Former Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) accused Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) of advocating for “wasteful military spending” during an interview Monday on “The Laura Ingraham Show.”
Coburn, a licensed medical doctor, heralded President Donald Trump’s budget proposal as a step in the right direction toward holding the government accountable to the American people. The Trump budget proposed a $54 billion increase in military spending.
It wasn’t enough for McCain and Graham. McCain declared Trump’s budget would be “dead on arrival in Congress,” while Graham insisted that “you’d have a lot of Benghazis in the making if this thing became law.”
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“Laura, if your listeners would go to a piece I published right before I left, called ‘Back in Black,’ it shows $100 billion a year in wasteful military spending. A hundred billion,” Coburn said. “So all you have to do is eliminate that waste, which … Lindsey Graham and John McCain refused to acknowledge — eliminate that waste.”
Noting that the government “ought to be as accountable as anybody else in the country for how we spend our money,” Coburn said Trump’s proposal to eliminate the $100 billion in wasteful military spending also cuts back on a lot of “unauthorized” spending.
Coburn added, of career politicians, that “$400 billion … a year is appropriated for programs that are not authorized. In other words, if they came up for a vote, they’d never make it. But they put them in and spend the money anyway.”
Lambasting the lack of “urgency” among federal government officials to approve a responsible budget and move forward on key pieces of legislation, the former senator insisted that “very few have a correct understanding of what’s happening to us.”
“We have people who are actually career politicians who have no real-world experience except the inside-the-Beltway mentality, and that’s what they apply. And that’s all circular knowledge. There is no new knowledge there,” Coburn said. “And so, we’re in trouble as a nation … So the question is, is how do we treat history and remain a republic and how do we get our mojo back? And the way we so that is by putting some muzzles on the alligators in the swamps in Washington.”
The national debt and the burden that have been shoved onto the backs of future generations cannot be minimized and overlooked, Coburn insisted.
“If you take total debt right now, we’re over 240 percent of our GDP. If you take real government debt, debt that has to be paid back by the millennials, we’re at about 180 percent. There’s no country that’s ever survived that,” Coburn warned. “We’re going to crash unless we start making the hard choices, and Congress refuses to make the hard choices.”
“I think Donald Trump will make the hard choices. I think he’s already doing it,” Coburn added. “But you have career politicians on both sides who refuse to make the hard choices because it might affect their political career. What about our kids? What about this millennial generation that’s getting ready to pay $30,000 per year per person just to meet the unfunded liabilities associated with Medicare and Social Security? Who’s working on that? Not a soul.”
Coburn hammered the GOP for struggling to repeal the Affordable Care Act. The logjam, he said, was “because most Republicans don’t have the guts to stand up” and fulfill their campaign promises. The former Oklahoma senator blasted moderates who “embraced expansion of government-run healthcare, which has been the worst thing that’s happened in this country in a long time.”
“It’s a centralized and omnipotent giant from Washington trying to tell all of us how we live, taking away our liberty and denying the intent of the Constitution, which was [that] the people were to be in charge, not the Washington elite,” Coburn said. “And when you’re spending somebody else’s money, you don’t care what it costs.”
According to Coburn, many members of Congress — especially the career politicians — suffer acutely from “the cowardice of expediency,” a phrase used heavily by civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. These politicians are quick to highlight those who will suffer without the federal funding Trump has slashed, Coburn noted, without taking responsibly for the burdened millennials who will be “falling through the holes.”
“It’s the cowardice of being expedient and the fact is, is they’re talking about people falling though the holes? We’re going to have 85 million millennials fall through the holes,” Coburn said. “So you can go home and pound your chest that you kept things going the way it was, but you’re actually going to be responsible for an impoverished generation that has never seen America at its greatest and won’t if we continue to have career politicians running this country.”
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This is why a convention of the states is needed so desperately, Coburn said as he championed states like Texas, which passed the joint resolution calling for the national convention that will amend the Constitution. The Texas Legislature passed the resolution in May as it sought to rein in big government and big spending.
“But the fact is, an amendments convention is the only way we’re going to return power to the people by the people for the people and return the power to the state legislatures that our Founders and history would say were intended,” Coburn insisted.
When Ingraham asked the former senator how likely he thinks it will be that enough states would call for the convention on a scale of 1-10, Coburn said, “I think it’s 8-to-9.”
“We have 12 states that have passed it now, and I think that we’ll get 10 states next year, and then I think hopefully we’ll get 10 more,” Coburn said.