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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  • He’s alittle late saying “we don’t need Social Security”, I paid in from the age of 15 and now I will get back some of my money. It is a little late for him to end it. I loved the letter that said I would exhaust the money I contributed in 11 years, after I sat down with their annual figures and figured return from investing them into Savings Bonds, it will take 33 years before I use up the balance now, not including future interest earned. They just don’t want to pay the $4.7 T they have stolen from Federal retirement plans.

  • rdean

    The government is NOT twice as large, It’s actually much smaller. Oooh, he lied and no one corrected him.

  • Our Senators and Representatives are supposed to look out for our best interests; Coburn does NOT fit that bill! He shamed himself with the 9/11 first responder heroes issue, when he turned down the measly pittance for the medical money for those dying heroes who risked their lives to save others! He had to be shamed by Jon Stewart on his show, and the heroes, when they went to his office with a camera crew. Coburn is the most heartless, disgusting person this Earth had the misfortune to produce! I hope he gets the very same that he wishes on others…. and worse!

  • The GOP is soon headed for their own “Fiscal Cliff” when there are many more of those in Congress fired. When they go after Social Security and Medicare they are begging people to remove them from office so they are simply going to get their wish- from conservatives, independents and liberals, across the board will go after their seats soon…..inevitable. They should stop to think of the ages of the Baby Boomers and the voting power there, quite foolish of them…..

  • lynchie

    One final note to this posting. Coburns net wealth (he reports) is $4.5 million.

  • Houndentenor

    A few years back an 80 year old woman who watches Fox all day long told me that she resented being forced to be on medicare. She’s financially okay and independent but hardy wealthy. Who does she think is going to offer affordable health insurance for 80 year old customers? The cognitive dissonance on the right is baffling. But then almost every person I know who earns a living off government programs or government contracts is a Tea Party type. *smacks head*

  • Actually, what we don’t need are gop pigs in the Senate making $100k+ per year plus all their free perks. Cut the Senator’s pay and benefits. I do not want gop pigs having their socialized government jobs.

  • Dennis

    I guess my paraplegic grand daughter should be on a street corner with a tin cup to earn money for her medical treatments…

  • teneyck

    And he’s a doctor, so he knows that he KNOWS!

  • I’m in the same position as your dad. One month before I turned 65, I became sick. Just 4 ER visits wiped out my life savings. If it weren’t for Medicare I would probably be dead by now.

  • AdmNaismith

    I suspect that if I said we don’t ‘need’ congressional pensions and their very cheap health plans, I would get A LOT of pushback.

    Social Security is not a budget item. It pay for itself. Always remember that: SS is not a budget item, and it pays for itself.

  • emjayay

    First, Tom Coburn is a far right wing know-nothing idealogue. And all his doomsday numbers are bogus and he’s also denying any way to do anything logical about the problems he cites, like raising the FICA cap.

    But I don’t think his antecedent to “things we don’t need” is Medicare and SS. I believe he was probably thinking about other stuff, like probably NPR and medical research and the EPA and OSHA.

    And this stuff about “government-subsidized healthcare plan, pension and benefits of anyone in Congress”. Your post is misleading. I think Congress gets some extra stuff like a doctor on the premises, but basically their deal is the same as any federal employee from clerk or janitor to cabinet officer. Employees pay about 25% of the premiums plus copays. Some corporartions pay the whole thing. The deals you compare in the linked post are not comparabale. There are probably plans available to a federal worker in DC where the employee pays 20% of hospitalization up to some point or whatever. And dental care in most federal employee plans means free teeth cleaning and xrays, and adherence to a fee schedule for everything else for which the patient pays 100%. Unless you pay for a separate plan for $20 more a month per person that pays a per centage of other dental stuff. Even that isn’t any kind of full dental insurance. And federal pension isn’t a bed of golden roses either. Less than five years and you get nothing. After five years you get about 1% of your pay times years worked.
    This reminds me of the comments on every political post on Yahoo News, screaming about gold plated lifetime pensions (not gold plated) and free lifetime healthcare (nonexistent) for Congress as opposed to everyone else on a normal deal if any (like I assume in their imaginations all the other federal workers). It is disturbing to see AB voice similar incorrect stuff to the Rush and Fox crowd.

  • nicho

    Pretty much all members of Congress are already members of the 1%. I’d settle for paying them 5X what the average Social Security recipient receives. If SS payments go up, then Congressional payments go up. No pensions. They have to deal with 401Ks like everyone else. And they buy their own health care on the open market.

  • UncleBucky

    As with anything conservative, you don’t NEED IT until you NEED IT…. And then if you don’t need it soon enough, you won’t. Tsk tsk. We don’t need Sen. Coburn.

  • Wow, the Republicans finally figured that out?

  • Dave of the Jungle

    Because they want the terrurists to win?

  • condew

    Rubbing elbows with the 99%? Oh the horror!

  • Cletus

    I’m ashamed of you, Chris, for jumping on the “You didn’t build that” bandwagon coming from the left.

