March 22nd, 2009
03:41 PM ET
3 years ago

Gregg: 'This country will go bankrupt'

GOP Sen. Judd Gregg warned Sunday that the country might be headed for a fiscal crash if spending isn't controlled.
GOP Sen. Judd Gregg warned Sunday that the country might be headed for a fiscal crash if spending isn't controlled.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – Even though he was almost a member of the new Obama administration, New Hampshire Republican Judd Gregg Sunday slammed President Obama’s approach to handling the country’s fiscal outlook.

Watch: Gregg warns of fiscal 'crash'

“The practical implications of this is bankruptcy for the United States,” Gregg said of the Obama’s administration’s recently released budget blueprint. “There’s no other way around it. If we maintain the proposals that are in this budget over the ten-year period that this budget covers, this country will go bankrupt. People will not buy our debt, our dollar will become devalued. It is a very severe situation.”

Gregg, known as one of the keenest fiscal minds on Capitol Hill, also told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King that he thought it was “almost unconscionable” for the White House to continue with its planned course on fiscal matters with unprecedented actual and projected budget deficits in the coming years.

“It is as if you were flying an airplane and the gas light came on and it said ‘you 15 minutes of gas left’ and the pilot said ‘we’re not going to worry about that, we’re going to fly for another two hours.’ Well, the plane crashes and our country will crash and we’ll pass on to our kids a country that’s not affordable.”


Despite his criticism of Obama’s approach to the long-term finances of the country, Gregg praised how Obama’s top economic lieutenants are trying to get the sick banking system back to health.

“They’re doing the right things,” Gregg said about embattled Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and White House economic adviser Larry Summers. “They haven’t done it as definitely as they should have . . . but they are moving in the right direction and the Fed is moving in the right direction,” Gregg said on CNN’s State of the Union.

Gregg broke ranks with some of his fellow Republicans and said he did not think Geithner should step down from his Cabinet post.

On the recent scandal of more than $150 million in bonuses paid to the AIG employees whose work pushed the financial giant to the brink of collapse, Gregg criticized the plan afoot on Capitol Hill to tax those bonuses at very high rates. But, Gregg pointed out that the Obama administration and, to some extent, the Bush administration before it failed to “discipline” the bonuses paid out by AIG, which is now 80 percent owned by the federal government.

The Republican senator was appointed to be Obama’s Commerce Secretary but then bowed out unexpectedly, citing policy differences with the Democratic administration.

soundoff (494 Responses)
  1. today

    the republicans caused this disaster, they have no solutions on how to fix it, but they sure can holler NO at every idea OUR President comes up with on trying to SAVE OUR PRECIOUS COUNTRY.

    March 22, 2009 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  2. WeThePeopleOfVA

    You have to remember the primary goal of Obamanomic is wealth redistribution. The GOP has been calling for measures that garner free market system principles by letting the too large to fail – fail.

    Had we let AIG fail, their smaller more profitable business units would have been separated from the whole and the weak cut from the heard. Investments capital would have shored up the profitable portions of the company as opposed to taxpayer money in the form of government bailouts.

    Unfortunately, that’s small potatoes compared to the projected Obamanomic outcome. If this government fails as projected, their goal of wealth redistribution will have succeeded. The only problem is, that goal will have ruined all of us.

    As for those screaming where these voices have been for the last 8-years . . . your tones are muffed because you keep sticking your heads in the sand. Stop living in the past . . . we’re talking about the future of our nation. We are the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA not the “United Special Interest of America”. Obamanomics is a perfect example of two wrongs not making a right.

    March 22, 2009 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  3. S Callahan

    Finally, someone making some sense! I agree with Gregg...
    he is doing right in some things right now, both Congress, Senate and President (now and former) hold responsiblity to AIG and it's faults...and we should NOT tax the bonuses away...it sets a bad precident....though I do believe those holding their bonuses hold the responsiblity to return a large portion of them because in truth, this is taxpayer money not privately earned monies. Suck it up and admit you really didn't earn this, this year.

