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. john white

    the george bush's war is the one that will bankrupt the country, not the new administration.

    March 22, 2009 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  2. Judge Dredd Speaks

    This coward has the nerve to come on National TV and say something that America figured out 8 years ago under GW Bush who left us in this swamp. Republicans are ABSOLUTE hypocrites. Its rule number 1 in the Republican creed to be a hypocrite. Thats why Judge Dredd comes on TV and spews his venom about the Budget. Americans are NOT STUPID; republicans we know who created this mess we are in another Republican. So now the President has to clean the mess up. Republicans will lose going against the President. They will ALWAYS lose against the President. His base is way to strong.

    March 22, 2009 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  3. enoughalready

    Too late, we are bankrupt and have been for some time and it happened on bushes watch. He just didn't admit anything was wrong till he was almost out of office.

    typical repug, too little too late.

    March 22, 2009 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  4. Janice

    And yet the Repubs accuse Pres Obama of fearmongering doom and gloom speech.

    March 22, 2009 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  5. Ray Fisher

    America has been bancrupt in many ways, morally, fiscally, spiritually etc... yet now we are bancrupt for credit. The only answer is to save like never before and loan off our savings to rebuild a cash based economy. We must accept the fact it will take years to rebuild but by rebuilding on a cash basis we can last longer without another downturn!!!

    March 22, 2009 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  6. chris

    And so it begins....

    we the people need to rise in support of POTUS and the plan. for every head that talks against it, we need to have 4-5 heads for it. we have the numbers, question is do we have the guts to get out there.

    i'll tell you something, this is going to be the way we have to show our representatives for the next 4-8 years. you MUST get involved, no more sitting on the sidelines

    call, eamil, shot to your rep and let them know we want the change so our children and grandchildren WILL have a future

    March 22, 2009 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  7. Winston Smith

    This is the same JERK that referred to Obama's plan as the "France-ification of America".
    It seems that whenever REPUBLICANS and CONSERVATIVES want to appeal to their lunatic fringe base voters...they ALWAYS trash FRANCE.
    Gregg is one of those "patriots" that pushed "Freedom Fries" and all that jingoistic NONSENSE.
    The dude has ETHICS PROBLEMS of his own to worry about.
    We needn't listen to JUDD GREGG for anything.

    March 22, 2009 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  8. Marc

    This political climate is unbelievable. Its as though the media and pundits never acknowledged Obama's win. Instead, they continued with the micro-mania coverage they did during the election. It wasn't 1 minute after a 5 minute Obama speech that the TV stations gave his opponents (who lost) more than 20 minutes in rebuttal time! What an impossible environment for Obama to get his points across! “Headed towards bankruptcy” and “almost unconscionable” for a long range budget PROPOSAL is a good example of the sensationalism that John King has brought to the table of late.

    When do we call the election good and give our elected officials the due respect and reflective thought they deserve? We’re facing unprecedented issues and obstacles at the moment and could do without the losers getting higher priority and more air time. Let’s get back to providing more news (called FACTS) and less sensationalized “opinion”.

    March 22, 2009 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  9. Kevin from Austin

    Adding 2 trillion of cash into the economy with the push of a button is what should scare you! Does anyone know what this does? Look at the US dollar over the last few days.

    March 22, 2009 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  10. Frank

    I agree – we cannot buy bad debts with more debt, since this is similar to a person who takes an advance on a credit card to pay their mortgage, and because of this bad practice, the eventual bankruptcy for the individual will be the eventual outcome for this nation, unless the President's course of action is changed – quickly, but, he is inexperienced when it comes to budget matters, and that is making matters worse...

    March 22, 2009 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  11. Mark

    Our masters in China are displeased with the country they own, called the US of A. We better get our stuff into gear if we don't want them to come over here and take us over!

