tv Washington Journal Tom Coburn Discusses Limiting the Power of the Federal... CSPAN May 23, 2017 7:32am-8:02am EDT
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u.s. senator from oklahoma he is the author of the book, smashing d.c. he is also a senior advisor of the convention of state project. could you talk about what article five said and what it offers as far as power to the states? guest: colonel george mason when they were having the discussion on our constitution stood up and said we have made a grievous error. we have to make sure that because nowhere in history has powerful governments ceded power back to the people. we need to make sure that is available to the american people. they put the second component into article five which allows the states two thirds of the states to call on amendments conventions. it is not a constitutional commitment -- convention where states can offer amendments which are nothing but recommendations to go back to the states and three quarters of
the states would have to approve that. what it does is it is the root relief valve for the states when they see this imbalance and what has happened is that there is no longer a balanced our between the three branches and our federal government, but there is no longer a balance of power between the federal government in the states, because 60% on average of the states when they aise money in state have federal bureaucrat tell them how they have to spin that. they lost they -- they lost all their power. this is about be bouncing of the branches here in washington and rebalancing the late just rebalancing the relationship. host: they congress on the application of the legislature of two thirds of the separate states so-called -- which shall be valid as a part of a constitution. he goes on from there. how many states are signed on? guest: 12 are signed and we have
to have 34. once we have 34, the congress doesn't have any choice. each state gets one vote on anything that happens. whatever comes out of that has to coincide with what the application is. there is always destined there is already jurisprudence on that so if you apply for three areas, you cannot go outside of three areas to offer amendments. host: what are the three areas the states will call for? guest: they limit the scope and jurisdiction of the federal government, force financial responsibility, i.e. a balanced budget amendment. and limit the terms of both appointed and elected officials. if you think about it, why is the congress not considering economic and fiscal restraint right now?
where is the movement for a balanced budget amendment. 85 percent of americans want that but nobody is doing that. nobody is going to do that unless we the people could happen. host: if you want to talk about this proposal on article five, is this a bipartisan think? guest: it is. in a lot of states we have democrats and republicans supporting this and voting for it. more progressive states, they are interested in it from only one standpoint, let's get rid of -- i am try to remember the court case, the one that allowed open spending.
we have a lot of opposition, because people like the power concentrated here in washington, but we also have a lot of support. .e have 2.8 million volunteers we are going to grow that to 10 million over the next year. we have a volunteer and every legislative district in the country. host: you talked about the number of states but you have quite a number to get to 34. how soon could you see that happen? guest: it depends leadership and what happens in washington. the more people see what's happening in washington, the more they agree with this. the fact that not much is happening, didn't happen in the last four years, isn't happening now. where is the work together to solve the real problems of america? that is what i am interested in. host: the president was elected with that kind of mandate. .uest: this supersedes politics
this says what are the real problems we have is a nation? how do we prepare as our founders knew we would need to come otherwise they would never put this in their -- the situation where we reevaluate the balance of power, because congress is giving all of its power away. branchrse and executive just the courts and executive branch control things -- the courts in the executive branch control things. guest: they offer this argument, the constitution provides no guidance -- guest: the constitution says it requires a super majority. the selection of who comes is totally left up to the state.
what they don't understand is before our constitution, everything happened through a convention at all of our history is about convention. the bill of rights when medicine and john j started proposing that through an article five convention, congress said, we don't want them to do that. congress passed the bill of rights. there's a ton of naysayers. position ase is my a retired u.s. senator and somebody who cares about the future of our country, what is your ideas to fix it? it is not getting fixed here. how do we guarantee a good future for our kids? here is the number that sticks with me and we have $144 trillion in unfunded liabilities in debt that is going to becoming due in the next 50 years. if you take the 85 million who are going to be the wage earners, how's it fair that they
lose $35,000 a year that they have to pay off when we were not responsible for it. to do anything, it is a moral injustice to the people who follow us. i know people don't want to pay attention to best, but the fact is we have an obligation to those who come after us to be responsible stewards and start acting responsibly does acting responsibly, because we certainly -- acting responsibly, because we certainly have not. host: the first call is from ray. caller: thank you so much for c-span. hi tom. i get what you are doing and i appreciate it very much. we need this in a terrible way. where do i begin? there is no way where a sitting president could even implement any of the things they want to
do, there's too much stuff that is broken right now. here's and the suggestion, is it possible, could congress muster the courage to create an independent commission on lobbying? revamped lobbying from the top down and totally divorce the toey that is paid congressmen, senators, whoever, because it is always perpetual elections. it is always did try to run. just it is all they are joined to run. it is all about -- it is all about trying to run. guest: that is treating the symptom instead of the disease. the disease is long-term, raise money, get reelected, enhance my ability to get this position.
