BROKEN ARROW — President Barack Obama alone is to blame for the nation's budget deficit – and just about everything else, U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe told the Broken Arrow Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday.
"We now have a president, and I don't mean this disrespectfully, who is destroying these very institutions that made America great," Inhofe, R-Okla., said.
Inhofe went on to say the Obama administration has "disarmed America," is solely responsible for the federal budget deficit, mostly responsible for the nation's dependence on imported oil and suffocating business with regulations.
He also said Obama engineered the House Republicans' ban on earmarks in order to give himself more control of the budget.
"When they came along with this moratorium, you have to let the president run everything," Inhofe said. "They conceded that authority to the president of the United States, so that's why the president was behind the whole earmark thing."
Inhofe said the earmark ban allowed the administration to block a new $10 million control tower scheduled for Tinker Air Force Base.
He said military spending, as a share of gross domestic product, has declined during the Obama administration and criticized unflattering descriptions of the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where terror suspects are held, saying, "You know the biggest problem for prisoners when they get to Gitmo? Obesity."
Inhofe said the idea that prisoners have been tortured there was invented by Obama and others "to make you think something bad is happening in America — the same thing he does and others do when they go around talking about how bad America is."
Inhofe said the deficit is Obama's fault because "it's the president's budget. Period. That's the end of it."
He said the recent debtlimit agreement is a sham that does little or nothing to reduce overall spending. One solution, he continued, would be to repeal the health-care reform law, which he said is an example of "social engineering" designed to make Americans more dependent on the federal government.
Inhofe also cited extended unemployment benefits, saying he saw no reason for them in Oklahoma because the state has "virtually full employment."
Inhofe laid out a long list of regulatory steps he said would cost taxpayers and employers billions of dollars in taxes and lost productivity, and said the country could be "totally independent from the Middle East in a matter of weeks, not years," if the administration allowed unfettered oil and gas development on public lands.
Noting that he will not be up for re-election until 2014, Inhofe said, "Don't misunderstand, (nothing) I'm saying now is for political purposes."