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. lived9lives Southern Oregon

    Excuse me? What American Dream? OH, you mean owning 2,3,4 or more houses, 2,3,4 or more cars, SUV's,ATV's,boats, palnes, 2,3,4 or more HD flat screens, lap tops, DVD's, IPODs? Pollute, poison, destroy and walk away. American greed and excess turned the dream into a monster! Dream on....

    February 28, 2009 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  2. Joe

    He has a bad memory I guess. The only reason Obama has to spend so much now is because everyone else before him screwed up or didn't do enough. Obama is just doing what we should have done a long time ago. Get healthcare and education under control. Also, the republicans gave Obama a pretty horrible economic situation so doing nothing wasn't really an option.

    February 28, 2009 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  3. Gerry in Va. for Obama.

    IT'S SIMPLY AMAZING HOW A CHANGE OF THE POLITICAL PARTY WHO IS IN POWER IN D.C. CAN CAUSE SUCH A "COME TO JESUS" ATTITUDE IN THE OPPOSING PARTY. AFTER 8 YEARS OF GEORGE BUSH PUSHING THE LIMITS TO OUTRAGEOUS, ON ANY " BUDGET" HE PROPOSED AND THE CONGRESS, WITH THE REPUB'S IN CONTROL, AMENING EVERY BILLION HE WANTED TO SPEND, PORK OR NOT, NOW WHEN THE DEM'S HAVE TAKEN OVER, ALLLL OF A SUDDEN, THE REPUB'S HAVE " SEEN THE LIGHT" AND FEEL THEY MUST POINT OUT......NOOO.... DEMAND, THE DEMOCRATS "DO THE RIGHT THING" BY RUNNING WASHINGTON THE WAY THE REPUB'S WANT IT RAN OR THEY'LL THROW A TEMPER FIT AND START CALLING EVERY ONE BAD NAMES...

    DON'T YOU REPUBLICANS GET IT???? WE VOTED YOU O.U.T..
    WE DIDN'T LIKE YOUR THIEVING WAYS !!! WE'LL TAKE PRESIDENT OBAMAS IDEA'S AND RUN WITH THEM FOR AWHILE THANK YOU VERY MUCH.. AS MUCH AS YOU BELLY ACHE AND COMPLAIN AND THUMP YOUR "BUSH BUDGET BIBLE" WE DON'T BELIEVE YOU KNOW THE WAY TO BALANCE ANYTHING BUT A BOTTLE OF VERY EXPENSIVE BOOZE..

    February 28, 2009 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  4. Ed from NC

    This Burr represents politicians of the WORST kind. He and his Republican president spent the last 8 years transferring our money to the wealthiest 1% of Americans and proceeded to trash our economy and engage in an unjustified war in Iraq. Now he has the gall to pretend that he cares about the terrible debt that HE and his party created??? He's awful. Completely awful.

    February 28, 2009 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  5. dcastro

    The President has an over 70% approval rating for the job he is doing and the legislation he is proposing. The Party of No (The G-No-P) is in no position to talk. They offer no solutions beyond "tax cuts"; they have no ideas beyond "tax cuts" and they are as bankrupt, morally and intellectually, as the global financial systems them helped bring down through 28 years (yes, let's go back to Reagan) of deregulation and greed.

    February 28, 2009 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  6. Ron Mosher

    I am so over the Republican Party. With our economy in such bad shape that was caused by them they continue this political bickering that is solely designed for themselves to benefit from.
    Sad to see that they are trying to tear down our economy just so they can get the majority in congress back. They are all towing the line for Rush Limbaugh who has stated he wants President Obama to fail.
    They don't get it. If he fails we ALL fail. Sounds like they are on the terrorists side and not thier own country. Very sad indeed. The best thing we can do as a people is in the next election is to take even more of them out of office.

    February 28, 2009 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  7. befmed, MD

    This guy seems to have forgotten that it was Republican lack of fiscal discipline for the last 8 years that got us here. He chides the current government for spending. Where were his complaints during the Bush years?

    February 28, 2009 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  8. Ernie in LA

    Being a Republicican, of course, he is wrong and the Dems don't care what he says.

    February 28, 2009 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  9. And...

    Oh how I wish I could just wave a magic wand and the obstructionist party would just go away.......

    February 28, 2009 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  10. Cyrus

    Ah...Senator Burr....if only you had shown the fake outrage eight years ago! If only!

    February 28, 2009 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  11. Charles

    Maybe he can run for president.

    February 28, 2009 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  12. The Voice

    Why wasn't this guy saying anything when Bush was in office. Now the Republicans are crying wolf??

    Give me a break, the cynism of these people is going beyond unmoral.

    February 28, 2009 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  13. Ron Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin

    The republicans have had there say for the last 28 years.Only 8 years out of 28 did we have a democrat in office.Bill Clinton who could have done a better job.But became a causualty to republicans so called moral ethics controversey.But it did not undermine the good he did for the american people who work there butts off to make a decent living.And built goverment surpluses that the next president wasted to wall street and the rest of his buddies in the republican party and special interests.The American employees in this country are fed up with this mismanagment of there lives and will fight the republicans and all that stand in the way of fair goverment for all and I am happy to say your all going down.Its time we hardworking good people of this nation to stand up and fight for whats right and fair all across the board.Big Changes are Coming for the Better.