term limits is the answer. that is one of the things we are proposing. we limit the terms of the members of congress. a large portion of the senate and house have never had a job outside of politics. it doesn't make them bad people but it limits their exposure and thought patterns on how you solve problems. i am with you. i think the lobbying and money raising is always symptom of lack of turbulence and everyone who is at the constitutional convention was for term limits the new yorkn of representative, who started our banking business, hamilton. he persuaded them not to put it in let's the states decide -- .ut in -- let the states decide
the way we do this is through a constitutional amendment that the state to prove and the supreme court cannot have any control over. that is why we have to solve this problem. we are the ones who ought to be deciding because it is us being affected. host: david, hi there. caller: this is nothing but the old states right argument that they keep trying to bring up all the time. the reason they want to go back to states rights which is governed by republicans from the dogcatcher on up. basically white rights. there was a thing that happened back at the turn-of-the-century, the farmers were given the money from the state to dole out to all of the other farmers for whatever reason. they give it to the white farmers, the white farmers gave the money to their friends and other white farmers.
excluded the black farmers which went out of business. that is like people try to fight the states right mentality when the way to going back we do things, because they have always hated the federal government for making things right, for making things better for all people. thank you. guest: i could not disagree more . on a highway built with federal money, it costs 50% more to build it, same exact highway then if you do it with state money, because of all of the bureaucrats, all of the regulations that are required. it doesn't have to do with race but freedom. that is freedom for everybody of every race in our country. host: from kansas, go ahead. caller: i cannot disagree with you more. this is nothing about false
advertising. this is a gop agenda and you guys got the majority of the state legislatures throughout this country. this is backed by alec. is nothing more than false advertisement, sort of like your right to work state. this is bad news pit when he opened this up, who knows? race everything to do with . this is what the country is about. don't be full, america. this is another make america great ploy. host: what is wrong with the proposal? he is gone. you can respond. guest: i am sorry they see it colored deadweight. it has nothing to do with it. we started this when i was in the u.s. senate. we didn't have the majority of the house.
it has nothing guess it has to do with freedom. the problems in front of our country, you can ignore it, but we are going to pay for it eventually appeared maybe not me, because i am older, but my children are. the question is, do you reach out and fix the problem? this isn't about limiting other people's freedom. this is about restoring the freedom we were intended to have . do we really need a big brother from washington on everything that goes on in the states? if you have been discriminated against, you might feel that way. that isn't a way to establish freedom. this is a solution that is as big as the problem that is in front of us as a nation. the real question is who decides . is some elite person in d.c. going to decide your future? how you can do things? some unelected bureaucrat was
never run for office at all? point. the other as a u.s. senate to her desk senator, -- senator, how many do you think could talk to me? do is drive 95 miles and i can make my voice heard. so can everybody else in oklahoma. that doesn't happen a peer. when you send a letter, most of the time you get a letter back thanking you for the letter but no specific response. host: the states who have signed on, are they governed by republicans? guest: i think that is true. alaska, missouri, tennessee. host: are we making this appeal largely to red states? reason is there is a
drive for control back to the states. host: how do you make these happen if the states have to have the same three principles? guest: let's take the fiscal responsibility that the federal government has to be fiscally responsible. within a convention, he gets one vote. of oklahoma was a intent, but they still get one vote. you have to pass a says, hereion that is a constitutional amendment we look forward to discussing. what would that be? let's have a balanced budget amendment that says over the next 10 years, you have to move toward a balanced budget. time our members of congress and our senators will not make the hard choice, because if they make the hard choice, they may not get reelected. the conflict is maintaining power versus losing power.
balanced budget amendment that says you have to do this, they can go home and say, i am sorry, i do not have any choice. we now have a constitutional amendment that says we have to live within our means instead of continuing to borrow it off the backs of people were not even born yet. host: this is from our independent line. morning.ood i agree with earlier colors. this is nothing more than undermining democracy in america. putting a limit on wages, decreasing wages as it has done in puerto rico with blue mountain hedge funds that is going on there that is threatening their economy. host: how do you make the connection? caller: because that is what all the red states represent. they represent nonunion people,
ane control of seven dollars hour. they won't let people unionize. they are destroying democracy. tois the same indifference the way of life in america that we used to have done in the 1950's and 1960's. , it is very informative to see the kind of response we are seeing which is one of our problems in our country is in the division. you are bad if you live in a red state. you cannot care for people. we just heard an expedition that if you are from a red state, that you don't have the kind of values that are needed for our country. that just isn't true. red states care for their people as well as blue states.
