Coburn says Roberts' ruling unleashes feds' taxing ability
BY RANDY KREHBIEL World Staff Writer
Tuesday, August 07, 2012
8/07/12 at 5:57 AM
U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn said Monday that Chief Justice John Roberts' majority opinion in the Affordable Care Act case "made a great decision to limit the commerce clause but a bad decision in ruling the mandate a tax. Now the government can do anything and call it a tax."
Speaking to a capacity crowd of 700 at the University of Tulsa's Lorton Performing Arts Center, Coburn skipped the preliminaries and went straight to questions from the audience. Those ranged from concern about water flow through Lake Tenkiller to whether the Federal Reserve is constitutional.
In most cases, Coburn's answers boiled down to the federal government is too big, the Obama administration's leadership is too weak, or public confidence is too low.
The confidence problem, he said, is keeping more than $2 trillion in available capital on the sideline. Federal Reserve attempts to stimulate investment, he said, have failed "because there is no confidence. People are anxious."
Coburn told a rather insistent questioner that he did not support the elimination of the Federal Reserve - "The last thing you want is politicians deciding monetary policy" - but he would like to see U.S. currency return to the gold standard.
The gold standard is based on the idea that money has intrinsic value, pegged to something tangible - in this case, gold. Since 1971, when the United States shed the last vestiges of the gold standard, money has been essentially a bookkeeping marker.
The argument for a gold standard (or something similar) is that it limits inflation by limiting the amount of money in circulation. The argument against it is its cumbersomeness and the fact that no one in the world has used the gold standard for more than 40 years.
One person challenged Coburn for apologizing to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on the floor of the U.S. Senate.
Coburn replied that his "words sometimes get ahead of me. ... I called him incompetent and incapable.
"That was a poor choice of words."
But that's not to say that Coburn takes back much else he's said about Reid.
"What I should have said is that his leadership has been ineffective and bad for the country," he said.
The senator's harshest words were for the Obama administration and Attorney General Eric Holder.
"I've never seen less regard for the rule of law than in this administration," he said. "Respect for the law is what holds this country together. This administration has set about to destroy that. ... That's how anarchy starts."
Holder, he told his constituents, was an "inappropriate person" to be the attorney general and would prove to be "one of the worst attorney generals in our nation's history."
Original Print Headline: Coburn says U.S. taxing ability unbound by court
Randy Krehbiel 918-581-8365
U.S. Sen Tom Coburn, R-Okla., speaks to constituents, including Leroy Welborn (from right) Beverly Phelps and Mary Toney, during a town hall meeting Monday evening at the University of Tulsa. MATT BARNARD / Tulsa World