreement and the demise of Medicare.
Coburn spoke to large crowds in Claremore, Langley, Pryor and Muskogee on Tuesday, despite being somewhat under the weather.
"We have less than 16 months to fix this," he told a Chamber of Commerce group in Langley. "I can promise you that come July you're going to see some tough, tough stuff in this country."
Coburn said much the same thing later at Integris Mayes County Medical Center in Pryor, where he encountered a little more hostility to his proposed cuts to Medicare and veterans benefits.
"Show me where in the Constitution the federal government is responsible for your health care?" Coburn said.
He went on to say that government programs such as Medicare are primarily responsible for rapidly rising health-care costs, and that Medicare has made the medical system worse.
"You can't tell me the system is better now than it was before Medicare," he said.
Coburn agreed that some people received poor care - or no care - before Medicare was enacted in the 1960s, but said communities worked together to make sure most people received needed medical attention.
He also conceded that doctors and hospitals often went unpaid for their efforts, or accepted baked goods or chickens in partial payment.
Earlier, in Langley, Coburn partially deflected criticism of President Barack Obama - and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke - by blaming the country's financial woes on Congress. He described his colleagues as "a class of career elitists" and "cowards," and at one point, talking about his frustrations, said, "It's just a good thing I can't pack a gun on the Senate floor."
But Coburn also said most members of Congress are good people with good intentions.
Responding to a man in Langley who asked if Obama "wants to destroy America," Coburn said the president is "very bright" and loves his country but has a political philosophy that is "goofy and wrong."
Obama's "intent is not to destroy, his intent is to create dependency because it worked so well for him," he said.
"As an African-American male," Coburn said, Obama received "tremendous advantage from a lot of these programs."
Coburn went on to say that most of the country's problems were created by Congress and that "I don't think presidents matter that much."
Coburn said he hopes the so-called "super committee" formed to rein in federal spending will be successful, but he is not optimistic. In Pryor, he predicted that Congress would back off the spending-control feature of the debt ceiling agreement rather than agree to spending cuts.
"The cowards in Washington won't even put that through," he said.
Original Print Headline: Coburn warns of economic disaster
Randy Krehbiel 918-581-8365
Disagrees with Obama's politics
U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn: Obama's "intent is not to destroy, his intent is to create dependency because it worked so well for him," he said. "As an African-American male," Coburn said, Obama received "tremendous advantage from a lot of these programs."