    March 22, 2009 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  12. Elmer

    Those of you who reply here to criticize Gregg the messenger....look at the numbers (rounded but close). The federal budget projection under Obama is about $4 trillion next year (Bush spent $3 trillion). All the taxes we pay in are about $2.5 trillion and likely less due to the economy. How can we pay that extra $1.5 trillion. There are new deficits every year so don't expect it from next year's taxes. We lowly citizens can't print money and need to pay this back in the future. Do you have your share of all of this in your next 30 years of personal budgets. Or your kids'. If not better redo your budgets. Stop all the email ill-will directed at each other. The crooks in DC come from all parties and in all shapes, sizes and colors. Demand they stop this.

    Or more simplistically for those of us who can't fathom the numbers with so many zeros......YOU CANNOT SPEND YOUR WAY OUT OF CREDIT CARD DEBT. SAME APPLIES HERE.

    March 22, 2009 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  13. dave b

    Marx must be soooo proud .

    March 22, 2009 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  14. Kwesoe

    Judd, you don't scare me none. When we build our roads and bridges, you'll drive on them too. When we fix our healthcare, you will be treated by our doctors and when we improve our schools, your grandchildren will attend them as well. So take your negative vibes and shove them down your republican throat.

    March 22, 2009 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  15. joe

    Oh great, another "keen financial mind" predicting the future, just like all the other keen financial minds who were clueless 6 months ago.

    March 22, 2009 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  16. Joel

    Bush did not run this government into the ground, and our current president and his cool-aid followers need to understand that the true blame for the current financial situation rest squarely on the backs of every American who thought they had a right to an expensive house, car, and college education and then financed their lives and reputations to obtain them. The fruit of our collective greed is coming to bear.

    March 22, 2009 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  17. JJ

    the national debt increased more under republican administrations than democratic ones and the amount of debt under this last one eclipsed all previous ones
    --------
    And what part of "under the current Obama plan it will quadruple" piece are you not getting?? WAKE UP!

    March 22, 2009 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  18. Walter Wego

    So Judd Gregg's answer is? Tax breaks for the rich?

    March 22, 2009 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  19. lizz

    Whatever is gone can't be recovered back. The banks are failing.
    There nothing anyone can do about it.

    What Obama administration can do is to rebuild the economy from scratch. This needs lots of money. There is no other choice if we wish to support the current populations.

    PLEASE STOP ALL THE BLAMING GAMES. This only creates chaos and won't help much. Get back to work and build the economy back.

    March 22, 2009 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  20. RC from Toronto

    Sir, With all due respect , you are not an economist. Just a petty politician. Here's why petty. If you believed in your love for the country and belief in your doomsday outlook, you would have taken the opportunity to serve in the position you were offered and did your best to prevent bad things from happening. But you chose to run to the audience side and yell bloody murder from there.

    I believe you may be right to some extent. But you, sir, are a looser and deserve no audience.

    March 22, 2009 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  21. katiec

    My comments seem to go into cyberspace as do not even get to the moderation mode. Will not repeat all the questions I had for Gregg as know they will not get posted . So much for freedom of speach.

    March 22, 2009 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  22. maria

    He had an opportunity to be part of the solution and chose the typical republican path of divisiveness. The bankrupt country started under the Bush policies, implemented by the republican party. These type of comments do nothing to build confidence–something the market needs.

    March 22, 2009 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  23. Clayton

    The worst part is not the steam ship going down the river with a waterfall ahead, it's the people on the ship that don't care enough to open their eyes.

    March 22, 2009 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  24. notafan

    I am sick of King and his Republican. Can't he at least pretend he is non-partisan. Perhaps he should consider going to Fox.

    March 22, 2009 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  25. Jason

    Yes, the wars were/are incredibly expensive. But this Democrat leadership spent MORE in ONE "Stimulus" bill than both wars cost through 2008 COMBINED!!! A little fiscal responsibility is all I ask from Repubs and Dems.

    People have already lost 50% of their retirement funds. Now, people are saving money away as cash. Due to government over-spending/over-reaching inflation will devastate the money that is saved.

    Its hard to climb out of a whole by digging deeper.

    March 22, 2009 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
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