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. W

    Bush was bad but these clowns are going to make him look like an amateur. After reading these comments, do we need any more evidence that the public education system in this country has failed. We better go back to allowing only landowners the vote.

    March 22, 2009 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  2. Len

    This is from a Senator who could have worked in the Obama administration and worked for the American people. But he chose to take the easy way out and continue the Republican policies of just saying NO to everything this administration is trying to do to right the ship.

    When will the American people begin to wake up and realize that the Republicans do not want this president to succeed and are only working toward 2010. Instead of working together!

    March 22, 2009 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  3. kathleen

    What is the deal with John King? First Cheney and now this? Tune in weekly to hear him interview doomsday Republicans who predict the sky will fall as someone tries to fix the mess they created. Do John King and CNN think this type of black/white message reporting equals fair and unbiased journalism? Giving people a platform to spew extreme partisan messages is NOT fair and unbiased journalism – it is easy and its sensationalism.

    March 22, 2009 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  4. John

    This admin is either so utterly stupid or they have a grand plot to bankrupt the country, even more than it is, which will allow them to solidify more control and make most Americans dependent upon big government. There is no other reason for describing why Obama is doing what he's doing.... either one, were screwed.

    March 22, 2009 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  5. dollared

    Judd Gregg is a corrupt hack. John King, why don't you ask him about the New Hampshire airport earmarks that directly benefit his personal real estate holdings at that airport? Why don't you ask him why he wasn't interested in fiscal responsibility when he voted for Bush's $5TRILLION in deficits?

    Obama is doing exactly what every President has to do in a recession: increase government spending to lessen the effects of the recession and speed up the return to growth.

    Economics 101 – and what Gregg is doing is Republican hackery 101. It should get a much more skeptical view from a real journalist – not John King.

    March 22, 2009 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  6. Ticker Shock

    Gregg was offered a chance to make a difference and be part of the solution. He rejected it. So, Mr. Gregg, shut your pie-hole!

    March 22, 2009 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  7. DEM in HI

    This is disgusting. WHY in the world are we trying to bailout the rich and greedy? Both parties are so involved with kick backs they refuse to admit it is small businesses that drive the economy. It is time to pull the plug and no more bailouts for these people. The country will survive and new banks will replace them.

    STOP wasting taxpayer money and explaining like I don't get it!!! I get it more than you think and so do millions of others!!! We cannot afford to save the rich greedy people from themselves, it is time to save main street and forget wall street and the bankers. Enough ALL Ready!!!!

    March 22, 2009 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  8. wondering in virginia

    The democrats will blindly follow obama just as people followed adolf hitler. Its surprising to see people continue to support him when he consistently lies and is running our country into the ground. i guess the Nazi's had change in mind too. Democrats wake up! Quit blindly supporting someone who has no concept of the ideals on which this country was founded.

    March 22, 2009 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  9. Deb

    I have another comment. This has to do with the financial system. I wonder how many of you remember in the 80's, people voted for branch banking. We did not have this. Your states banks stayed in your state, no crossing the line. So deregulation hit also. So you tell me who was the president during that time. This mess of ours, did not happen overnight, it cannot be fixed overnight. We are a nation of insant gratification. Let us all slow down and realize what is really important. Let the president do his job. Also, if you do not like what is going on. Get a hold of your congressman or woman or representative and go from there.

    March 22, 2009 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  10. Beth

    If I see "the past eight years" one more time, I honestly think I will vomit! These are OBAMA's policies that are going to send us into debt. Yes, he did walk into the presidency with a recession, but HE is the one who is making it worse. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office projected a 9 trillion dollar deficit in 10 years because of Obama, not Bush.

    March 22, 2009 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  11. dave

    you obamicons are simply amazing. just simply amazing. you're all frogs sitting in a pot of water with the burner on high. when will you ever see things at what they are and ignore the D or R of the people we have "representing" us in washington. don't be a non-conforming battered human being and just take it. DO SOMETHING. TAKE YOUR COUNTRY BACK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    March 22, 2009 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  12. James

    Two wrongs don't make a right. Bush is probably the cause for this meltdown (although I ultimately believe it is the last 35 years of policies that caused this and the bubble goes a lot deeper than we think). During his term he ran rough shot over the Republicans, many of who opposed his original bail outs, so don't blame the GOP members that are presently elected. By the same note, I don't believe that Obama is making sensible moves and is taking the easy way out of this crisis, that may ultimately cause a bigger crisis in the end.

    March 22, 2009 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  13. Joe Fattal

    Oh yes that what President Obama wants. To put this country in bankcrupcy so he can enforce his rules and turn this country to complete socialism. Capitalist be aware, save that money somewhere else.

