Coburn Says Spending Eclipses Abortion Concerns

Amanda Carpenter

11/1/2007 4:24:24 PM - Amanda Carpenter

A reliable pro-life Republican told a small group of reporters that reckless spending is so rampant that it is now more of an ethical concern than abortion Thursday morning.

In a backroom of the National Press Club, Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn answered a broad range of questions dealing with his self-declared war on federal spending, healthcare and the state of Congress.

While answering a question about social policy, Coburn, who is an obstetrician by training, said “Abortion is not the greatest moral issue of our day. Spending is the greatest moral issue.”

“You are going to save a child from being aborted so they can be imprisoned in a debtor’s prison?” he asked rhetorically. “This generation says ‘screw the grandchildren. I want it now!’”

In a rapidly-delivered explanation of his position Coburn said: “A child born today, if you look at our unfunded liabilities, is born holding $400,000 worth of unfunded liabilities. If you figure that at a six percent interest rate and what it takes for them to carry that how many of them are going to go to college? How many of them ever even going to own a home? How many are their kids are going to get an education when we start out with a married couple by the time they get to the age of being married, they are holding a million dollars in debt to pay for stuff we didn’t pay for ourselves? It’s totally antithetical!”

To find examples of the burden being imposed on future taxpayers Coburn said, “All you have to do is look at Medicare part D, $8.3 trillion. No one ever paid a thing into that. The money going to pay for that is coming from the next generation. The same thing with Medicare. On Social Security we’ve stolen $1.6 trillion. It’s got to be paid back, who do you think is going to pay it back? Tell me where there is any honor, or principle or integrity when we look at these big issues?”

While serving in both the House and the Senate, Coburn has received the lowest possible rating from NARAL Pro-choice America, 0 percent.

In his morning media meeting, Coburn spent most of his time discussing the need to curb wasteful spending by detailing his ongoing struggles to exercise oversight over agencies like the Pentagon, NASA, the United Nations and the Small Business Administration as well as his willingness to publicly embarrass his colleagues over earmarks.

He joked if he were appointed to become a “war czar” he could find between $50 and $60 billion in wasteful spending inside the Pentagon and that his office had been leaked information that “43 percent of everything the UN buys is corrupt.”

Coburn also offered an abrasive comment on the management of the Iraq War, which he said showed “arrogance” at times.

“Our foreign policy needs a dose of humble pie,” he said.