QUOTE OF THE DAY…. Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) can be difficult to understand — his version of reality can be, shall we say, unique — but this morning’s anti-spending rant on Fox News was especially inscrutable.
“[I]f we didn’t take some pain now, we’re going to experience apocalyptic pain. And it’s going to be out of control. The idea should be we should control it,” Coburn told Chris Wallace of “Fox News Sunday.” “We’re not taking seriously the very real and urgent threat that will undermine the standard of living in this country.”
Coburn, who said throughout the interview he was not trying to “scare” Americans with his rhetoric on the deficit, was then asked to give his worst-case scenario outlook for the American economy.
“I think you’ll see 15 to 18 percent unemployment rate. I think you’ll see a 8 to 9 percent decline in GDP. I think you’ll see the middle class destroyed,” Coburn said.
“The people it will harm the most will be the poorest of the poor,” adding that he believed hyper-inflation could contribute to the degradation of the American way of life.
Apparently, as Coburn sees it, spending will lead to inflation, which will lead to “apocalyptic pain,” especially for lower-income Americans. The solution, then, is to take capital out of the economy by slashing public spending, much of which benefits lower-income Americans, deliberately slowing already-weak economic growth.
I just don’t know what planet Coburn is living on. The right-wing Oklahoman, best known for his recent fight against health benefits for 9/11 first responders, may not realize it, but the inflationary threat — the one that he thinks would lead to 18% unemployment at a 9% drop in GDP — doesn’t exist. When the most recent economic figures were released, showing GDP growth at a severely underwhelming 2.6%, there was scarcely any inflation at all. Indeed, as of a month ago, core inflation was at its lowest levels since officials starting keeping track over a half-century ago.
Coburn added, “What most of America doesn’t understand is that if we don’t get our house in order, we’re going to look like Greece or Ireland or even Spain and Italy, which are coming.”
What Tom Coburn doesn’t understand is that he’s utterly clueless, rationalizing his preferred agenda — gutting government, eliminating programs that benefit working families, cutting taxes for the wealthy, cutting economic growth at the knees — with economic gibberish.