February 28th, 2009
10:54 AM ET
2 years ago

Burr says Washington in a ‘state of denial’

Sen. Richard Burr, R-North Carolina, says it's time for those elected to lead.
Sen. Richard Burr, R-North Carolina, says it's time for those elected to lead.

(CNN) - North Carolina Sen. Richard Burr said Washington is in a “state of denial,” in Saturday’s weekly Republican radio address.

“It seems that every morning you pick up the newspaper, you’re reading about another multi-billion dollar government spending plan being proposed or even worse, passed … We become numb to what the dollar figures really mean, or the obligation that accompanies them,” he said.

Pointing to the “spending priorities of the Democrats in Washington” and President Obama’s proposed budget, Burr warned that “for the first time, we could see the American Dream vanish.”

Burr said Republicans and Democrats agree on where they want to go, but they disagree on how to get there.

The North Carolina senator called on Americans to rally together “to find solutions with unity of purpose.”

“It’s time for those elected to lead. Will we rise to the challenge, and make the tough choices necessary? Or will we simply hand the obligation to our children and wish them good luck?” he said.

Full text of address after the jump

Full transcript of Senator Burr’s address:

“This week, President Obama shared with all Americans his priorities and concerns about the serious economic challenges we as America are facing. I appreciated his optimism and agree with him that our country has the ability to overcome this significant economic challenge.

“The strongest tool we as Americans have is our ability to rally together and to find solutions with unity of purpose. There is no limit to our ability and potential when we as a nation and as a people work together.

“Many times, disagreements between the two political parties in Washington get all the headlines. What’s not reported is the fact that Republicans and Democrats agree on where we want to go, but we disagree on how we’re going to get there.

“These uncertain times present us with a defining moment. The actions and decisions we make and the actions we take in our nation’s capital and in the state capitals across this country will have a profound impact on the way of life for years to come.

“Families facing tough decisions at home know this because they are confronting the same challenges. Washington needs to understand this reality as well. It’s difficult to fully appreciate, but every time Congress and the President spends a dollar, it’s actually a dollar PLUS interest that our children and our grandchildren will have to pay back.

“We must remind ourselves of this fact every single day. Unfortunately, Washington is in a state of denial. Our spending habits haven’t gotten better, they’ve only gotten worse.

“It seems that every morning you pick up the newspaper, you’re reading about another multi-billion dollar government spending plan being proposed or even worse, passed. The numbers are so large, and the deficits so staggering, it’s difficult for the average person to imagine how much money we’re talking about. We become numb to what the dollar figures really mean, or the obligation that accompanies them. Let me take a moment to try to explain what is happening in Washington right now, and what it will mean for all of us down the road.

“This week, the president submitted to Congress the single largest increase in federal spending in the history of the United States, while driving the deficit to levels that were once thought impossible. If we just look at what our debt spending will cost us in interest payments alone, we are talking about 4 trillion dollars over the next 10 years, more than a billion dollars of interest payments every day. Think of that 4 trillion as a finance charge on your credit card bill – you have to pay, but you get nothing for it in return. This finance charge obligates more than $52,000 for every family in America over the same 10 year period.

“These payments don’t even make a dent in the balance we owe. In fact, the balance on our credit card continues to grow as we continue to spend. Like a family that find itself choking under the weight of credit card balances and finance charges, the federal government is quickly obligating the American people to a similar fate.

“This is why we must keep our eye on the big picture. For two centuries, the American Dream has depended on the simple belief that men and women work hard so their children would have a better future. Looking at the spending priorities of Democrats in Washington in the proposed budget and over the past month, it’s hard to escape the reality that for the first time we could see the American Dream vanish. Now, instead of working hard so our children can have a better life tomorrow, we are asking our children to work hard so that we don’t have to make tough choices today.

“It’s long past time to show restraint and to make the tough choices that will help put our fiscal house in order. Generations of Americans past have often been called on to make great sacrifices for their country. Many have made the ultimate sacrifice. Is it not time for government to make sacrifices for future generations? It’s time for those elected to lead. Will we rise to the challenge, and make the tough choices necessary? Or will we simply hand the obligation to our children and wish them good luck?”


Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (187 Responses)
  1. Had It

    We got Dole "off the dole" in NC - we're already organizing to get rid of this "do nothing" senator too. He's toast. He wants ONLY for the wealthy white men.

    Typical.

    February 28, 2009 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  2. Don

    As President Reagan told us and President George W. Bush amplified deficits don't matter. Apparently this only applies to Republican presidents, even when it is their economic mess President Obama is trying to clean up.

