Turn and face the 'pain' 

Now he’s getting ink for saying America’s “apocalyptic pain” from runaway debt might cause 18 percent unemployment and nothing less than utter destruction of the middle class, according to FoxNews.com.

The Happy New Year — or the next three of four, anyway — could see a massive economic contraction as this country experiences austerity measures akin to what recently happened in Ireland, Greece, Portugal, Spain and Japan.

“The history of republics is they average 200 years of life,” Coburn told “Fox News Sunday.” “And they all fail in the history over fiscal matters. They rot from within before they collapse or are attacked.

“The problem that faces our country today, the last 30 years we have lived off the future, and the bill is coming due.”

Holy frijoles! Time to eat your black eyed peas! Coburn, recently reelected to a second term (that he claims will be his last), insists he’s not trying to scare folks.

“I think you will see an 8 to 9 percent decline in (gross domestic product),” Coburn told Fox.

“I think you’ll see the middle class just destroyed if we don’t (eliminate waste).

And the people that it will harm the most will be the poorest of the poor, because we’ll print money to try to debase our currency and get out of it and what you will see is hyperinflation.

“If we didn’t take some pain now, we’re going to experience apocalyptic pain, and it’s going to be out of our control. The idea should be that we control it.”

The obstetrician, who has earned the moniker “Dr. No” on Capitol Hill, recently played a critical role in reducing the cost and scope of a health care program for Sept. 11 responders, whittling the $7.2 billion program down to $4.3 billion.

“I don’t care if you’re rich or poor, liberal or conservative,” Coburn told Fox.

“If we don’t fix the problems in front of us, everybody is going to pay a significant price.”

Sen. Coburn also earned a shout-out in PolitiFact.com’s favorite fact-checks of 2010. PolitiFact.com, a St. Petersburg Times project, was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting last year. The mention came in reference to pundit Bill O’Reilly’s statement that no one on Fox News ever said people would go to the big house if they didn’t buy health insurance.

“Despite a specific provision in the health care law that prohibits criminal prosecution of people who refuse to buy health insurance, the claim that people could go to prison for refusing to buy health insurance has persisted among some staunch opponents of the law,” PolitiFact. com reported. “When (Coburn) accused Fox News of perpetuating the misinformation, O’Reilly claimed Fox News was being used as a ‘whipping boy’ and that nobody at Fox ever said that. We found four instances, including on the (Glenn) Beck and (Sean) Hannity shows.”

Now that we’ve fairly balanced that point, we’d like to offer the following lyrics to Oklahoma’s maverick senator to ring in the new year: This is CFN to Dr. Tom.

You’ve given a harsh grade. And the papers want to know the beard you wear. Now it’s time to cut the budget if you dare.

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