Coburn unveils $9T deficit-reduction plan

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) has proposed a massive deficit-reduction package that would slash defense spending and raise nearly $1 trillion in revenues by ending a variety of tax breaks.

It would save a total of $9 trillion over the next decade.

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He acknowledged his plan would stir controversy among various constituencies but said fellow members of Congress had no right to criticize him until they come up with their own road maps.

“What is not acceptable, however, is not having a plan and delaying reform until some perfect political moment that will never arrive,” he told reporters Monday.

Coburn has proposed cutting $1 trillion from the Pentagon over the next 10 years, one of many areas of government he has slated for big cuts.

But most significantly, Coburn has endorsed eliminating $962 billion in tax breaks, which he says has “created an unfair system in which taxpayers with similar incomes and businesses with similar profits do not pay similar rates.”

“We’re starting down the path of tax reform,” Coburn said. “We think you ought to eliminate these and lower the rates.”

The proposal will further inflame Coburn’s testy relationship with anti-tax activist Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform.

It will also give political ammunition to Democrats who insist that eliminating corporate tax breaks should be part of any broad deficit-reduction agreement.

On the spending side of the ledger, he has called for $974.1 billion in general government savings over the next decade.

Over that same period, he has recommended $4.3 billion in cuts to Congress, $346.4 billion in cuts to the Department of Agriculture, $409 billion from the Department of Education, $101.8 billion from the Energy Department and $106.7 billion from Health and Human Services.

Coburn described his plan as a menu of policy options for lawmakers to use as they negotiate a long-term deficit reduction package.

“This is a plan that people can pick and choose from,” he said.

Among his most controversial ideas is one to cut the cost of Medicare and Medicaid by $2.64 trillion over the next 10 years.

His plan would extend the solvency of Social Security by gradually raising the retirement age by a month every two years beginning in 2022 so that it would reach 69 by the hear 2077.

He would also reduce Social Security cost-of-living adjustments by using the formula known as “chained-CPI” to measure inflation.