    March 22, 2009 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  4. Mitch in SC

    Any non-partisan economist will tell you that when the economy is in its present condition, citizens will cut back on their spending. In order to prevent a total lock down of liquidity, only the government has the resources to pump money into the economy to keep things more fluid until improvement is seen.
    Yes, propping up failed is a political failure to consider the future in regard to appropriate regulation, but our politicians have not learned from the past because they have forgotten it in favor of what is politically expedient here and now.
    Our Senator Lindsey Graham (don't even get me started on Jim DeMint) are giving us the same old republican mantras of cutting taxes on the wealthy and keeping the dollars in the DOD. As always, it is not realistic to refuse to expect them to do the right thing. They cannot think "outside the box" and expect the President's policies to fail in order to tell us they "told us so".
    When the economy gets better (and it will) the Republican Party will be even weaker than it is now and their prospects few. They are out of touch with the majority of Americans and don't seem to care if they do what is best for the country or not. I am an independent, but have voted conservatively all my life. I also believe that you have to do the right thing for the country and not necessarily what is best for one's political career. How these guys can sleep at night because of their decisions is beyond me.

    March 22, 2009 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  5. Cheney

    So?

    March 22, 2009 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  6. independent in CO

    The country is already bankrupt. Obama is just digging a deeper faster hole doing all the same things Bush did.

    March 22, 2009 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  7. Carl from Texas

    Ron Paul has a solution. Too bad the government thinks those that follow him are domestic terrorists.

    March 22, 2009 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  8. Otto

    Hopefully very soon CNN will show John King the door. I liked him during the election but it seem the majic board got to his head.

    Why did he not asl Judd where he was over the past eight years? Why did John not dig deep and made a point that Judd and his friends gave President Bush a rubber stamp on every bill?

    John, I know you are not reporting the news in a fair and balanced way because you are hell bend on having it twisted to suit ratings. Be fair, be balanced and seek answers to the right questions.

    March 22, 2009 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  9. JD

    Now starting the countdown clock on when the liberals decry Gregg's speaking the truth as "hate speech" against their anointed Socialist-in-Chief.

    March 22, 2009 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  10. Georgia Gal

    I am sick to death of the Republicans only offering criticism and not any other solutions. If Obama's ideas are so bad and will cause so much damage then why don't they suggest something better?? Answer: Because they don't have any suggestions that are better. They're just playing politics.

    March 22, 2009 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  11. cocopiaul

    I just changed the channel from John King because of his pro-republican ideals. This program has just become one of those you see on Fox. Do not watch, and eventually he would have to be more honest in his reporting or fore go State of the Union.

    March 22, 2009 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  12. Dave NYC

    It always amazes me how these Republican tools have no problem bankrupting America with un-necessary wars, but when it comes to *investing* in our own country they get all high and mighty about how much it costs!

    March 22, 2009 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  13. Big Willie

    Get all the loafers off welfare (including the octo-moms) and reduce taxes by the amount not doled out in welfare payments. That would stimulate the economy!

    March 22, 2009 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  14. Ed

    Banks that are failing are handing out bonuses? Who does that? This means that these same banks will make bad loans in the second time around because they have no checks and balances. Bailing out companies and banks is a communist action and one that a market economy would not allow. Let the strong survive or we are going to bail out these people that don't know what they're doing again. Once the construction and real estate industries aren't able to get loans and prices start falling, automakers, manufacturers of durable goods, and everybody on down the line will go under because construction and real estate make up between 25% to 45% of the economy. Gingrich says go to bankruptcy court and I agree!

    March 22, 2009 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  15. Karen

    Spend spend spend and the Senator is correct we will be bankrupt.

