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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Tom Coburn Was Right

Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) was right to insist on greater financial accountability and fraud prevention in the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act (history of text changes here).

The Zadroga Act had all the hallmarks of the type of government spending which, without vigilance, gave rise to massive fraud in Hurricane Katrina relief.  Take a worthy cause and pick a number out of a hat, and what you get is a rip-off of the taxpayers, which is what happened on a huge scale in the aftermath of Katrina.

Taking care of 9/11 responders who actually became ill from dust inhaled during or in the aftermath of 9/11 certainly is a worthy cause, but the numbers thrown about by Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand appeared to be picked out of a hat.  Coburn was right to ask why "X billion dollars" and not "Y billion dollars." 

In fact, more than $2 billion was shaved off the price tag by the time the bill was passed, without any obvious harm to the purpose of the bill.

Republicans were bullied into writing a blank check for Katrina relief by legitimately sad stories.  Even The NY Times called Katrina relief fraud "breathtaking."

Schumer and Gillibrand shamelessly brought out 9/11 responders for the same purpose -- to demagogue the issue by claiming Republicans did not want to help responders when in fact the issue was that the bill had not been vetted in the normal process and the numbers had not been justified. 

The Democratic-controlled House did not even pass an earlier version of the bill until three months ago, so the notion that Republicans in the Senate caused years of delay simply was false.

Coburn issued the following statement when a compromise was reached:
"I'm pleased the sponsors of this bill agreed to lower costs dramatically, offset the bill, sunset key provisions and take steps to prevent fraud. Every American recognizes the heroism of the 9/11 first responders, but it is not compassionate to help one group while robbing future generations of opportunity. I'm pleased this agreement strikes a fair balance and improves the bill the majority attempted to rush through at the last minute."
Tom Coburn was right.

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  1. As is usually the case, the real disaster doesn't occur until the government steps in to "fix" things.

  2. "Take a worthy cause and pick a number out of a hat." ..terrific way to describe "congressional compassion," i.e. displaying sympathy by spending someone else's money.

  3. Of course he was right. He was the responsible adult. Jon Stewart, Shep Smith and many in the MSM used this issue to try to shame Congress into enacting one more fiscally irresponsible law.

    BTW, you made a typo when you put a "D" next to Coburn's name instead of an "R".

  4. Really, why should there be any separate fund for 9/11 responders? If their own health insurance is not adequate, Congress should let them be covered by the Veteran's Admin, seeing as they responded to an act of war. If it's good enough for our combat vets, it should be good enough for 9/11 responders.

  5. This morning, on local radio in NY, Schumer was asked about the potential number of people who would get help under this bill. The host said that numbers from 2,500 to 10,000 have been floated. Schumer sidestepped the numbers and said that the bill they passed would be sufficient to cover the higher end of the numbers.

    Think about it: the bill that had just been reduced from $7.4 billion to $4.3 billion was sufficient to cover the high end of the estimate!

    Tom Coburn was right, but the bill is still a taxpayer rip-off.

  6. Listening to folks who just passed a tax cut for American aristocracy like Paris Hilton that dwarfs the cost of this bill yammer on about "fiscal responsibility" is laughable. Thanks for the chuckle, guys!

  7. The problem with "progressives", like Andrew, is they -- either dishonestly or ignorantly (take your pick) -- can't seem to differentiate between Paris Hilton and HER money, and congress and OUR money.

    And when, oh when, Andrew, will the "current tax rates", which have been in existence for nearly a DECADE, not be considered a "tax cut" by you progressive geniuses and planners?

    I suppose about the same time that every malady known to mankind won't be deemed "Bush's fault" (read: never).

    The Scarecrow in Oz was more intellectually honest -- even with straw for brains.

  8. I'm with Darlene. And I don't understand why NY isn't taking care of its own. It's looking like NY pols are creating a federal uber-status for their first responders, while military combat vets get nowhere near the same treatment. I'm sure each of the other 49 states have hard luck worthy candidates for the federal dole too. Our annual deficit is over a TRILLION and DC still lacks the cojones to say, we can't afford it.

  9. I really like Sen. Coburn's new bearded look. It fits the role of radical conservative legislator he should be fulfilling in the 112th. He should keep the beard.

    "Because the Only Good Progressive is a Failed Progressive"

  10. I understand the health care cost, to a point.But the police and firefighters have health care, but why the cash awards?.