Coburn: Not Raising the Debt Ceiling 'Might be a Wonderful Experiment'

In an interview with the American Family Association’s Sandy Rios today, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) said that a government default – which would crash the U.S. economy – may actually be a “wonderful experiment.” Coburn encouraged Republican resistance to raising the debt ceiling, the routine mechanism that allows the government to borrow to meet its existing financial obligations. 

Coburn justified his opposition to raising the debt ceiling by using the false equivalence of the federal budget with a household budget. He also falsely claimed that programs like Social Security and Medicare would not be impacted by a default and even used inflated statistics to attack public workers, suggesting that they are to blame for the national debt.

He concluded by arguing that “our freedoms are going to be put at risk” under President Obama and expressing doubt that the nation could “survive” Obama’s leadership.

We can also now add Coburn to the list of GOP leaders who apparently have no qualms appearing on shows hosted by the extremists at AFA. Maybe we shouldn’t be surprised: he seems to fit right in to the group’s fact-free alternate universe.

Coburn: Let me address again, which I didn’t, this idea we’re not going to pay our bills. We’re going to collect $200 billion a month if in fact the government were to not extend the debt limit. Social Security would be paid, Medicare would be paid, the essentials would be paid; it’s the non-essentials that wouldn’t be paid, it’s the $250-300 billion a year in stupid things we do that we wouldn’t pay, it’s the programs that aren’t an absolute necessity that wouldn’t get funded, the things that would be a necessity would get funded. It might be a wonderful experiment, regardless who wins the next election or not, just to see if we could live on the money that’s coming into the Treasury and not have to borrow against the future of our children.

Rios: But Dr. Coburn, who decides that. [Obama] made that threat yesterday when he said you know, Social Security recipients would have delayed checks and military and on and on the most horrible list of all these horrible cuts that would happen. Doesn’t he decide that? Doesn’t he ultimately decide?

Coburn: He can decide it but the point is, look, we’re coming to a point in our country where the cost of our profligate spending in the past is going to be so great and so manipulated that our freedoms are going to be put at risk. I’m not sure we shouldn’t challenge that. I’m not sure the debt limit is the place to challenge that. I’m not sure that we should continue to run a government that is highly inefficient and highly ineffective where the average federal employee works 3.8 weeks less than the rest of us and makes on average twice what the rest of us make. I’m not sure we should continue down that road. That doesn’t mean federal employees aren’t good employees and it doesn’t mean they don’t do a good job but we have set it up where we’ve undermined self-reliance, we’ve undermined efficiency, we’ve undermined expectations in this country as far as those who work for the federal government and then we’ve overpromised.

So when the federal government’s discretionary spending is about forty percent bigger than it was eleven years ago and the average family is tightening things and living within their means and living within their budget, its’ time for that comparison to be seen. Maybe we lose that battle but if we lose that battle we’re going to lose our country anyway and that’s what people ought to be thinking about. you cannot continue to borrow the way this President wants to borrow and our country survive.

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