Economists like Nobel prize-winner Paul Krugman have warned that Republicans could “blow up the world economy” if they refuse to raise the nation’s debt ceiling but Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) disagrees, saying that it could actually be a “wonderful experiment.”
During a Tuesday interview with conservative talk show host Sandy Rios, Coburn insisted that only “stupid things” would be shut down if the the debt ceiling was not raised.
“We’re going to collect $200 billion a month if in fact the government were to not extend the debt limit,” he insisted. “Social Security would be paid, Medicare would be paid, the essentials would be paid; it’s the non-essentials that wouldn’t be paid, it’s the $250-300 billion a year in stupid things we do that we wouldn’t pay, it’s the programs that aren’t an absolute necessity that wouldn’t get funded, the things that would be a necessity would get funded.”
Coburn continued: “It might be a wonderful experiment, regardless who wins the next election or not, just to see if we could live on the money that’s coming into the Treasury and not have to borrow against the future of our children.”
Rios said she worried that Republicans would be giving President Barack Obama the power to decide if Social Security and military checks would be delayed if Congress decided to breach the debt limit.
“He can decide it but the point is, look, we’re coming to a point in our country where the cost of our profligate spending in the past is going to be so great and so manipulated that our freedoms are going to be put at risk,” the Oklahoma Republican opined. “I’m not sure we should continue down that road. That doesn’t mean federal employees aren’t good employees and it doesn’t mean they don’t do a good job but we have set it up where we’ve undermined self-reliance, we’ve undermined efficiency, we’ve undermined expectations in this country as far as those who work for the federal government and then we’ve overpromised.”
“Maybe we lose that battle, but if we lose that battle, we’re going to lose our country anyway. And that’s what people ought to be thinking about.”
A study by the Bipartisan Policy Center found that a breach of the debt ceiling would mean that the government could continue to fund interest on the debt, Social Security, Medicare and food stamps at the expense of every other federal program.
“[B]ut doing all that will mean defaulting on everything — really, everything — else,” The Washington Post‘s Ezra Klein explained last week. “The FBI will shut down. The people responsible for tracking down loose nukes will lose their jobs. The prisons won’t operate. The biomedical researchers won’t be funded. The court system will close its doors. The tax refunds won’t go out. The Federal Aviation Administration will go offline. The parks will close. Food safety inspections will cease.”
Listen to this audio from Sandy Rios in the Morning, broadcast Jan. 15. 2013.
David Edwards has served as an editor at Raw Story since 2006. His work can also be found at Crooks & Liars, and he's also been published at The BRAD BLOG. He came to Raw Story after working as a network manager for the state of North Carolina and as as engineer developing enterprise resource planning software. Follow him on Twitter at @DavidEdwards.
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