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. Bob-Texas

    This guy had a chance to be a solution but chose the GOP in just compaining hoping something will stick and they can get back in office. It is disgusting!!

    March 22, 2009 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  2. Cynthia

    The Lord works in mysterious ways aren't we blessed that for what ever reason this creep isn't in Obama's adminstration.

    March 22, 2009 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  3. James, Ho. TX

    Sen.Judd Gregg with his foresight and knowledge; Why isn't He President? Is it because He couldn't sell the G.O.P. nor the American Public on his expertise?

    March 22, 2009 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  4. J

    Economic scare tactics. Republicans are a scary party where everything is always going wrong.

    March 22, 2009 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  5. maypo

    To the folks who voted for Barry –

    The man does have any basic qualifications to be Prez.....

    He is simply a motivational speaker (teleprompter required)....

    Doesnt understand how to implement public policy....

    Doesnt understand how to build coalitions....

    Way out of his league.....

    Hopefully, the 2010 elections will help move away from this madness......

    March 22, 2009 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  6. The Bu

    Is this the same guy who asked for a job in the administration, then backed out????? And we're supposed to listen to him? Truth is, none of us have ever been through a time like this (including those that we have elected thus far). Even during the Great Depression factors were very different than they are now. Nobody knows yet what is going to happen. I would rather try and fail then never attempt to do something. These politicians are flailing around and making the American people even more nervous. Can we allow more time for things to happen. I've said it before and I'll say it again, this economy was not messed up in 3 months, we cannot believe that it will be fixed in 3 months.

    March 22, 2009 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  7. hope

    I hope people can look past personalities, political affiliations, race, gender, manner and speech and listen to such warnings.

    The time will come when we will have to pay the piper. Perhaps the greatest failure of our time and country is to no longer be able to delay our gratification. Our government is no better at it than we.

    If we all love this country, as we say we do, and since the government uses us to ignore sound fiscal behaviors, than it is up to us to send a message to move forward responsibly and not attempt to do everything at once.

    Some will see this as not supporting the president. Too bad because sometimes the best support we get from others is when they warn and prevent us from harming ourselves and others.

    March 22, 2009 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  8. dave b

    Be carefull Greg.........Comrad obama will have your name on a LIST. And you will face Grand inquisitor Franks!

    March 22, 2009 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  9. Bobo

    Keenest Fiscal Mind? He must not take any advice or input then from others like NOBEL PRIZE WINNING ECONOMISTS! He doesn't have a keen fiscal mind then, does he? NO!

    March 22, 2009 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  10. Terry

    Republicans, who have run up our national debt during times of prosperity merely to enrich themselves, have suddenly discovered fiscal responsibility. If they had only discovered it during the Reagan, Bush1, or Bush2 Administrations, we might not be in this mess now.

    They remind me of an evangelist who is photographed in bed with a 14 year old hooker. Suddenly, he remembers Jesus, demands forgiveness, receives it, is healed, weeps briefly on stage, and then expects to be reinstated to the pulpit.

    March 22, 2009 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  11. icharliem

    it would have been better for us all if these so-called fiscally conservative republicans had managed the economy in a proper manner ... the national debt increased more under republican administrations than democratic ones and the amount of debt under this last one eclipsed all previous ones ... so why didn't Senator Gregg raise his voice more adamantly when his party was in control ... please let's move on ... republicans are now using fiscal scare tactics as they did terrorism ... at least to day, we have a leader who even in a time of crisis doesn't try to scare the public into concurrence with his policies ... and I'm one who believes this crisis is the best situation that could have happened to our society ... we had fallen into such a deep materialistic compulsion ... maybe now, we'll appreciate the values we ought to have in a world that is getting exceedingly complicated with a rapidly burgeoning population ...

    March 22, 2009 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  12. Independent

    Another scare factor from a Republican....

    My question is to the media, this I found on another site and I quote from them....
    AIG-Major media outlets yet to report IG testimony implicating Bush Administration in AIG bonuses.
    False Republican claims that congressional Democrats are responsible for AIG exec. bonuses, major media outlets have yet to report Bush appointed special inspector general for TARP confirmed in congressional testimony that the Bush admisinstration Treasury Dept. knew about the AIG bonus contracts and did not insist on their abrogation as a condtion of AIG's receiving bailout money....

