Friday, April 3, 2009

Senator Coburn on RealClearPolitics

I read an excellent letter by Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma on RealClearPolitics.com. As Peggy Noonan pointed out in referencing this letter, Senator Coburn is actually quite friendly with President Obama but he makes a number of salient points.

While recognizing the culpability of the prior administration and Congress, Senator Coburn also rightly points out that the Obama budget is a more than merely a reaction to tough economic times, it is a radical restructuring of the way this nation operates.

Here is an excerpt…

Yet, instead of having an honest conversation with the American people about the need for restraint we are continuing to indulge in the bad habits of the past. President Obama was elected on pledges to go through the budget line by line, eliminate failing programs and end the abuse of earmarks and no-bid contracts. Congress, however, has little interest in change, unless it comes from the taxpayer's pockets. In this Congress' first ten weeks it has spent more than $2 trillion and funded more than 8,000 earmarks. Congress continues to do the easy work - nothing unites politicians more than the pleasure of spending other people's money - and still refuses to do the hard work of setting priorities and living within our means. With this budget the perfect political moment for fiscal responsibility continues to be a mirage just beyond the horizon of the next election.

As a first step, Congress should drop its intellectually dishonest and hypocritical rhetoric. President Obama, is not merely part of some "clean-up crew," but, as President of the United States, has offered a sweeping and bold budget. I believe President Obama has proposed the most significant shift toward collectivism and away from capitalism in the history of our republic. I believe his budget aspires to not merely promote economic recovery but to lay the groundwork for sweeping expansions of government authority in areas like health care, energy and even daily commerce. If handled poorly, I'm concerned this budget could turn our government into the world's largest health care provider, mortgage bank or car dealership, among other things.
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