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. Vikram Patel

    It is unfortunate that John king has created his own State of the Union with bunch of right wing GOP fanatics like Dick Cheney couple of weeks ago and today the senator from New Hampshire. Let it be known that this senator withdrew from the Commerce post not because of his political philosophy, but because he was afraid that the confirmation hearing would expose his corrupt dealings with his brothers business. John, I had lot of admiration for your journalistic skills, but you have disappointed me with your State of the Union Program.

    March 22, 2009 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  2. Annoyed

    Mr. Obama is untested and inexperienced in turning this country around. He has rushed to make statements about anything that caters to the general public populism. Can he explain to the American people what is the root cause of the current economic and financial crisis? Let me tell you what it is, consumerism and overleverage. People borrow tomorrow's money to pay for yesterday's pleasure. That's why we have what we have now.

    People, please understand that the HUGE budget deficit in this country is going to burden us, our future generations for years to come. If you ever care about yourself and your children's welfare, please tell Mr. Obama that he is screwing up the whole country. It's not that I am against government spending in an effort to restart the economic growth. Mr. Obama needs to show us how he plans to pay all this debt down. People, over $2 trillion dollars of budget deficit is a very very scary number to me. Do you how many years it will take for citizens in this country to pay down this much debt? I don't.

    I still fail to understand why a president is interested in appearing in Jay Leno's talk show and talk about basket ball, dogs and bowling. Mr. President, we don't care about your personal life. Please fix the country's problems first.

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

    The Senator has the last 16 years in Washington. Since this article describes him as a politician "known as one of the keenest fiscal minds on Capitol Hill" it occurs to me that he must have forseen this fiscal crisis that the present administration must correct. Or, at the very least, he MUST HAVE called for more stringent controls from the SEC and the accounting community in order to eliminate any possibility that the American people would be forced to pay for their failure to oversite those profit making institutions. I don't see how any person that didn't foresee the events that transpired in the last 16 years can now claim to "know" what will happen in the next 16.

    March 22, 2009 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  4. downtownjackiebrown

    I'll be doggone if I'm working and the CEOs will continue to take food, shelter from the table of the working man. YES, they need to give back what they have stolen. John King and Dugan, why are you trying to allow greed to succeed. Why is okay to let the CEOs keep the money and then we continue to struggle? It amazing how you make it seem like 165m is a drop in the bucket and we should let the greedy continue in their arrogant, incompentant and greedy lifestyle. It is okay that they put a noose around the taxpayers neck and squeezed until the blood came. Mr. Gregg why did you not accept? Especially if the opportunity arose where the Reps could express their ideas on how to stop the bleeding?

    March 22, 2009 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  5. GameGuy

    I wish people could distinguish between "Obama" and "The government." It wasn't Obama who started showering AIG and the banks with money. This was all going on before he was in office. If anything, Obama is standing strongest on health care, energy, and relief for those who are losing their homes...all these things are INDEED long overdue.

    It's like two months go by and people completely forget the last decade of history. The underlying problem here is greed and lust for power, which often go hand in hand. How do you put a cap on power? In this country there is no such thing, unfortunately. Until people realize that one man's power is another man's loss, we'll never be a true democracy. We have a system that only rewards greed and competition. It's a ridiculous rat race and I'm pretty sure most of America is fed up.

    I'm inclined to think not just banks going under is the solution.......we just need a whole new type of economy. Capitalism fails every 20 years or so. We only defend it because we're not developed enough to create a better way. So yeah...if the economy fails, it's time to put our thinking caps on. If it comes back strong, then the rat race continues for a couple more decades. What a great country this is!

    March 22, 2009 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  6. Roderick

    Mr. Greg had two choices, one was to join the administration and use his keen talents in fiscal matters to help show the country a way out of 20 of the last 28 years of republican fiscal policies, deregulation, trickle down theories, barbaric declaration of war on third world countries.

    The second choice was to stay with his republican cronies and sit on the sideline and criticize the repairman while he tries to fix the truck the republican party group drove drunk, hit a tree, bounced off and slammed into the wall of the bridge, causing it to flip over and fall 300 feet into the lake. Gregg's comments make it clear what his choice was.

    March 22, 2009 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  7. Anonymous

    Where was this brilliant financial mind when Bush was spending like a sailor on leave?

    March 22, 2009 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  8. Ohio Lady

    Excuse me, I got distracted and didn't edit what I wrote, so may I re-submit it? Thank you.

    I've been reading most of the blogs here for the last several 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 everything so much better than Obama on to FOX?? They wouldn't have to PRETEND to be impartial there. All this gloom and doom hurts 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.

    Gregg is a two-faced jellyfish and we are lucky he is not on the cabinet! What a mistake that would have been! It's so obvious who is trying to scramble to run for president in 2012. Tell us, who is John King featuring next week? Rush Limbaugh?

    March 22, 2009 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  9. Lisa C.

    What ARE the answer's to the ailing economy? What's the NEW strategy? What's the plan to implement the NEW stratetgy? What are the pro's and con's of the NEW strategy? What timeline have you established? When will the economy be back on track as according to your NEW plan? How long will it last? Too many questions for you, huh? Is it the Republican strategy to watch us crash and burn in our little airplane with the gas light on? Well the gas light IS on and all you can do is tell us, again and again, that we're going to crash and burn because the low gas indicator is on? Whoa what a strategist! ANSWERS idiots! We need answers, and all you can give us is a warning signal. Put a rest to it already. You're sounding like a scratched CD-no use for you at all!

