Dan Coats: Indiana should be the model for Washington D.C.
Money might run out for Social Security, Medicare in a decade
By Rick Yencer
MUNCIE, INDIANA - U.S. Sen. Dan Coats thought a congressional budget report that money would run out for entitlements like Social Security and Medicare in a decade would be bigger news.
"We just cannot sustain government spending the way is going," said The Republican from Indiana.
Coats pointed out that an extension was granted to federal transportation funding which also ran out this summer.
And the fact that Coats is in the minority under Democrat Harry Reid's leadership of Senate caused Coats to say, "We need to change Harry Reid."
Coats was in Muncie, Anderson and Richmond Thursday talking to bank and business leaders while also taking a look at Republican Party base in Indiana. He spoke at a Muncie Delaware County Chamber of Commerce lunch at the Horizon Convention Center.
With 2014 elections coming in November, Indiana Republicans are confident they will hold on to congressional and state legislative seats where they have super majorities in the Legislature and seven of nine congressional seats.
Coats is not on the ballot, but told the media Republicans were optimistic about picking up six seats to oust the Democrats from Senate leadership.
But the Republican senator said anything could happen, given the party lost one of Indiana's senate seats to Democrat Joe Donnelly after Richard Murdock beat then Sen. Richard Lugar, but misspoke about women and lost the election.
Coats has been around since he was an aide to Dan Quayle, former congressman, senator and vice president. He served in the Congress, then became United States ambassador to Germany right at Sept. 11, 2001, and then returned to Congress a couple years ago as senator.
In that time, Coats said the Senate had changed and is in gridlock under Reid's leadership. He did not mention House Republicans like Congressman Luke Messer do the same with minority Democrats and President Barack Obama.
Indiana's model for fiscal solvency and a leader in business and manufacturing should be the model in Washington as Coats talked about the Indiana way.
That was pleasing to factory owners like Steve Smith and retired industrialist Van Smith.
Mayor Dennis Tyler, a Democrat, did ask Coats about the transportation bill and ways more federal transportation dollars could come to community to fix roads and bridges.
Noting that the extension was granted, Coats wanted to longterm plan to direct more money to donor states like Indiana that pays more federal gasoline taxes than it received in highway dollars.
He mentioned the Illiana bypass in northwest Indiana and Illinois that was being funded by a public private partnership with user fees.
Tyler, a former state lawmaker, said federal highway funds are necessary to fix infrastructure besides provide jobs for Hoosiers.
Coats worried about the future of entitlements that could run out of money in 10 years.
That congressional budget report suggested either Social Security and Medicare had to be cut by 30 percent or taxes would rise by 30 percent to sustain more baby boomers eligible for entitlements.
Politically, Coats was confident that voters would choose fiscal responsibility over runaway spending in midterm elections with Republicans have a shot at the White House again in 2016.