    March 22, 2009 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  14. Bert in CA

    So what exactly is Mr. Gregg's proposal? Deregulate the banks and financial industry? Cut taxes? Maybe invade some badly-run country and see if we can establish a nice little democracy there? As I recall, we've tried these already . . .

    March 22, 2009 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  15. Emerson

    Where were the 'true' conservatives when Bush and the Republicans were running up the deficits for the past 8 years. Heck, his father did the same thing.

    With respect to deficits, I feel betrayed by the Republicans far more than I feel any concerned about the Obama administration's attempts to fix what has been broken.

    March 22, 2009 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  16. Eric

    He talks as if he wants us to go bankrupt. Paul Krugman the 2008 Nobel Lauarete in Economics said the stimulus wasn't big enough-nuff said.

    March 22, 2009 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  17. Suzanne McDuell

    This is a very scary prospect for the United States. I believe I learned better spending habits from my parents growing up. If you don't have much money, don't spend what you have. SAVE, SAVE, SAVE! It's a simple idea. I am not sure where our leaders are getting their "ideas", but they are simply dangerous.

    March 22, 2009 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  18. Eric

    Yeah Obama bankrupted the country in 60 days.

    March 22, 2009 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  19. Vic Florida

    Senator Gregg is correct... this Administration is totally irresponsible, fiscally. Everyone will pay a very high price over the next 10 years.

    March 22, 2009 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  20. John J

    He's right

    March 22, 2009 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  21. Brian

    Where were the GOP during the last 8 years setting the table for disaster even 3 years before their second term was completed ? The GOP is brain-dead with no alternative to the stimulus. Mental midgets they are !!

    March 22, 2009 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  22. joe american

    You can thank Mr. Bush for all of this.

    March 22, 2009 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  23. LTC Mike

    I think all the bonus contracts should be honored and paid. If the members of Congress and the Bush and Obama Administrations are too stupid to include deferring the bonus payments until the banks are solvent and the loans to the government are repaid, let them pay the political consequences. A contact is a legal document that should not be broken or voided by a third party. This is a nation of laws and all of us should respect the law. Personally, I feel that none of the AIG or Wall Street executives deserves any bonus unless his/her activities contributed positively to the bottom line. If those executives had any sense of honor, ethics, and personal integrity, they would forgo their bonuses.

    March 22, 2009 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  24. steve Loudon, TN

    here they are, all the Bush haters....not one with the knowledge or courage to understand that this started before Bush with the "noble idea" that everyone should own a home, so the CRA forced banks to offer loans to nearly anyone who applied...no income check, no social security number needed, no proof of employment required, etc. And no surprise, a lot of people took advantage of this and had no intention or ability to repay. Sec. Rubin of the Clinton cabinet pushed this and when 42% of the Fannie May loans were already subprime and in trouble, the great democrat Barney Frank said "no problem". The biggest recipients of AIG contributions were Sen. Chris Dodd (D) and then Senator Barack Obama (D). Notice all the democrat lawmakers who peddled their influence who now try to shift the blame to the free enterprise system. The heart of our problem is in the incompetence, greed, power hungry politicians of BOTH sides of the aisle, who could not care less about ordinary Americans, only their own benefit. Wake up you CELEBRITY admirers, Obama is NOT an American Idol contestant. He is an inept political hack who is doing just more of the same, simply to entrench a leftist socialist bent in this country that demands that people rely on more government (when this is certainly a case where less is more). Hate mindlessly, does that make you feel better? Learn, become better informed, don't let the politicians distract you with wedge issues, and popular, yet really insignificant bonuses that were written into the UNREAD stimulus plan for which the Democrats approved without even reading. Such a great affect on our entire system of government and they never even read it!!!!

    March 22, 2009 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  25. Ohio Lady

    I've been reading every most of the blogs for the last weeks. There must be hundreds of complaints against John King and his ilk. Does CNN not realize they are losing hundreds of viewers? If we wanted CNN to be FOX news, we'd be watching FOX. Thank God you got rid of Glenn Beck. He's at home at FOX. Why don't you guys send John and Dana, Ed, and a few more of those who seem to know better than Obama on to FOX?? They wouldn't have to PRETEND to be impartial there. All this gloom and doom hurt the economy about as much as the bailouts do. Several viewers have written similar comments here, so I know I am not the Lone Ranger. What a mistake that would have been!
    Gregg is a two-faced jellyfish and we are lucky he is not on the cabinet! It's so obvious who is trying to scramble to run for president in 2012. Tell us, who is John featuring next week? Rush Limbaugh?

    March 22, 2009 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
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