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. strong

    Actually Mr. Gregg, we are already bankrupt.

    Signs of collapse are everywhere - countless jobs lost, worthless paper money, countless foreclosures (both residential & commercial), businesses going or having gone under, and it hasn't stopped!

    March 22, 2009 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  2. Dave B

    If true, everything he says was also true before Obama arrived. The new budgets includes, for the first time, the costs of our involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan–items that Bush left entirely out of the budget. Nobody believes the stimulus will have to go on for six years as the Iraq occupation has... We will likely be out of the economic mess before we're out of Iraq. This is just the first time we've been shown the budgetary truth.

    March 22, 2009 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  3. alyssdixson

    This country is already "not affordable". What is this Gregg talking about? Americans are just now waking up and realizing that the amount of credit in their lives is unsustainable, and that's before we even get to the raging disco spending BushCo paid to themselves thru the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. How much is Bush worth? Cheney? Their friends and co-conspirators? Give me a break! Why not sponsor some legislation to track THOSE dollars and get them back????

    March 22, 2009 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  4. LAW

    An article critical of the administration...

    Bring on the Obama cheerleaders.

    March 22, 2009 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  5. Johnny

    And here comes all the slanderous comments, I can't wait... as if you people overlooked this line in the article: "Gregg, known as one of the keenest fiscal minds on Capitol Hill..."

    Take his opinion for what it's worth. Obviously there are economists on both sides of the fence, but he is clearly a brilliant financial analyst and it makes you look stupid if you criticize him with your clear lack of knowledge.

    March 22, 2009 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  6. Steve

    Did Sen. Gregg issue similar warnings when the last administration (Republican) ratched up spending (e.g., $10 billion a month in Iraq and Afghanistan) and lowered revenue taken in by giving tax breaks? Didn't that also increase deficits? Seems like many Republicans have suddenly "got religion" in terms of the deficit, which was brushed aside as a topic of concern for 8 years.

    March 22, 2009 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  7. charles h

    I love how the very people who brought us this mess offer nothing but doom and disaster predictions and point blame at someone else.

    March 22, 2009 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  8. The smallest violin

    Now there's a true patriot!

    Too bad America didn't have this financial genius around when the previous President's administration continued "with its planned course on fiscal matters with unprecedented actual and projected budget deficits..." that almost doubled the national debt during the Dubya years.

    March 22, 2009 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  9. Viewer from Switzerland

    I think Judd Gregg should just shut up!
    Whom does he think he is?
    An economic Guru or what?
    If the country did not go bankrupt under George Bush. Why should it go bankrupt under Obama. From day one this guy called Judd had wanted to make a political point which did not work out well for him.
    Refusing to work with Obama does not suddenly make you a Superstar. The fact that he refused to join the Obama administration
    should not make him 'the Angel of Doom' He should keep his bad, doomy news and bad prophecy to himself.
    God forbid it. America will never ever go bankrupt. America will come out stronger than ever before and all of you wishing failure for this administration and the great American people will be put to shame. God bless America

    March 22, 2009 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  10. pat w

    ah, a little late don't you think?? Last September would have been the time to come up with this. Now you sound like a partisan hack

    March 22, 2009 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  11. Giot777

    Okie, as you can see he is a Republican, and he is just saying what every other Republican being saying.

    PS: Is it me or Republicans seems to have forgotten they got us in this mess in the first PLACE!!!!!!

    March 22, 2009 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  12. HelloooOOOOO

    I am pretty OLD now, BUT, I remember my dad saying many times, "you have to SPEND money to make money " and all through the years I have seen that to be so TRUE..it is when everyone stops spending money that shuts down and bankrupts a family OR a nation ! think about it, if you want to earn money in stocks, you have to spend money to buy them, if you want to earn money from bonds, you spend money to buy them, if you have a buisness, you spend money to keep it going, better it etc...even our coin collection, we had to SPEND money to buy !!! NOT spending "will" indeed bankrupt our nation...

