MARTHA: DIRE WARNING THIS MORNING FROM ONE OF CAPITOL HILL’S LEADING BUDGET HAWKS AS OUR NATION’S DEBT CHREEMS. THERE IT GOES TICKING BY, FOLKS. OVER $15 TRILLION RIGHT NOW. REPUBLICAN SENATOR TOM COBURN HAS ALWAYS BEEN AN OUTSPOKEN VOICE ON ALL THIS. HE PAINTS A HARSH PICTURE OF THE ECONOMIC FUTURE FOR THE UNITED STATES ON A NUMBER OF FRONTS. HE IS ON THE SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE AND WE ARE VER Y PLEASED TO HAVE HIM WITH US THIS MORNING. SENATOR COBURN. GOOD TO SEE YOU THIS MORNING.>>GOOD MORNING, MARTHA. HOW ARE YOU? MARTHA: I’M DOING JUST FINE. I HAVE A COUPLE OF DIFFERENT AREAS I WANT TO HIT YOU WITH THIS MORNING.>>OKAY. MARTHA: WE’LL START WITH THE PIECE COMING OUT TODAY THAT HAS TO DO WITH MEDICARE. YOU FEEL THAT PEOPLE NEED TO WAKE UP. YOU SAY MEDICARE WILL BECOME INSOLVENT YOU SAY, MUCH SOONER THAN ANYBODY THINKS BY 2016. WHAT ARE YOU REVEALING WE DON’T ALREADY KNOW HERE?>>WE HAVE THE TRUSTEE’S REPORT LAST YEAR, SAID IN THE WORST-CASE SCENARIO, THE MEDICAID PART A TRUST FUND, THE PART THAT PAYS HOSPITAL BILLS FOR SENIORS, WILL BE BANKRUPT IN THE 2016. WHAT THAT MEANS IS, IS THAT THERE WILL BE A LIMITATION ON THE AMOUNT OF PAYMENTS THAT GO OUT TO PAY FOR SENIORS. AND THE ANTIDEFICIENCY ACT WHICH IS AN ACT IN CONGRESS DOESN’T ALLOW CONGRESS TO BORROW MONEY OTHER THAN WHAT IT HAS IN THE TRUST FUND TO PAY THOSE BILLS. SO ALL, THE POINT ABOUT IT IS THAT WE’VE GOT TO REFORM MEDICARE. WE’VE GOT TO MAKE THE CHANGES IN IT TO SECURE HEALTH CARE FOR SENIORS AND ALSO TO MAKE IT FINANCIALLY VIABLE AND NOBODY IS WORKING ON THAT. MARTHA: YEAH.>>WE HAVE $15 TRILLION IN DEBT. WE’LL RUN A $1.3 TRILLION THIS YEAR AND NOTHING IS ON THE SENATE FLOOR TO DRESS THAT ISSUE, TO ASSURE SENIORS THAT THEIR MEDICARE IS GOING TO BE OKAY. MARTHA: YOU MAKE SOME VERY STRONG COMMENTS ABOUT YOUR COLLEAGUES IN CONGRESS. YOU SAY THAT YOU’RE IN FAVOR OF THE JACK WELCH PRINCIPLE IN REVERSE. THAT 90% OF THE PEOPLE WHO WORK WITH YOU ON CAPITOL HILL SHOULD BE FIRED. THAT MAYBE THE 10% WHO ARE PRODUCTIVE SHOULD REMAIN AND THAT THE SENATE IS HEAVILY SEDATED. SUPPORT THAT, FOR ME.>>WELL, THAT WAS KIND OF A, I HAVE THIS NEW BOOK OUT CALLED THE DEBT BOMB. MARTHA: YEE.>>I OUTLINE WHAT THE PROBLEMS ARE FACING OUR COUNTRY AND WHY IT IS MORE URGENT AND MORE REAL THAT THE POLITICIANS, THE CAREER POLITICIANS WOULD SUGGEST. AND I JUST DID A TONGUE-IN-CHEEK. GE, JACK WELCH HAD A PROGRAM WHERE THE BOTTOM 10% GOT TERMINATED EVERY YEAR AND REPLACED THEM. I THINK IF YOU DID A MEASURABLE ASSESSMENT OF THE U.S. SENATE TODAY, THE FACT THAT WE’RE NOT ADDRESSING SOCIAL SECURITY, WHICH IS GOING TO RUN OUT OF MONEY, WE’RE