    I hate having to defend Coburn, but what he said was “The fact is we are spending money we don’t have on things we don’t absolutely need”. He didn’t say SS and Medicare were those things, and it can’t be denied that there are plenty of things that could be cut, like HoveRounds fully paid for by Medicare and the like.

    Nothing pisses me off more than seeing those commercials and them having the gall to say “go ahead and call, it won’t cost you a penny if you qualify”.

  • Mighty

    My Dad’s only income is ss. His healthcare is medicare. How is a man in his seveties supposed to make it without these programs? How are they unnecesary to his life?

  • condew

    The only legislator who could serve without pay would be one of the 1%.
    Let’s ask why legislators spend millions to get a job for 2 or 6 years that pays about $165K.
    Let’s ask how legislators making $165 always seem to be filthy rich after just a few years in office.

  • condew

    Maybe because the nicer we are to them, the fewer jobs they create. Tax them at 99%, then give them generous deductions when they actually make jobs.

  • condew

    In a rightly ordered world, the bailout of Wall Street would have come with a transaction tax to pay back the trillions it took to save them from their own excesses. Instead we get cuts to proven programs that work, are cost effective, and provide everyone who worked for a living a modicum of dignity in their old age.

  • ppppft

  • Triple like

  • Nor do we need Coburn.

  • nicho

    Yeah, I’m sure that when a Congresscritter picks up the phone and says he needs to see the doc, they tell him that the first available appointment is five weeks out — like happens even to those of us lucky enough to have health care.

  • Sweetie

    We don’t need Coburn as a senator.

  • Roy Benevidez

    Congresspeople have the same FEHB health plans as the rest of us government drones. It is hardly cushy.

  • 2hheels2

    Take everything from them. The last thing they do is manual labor. They are the least functional in History. They have had it out for these things that give most of us security after retirement. Not everyone can legislate raises from hard working Americans. These republicans like this are parasites, The people must be heard and our wishes and needs need to be protected from Nutjobs like Coburn

  • lynchie

    Another politician spouting bullshit for the tea baggers. Our media are nothing but a bunch of shills who would rather be invited to the next K street party than ask anything approaching why these politicians believe they are superior to the rest of the country. To continue to let the 1% walk away from their vile hatred for the 99% is ignoring their job. The media are equally as pampered when a talking head can get millions for reading the news, reading pre-written questions or hip hop dancing the likes of Karl Rove it again points out the insanity of this country. We hold the media, sports figures and politicians up for audulation and never question why they get paid enormous amounts to do little to help the less fortunate in this country. Oh I could continue but what is the point no real way to make them see the light but use Madame Guillotine.

  • caphillprof

    This is so very, very true.

  • Technically, I suppose Senator Coburn (R-Bastard) is right: You don’t need Medicare or Social Security if you’re dead from a preventable illness brought on by extreme poverty and the lack of adequate health care. You don’t need food either.

    I would not want that man’s karma for all the tea in China…

  • douglas01

    What a fucking idiot. How about some citizen legislators that serve without pay?

  • Indigo

    Speaking of BS, I gather you’ve rolled over on Disqus and my files have been lost. or more likely dumped.This is not the first time so okay, well, g’bye!

  • Butch1

    I know I need them; I live on them.

  • Naja pallida

    Tom Coburn proudly declares: Are there no prisons? Are there no workhouses?

  • 2patricius2

    And let’s take his salary and staff away from him as well. He doesn’t need them either.

  • Guest

    Hey, if you can’t afford it yourself, either don’t get sick, or, if you do, die, And don’t be so irresponsible as to spread your disease to anyone else. After all, germs have nothing to do with illness, which is caused only by defects of virtue and bad choices. If you need medical care and can’t afford it, it must be your own fault. ANd social security? Are there no charity poorhouses?
    I can’t believe that we’re having this debate in this day and age!

  • Krusher

    My feeling exactly. In exactly the same words.

  • cole3244

    fine, lets take sen coburns govt health care and his pension away from him, since he and others like him are takers and not givers i don’t think he and his ilk deserve the perks they are getting by living off the govt dime while doing nothing to advance the american dream, lets turn his dream into the nightmare he wishes on the rest of america.

  • Hue-Man

    The political and business elite are trying to avoid the horrors of single payer health care like Canada’s: “While waiting at his doctor’s office, Joseph Heath realized he was sitting next to Nadir Mohamed, the president and CEO of Rogers, a major communications company in Canada”

    The point is that Mr. Mohamed’s medical care or the medical care of senior politicians is not materially different from mine – they may be able to jump the queue more frequently than we undesirables. Is that the resolution for USA? Require the same level of benefits – retirement and health insurance – that is received by the median voter in his/her state/district? A side-benefit – they get to meet some of the people who elected them!

  • Butch1

    Perhaps, this rich f**k doesn’t need them but, the rest of the 99% er’s do. What an arse.

  • OtterQueen

    Why do you hate the job creators?

  • Dave of the Jungle

    We also don’t absolutely need tax cuts for the super rich.

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