    Could this be the reason all the Republicans are doing all this yelling and blaming everything on our President so their noise will keep the truth from the American People?????????

    March 22, 2009 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  13. Rutrow

    The only thing I want from Obama is his resignation. He is a clear and present threat to our country. From national security to economic security he is doing what he can to destroy us.

    March 22, 2009 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  14. Kevin from Austin

    The whole mess is created from people living beyond their means. This is a mess started many years ago to allow people to sell things that people can not afford. If you wanted a car, house or anything else, if you didn;t have the cash you could not buy it. This credit scam is just that a scam for for lenders and certainly not good for buyers. We are now a credit counrty and as people learn that interest is money for nothing and stop using credit cards and try to pay cash the economics of the US will be better off as well as most of the people.

    March 22, 2009 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  15. Albin Turbak

    We can thank Alan Greenspan who, as Chief of the Fed, did litle to rein in the abuses at AIG and who obviously supported the packaging of sub-primes with valid mortgages in CDO's and SIV's. Then he did lttle to stop the AIG issuance of unbacked equity default insurance swaps . Had necessary control been properly implemented, the present crisis could have been completely avoided. Mr. Bush who then advised to appointed Henry Paulson to resolve the crisis. As head of Goldman Sachs, Mr. Paulson was deeply involved in helping to develop and promulgate the AIG issuance of unbacked insurance of default swaps. Thus Mr. Bush put the Fox in charge of guarding the Hen House !! This is what Mr.Obama inherited when he was sworn in. The greed on Wall Street had its day and the problems were left for the public to resolve

    March 22, 2009 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  16. Allen, SD

    Gregg was smart enough to realize that Obama was just using him and he would have had to support corrupt policies of the Obama Administration. Luckily he decided not to become one of the Obama brown-shirts.

    This country was morally bankrupted by first court rulings and secondly educational institutions that subscribe to only one ideology.

    So-called Free Trade under both the Clinton and Bush Administrations destroyed our industries and the trial lawyers and unions made the costs of our products so expensive that we could no longer compete.

    Now we have over 50% of our voters who pay no federal income tax and can elect politicians to take from those that do pay. Not a good scenario for the future.

    March 22, 2009 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  17. Steve G

    Another Republican with complaints but no solutions. I miss Wolf, John King lets these guys say anything without follow up questioning.

    March 22, 2009 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  18. jack

    this country has been bankrupt for a long time.

    March 22, 2009 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  19. Maggie

    Would someone make Obama understand what is as plain as the nose on his face. Is he so dense headed he cannot count the coast of what this means for our future and the future of generations to come let alone the danger of our security when other countries realize fully that we are a very weak nation and if we do not have strong leaders we may as well kiss America as we know it good bye.

    March 22, 2009 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  20. dave b

    George Bush ...800,000,000 8 years , Comrad obama 3trill in 60 days and climbing. And if you oh so smart lefties can use a computer you can see and hear in their own words them dems that caused this mess. Yes the repubs failed to stop them and are as guilty.

    March 22, 2009 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  21. wonder

    If someone yelled fire or if someone warned of an approaching storm, would we stand and argue with each other until it was too late and we were trapped or would we take precautions? In looking at the postings, I would have to say most would parish and those who survived would blame the person who warned us that they did not warn us strongly enough.

    Maybe we trying taking action now and argue after we get beyond this point? Hmmmm.....

    March 22, 2009 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  22. suzyku

    Excuse me but this man has very little, if anyi credibility! He lied to get into this administration and lied to get back out!

    March 22, 2009 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  23. Rutrow

    Marsha – spoken like a true Obamist. You want everyone who opposes you to shut up.

    March 22, 2009 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  24. Trollmaster

    We elected Obama to fix this nation, not to simply tread water and leave the fixing to future presidents.

    We have to spend in the short term to boost our infrastructure, which in the long run will be more cost effective.

    If America wanted to try the do nothing Herbert Hoover way of fixing our problems, we would have voted for McCain.

    These former Bush yes men that ignored wastful and borrowed spending and are now posing as fiscial conservatives need to resign for the sake of America. They have been proven to be a major part of the problem.

    March 22, 2009 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  25. dave b

    Do not use fear !!! Only Comrad obama can use it !!!!

    March 22, 2009 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
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