Tag Archives: tom coburn

Senator Coburn – Same As It Ever Was

Campaign Complaint

Yesterday, while on Face the Nation, Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma began whistling the same old tune. A new devastating tornado, must demand budget cuts before disaster relief. Senator Coburn has been a vigorous supporter of offsets for disaster relief funding. Senator Coburn is living that old Talking Heads tune which has the refrain – Same As It Ever Was. Senator Coburn is again whistling the same tune. I guess this is probably a good thing. At least he’s been consistent. He is treating his own state exactly the same as he treated other states when they needed disaster relief, although I’m not sure it’s a good thing when you are cold and callous.

We all pay taxes. The taxes need to go for something. One of the problems that I have with the current “cut taxes culture” is that we don’t think about what the things are that we really want to pay for. Do we really want to pay for the F-22 Raptor? If so, this a plane that cost tens of millions of dollars apiece. Do we want to pay to upgrade our bridges that seem to be collapsing at an alarming rate? Do we want to pay for disaster relief for the floods in San Antonio? The tornadoes in Moore, Oklahoma? Hurricane Sandy that hit New Jersey and New York? If so, we need to quit cutting taxes and start paying for some things.

From the Huffington Post:

“We’ve created kind of a predicate, that you don’t have to be responsible for what goes on in your state,” he said on CBS’ “Face the Nation” while discussing the success Oklahoma has had in using state and private funds after the tornadoes.

Coburn said he doesn’t oppose any federal money going toward the state, however.

“Big storms like [Hurricane] Sandy, or like this tornado — there’s certain things that we can’t do that we need the federal government to do,” he said.

Republicans Still Blocking 9/11 Health Responders Bill

Republicans in the Senate are still blocking the bill that would provide funds for the health needs of 9/11 responders.

(Above–Smoke as observed from space in the aftermath of the 9/11 attack.)

Republicans have said they are concerned that the bill would add to the deficit, yet adding to the deficit did not seem to be a concern for Republicans when it came to protecting tax cuts for the most wealthy Americans.

The 9/11 bill will cost $7.4 billion.

The recent tax cut for the wealthy bill that just passed will add $858 billion to the deficit over 10 years.

Republicans care that the wealthy become more powerful and wealthy.

How is it that tax cuts for the rich are okay with many Republicans, but assistance for those who risked their health to help after the destruction of the World Trade Center is not okay?

Mike Huckabee, a former Republican Presidential candidate,  says the 9/11 bill should be passed.

Here is some of what Mr. Huckabee said—

“There are people who need medical care right now, and frankly, the clock is running out on them. Their lives are fading away, even as we sit here talking about it,”

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani also supports the legislation.

Republican Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma has renewed his commitment to not allowing the bill to proceed. Senator Coburn is a doctor.

Senator Coburn says he does not like the process that has been used to bring the bill to the floor of the Senate.

Sure.

How do average working people tolerate these things?

How can any loyal American support Republican actions in this matter?

Learning from the meltdown

What are the lessons that we can take from the financial meltdown? Too big to fail is too big to exist. That is one of the biggest lessons, but the Senate hasn’t learned squat.

From HuffPo:

A move to break up major Wall Street banks failed Thursday night by a vote of 61 to 33.

Three Republicans, Richard Shelby of Alabama, Tom Coburn of Oklahoma and John Ensign of Nevada, voted with 30 Democrats, including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, in support of the provision. The author of the pending overall financial reform bill in the Senate, Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd, voted against it. (See the full roll call.)

The amendment, sponsored by Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Ted Kaufman (D-Del.), would have required megabanks to be broken down in size and capped so that their individual failure would not bring down the entire system.

Under Brown-Kaufman, no bank could hold more than 10 percent of the total amount of insured deposits, and a limit would have been placed on liabilities of a single bank to two percent of GDP.

Brown-Kaufman was a good start but it got voted down. Why? Wall Street owns Congress. Regulation will never be enough to control these really huge banks. We need to limit their size.

Brooksley Born tried to look at derivatives. She wanted to investigate whether or not we should regulate derivatives. (This was back in the Clinton administration.) Larry Summers, Robert Rubin and Alan Greenspan shut her down cold. Derivatives were not regulated. Billions of dollars that were not accountable to us were part of the cause of the economic meltdown.

Finally, economist Dean Baker has a nice piece on Wall Street:

We had some hopes of reining in the million dollar babies with the financial reform package, but those hopes appear to be dimming. The effort to downsize the “too big to fail” banks got trounced in the senate last week, garnering just 33 votes. Apparently, the prospect of having to head out into the markets unprotected by the implicit guarantee of government bailouts was too frightening for JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs and the other big banks. Their lobbyists twisted the arms and got the overwhelming majority of the senate to continue the big bank subsidy of free government insurance indefinitely.

There is still another good opportunity to rein in the banks ability to gamble with our money. Senators Merkley and Levin have proposed an amendment that would prohibit commercial banks from trading on their own behalf. The point is that commercial banks are backed up by the Federal Deposit Insurance Cooperation and the Federal Reserve Board. If they get into trouble, it is taxpayers’ dollars at risk.

Until the repeal of Glass-Steagall in 1999, commercial banks were sharply restricted in what they could do, precisely in order to prevent them from taking advantage of this guarantee. If you wanted to engage in highly speculative activity you could set up a hedge fund or an investment bank, but Glass-Steagall prevented banks from gambling with government insured deposits. But this separation was obliterated by the repeal and now we have investment banks like Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley that are openly speculating with taxpayer insured money.