Wednesday, August 22, 2012
OKLAHOMA CITY - In what sounded at times more like a political endorsement speech than an update from Washington, Republican U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn said the country could be great if it only had the proper leadership.
Coburn spoke for about 10 minutes and answered questions afterward at a Tuesday breakfast meeting sponsored by the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber. And though he stopped short of urging those who attended to vote for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, Coburn - answering a question from the audience - praised Romney's choice for vice president, U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin.
"I don't think he could have made a better selection," Coburn said. "About two-and-a-half weeks before that selection was made, I had a fairly long conversation with Mitt Romney on him (Ryan). Paul is exactly 'what you see is what you get.' I think he will energize the campaign."
Speaking about the state of the country, Coburn said the nation's biggest problem was leadership.
"Let me just describe to you what the country would look like if we had great leadership," he said. "The first thing that would happen is we would not send $320 billion a year out of this country to purchase someone else's oil and natural gas."
Investing in the country's domestic energy would generate wealth and create jobs, he said.
"You're talking opportunity for a graduate where one out of two can't get a job," he said, "whose parents or themselves have invested in an education, but can't reap the benefits of that education."
Changing the country's leadership, Coburn said, would spawn a total reform of the tax code.
"We would eliminate crony capitalism," he said. "That means the wealthy or the well-connected do not benefit at the expense of the rest of the country."
Lowering and broadening the tax code would bring an extra trillion dollars in tax revenue, he said. Coburn said changing the country's leadership would also spark better changes in health care.
"It's the one thing where we make promises that there is no way to keep under the present scenario," he said.
Incentivizing market sources would help allocate scarce resources, he said.
"What we know as a nation is when we really embrace market principles, we actually get better outpatient results."
The hard part, he said, was replacing who is in Washington.
"The answer is to send to Washington people who embrace the very character traits that built this nation," he said. "Unfortunately, a lot who are there don't. I'm excited about November. I see it as a great opportunity to restore our country, to restore Congress to take some of the $2.7 billion that's setting in business accounts today and put it to work with certainty and confidence about the future."