NOT ADDRESSING THE DEBT, WE’RE NOT ADDRESSING ENTITLEMENTS. WE’RE NOT REFORMING THE TAX CODE. WE’RE NOT DOING THE THINGS TO STIMULATE THE ECONOMY. WE’RE NOT REINING IN THE REGULATIONS, THAT IN FACT MAYBE THEY OUGHT TO BE CHANGING WHO IS UP HERE RATHER THAN TO CONTINUE TO SEND THE SAME PEOPLE BACK. MARTHA: I READ THE BEGINNING OF YOUR BOOK OVER THE WEEKEND. I RECOMMEND IT. IT IS VERY INTERESTING. YOU START OUT WITH A FICTITIOUS SCENARIO WHERE THERE’S A HUGE FINANCIAL DISASTER THAT’S LOOMING AND A LOT OF IT COMES FROM THE FACT THAT SO MUCH OF OUR DEBT IS OWED BY CHINA AND BY JAPAN AND THAT BASICALLY THEY’RE GOING TO BE ABLE TO HOLD THE STRINGS OF US LIKE A PUPPET AS A RESULT.>>WELL, THINK ABOUT WHAT HAPPENED TO GREECE. WHAT IS GOING ON RIGHT NOW? THE REST OF THE EUROPE AND INTERNATIONAL FINANCIAL COMMUNITY IS NOW TELLING GREECE WHAT THEY WILL AND WON’T DO. FOR GREECE TO BE ABLE TO GET MORE MONEY, TO BORROW MORE MONEY, WHAT WILL HAPPEN IS, THEY’RE GOING TO DO WHATEVER THEIR CREDITORS SAY. SHOULD WE ALLOW THAT TO HAPPEN IN OUR COUNTRY OR SHOULD WE BE ACTING NOW TO FIX THESE PROBLEMS SO THAT WE DON’T GET IN THE POSITION WHERE CREDITORS ARE TELLING WHAT WE WOULD DO? I WOULD MUCH RATHER NEGOTIATE WITH DICK DURBIN AND MY FRIEND ACROSS THE AISLE THAN TO HAVE TO NEGOTIATE WITH CHINESE AND JAPANESE SOVEREIGN FINANCIAL DEALERS IN TERMS OF HOW WE FIX OUR COUNTRY. WE DON’T HAVE ONE PROBLEM, MARTHA, WE CAN’T SOLVE BUT THEY’RE ALL GOING TO BE MUCH MORE DEAF CULT TO SOLVE IF WE WAIT UNTIL THE QUOTE, TIME IS RIGHT. IN OTHER WORDS POLITICALLY SAFE TO DO IT. MARTHA: WELL, APPARENTLY ACCORDING TO YOUR COLLEAGUE KENT CONRAD WE’LL HAVE TO WAIT UNTIL AFTER THE ELECTION AT THE VERY LEAST BEFORE WE SEE ANY KIND OF BUDGET OUT OF THE SENATE.>>PEOPLE OUGHT TO ASK THE QUESTION. FIRST OF ALL, IT’S A LAW THAT THE SENATE. MARTHA: EXACTLY.>>NEEDS TO VOTE ON A BUDGET. WE HAVE HARRY REID NOT ALLOWING THAT TO COME UP. HE IS NOT ALLOWING IT TO COME UP FOR PURELY POLITICAL REASONS. WHEREAS IN FACT THE COUNTRY NEEDS US TO HAVE A BUDGET. WE NEED TO DECREASE OUR SPENDING. WE NEED TO REFORM THE TAX CODE. WE OUGHT TO BE VOTING ON IT. I DON’T THINK WE SHOULD BE BEING PAID RIGHT NOW BECAUSE WE’RE DOING ABSOLUTELY NOTHING OF IMPORT IN THE U.S. SENATE. MARTHA: YOU MAKE GREAT POINTS. BREAKING THE LAW TO NOT COME FORWARD WITH A BUDGET WHICH THEY HAVEN’T DONE FOR THREE YEARS. YOU’RE RIGHT, MAYBE THEY SHOULDN’T BE PAID BECAUSE SECONDARY TO THE LEGAL ASPECT OF IT, THEY’RE JUST NOT DOING THEIR JOB. SENATOR, IT IS A COMPELLING ARGUMENT YOU MAKE IN THE DEBT BOMB. WE LOOK FORWARD TO TALKING TO YOU ABOUT IT IN THE FUTURE. THANK YOU, SIR.>>THANK YOU.