    February 28, 2009 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  3. Nick Drance

    Better late than never. Glad you finally got it bro. Guess you didn't notice the 6 million unemployed or the stock market or insolvent banks. I hope you can convince your friends to have that good old American spirit of can -do ingenuity and join with the nations elected leaders to put our heads together and help us find a way out of this mess.
    This guy has been in office 39 days. Let's help him out. I'm sure it would make him feel good to see others come together.

    February 28, 2009 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  4. Smart People

    More fear mongering from the right. More blaming President Obama, but no solutions offered. If they are going to do this, at least explain to us why they rubber stamped everything put forth over the last eight years. I guess that spending was alright because it was put forth by a republican.

    Every time one of these hypocrites comes out with another boring sanctimonious speech, it comes off as just trying to pimp someone for 2012. After Jindals train wreck, i guess they're trying someone new.

    "Country First" right?

    February 28, 2009 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  5. william . Oregon

    This is wonderful the GOP now has answers to all our problems. You had your chance and blew it! Get out of the way.

    February 28, 2009 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  6. Lauren

    When will the republicans actually realize we're in a crisis and don't need this stupid anti-partisan crap that has been going on for the last 8 years. Have they not seen poll numbers in response to Jindal? Or poll numbers evaluating their popularity as a party? I think it is a rather negative and simplistic view of the american people if this idiot thinks that we want to foist any future debts on our children. What he and others like him need to realize is that if we do not do something now that will be the least of our childrens worries.....

    February 28, 2009 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  7. A Real American

    Demonstrating once again why the Republicans will forever be the party of Herbert Hoover...

    February 28, 2009 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  8. Nevada Independant

    The single largest factor in our lopsided foreign trade accounts is our enormous importation of oil.
    In other words, if we as a country can drastically reduce the amount of oil we import, we could effectively eliminate the trade deficit.

    Knowing that... it is simply amazing to me that more people from both sides of the aisle are not clammoring to get on board with Obama's plans to retool our energy sector. It is the singular most important thing we can do to return to America's economic superiority.

    Unfortunately, it's going to cost some money for the government to help lay the foundation for private enterprise to come in and expand alternative energy businesses. It is the best possibly investment into our own future this country could make right now.

    February 28, 2009 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  9. carmela

    Another republican taking a shot. Just take your shot, it's a free country and enjoy it, cause it won't last.

    February 28, 2009 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  10. fearful for my country

    Obama and his cult followers are the only ones in a state of denial. The rest of us see the writing on the wall.

    February 28, 2009 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  11. Tim, Seattle WA

    SO......I ask my daily question.
    What are the GOP's new ideas? (crickets)

    February 28, 2009 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  12. Don Fitzgerald, America

    Where were all of these " fiscally " conservative Republicans, while we were pouring Hundreds of Billions of taxpayer's dollars, down that sink-hole, formerly known as Iraq !! When, we were privatizing our Veteran's hospital care and losing monies and the respect and, in some cases, lives and minds of these heroes, because of the phony Republicans. Now, with America in a economic crater, thanks to the Bush incompetence, President Obama, and the Democratic majority in both Houses, must right our ship of state. How can we accomplish that? We must, unfortunately, add 1-3 Trillion more dollars, to the deficit, a deficit that has doubled since President Bush began his term in office. So, now that President Obama must borrow to get us out of this economic crater, we will have to add 3 Trillion Dollars to the Bush deficit of 10 Trillion dollars !! A small price to pay to right our ship and wave good-bye, to ex-President Bush, may he one day have a good night's sleep !! He sure left us in a nightmare !!
    SUPPORT OUR TROOPS, BRING THEM HOME, ALIVE AND WHOLE. NOW.

    February 28, 2009 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  13. rbn alexandria, mn

    We need to consider what was done with the first 700 billion and the money moves there after. The transaction could be frozen and reversed and that goes for anything that was affected by it- We can not reverse time, that is biological real time but we can monitarily, we can correct anything that involves law & money. I thought the money should have trickled up if it needed to happen in the sense it did, meaning pay on each bad loan & save the neighbor values (thats real democracy). Offer government owned loans to those who can pay something and are in bad loans. Zero help for banks bad choices other than the home loans after all that is the one poster they are using and its taking us down.

    February 28, 2009 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  14. Linda

    Excellent.

    February 28, 2009 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  15. J Williamson

    And where was the good Sen. Burr when Geo. Bush was running up the biggest deficits in history? What a bunch of self-righteous hypocrites.

    February 28, 2009 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  16. Ray Fisher

    I think the politicians and news reports on the President's economic recovery measures are premature since nothing has really happened as yet. The tax withholding holiday doesn't begin until April 1, doling out grants and stimulus measures are in work, budget must be negotiated and not final till the next fiscal year, in short, there is truly nothing new to comment upon as yet. We must wait till the stimulus begins flowing into the economy via consumers, employers, retailers and financiers before these comments can be evaluated. Basically, the Republicans are simply posturing around their company line seeking any inroads they can find to gain something.

