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. SOUTHERN HOTTIE

    Do Repukes ever offer counter solutions or is complaining the only thing they know how to to?

    Who votes for these out of touch, old, rich people into office????

    March 22, 2009 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  2. Ann Terry, Livonia, Michigan

    Where was Gregg's voice over the last eight years when the Bush administration was cutting taxes and increasing spending big time? Our national debt doubled under the Bush administration. SEC Cox did not do his job of regulating, so all of this was just allowed to build up. Credit card companies were allowed to give credit cards to people who didn't have income, mortgage companies were allowed to sell mortgages to people who didn't have the income. During all of this, we never heard a peep from Judd Gregg.

    If China decides to no longer finance our debt, we will be in real trouble. There is a danger of the dollar becoming devalued. But economists don't agree on how to handle the mess the Bush administration left. We've never been here before. Fiscal policy was no longer effective and most economists said we had to try a large stimulus program. There are as many voices saying the stimulus is not large enough to affect our trillion dollar economy.

    President Obama's budget at least makes a pretense of including known costs unlike the Bush budget that never included the costs of the Iraq war in any of its budgets.

    March 22, 2009 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  3. AndyB

    Well if it does go bankrupt you can thank Bush for that. He set the course just like he did with everything he touched.

    March 22, 2009 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  4. Mike in SA

    Hey! Wake up! I find it unbelievable that there are people out there willing to be financial lemmings, hurling themselves, their children, and their country over a cliff.

    The fact that yellow is yellow and green is green are not partisan issues and neither is this. We're not talking about numbers that the Republican's made up out of thin air. We are talking about CBO numbers!!! You know the NON-PARTISAN budget oversight agency, or haven't you heard of it??? Using these NON-PARTISAN numbers, there is not one reputable economist that thinks that the level of debt incurred by Obama's budget "plan" will bring anything but financial ruin. This plan has more percentage of debt in it than even the most liberal of economists find acceptable. These are just the facts and the reality of the severity of the situation.

    You know, for the longest time I've thought that the Obamaniacs were living in a world of suspended reality. Every day they show, more and more, that this is true. Reality means nothing to them because dammit, "Yes we can...turn green into red! Yes we can...continue life as we know it on this planet without having the Sun! Yes we can...teach fish to live on land! Yes we can!"

    March 22, 2009 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  5. Armor Todd

    You have to love Republicans who mentioned nothing about deficits during the last eight years, when Bush ran up records amounts of debt. Now, reduced to afterthought status, there is all of this whining about 'fiscal responsibility'. Too little too late. Get on board and work with the administration to save the economy. Your legacy is already in tatters. Try to salvage a bit of it as you fade into the historical wastebasket.

    March 22, 2009 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  6. Flo

    I'm afraid if we don't do anything about the financial chaos will sink.......so Mr. Gregg once again is willing to criticize but offers no real solutions to this mess were in.

    March 22, 2009 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  7. Annie

    And Senator Gregg's suggested solutions to fix the economy are what????

    All mouth and no trousers – that's exactly what these critics are. If you are so convinced that these plans are going to devastate the country – then please, share your genius ideas on what alternatives will work?

    Put up – or shut up.

    March 22, 2009 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  8. Anonymous

    Gary Fortier wrote:

    "Why can't people see this??? They don't think and are easily lead by fear and hate or is it what our nation truley wants?"

    Talk about the pot calling the kettle black! I guess you never noticed that anytime anyone raised opposition to anything Bush and Cheney wanted to that the level on their ridiculous threat meter ticked up a notch or two. People don't think and are easily led by fear and hate? That is the Republican way of governing.

    March 22, 2009 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  9. mom in pa

    Allen, SD....well said!

    March 22, 2009 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  10. BC in Texas

    To dave b: Wow, your mindset is so far to the right it's pathetic. Bush's spending was in the trillions too. His war is what got us in this mess. And Obama is not a "comrade", apparently you are with your narrow mind.

    March 22, 2009 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  11. Rednecks Aren't Too Bright

    Gary Fortier wrote:

    "Why can't people see this??? They don't think and are easily lead by fear and hate or is it what our nation truley wants?"

    Talk about the pot calling the kettle black! I guess you never noticed that anytime anyone raised opposition to anything Bush and Cheney wanted to that the level on their ridiculous threat meter ticked up a notch or two. People don't think and are easily led by fear and hate? That is the Republican way of governing.

    March 22, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  12. Tammy in arizona

    Obama asked Gregg to be part of administration and be part of the decision making process and recovery... he choose not to...

    Previous admin. (Greggs administration) knew the plan was out of fuel for years, they crash landed our economy and now Obama has to clean up the wreakage.

    March 22, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  13. william . Oregon

    This GOP Senator has investments in Exxon, Squibb, Pfizer. Look at his earmarks for Pease. NO NO NO NO.