    March 22, 2009 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  13. Eli

    Let it crash. It's the only way to fix the problem.

    March 22, 2009 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  14. John

    This guy appears to have a pretty tempered view of the situation, as compared to many on the right. he is able to see that the correct things are being done by this administration in its attempt to repair this brocken economy. His issue may be more a matter of degree rather than direction. With any centerist government, these actions will be ramped up, as time goes on, and based on how the improvements are going.

    I guess it's unfortunate that this guy could not join the administration and work toward improving the situation for the country. He was forced, by the GOP leadership, to put Party above Country.

    March 22, 2009 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  15. republicans hate america

    I will ask this again and again where was the rush limbaugh party outrage when they rubber stamped a trillion dollar murder spree in iraq? why is the rush limbaugh party so against american investment?

    March 22, 2009 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  16. digger

    Obama and the ulta-left are doeing this as a planned thing. They want to make everyone dependent on the gov. The want us to be like E.U. America will no longer be the america we now know. THEY HAVE TO BE STOPED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    March 22, 2009 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  17. Shawn

    ...let the desperate, hysterical, hyperbolic ranting of the pathetic GOP continue!

    This guy's opinion is irrelevant. The GOP has sunk America, and now Obama has to revive it. The vast majority of Americans trust him. We DO NOT trust Republicans. I'm so glad we're not stuck with this spotlight-craving idiot at Commerce, and in 2010 we will add another Democratic senator...from New Hampshire.

    March 22, 2009 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  18. Eric

    Yeah, all those trillions for wars are ignored in this outrage. The republican party is a joke, this guy stepping down is the best thing that could have happened for the Obama administration.

    March 22, 2009 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  19. Dexter Skagway

    Fear! Fear!! FEAR!!!

    This guy is just another door-to-door fear salesman, chumming up the yokels with fear.

    Even notice how much fear is thrown at you? Politicians and radio politics barkers churn up fear to manipulate you into doing what they want, Corporations make you fear just about everything so that you buy their "solution", the news industry uses fear to keep you interested and keep you looking.

    Ignore the Great American Fear Industry! Ignore scum like Judd Gregg, who happily scares you so that he can manipulate you.

    March 22, 2009 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  20. salas

    Sen gregg should have been more voiceforous when bush had 8years of war mongering.Tax cut was practised for 8years with no appreciable benefit,lets do something else senator.

    March 22, 2009 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  21. Sour Grapes

    What does he know–he's a republican who couldn't get into the cabinet. he's just mad about that.

    March 22, 2009 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  22. DP

    Exactly. Obama is doing way too much. The economy and scaling back the wars on two fronts are the only things Obama should be doing at the moment. Once the economy is back on track, we will have the money to further pursue healthcare and education changes. His budget is bloated and the CBO is predicting it will have a negative long term effect in its current state. The American people are already looking at higher taxes from local and state governments. We do not need the Federal government adding more taxes as well. This will only lead to further downturns in consumer spending and greater job loss as a result. Obama should look at suspending the Federal income tax for a few months over the additional spending. This will put money directly into our pockets immediately. Even if we pay down our debts. Once the debts are paid, we will have more money to spend long term with cash.

    March 22, 2009 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  23. Texas Annie *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

    So Senator- do you have any ideas or suggestions? I think any good logical input would certainly be appreciated by Obama and everyone else. But if it's just finger pointing, then it does no good.

    March 22, 2009 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  24. Don in Albuquerque

    Come up with one (1) ORIGINAL idea of your own Gregg. Can't do it?
    Don't worry neither can the rest of your pathetic party. The party of NO. No clue, no concept, and no idea.

    March 22, 2009 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  25. Rick

    How could anybody come to a conclusion other than the Republicans have made such a mess of the economy that the Deomcrats cannot fix it so lets elect independents and see what they can do.

    Rick

    March 22, 2009 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
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