Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

August 18, 2011

Coburn urges shared sacrifice

Says his is spending 17 hours weekly on airplane

Salesha Wilken
CNHI News Service

Claremore, Oklahoma — Sen. Tom Coburn faced pointed questions and fired back some similarly pointed responses during a Town Hall meeting Wednesday at Rogers State University.

“I am pretty disgusted with what has happened so far in Washington this term actually, with what hasn’t happened.  We have not addressed the real issues. Unfortunately, I think Congress is more interested in the future of Congress then they are the future of the Country,” said Coburn.

“I don’t think we have one problem in front of us we can’t solve. It is going to require the same characteristics, the same personality traits, the same struggles we saw in the development of our country,” Oklahoma’s junior senator said. “That is sacrifice by everybody involved to get out of the problems we are in.”

Currently $206 billion is spent on the interest for the country’s current debt according to Coburn.

Coburn spoke about the sacrifice everyone will have to make to impact change.

He highlighted his “Back in Black” plan, recommended using websites like factcheck.org and answered a question about the personal sacrifices he is making.  

“My personal sacrifice is that I am separated from my family. I spend 17 hours a week on an airplane every week so I can come back on weekends to stay connected with Oklahoma,” said Coburn.

He faces the ridicule of the eastern media and liberal congress everyday, has donated all pay increases received while a Senator to charity and returns 15 -18 percent of his budget to the government each year, according to Coburn.

Constituents questioned Coburn about the effect of entitlements and why alternative cuts were not being made.

The reason people hear more about entitlements is because the unfunded liabilities of the country are 97 trillion dollars and they are all entitlements, according to Coburn.

“I am a big believer in the enumerated powers of the constitution article 1 section 8; go there and read it. If you are young you ought to be interested in it.  Because, what we have done is we have abandoned what our founders said was the responsibility of the federal government. We have moved all this power to the federal government and taken it away from the states. With that has come a tremendous cost, the overhead has been high and the efficiency and effectiveness has been very low,” said Coburn.

Coburn wants to move power away from the centralized federal government and return it to the states.

Regarding questions about welfare reform, Coburn referenced a book written by Marvin Olansky, “The tragedy of American Compassion.”

“I don’t see anywhere in the constitution that it says it is the federal governments role to take care of you,” said Coburn

He continued to explain that the federal government has undermined self-reliance with a lot its programs.  

“We have created a dependency and expectation that I don’t have to be personally responsible for me, and by the way you have to be personally responsible for me. What we have to do is change that,” said Coburn.

He suggests paying a tax rate on benefits and requiring drug testing for those receiving assistance.

Coburn addressed the audience members concerning questions about free trade and job creation in this country.

It is the government’s involvement at minute levels that is blocking growth. The jobless recovery is a result of regulations being created by this administration.

“The point is, ‘Can we compete?’ and the answer is yes, if we get the government out of the middle of productivity in this country,” he said.

Coburn recommends people raise awareness and ask questions. Contact people you know and start a conversation.

“The point is that knowledge is power and the more of us that have knowledge the more influence we have on Washington,” said Coburn.

Coburn encourages citizens to contact him with questions or concerns via www.coburn.senate.gov.