    Fed up

    March 22, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  14. Rich

    If Judd Gregg actually cares about helping the economy, he could start by convincing his fellow senators to confirm more of Barack Obama's nominees to the Treasury Department. Currently Timothy Geithner is the only nominee confirmed to that department, so he has no staff to help him out, only career bureaucrats who served under the previous administration. People expect Timothy Geithner to work miracles with the economy, yet he has nobody to help him out. The Senate Republicans, with their 41 seats out of 100, have been able to block appointments using holds and filibusters. Senate Republicans, among them Judd Gregg, appear to be deliberately sabotaging the United States economy with their efforts to block people from being confirmed and their efforts to block anything to solve our economic crisis. I do not trust them one bit, and I suspect that they have ulterior motives: they oppose the President's economic agenda and are probably hoping for both it and the economy to fail, so they can win the next election by saying "I told you so". This entire crisis was caused by Republican policies of deregulation, so I doubt the Republicans would do any better than the Democrats at fixing this mess, since their only ideas regarding the economy seem to be tax cuts and deregulation, which had already been done to death throughout the 12 years Republicans controlled Congress.

    March 22, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  15. jimmy-ohio

    i agree that the president is not perfect however i like many americans are still waiting to hear the "other" plan.but please don't say tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy that got us here,along with lack of govt regulation.Gregg declined to join the administration due to ,his wirds"disagreements over how to do the census" not spending policy.btw republicans,if Bush wasn't to blame for 9-11after 8 months in office why is Obama to blame for everything after 2?

    March 22, 2009 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  16. Andre

    To all the Judd Gregg bashers, a sincere question: Please explain how increasing the Federal Debt at an exponential rate over the next ten years won't lead to disaster. I'm not saying anything bad about Obama, but if you just look at the debt he's running up – he's no different than W. Like Malcolm X once said "Math never lies about the truth"

    March 22, 2009 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  17. dave b

    The commie party is so fun . Pelosie saying illegals are patriots and law enforcement is un patriotic . Comrad obama making sure the US goes down in its standard of living.

    All hail obama

    March 22, 2009 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  18. pk49

    This is true and it does not take a math expert to figure it out. America needs to wake up before it is too late to do anything.

    March 22, 2009 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  19. Larry

    Just another Republican flapping his jaw to show he's with his team in bashing everything Obama does

    Yawn ... wake me up when a Republican says something useful

    March 22, 2009 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  20. Helen, NY

    Thos who blame George Bush here are ignorant. Our country is bankrupt under Obama's watch and Democrat congress since 2006. We never had any problem with our economy. Obama is still campaigning & having parties in the white house every evening and this side our country is getting bankrupt. Wake up America. Those who still support Obama are ignorant and their brains are white-washed by Barack Hussein obama.

    March 22, 2009 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  21. Ross Foyee

    This is the first question posed by CNN to ask a REALITY based question. Any country in the past that has experienced hard times and has been able to recover has done better since that time. Frankly, I am doubtful that such a whimpy country as the US will be able to survive. I am quite shocked and awed by a meager 232 year existence. I hope that I prove to be wrong on this, but the big BS bubble that has floated the more or less presently sex-crazed child-minded American psyche since around 1953, when Truman left office has not been the kind of progress that this country has needed. Truman was the last very good president. That year...1953 was a pivotal year in what this country would presently become. I hope that I am wrong where it is heading...

    March 22, 2009 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  22. Eli

    uhm werent the Democrats in charge of Congress for the last 2 years of Bush? Isn't that when things tanked (check markets timeline)

    March 22, 2009 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  23. Bruce Dickinson

    "Gregg, known as one of the keenest fiscal minds on Capitol Hill,"

    if GOP-bashing CNN says this compliment, then we all better be afraid.

    plus I just love how people say we're already bankrupt so lets just get more bankrupt. I thought we hired Obama to SOLVE the problem not make it worse

    March 22, 2009 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  24. Texas Teacher

    Okay.... first, instead of listening to the Republican Chicken Little cry the sky is falling.. why don't, we second, allow President Obama a little bit more than 2 months to save the world!

    And I do agree with Anonymous that Bush is responsible for this economic melt down! And he sold your country to China a long ago!

    Obama has said that things may get worse before they get better! Economists have said that things most surely get worse before they got better! I, personally, do NOT agree with some of the things that have happened lately. I do not necessarily believe that Obama is responsible for the instances in question. I am willing to wait and see if that is not part of the plan that we are not privy to see just yet.But I do believe that it is only fair to allow Obama to work through this. We surely gave Geo W. Bush every opportunity to do WHATEVER he wanted to do. I never heard that much outcry that he was destroying the Nation, though frequently that was what it seemed to me. It was not until Katrina that people began to see that the Emperor was wearing no clothes!

    March 22, 2009 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  25. Senator Greg

    This guy is a coward and he has no shame coming out again to run his mount. He is even affraid to defend his re-election in 2010

    March 22, 2009 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
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