is elevated wages in oklahoma. i understand this polarization we are seeing is really difficult, but if in fact we had a convention of states and force the federal government, what is wrong with us living within our means? is very moral question, you don't think you ought to pay for your medicare? you don't think you ought to be paying for what is coming down the pipe to benefit you? or should you charge it to your children? that is the moral question. we can take it off into a back alley and say that is not what we're trying to do but that is what we are try to do. host: do you see this as an ?nron -- an end run guest: they knew the ineffectiveness and cost of the central government collecting power to itself would have to be
neutralized. what wasbout restoring originally in our constitution in terms of the state having the ability to make decisions. we $100 billion we waste every year in the military, who is working on that? i have documented it. who was working on that? nobody. the question is, do we have representative's and the government are we going to continue to waste money? they just came out yesterday and payments,ropriate $145 billion. that is enough to run the state of a, 20 years. why would we continue to allow -- state of oklahoma, 20
years. why will we continue to allow that? host: using article five to restore freedom. joining us to talk about the concepts, ed from michigan. republican line, you are next. caller: i love this idea, government close in to the people -- you can govern a country is diverse as the net states from one spot. i would prefer to have people in california, massachusetts not suffer under donald trump and the republican congress's policy. i would not want to have texas or indiana or utah suffer under the policies of barack obama and nancy pelosi. we need to decentralize power because we have more freedom. that is why hiller and that not s.ese -- and the nazi i always hear about the left --k about states rights and
it was the northern states. the federal government and the southern states coddled slavery. that is a fallacy. this will restore freedom and people have more choices and with more choices, you have more competition. i love this plan. guest: i agree with him. it is about who decides. that is what freedom is about. this isn't about undermining civil rights. this isn't about taking away what is out there. it is about being responsible with what is. a good just heard, was summation of why we ought to do it, but the other reason is because look how much fear we have heard this morning. look how much fear. why is the fear? do we expect the elites in washington to do what is best in the long-term for the country,
when in fact their real conflict is what is best for their political career? how in the world -- last year wanted $84 billion published by cbm. the debt when up six point trillion dollars -- you cannot -- that doesn't work. i find it liabilities through $6 trillion. we can ignore that, we can continue but what that means is the average millennial is going to live in a 30% decreased standard of living. that is moral imperative that we ask that. host: the president is expected to release his budget today according to information that is found in the newspapers. there is some new spending involved when it comes to
public-probert -- private initiative. do you think that is the right approach? guest: look at what they found in pennsylvania and ohio, they found people who were illegally signed up for medicaid. they compared to what they told the state and in fact they were not eligible. for a republican to survive, you have to have a virtuous and informed public. i would tell you that if you have one million people in two states the side of illegally for a government program and that average cost is about $7,000 a money.hat is a lot of states, if youwo have the same amount of fraud elsewhere, what is going on? the same on social security disability.
we know that for the present of people on social security is not disabled. there are people going to jail for the oversight. who is working on that now? i don't overreact. our goal ought to be if someone needs help, with to help them and we ought to help them to maintain be personally responsible at arthur brooks and his books may 2 really great points. he said learned dependency is tyranny because what happens is you lose your ability to flower and grow into what you can become. learned success is happiness. if we create programs that help those people that need it, and we don't allow the fraud and we know there is $120 billion of fraud and medicare and medicaid. think about that. that is enough to build every new bridge we need to build it every new airport. all of the new highways we need to build. it we just get rid of that
fraud. -- if we just got rid of that fraud. at presidentked trump's budget. i will. i have no doubt some of it will be good, some of it won't be good. nobody writes a perfect budget. i read the paper this morning and it is already dead up here. we are going to put ourselves, that is how republics died. where the longest standing republic and they have all died of the same thing, fiscal impropriety. host: will hear from catherine in ohio. caller: you are a true politician, because you speak out of both sides of your mouth. sir, you were the elite in washington. if it was so bad, then why didn't you try to do something at the time? you spent the money.
you were the good stewart who donated or decided where the money would go and then you spent it. you act like i am the guilty one because now i am at so security age and because the money is that there, i have done something wrong. no sir, you are the desk you were supposed to be the good stewart. you were there with the money. you are the one that is responsible, not us. now it is time to pay the piper. we worked our entire lives, sir. i started working when i was 16 at i lied, i was the oldest of five. i had to go to work. when i got 18 and got out of high school, i got a job at the kroger company in there i stayed .ntil the day i retired i worked, i got married. i raise my family. i bought a home and did all the things that is required. you sir, you did not.
90 spent the money -- my tax dollar and now you are crying because the money is not there for you to spend again. the money needs to be put back into these places where we paid it in. now you are the one holding the money bag. now you want to tell me how bad i am because i want to have somewhat of a distant life. i'm not asking to live in luxury like you are, sir, but i would love to pay my gas and electric bill and my mortgage in the same month. host: catherine, thank you. guest: she obviously doesn't know my voting record. i do not vote for one appropriations bill the entire time i was in the u.s. senate because i thought it was a moral. immoral. i'm the guy who did the oversight. i'm the guy who outlined the waste and didn't vote for it. i understand your opinion, but if you check my voting record, you would find your statements
are far in error. host: what is the convention of the states project? what are they doing to make that happen? guest: we are expanding our grassroots base. we should be at the end of 10 million people at the end of this year. it gives us a grassroots army to go and lobby legislators about changing things. probably eight to 10 states next year, which will put us somewhere between 20 and 22 states. then we will take that same resource and that same grassroots and work on the states that are left. host: convention of the states.com is the website if you want to learn more about the project that our guest is with. he is also the author of the book "smashing the d.c. monopoly."