    February 28, 2009 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  17. Dennis K.

    Well. let's see...

    We just got rid of the idiot that got us into this mess and already the
    idiot's supporters are rewriting history..Not even 2 months..

    Where were they when Bush was runnig up the deficit "off the books".

    SHHHHHHHHH...it is a State secret...

    Give me a break!

    February 28, 2009 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  18. TXGB

    Agreed that the recovery plan involves approximately 40-60 taxbreak vs spending and tax breaks are much less than what republicans expected. What are the alternatives that you propose Sen. Burr to get the country out of the mess?

    Can you or anyone for that matter please propose one solid alternatives that you can vouch would work?. If not lets see and give sometime for the money to flow back into the economy. There is no harm in borrowing (or holding a debt) provided its a solid investment for the future (which is true with infrastructure and education).

    Lets give sometime. It took over 8 years to get where we are now, so lets give atleast a fraction of that to get us out. There are no quick and easy ways to getting in shape, it takes commitment and effort.. So please shut up and lets support someone who is really trying to change things around..

    February 28, 2009 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  19. Barbara Campbell

    President Obama is having to clean up the messes left by the
    Bush administration and his rubberstamps in Congress, including Burr. Do the neocons really think that their lies and manipulations will change their history of deficit spending and deregulation that caused this economic collapse. Spin and obstruct all you want neocons. The electorate has awakened and its bad news for you.

    February 28, 2009 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  20. Ronnie

    Please tell me why the GOP didn't have a problem when Bush was spending money like this.

    February 28, 2009 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  21. Independant Vet

    MOST OF THOSE HOUSE DEMOCRATS , CAN AN WILL NOT CHANGE THERE OWN LIFE STYLES . ALL THEY KNOW IS SWIPE THAT CARD , THE AMERICAN TAX PAYER WILL PAY THE BILL .

    LIKE MADAM PELOSI'S BILL FOR GETTING HER TO AND FROM WORK . WE THE TAX PAYERS . PAY $60,000 EACH WAY , AN SHE IS IN WASHINGTON FOR 3 DAYS, THEN WE PAY HER FLIGHT BACK HOME . AT AN ANNUALLY $5,760, 000 . , OR $480,000 A MONTH . NO DON'T TELL HER TO FLY IN A SMALLER JET . THAT CRAMPS HER LIFE STYLE. AN YET WE HAVE DISABLED YETS, AN HOMELES AN SHE MADAM PELOSI HAS TO SPEND FULL BORE AN THE HELL WITH THE REST , .WHAT A WASTE FULL SPENDER , AN SHE HAD THE GALL TO YELL AND JUMP UP AND DOWN , LIKE A CHEER LEADER AT THE AUTO MAKERS , TELLING THEM TO SELL YOUR PLANES .

    I SAY PRACTICE WHAT YOU PREACH , FOR AS IS THE TAXPAYERS ARE ABUNCH OF CHUMPS.

    MONDAY THE GOVERMENT ANNOUNCED THAT IT IS CHANGING ITS NATIONAL SYMBOL TO A CONDOM , BECAUSE IT MORE ACCURATELLY REFLECTS THE GOVERMENTS POLITICAL STANCE. A CONDOM ALLOWS FOR INFLATION , HALTS PRODUCTION, DESTROYS THE NEXT GENERATION, PROTECTS A BUNCH OF PRICKS, AND GIVES YOU A SENCE OF SECURITY , WHILE YOU'RE ACTUALLY BEING SCREWED.

    HOW MORE ACCURATE CAN YOU BE . OBAMA'NOMICS

    February 28, 2009 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  22. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    OKAY BURR, NOW TELL US WHAT'S YOUR SOLUTION. WORDS OF COMPLAINT ARE NOT SOLUTIONS.

    February 28, 2009 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  23. Ken in Boston

    Since Mr. Burr and his fellow Republicans are totally responsible for the current economic conditions, having spent nearly 30 years in unremitting pursuit of the impossible (endless, unfettered economic growth) I find his comment about denial incredibly humorous. Hey Senator Burr, how about you tell us how "Reagonomics" can save the nation! :)

    February 28, 2009 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  24. Mike Mc

    Let me guess Mr. Burr, the answer is more deregulation and tax cuts?? You guys lost your credibility..sorry

    February 28, 2009 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  25. Nana68

    Would it not be nice if there was one day that we all could agree on everything, but we know that is not going to happen and the republicans just run their mouth and have not come up with any plan whatsoever to get us out of this mess so why not give our president plan a chance to work. Then on down the road they can take all the credit or say I told you so. They need to stop there whining and decide they are not going to get richer while the poor get poorer anymore!!

    February 28, 2009 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
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