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. tardis

    When I look at the spending priorities in Obama's budget I see energy, education, and health care. What does Burr see that he doesn't like? Wait, I know - we can't afford it. That is EXACTLY the same argument Republicans have made for the last 30 years. We can afford war, we can afford tax cuts – even if we have to borrow the money to finance them – but somehow we can't afford to change energy, education and health care. I agree with Obama that we can't afford NOT to make changes in the system. Energy and health care costs have risen at phenomenal rates, making it harder than ever for the average American to maintain, let alone get ahead. Education has become a joke. Unless real structural changes are made NOW any economic recovery will be anemic and short-lived, just like the so-called recovery under Bush's first recession.

    February 28, 2009 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  2. US Army Enlisted

    A no-name republican once again gives an empty speech with no solutions or ideas if his own to help with the state of the nation. No substance what so ever.

    February 28, 2009 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  3. Michigander

    "rally together" Well, nice sentiment from a man who supported Bush as he trashed the economy of this country. Nice sentiment from people who care nothing about the poor of this country, who want more and more tax breaks for their wealthy supporters, and who support the dumbest thing Obama has proposed...keeping 50,000 Americans in Iraq indefinitely. If we finally do "rise up" it will be against Republican hypocrisy and an Obama war agenda that he appears to have changed to appease Republicans. Guess what? The economy was in the tank, the deficit was nearing a trillion, and the country was headed for a depression BEFORE Obama took the oath. Bush did everything he could to make Obama's task next to impossible, and NOW the Rethugs have developed a conscience? Where were you when Bush was spying on us, wasting billions, and torturing people? Too little, and way too late!

    February 28, 2009 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  4. David in CA

    So when Republicans spend billions (e.g. Reagan and the congress of most of the last eight years) it's considered ok, but when a Democrat spends it's socialism? Give us a break!

    February 28, 2009 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  5. Marcia, Marcia, Marcia in CA

    The deficit which YOU left us is on YOUR REPUBLICAN shoulders.

    Shut up and let the REAL" DA MAN" fix the problems that your lying, corrupt REPUBLICAN policies got this country into.

    February 28, 2009 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  6. Ken from missouri

    I think it's wise to curb spending that's something that I think everyone
    agrees with but are we going to leave our children with a education
    system that allows them to fall behind in the world ,and a energy policy that depends on our enemies and also a health care system that leaves out millions of people and infrastructure that is crumbling
    as we speak if we say no to these things our kids will not have the american dream they will live in a country that is not a superpower ,
    and when they ask us why we'll say you weren't worth the cost.
    This country has been in debt for a long time even when Ronald Reagan was in office he took our debt to 3 trillion dollars so let's give
    our children a future in this world because their behind right now .

    February 28, 2009 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  7. Susan

    I have an idea! If every dollar the government spends counts, how about you rich legislators work a year with no pay? You know, take one for the team? Meanwhile, you have to find your own health insurance, pay your mortgages, and live like the rest of us.

    February 28, 2009 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  8. Los

    “for the first time, we could see the American Dream vanish.”

    Bush & Co. already started the process. Obama's trying to stop it.

    February 28, 2009 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  9. Perusing-Through

    Mr. Burr, where were you the past 8-years while the Republican Party and the Republican President ran this country under the ground. You and your GOP CrackPots have no credibility. STOP THE LYING or SHUT UP!

    February 28, 2009 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  10. Marge

    Gee does this dope know anything about the 8 trillion dollar deficit left by the bush administration.

    Remind me, President Clinton left billons in surplus when bush stole office in 2000....NOW WE ARE 8 TRILLION IN DEBT.

    Tsk tsk doesn't that show fiscal responsiblity and by the way who in the heck is going to believe REPUBLICANS AFTER THAT.

    February 28, 2009 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  11. FreeNLovIt

    Look, at least they are telling the American people the truth. Under W, we spend just as much BUT it was just not publicized. Get real!!

    February 28, 2009 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  12. Jeffer65

    So Senator, what is the solution?

    February 28, 2009 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  13. Rick

    Everyone better learn to fish and grow gardens, because our elected saviors are going to put us in a depression with food lines and soup kitchens again.

    VOTE THEM ALL OUT.

    February 28, 2009 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  14. wahwahwah

    Where is the Republicans plan? untill they show it.. Don't listen to a word they say..

