GOP Sen. Coburn: Medicare, Social Security “are things we don’t absolutely need”

GOP Sen. Coburn, who’s considered the Republican “expert” on health care, because he’s a “doctor,” just said that Medicare and Social Security “are things we don’t absolutely need.”  (Video below.)  Coburn has had it out for Medicare for a while now.

Other things Coburn doesn’t think we need include food safety, veterans’ benefits, and any kind of assistance to those who risked their lives responding to the September 11 attacks.

Ah yes, there’s nothing quite like the words of a pampered and entitled US senator preaching about what we need or don’t need, especially when it comes to Medicare and Social Security.

When you compare the government-subsidized healthcare plan, pension and benefits of anyone in Congress to the general population, it’s shocking how much better it is.

Sen. Coburn

Sen. Coburn.

Any normal person would be too embarrassed to call for cuts to middle class and poor benefits, but that doesn’t apply for obnoxious CEOs and the political class. Even Obama is tastelessly accepting unlimited corporate cash for his inauguration bash at the same time that he’s rumored to be agreeing to a bad deal with the GOP over Medicare cuts. Let’s all hope that there’s a large misunderstanding with this rumor.

What’s equally disturbing is that the national media sits back and accepts such nonsense without question. Why is it so difficult to ask people like Coburn or anyone else in Washington – potentially even Obama – what cuts they’re willing to accept. We’re not talking about cuts for their constituents, since we know they don’t give a damn about them, but actual cuts to their own benefits?

There used to be a time when in business or government that we had leadership by example. Is that now obsolete? I’m struggling to see why it’s fair to ask the middle class to pay for the mistakes of the likes of Coburn and the political class who created these problems through their ongoing tax cuts and their ongoing wars. As John says, it’s immoral.

Not to mention, what’s to stop the Republicans from bankrupting us once again with even more tax cuts and even more wars?  That’s what they did after President Clinton straightened out the budget.  Why do we never tie their hands – why not make it harder for them to cut taxes and go to war in the future?  Here’s John in a post last week:

If the Republicans and their Blue Dog allies are so concerned about the deficit, then let’s address the deficit by addressing the actual causes of the deficit.  Here’s my proposal:

  1. Pass whatever legislation or rule change is needed to require a super-majority in Congress for any future reduction in taxes or increase in defense spending.
  2. And for good measure, require that any tax cut or defense increase be accompanied by a corresponding tax surcharge to pay for it.

We can make it a surcharge on folks’ annual tax returns, a big red sticker or something – kind of like what Denny’s was talking about doing with Obamacare.  This way people will know exactly what that tax cut, or defense increase, is going to cost us.  And maybe we can list the members of Congress who voted for, kind of like those campaign ads: “I’m John Boehner and I approve this tax surcharge.”

Let the political class show us how tough they are by cutting their own fat benefits.

Maybe the cost savings isn’t that much, but that’s not the point, just as it isn’t the point of raising the Medicare age by two years when it will only, at most, save $15bn a year. Why should anyone take Washington seriously when they can’t even trim their own benefits, trim their own fat? Looking at friends and family working for businesses large and small, I can’t identify a single person that has such luxurious benefits as Coburn and the political class, and let’s no even talk about the military elite.

The commanders who lead the nation’s military services and those who oversee troops around the world enjoy an array of perquisites befitting a billionaire, including executive jets, palatial homes, drivers, security guards and aides to carry their bags, press their uniforms and track their schedules in 10-minute increments. Their food is prepared by gourmet chefs. If they want music with their dinner parties, their staff can summon a string quartet or a choir.

The elite regional commanders who preside over large swaths of the planet don’t have to settle for Gulfstream V jets. They each have a C-40, the military equivalent of a Boeing 737, some of which are configured with beds.

Damn seniors.  The general needs another plane.

The next time anyone from Congress or the White House spouts off about cutting middle class benefits, ask them what benefits they’re giving up first.

Here’s Coburn on Medicare and Social Security not being absolutely necessary.


An American in Paris, France. BA in History & Political Science from Ohio State. Provided consulting services to US software startups, launching new business overseas that have both IPO’d and sold to well-known global software companies. Currently launching a new cloud-based startup. Full bio here.

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