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Hullabaloo


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

 
Sweden shows the way

by digby

I could be wrong, but it seems to me that Tom Coburn believes that we need to stifle growth in order to keep inflation down. Or something.

What is clear is what he says here:

EK: When Bowles-Simpson went before the House, it was rejected by a huge bipartisan majority. Do you see there as being any possibility that one outcome of the taxmageddon period could, be a grand bargain in the Gang of Six/Simpson-Bowles vein?

TC: I don’t know the answer to that, frankly. My hope would be we reach a grand compromise. But the vote in the House proves what I said in the book. You had a vote in the House on a plan that could solve our problems and the Democrats didn’t vote for it because it touches Social Security and Republicans vote against it because of revenues. Both sides accentuated their differences rather than sending a signal to the international community that we could get together and cut $4.5 trillion over the next 10 years. Which raises the question: Why are they here? If you’re here just to get reelected, you’re worthless to the country...

EK: It seems your view is that just as the market needs to have faith in your demographics and in the flexibility of your labor market and the competitiveness, it has to have faith in your political system’s capacity to deal with long and short-term threats. Do you see any reason for the market to have that faith right now?

TC: No. One of my biggest worries is what happens if Romney wins and Republicans control both chambers, do they have the courage to do what it takes to fix the country? It’s kind of their last chance. If they’re given the favor of control and they don’t act on it, why should you ever trust them again? You shouldn’t. It’ll be the death knell of the Republican Party. They controlled it all for four years under Bush and grew the government. They created a new entitlement with no revenue. Went against the very tenets of what they said they believe.

One of the reasons I wrote the book was to show a whole lot of people how many stupid things we do. I don’t really blame presidents too much. You gotta get appropriations. I say the problem is not that we don’t get along. We get along too well. Government is twice the size it was 10 years ago. The president can’t spend the money if we don’t appropriate it. So it’s not a president problem. It’s a congressional problem.

EK: On the other side of that hypothetical let’s say Obama wins, but Republicans hold the House and maybe even take the Senate. How do they act in that hypothetical? Are they more or less willing to compromise with Obama?

TC: I don’t know. I’m not good at predicting that. If President Obama is president again, those problems are still there and we have to solve them. He knows that. We’ve had conversations where he’s told me he’ll go much further than anyone believes he’ll go to solve the entitlement problem if he can get the compromise. And I believe him. I believe he would.


Gosh, it sounds like ole Tom is getting ready to endorse somebody. If I read that right, he has more faith that Obama will compromise with the lunatic Republicans than Romney will.

Read the whole interview. It's a doozy. You'll especially enjoy the anecdote about Krugman in which Coburn says he's all wet about austerity because Sweden is doing well. Ezra was pretty tart in his response, but I so hope the good professor responds.

It's clear that these deficit scolds are simply operating on auto-pilot. No evidence will persuade them that slashing spending isn't the answer to everything.And I'm being charitable in assuming that Coburn is a true believer and not a cunning Norquistian revolutionary who is simply trying to bury the tattered remains of the American welfare state. It's depressing. And alarming.


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