Coburn deficit plan offers $9 trillion in savings

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) on Monday released a plan that he says would achieve $9 trillion in deficit savings over the next decade through a combination of far-reaching spending cuts, entitlement reform and increased tax revenue.

“This plan offers the American people 9 trillion reasons to stop making excuses and start solving the problems in Washington,” Coburn said at a Monday afternoon news conference announcing the 600-plus-page plan. “I have no doubt that both parties will criticize this plan, and I welcome that debate. But it’s not a legitimate criticism until you have a plan of your own.”

Coburn’s “Back in Black” plan — which he unveiled as negotiations on raising the country’s $14.3 trillion debt ceiling are in their final two weeks — makes some recommendations that are disliked by both political parties.

The plan would cut $1 trillion in defense spending over the next 10 years; enact $2.6 trillion in deficit savings through changes to popular entitlement programs such as Medicare and Medicaid; and generate $1 trillion in savings through reforming tax expenditures, including the elimination of ethanol subsidies.

Nearly three dozen Senate Republicans voted in favor of doing away with such subsidies last month. But GOP leaders remain opposed to the inclusion of any tax increases in a long-term deficit-reduction plan that is devised as part of a deal to raise the debt ceiling.

Democrats strongly oppose cuts to entitlement programs as part of a debt-limit deal.

In addition to changes to Medicare and Medicaid, Coburn’s proposal would overhaul Social Security but would use any savings generated to extend the program’s solvency rather than bringing down the national debt. The plan would also gradually raise the Social Security retirement age by one month every two years beginning in 2022.

Coburn’s plan has little chance of progressing in the Senate, where the parties have been at odds even over proposals to cut a fraction of the amount his plan would slice from the debt.

 
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