    Now everyone should understand the feigned outrage over the AIG bonuses. It's not at all about that money. The administration couldn't care less about that paltry sum. It's about getting YOU outraged. Now you get to see the real reason. They will now use YOUR outrage to push through more laws and regulations on capitalism. It's all about controlling US and giving them more power. Nothing whatsoever to do with fixing a problem. This 165M or 213M or whatever the figure is is insignificant. It's all about the power grab.

    When are we Americans going to wake up and see what we are losing in every "crisis" they manufacture. Yes, the economy is hurting. If we continue to let the government "fix" it we're going to wake up one day very very soon and find ourselves living in the new Russia. Start comparing the freedoms we are supposed to have to what we TRULY have and see how far we've strayed from what we were founded as. WAKE UP SILENT MAJORITY or be silenced forever!!

    March 22, 2009 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  16. James A.

    This guy had a chance to personally affect the fiscal direction of this country, but he flaked out. So I say to him "Sit down and chut up".

    March 22, 2009 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  17. Cheney

    I got mine and Im moving to Dubai,hahaha on the rest of you.

    March 22, 2009 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  18. John from California

    If the United States go bankrupt it will be the direct result of republican trickle down economics that got it's start with Ronald Reagan and really accelerated with George Bush.

    The republicans have refused to pay their fair share of running the country and have gutted most of the banking safeguards of the new deal of the Roosevelt Era. The resulting corporate corruption and elitist greed have driven this country into the ground. Trying to place blame on President Obama is revisionists at it's worst.

    March 22, 2009 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  19. Bev. R. Norment

    To read a number of the comments added to Senator Gregg's statements are mind-boggling! The majority of you folks need to get a quick lesson in applied economics, and quick bashing Bush and the past 8 years. First, Congress has been controlled by a Democratic majority, which is led by Rep. Pelosi and Senator Reid, since 2006. The mess we are currently in is a "shared" bipartisan one - no thanks to the efforts of the aforementioned House and Senate leaders, and others such as Rep. Barney Franks and Senator Dodd. Secondly, if you believe that the current tax and spend policies are the way to economic prosperity, we certainly have the "right" politicians in power. Last point, would it not be great if this country could have leaders which could lead by establishing policies for the benefit of all amercians and not by espousing party (democratic or republican) ideoligies. Fellow Americans, please read through the political rhetoric and study the path our "current administration" (executive and congress) are taking this country!

    March 22, 2009 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  20. Larry

    The Democrats are good people ,and they think they are taking the country in the right direction,the problem is they have the map upside down,how far in the wrong direction will we have to go be for the Democrats realize the mistake,and will we have enough gas to turn around and go back in the right direction ??

    March 22, 2009 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  21. hidinginvirginia

    Thisis Obama's plan. To tear things down, and rebuild a society fair forall

    March 22, 2009 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  22. Independent

    John King when are you going to get a back bone and start asking the tough questions and when are you going to follow up on something that you have asked.....you just let them go on and on....No wonder I watch Meet The Press, at least David Gregory has back up quotes and something they have said in the past to put it before them....

    Isn't it funny when you watch something that was said over 2 months ago by these yelling screaming Republicans and now they have a whole different tune...as the first Americans used to say, white man speaks with fork tongue....

    March 22, 2009 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  23. Glennis

    Anyone with half a brain knows that when you're in dire financial circumstances, you try to get yourself back on an even keel and out of debt before you begin spending on big ticket items. The way Obama's grandiose schemes are laid out, we will most certainly be bankrupt. The fiscal health of this nation is becoming less stable with each utterance from the President. It almost seems as if he's just talking to hear himself talk; what he's saying sure isn't making any sense!

    March 22, 2009 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  24. dave b

    Do not speak against Comrad Obama ..........he needs more time to complete his evil plan !

    March 22, 2009 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  25. Kentucky Actuary

    If we split the country in two, republicans in the red states and democrats in the blue, the blue states would look like Cuba in five years while the red states would prosper beyond imagination.

    March 22, 2009 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
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