“I think the fiscal cliff is one of the smartest political strategies I’ve ever heard, because I don’t really think there is one.”

Tom Coburn Discusses Looming Debt Crisis Facing America in Speech to The Ripon Society This Morning

WASHINGTON DC – U.S. Senator Tom Coburn (OK) appeared before a breakfast meeting of The Ripon Society this morning, delivering a speech about the historical magnitude of the debt crisis threatening America and his view of the “fiscal cliff” that America may face at the end of the year. 

“I want to remind you what Admiral Mullen said about six months before he left the Joint Chiefs of Staff,” Coburn stated, recounting the words of the former Joint Chiefs Chairman. “He said the greatest threat to our country is not some outside force. It’s not China. It’s not Russia. It is our debt. To think, here’s the leader of the strongest military force that the world has ever known telling America that the number one threat to its existence is the debt. That is profound for a military leader to say.” 

“History has shown time and again that debt can bring down countries,” the Oklahoma Senator continued. “So the question is, can America cheat history? Can we cheat history and not fall? Let me give you a reminder of what John Adams warned: ‘Democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There was never a democracy that did not yet murder itself.’ We’re on the cusp of being the worst generation of Americans to break a moral bond that has continued in our country since it was founded.” 

To “cheat history,” Coburn offered this blunt piece of advice: 

“Quit thinking about yourself, politicians, and start thinking about our country. Do what is necessary. You don’t have to get it all your way, but fix it. If we fix it, combined with the resources that this country has, we will be back on top of the world for three or four more generations just by doing the simple things. It’s all fixable. There is a solution. It requires leadership and it requires risk-taking.” 

When asked about the “fiscal cliff” that many say the country faces if spending cuts and tax increases are allowed to go into effect as scheduled at the end of the year, Coburn was equally blunt: 

“I think the fiscal cliff is one of the smartest political strategies I’ve ever heard because I don’t really think there is one,” he declared. “Let me explain what I mean there. Is there a fiscal cliff? Is there a date in January where things change? Yeah. In comparison, if nothing happens between now and then, the projections are that we might slip into a recession. But the real fiscal cliff is we’re already bankrupt. The real fiscal cliff is that nobody’s thinking — nobody’s offering from the White House a solution to Medicare. 

“The biggest problem in front of our country is this demographic shift – of which I’m a part – and the fact that the average couple puts $110,000 into Medicare and takes $350,000 out. You solve that problem tomorrow, we won’t need the Federal Reserve keeping interest rates artificially low because we will be dynamically and fiscally healthy. There’s the real fiscal cliff.” 

For C-Span’s complete coverage of this event, please visit this website.

The Ripon Society is a public policy organization that was founded in 1962 and takes its name from the town where the Republican Party was born in 1854 – Ripon, Wisconsin. One of the main goals of The Ripon Society is to promote the ideas and principles that have made America great and contributed to the GOP’s success. These ideas include keeping our nation secure, keeping taxes low and having a federal government that is smaller, smarter and more accountable to the people.