Coburn predicts 'apocalyptic pain' if spending isn't reined in

Senate Republicans' "Dr. No" spending hawk warned Sunday that America would experience "apocalyptic pain" with between 15 percent and 18 percent unemployment and that the middle class would be "destroyed" if it didn't get its fiscal house in order.

"If we don't fix the problems in front of us everybody's going to pay a significant price," Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) said on "Fox News Sunday."

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Coburn warned of the United States ending up like Greece or Ireland if austerity measures aren't taken, or like Spain, Italy or Japan, which are in danger of similar financial collapse.

In May, the International Monetary Fund and European Union agreed to extend a $145 billion bailout package to Greece. In November, a $113 billion bailout package was extended to keep Ireland afloat.

"Everyone else in the world that's doing this today is getting punished," he said of runaway spending.

Coburn said he didn't believe the lame-duck Congress got the message from voters on reining in spending, and that this next Congress should chart a much different course.

"There's well over $300 billion a year that I can lay out for you in detail that most Americans believe we should eliminate," he said, though it "remains to be seen" how much the 112th Congress will slash.

"There will not be one American that will not be called to sacrifice," Coburn said. "Those who are well-to-do will be called to sacrifice to a greater extent."

Everything should be on the table for cost-cutting, the senator said, stressing that the U.S. needs to make those decisions before measures are forced on America by the international business community.

Coburn said that about $50 billion a year could be cut without "truly" affecting anyone by eliminating repetitive programs and bureaucracies, such as 105 separate programs encouraging science and technology careers.

He said he hoped President Obama "gets out, holds hands with us and we make significant cuts."

"Will he help lead in making the hard choices?" Coburn asked. "Will he help us fix the problems that are created by the new healthcare bill?"

The senator said that even with a bad economy, a "down payment" could be made by immediately cutting $100 million to $200 million.

Otherwise, he said, in the next decade, the U.S. could experience higher unemployment, an 8-9 percent drop in gross domestic product, hyperinflation and a financial crisis that would hurt the poorest of the poor the most, Coburn predicted.

"The history of republics is they average about 200 years of life," and they always "rot from within" over financial issues, the Oklahoma Republican said.

"We need to go after what the real problems are, not the symptoms," despite the "naysayers" on the right and left, he said. "I'm not in the Senate for the Republican Party, I'm in the Senate for America."

Coburn confirmed that this will be his last term in the Senate. "My goal is to do what I think is the best right thing for our country," he said of his crusade against spending.