    March 22, 2009 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  10. Alex

    Mr. Gregg: Obama has already challenged those opposed to the plan to come up with a better idea and he will listen. So what's your alternative?

    March 22, 2009 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  11. Jesse

    Obama inherited this nightmare from the bush administration! At least he is trying to do something about it! Lets not forget the last 8 years of republican solutions put us in this mess. Obviously republican tactics do not work! So, with all of these republicans criticizing Obama, they offer no real solutions! Just plain old rhetoric!

    March 22, 2009 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  12. Matthew, Detroit

    Barack likes the idea of the entire nation failing.

    People then become more sheep like and hand their souls and life

    over to Barack. Barack then makes ALL your decisions for you

    because you poor little people are too STUPID to make your own

    decisions. I am barack. I will save you. Trust me little people I will

    make your life in Russia better.

    March 22, 2009 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  13. scott h

    I feel Obama should sit down with the terrorists at a large conference table and try to work things out ........ like he did with AIG. Then take a long break and go bowling. Last but not least go on Jay Leno and discuss the worlds problems and a tactic on exactly when/where and how he is going to bring home our troops ! Heck ! give ALQUIEDA
    a blue print too ! The real answer is to hire Jack Bauer from 24 !

    March 22, 2009 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  14. Morris Schopf

    The fact is American Business pays virtually no federal taxes and most Citizens pay something like 10 or 12%. This is crazy. It isn't the budget that is out of touch; it is the tax system. If you have the highest standard of living in the world sooner or later it must become pay as you go.

    That doesn't mean no after school; it means a higher tax rate and equity across the range of tax payers. The answer is a flat 20% tax on income of every sort paid by everyone; business and individual, church and charity. We could reture our debt in about 15 years and start putting money aside for fiscal emergencies like the current one.

    March 22, 2009 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  15. Robert

    Gregg is right, we're going down and the guy at the helm is to blame. I believe the gig is finally up for the US. It is time to emigrate.

    March 22, 2009 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  16. mario

    Get the money back from Bush and Channey.

    March 22, 2009 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  17. Chad

    This is change alright! Change toward socialism!

    March 22, 2009 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  18. Trudy

    Check your facts folks. Starting in 2006, when our newly elected Democrats established a majority, things started to tank. Please, look up the facts. The fiscally responsible Republicans (& Democrats, Sen. Evan Byah of Indiana, for example) thank you for sticking to your guns on this. I liken Obama & Friends' current spending to a shopping spree of big screen t.v.'s, video games, new furniture, etc., for a house that is on fire.

    Please consider what our children & generations to come are going to be left with. Stand up for the United States.

    March 22, 2009 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  19. Vikram Patel

    The senator from New Hampshire, where were you for the last 8 years? You and the GOP fanatics have created this mess. Now it is time for you to shut up. There are 55,000 Americans who have Swiss bank accounts to hide their money for tax evasion. This is despite the tax breaks you folks have been enjoying for the last 8 years. This is not patriotic by any means.

    March 22, 2009 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  20. joblesscollegegrad

    and you are an idiot, where were you the past 8yrs....maybe you should have spoken up then!!!!

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

    Look at all the foaming Republicans finding fiscal responsibility in the middle of the crises they created. The GOP broke our country and should shut their mouths until they give President Obama a chance to fix it. The GOP consists of a bunch of hypocritical idiots.

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

    Why did Senator Gregg vote for every single one of the Bush budgets? Apparently it's ok for Gregg and the GOP to have bankrupted America.

    Why did Senator Gregg vote for deregulation in the late 90's? You know the deregulation that led to today's bank failures.

    Why did Gregg go along with Bush on allowing these corporations to use a post office on an island to avoid paying billions in taxes. Records hos these corporations used this money to give huge bonuses to executives rather than the mid/lower level workers.

    Why did Gregg stand by for 5 years while 23 bailed out companies failed to pay taxes dating back to 2004? Apparently it was good politically for the GOP to go along with Bush and allow America to be bankrupted.

    Thank you Senator Gregg for 10 years of votes that have bankrupted America.

    March 22, 2009 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  23. Andrew La Barbera

    Why did Sen. Gregg not speak up against profligate spending when George Bush was in office? Recall that when Bill Clinton left office the US Government had a budget surplus, not a budget deficit. The deficit occurred as a result of Bush administration fiscal policies and lack of oversight, which Sen. Gregg steadfastly supported. For Sen. Gregg now to decry deficit spending when we have no choice is transparently hypocritical since Sen. Gregg helped create the present fiscal crisis.

    March 22, 2009 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  24. Leslie

    Republicans are FISCALLY CONSERVATIVE, Democrats are FISCALLY SOCIALIST. Democrats will take the last penny in your wallet and give it to your neighbor who does nothing but sit in their butt all day while you work your finger to the bone. Ever heard of a democrat who never like increase in taxes? Democrats love money, they love to distribute wealth but they don't know how to create jobs. They hate corporations creating JOBS. Oh well, you people deserve that EMPTY SUIT in the Whitehouse, you voted for SPEECHES, that's all you got, SPEECHES – INVESTMENT – SALIVA!

    March 22, 2009 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  25. Jeff

    Senator Gregg says Obama's stimulus plan will bankrupt the nation?

    Translation: The wealthy may be asked to pay their share of taxes.

    March 22, 2009 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
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