    America and the world wants to see your plan... put up or shut up

    8 years and a month.. yet nothing...

    February 28, 2009 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  15. Larry, Apex, North Carolina

    WHAT?!? What did my Senator say? I read it several times and still didn't get it. Senator Burr is so worried about the money, but he cares nothing about the people. Sir, we HAVE elected leaders that are leading-they are trying to help us out of this mess that your RePIGlican rubber stamping has put us in.
    You are a joke, and the people of North Carolina know it. Your days in the Senate are numbered...

    February 28, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  16. sadaboutamerica

    Yesterday and today people are protesting in cities across America. They are protesting against Obama and the democrats. Not one word about it on CNN. Are you guys hiding this fact from the people.

    February 28, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  17. Sandra

    The American people have already rallied. They rallied around Barack Obama and they will stay with him. Give it up. Start helping and stop obstructing change and progress. This is not the way to re-do a party or a way to get back in favor with the American people. Why do Republicans always underestimate us?

    February 28, 2009 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  18. Danny in Chicago

    Fearful of my country wrote:

    "February 28th, 2009 10:37 am ET

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

    Is that a bathroom wall that you're reading that writing from Fearful?

    You might want to get a better source for your information.......

    February 28, 2009 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  19. Byron

    Isn't Burr a part of DC?... so he's in Denial? The Carolinas' senators need to be quiet... they sound really ignorant.

    February 28, 2009 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  20. jude

    and you grand ol party of republicans should tell the people just how its you and persons of the republican ilk that has for years only looked out for the rich and the greedy. and you people won't change your incapable. your track record for the [haves] speaks volumes.

    February 28, 2009 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  21. Kristen

    Can something really vanish when your party already made it disappear? Are they in denial, or does the GOP just not understand that the American people are smart enough to see through their hypocritical rhetoric?

    February 28, 2009 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  22. Diane Lee

    To Senator Richard Burr,
    I hold the Republican Party directly responsible the dire straights that this country is in right now. I believe that your party robbed and pillaged every available dollar in whatever way you could. I think you supported unethical and predatory lending and that your support of very little regulations on banking and business allowed every manner of what should have been criminal behaviors to happen. I believe that the United States is now just a hollow shell with very little manufacuring to truely support our people. Most of us now rely on service oriented jobs. Most of us must now work two and three jobs to make the same pay we once did. The Republicans are now hammering on the auto industry, one of the few industrys where one can still make a living wage touting the fact that Toyota workers make only $14.00 per hour. Have any of you tried to live on that? I doubt it.

    February 28, 2009 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  23. John

    Senator Burr loved all those billion dollar spending plans when it was for the republican pet projects that enabled the rich to get richer. How is it that the Senator from North Carolina got fiscally conservative all of a sudden? Could it be that his party lost the White House and now the pork barrel spending going to republican pet projects has stopped?

    America needs to come to a common purpose and that is doing things for the good of the majority not just for the rich and well connected republicans.

    February 28, 2009 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  24. maurice from ontario

    Yes, hurry 2010, hurry! The American Dream has been vanishing at remarkable speed over the past 8 years. Bush inherited a very plentiful budget and squandered it freely and lavishly among his pet projects and his rich cronies, dismissing anyone who might have requested help.

    We are indeed at a crossroads. We need to rediscover the vision that founded America. President Obama will unfortunately not be able to achieve everything he had campaigned on, because he inherited a huge deficit and a financial crisis that has been crippling not only America, but other parts of the world - a deficit allowed to happen under Republican greed. Because of this, President Obama needs to "right the ship" before getting to all the destinations originally planned.

    Nevertheless, we will get there. It would really help, though, if we could avoid the filibuster tactics that Republicans are all too ready to employ, in order to drag, stymy, prevent, and destroy...in order to hide the offensive greed that tainted the past 8 years, that has weakened the image of America world-wide, and punished innocent people across our dear country.

    February 28, 2009 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  25. ib

    Surprise surprise Dodd and Barney Franks had nothing to do with the mess we are in because they are liberal democrats only republicans are to blame. When the new energy budget gets in full force and gas prices go higher than they were under republicans and all other higher taxes trickle down to the average American worker if they are any jobs left due to higher taxes on companies that can't expand due to the high taxes I guess that will be conservatives and republicans fault also.

    February 28, 2009 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
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