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Tom Coburn explains why he left Senate early . . . encourges others to follow his lead.

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Tom Coburn explains why he left Senate early . . . encourges others to follow his lead.

Official Portrait

Former U.S. Senator, Tom Coburn, who also served in the House of Representatives from 1995 to 2001, believes so strongly in term limits he imposed a limit on himself.

The 67-year-old Republican from Oklahoma upheld his campaign pledge to serve no more than three consecutive terms in the House, and publicly announced that he would not pursue a third term in the U.S. Senate in 2016. “I term-limited myself,” Coburn said. “My goal never was to rise in the power structure, it was to recognize problems and fix them. If you self-impose term limits — or impose term limits — you minimize the natural human tendency to benefit yourself at the expense of everybody else.”   He added, “If your goal is to get re-elected, you’re going to do things that help you get re-elected . . . If, on the other hand, your goal is to represent your constituency, you have the freedom to do what our founders wanted you to do.”

Though the media reported Coburn stepped down from the Senate in January owing to medical reasons, the former Congressman took the opportunity to set the record straight on The Costa Report. “The reason I left the Senate early,” he explained, “is because I’m convinced that we cannot fix Washington in Washington. We have to fix Washington the way our founders told us to fix it.”

A practicing physician who has treated more than 15,000 patients and delivered 4,000 babies in private practice, Coburn compares the behavior of elected officials to drug addiction. “Power is like morphine: It dulls the senses and leads politicians to make choices that damage their own character in the machinery of democracy,” he observed.

Coburn was quick to remind the public that the addiction to power is bipartisan: He calls the craving “Potomac Fever.” Referring to former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (who has also announced his retirement) Coburn said, “The former leader of our Senate just admitted that everything he said about Mitt Romney was a lie, and he didn’t apologize for it. What does that tell you about career politicians? It’s not because he’s a Democrat. It’s because he played the partisan game to the ultimate. What mattered to him was power.”

As a physician, Coburn claims he has been trained to identify and “solve the disease.” According to Coburn, “Eighty percent of the character actors in Washington are treating the symptoms, much to the demise of our future, and certainly to the demise of the financial future of our children.”  He worries that Congress is focused almost exclusively on catering to the individuals, organizations, and corporations who fill their electoral war chests, and, as a result, fail to take the measures necessary to address the nation’s most pressing problems – including the current $18 trillion debt. Coburn predicts the U.S. will likely turn to hyperinflation to reduce the size of the debt and warns that this would have dangerous ramifications including losing the dollar’s status as the reserve currency of the world.

To hear the full interview with Senator Tom Coburn visit www.rebeccacosta.com

Steve Forbes Says Flat Tax Fairer Than Fair Tax

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Steve Forbes Says Flat Tax Fairer Than Fair Tax

Steve Forbes

With tax season in full-swing, millions of Americans have begun the arduous process of filling out their Federal and State returns. The IRS estimated that Americans spent six billion hours filing returns last year, which begs the question: is a 4 million-word Federal tax code full of new regulations and guidelines necessary?

Renowned publishing executive and two-time Republican Presidential candidate, Steve Forbes, believes it is not. “We need radical tax reform,” he says.

Forbes, who has long been a vocal advocate for the “Flat Tax,” joined The Costa Report to explain just how complex the current tax system has become. He says the 4 million-word code is the tip of the iceberg because it doesn’t take into account millions of additional pages of interpretations, analysis, legal rulings, and other data experts must navigate to comply with the law. According to Forbes, growing complexity has increased the number of errors reported. He pointed to a recent government investigation which discovered that agents who monitor the IRS Hotline were wrong 20-30% of the time, and the IRS taxpayer assistance program had a 61% error rate.

Forbes says the “current code is beyond redemption,” and strongly urges government leaders to adopt a “Flat Tax” system. When asked whether he would support a “Fair Tax,” which would replace income taxes with a higher sales tax, Forbes made the point that a “Flat Tax” on income is more feasible and fair than the proposed “Fair Tax.” He cited four reasons why the “Fair Tax” is problematic. First, the government would be required to raise sales taxes to a very high rate to make up for lost income and payroll tax revenues. According to Forbes, this would discourage consumer spending and cause the economy to suffer. Second, the government would need to institute a way of distinguishing business purchases from personal purchases, as businesses are taxed differently. (How would the government determine whether an individual purchased office supplies for their personal use, or for use in their business?) Third, the “Fair Tax” assumes the government would pay itself taxes on the purchases it makes. The government is one of the largest spenders in the economy – if it failed to pay itself a sales tax on its own purchases, there would be a shortfall in revenue. And finally, the 16th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which gives government the power to impose taxes, would allow Congress to institute a “Fair Tax” without completely eliminating the income and payroll tax. So, in order for the “Fair Tax” to work, the 16th Amendment would have to be repealed – a move Forbes says is unlikely.

On the other hand, the “Flat Tax” can be instituted with no repeal of a Constitutional Amendment. The “Flat Tax” would require all taxpayers to pay a single fixed-rate regardless of their income, “with generous exemptions for adults and children below a certain income level.” Forbes points out that “A family of four, for example, would pay NO federal income tax on their first $52,000 in wages.”

On the business side, Forbes proposes cutting the current tax rate from 35% to 17%, a move he says will help revitalize the American economy. “When you have high income tax rates, you don’t get the kind of investment that is necessary for a productive economy,” claimed Forbes. “What a flat tax does … is it does not punish productive work, risk taking, or success.”

To listen to the full interview with Steve Forbes HERE.

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