    February 28, 2009 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  14. Ken

    I guess you weren't to concerned about our children under the Bush Administration were you? Obama is the best hope this country has to get the USA back on the right track. The Bush administration left a mess, now it is up to everyone else to clean it up. Health care costs are are strangling businesses and families, Obama realizes this and will try to solve the problem. As the ecomomic crisis started under Bush deepens, more people will become uninsured and for those people there is no American dream. We just can't punt the ball on health care as the Bush administration did. Something has to be done.

    February 28, 2009 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  15. katiec

    Burr right now has an approval rating of 30% in his home state
    and totally represents big business.
    Lobbyists, special interests, etc are going to take a back seat
    with President Obama's budget and the party of big business
    and the rich are not going to support it.

    February 28, 2009 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  16. katiec

    Burr right now has an approval rating of 30% in his home state
    and totally represents big business.
    Lobbyists, special interests, etc are going to take a back seat
    with President Obama's budget and the party of big business
    and the rich are not going to support it.

    February 28, 2009 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  17. wahwahwah

    Does anyone remember the Peanuts/Charlie Brown cartoons and the teacher ?

    wah wah wah, wah wah wah

    Doesn't that sound like the New and improved republican party?

    February 28, 2009 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  18. concerned NC voter

    Isn't this guy a republican who supported Bush deficit spending. Now that he and Bush have created a depression they are adopting Hoover economics. How ridiculous. President Obama is your president too Senator Burr – support him or you are out in 2010!

    February 28, 2009 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  19. Scott

    It's Republicans who have been in denial for many years. They cut taxes for the rich, and then looked the other way while the country's infrastructure disintegrated; cut regulations while the bankers partied; fought wars while lying about the justifications and the costs; rolled back environmental protections while the world strangles in our waste; shouted "life is sacred!" while destroying the lives and the livelihoods of millions. As a result of Republican policies, the rich are definitely richer, but the economy is fundamentally broken. To the rich Republicans I say: You broke it, so you pay for it! Obama is absolutely correct to, through higher taxes on the top 5%, shift some of the economic burden onto wealthy Americans who have benefited disproportionately from three decades of conservative taxation policy. The Republican mantra that everything can be fixed by deregulation and tax cuts has been proven false. We cannot have long-term economic recovery in this country without addressing the related crises in energy & climate change, health care, and education. Only the government, not the private sector, can deal with these over-arching problems. Fixing all of these will cost money up front, but will lay the foundations for a renewed economic expansion that will benefit all, not just the top 5%.

    February 28, 2009 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  20. Tom

    It's about time a representatvie corrected a severe case of the usual rectal cranial inversion! "We the People" are sick and tired of paying for screwups of others. The ONLY one I was in favor of is a little help for the automobile industry for cleaning up how they do business and getting the unions to keep from dragging it down.

    February 28, 2009 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  21. beevee

    The GOP leaders can only have the face to criticize Obama's spending plans as careless if Bush's two terms have brought the country to a prosperous economy. But the truth is that it brought the country to an economic crisis. Since they do not seem to have a better plan than what is being proposed by Obama administration they shoudl shut up and support him.

    February 28, 2009 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  22. Daniel, Atlanta, GA, ex-republican

    Mr. Burr,

    In America, the majority rules when the majority of the population voted for a candidate and a party. I, for one, voted against republicans as much as I voted democratic. Why? Because we need to spend money! I don't care about future generations when the present one is about to sink. I don't think anyone really cares about the future when you boat is sinking! Republican talking-points are just a bunch of noise, because it's time for the government to work for the people–ALL PEOPLE!! I am tired of my former party's lust for money and support of the wealthy! We will have a major revolution that is going to split this country, if republicans get in the way of Obama's agenda!

    February 28, 2009 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  23. js007

    Gee Mr. Burr, over the last 8 years while your party borrowed from China to give the rich contracts, tax cuts and all kinds of other loopholes, denying global warming, and waging the STUPID war in Iraq the deficit did not matter. Now that Pres. Obama is trying to help the people by giving them better health care, education and infrastructure (all things that will benefit future generations) WHILE laying out a plan to cut the deficit YOUR president left him as inheritance, YOU are worried about the future generations? HA, if this wasn't so sad and aggravating I would say that you should become a comedian!

    February 28, 2009 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  24. R. Curtis

    I find it odd and painfully amusing that Republicans have the pure nerve to criticize the Democrats for following through with the same policy they pushed in the last year of the Bush administration. Republicans have the nerve to criticize spending when the Republicans oversaw the biggest increase in the national debt the country had seen to that time. I hope the American people do not have so short memories that this hipocracy is not obvious! And the American people need to remember that the last time the country had a balanced budget was under the last Democratic administration!

    The Republicans are the Royalty of Fiscal Irresponsibility!

    February 28, 2009 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  25. james

    I love it when our politicians in Washington decry Washington politics. It's like the media blaming the media.

    February 28, 2009 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8