February 28th, 2009
10:54 AM ET
9 years ago

Burr says Washington in a ‘state of denial’

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/02/28/burr.jpg caption="Sen. Richard Burr, R-North Carolina, says it's time for those elected to lead."]
(CNN) - North Carolina Sen. Richard Burr said Washington is in a “state of denial,” in Saturday’s weekly Republican radio address.

“It seems that every morning you pick up the newspaper, you’re reading about another multi-billion dollar government spending plan being proposed or even worse, passed … We become numb to what the dollar figures really mean, or the obligation that accompanies them,” he said.

Pointing to the “spending priorities of the Democrats in Washington” and President Obama’s proposed budget, Burr warned that “for the first time, we could see the American Dream vanish.”

Burr said Republicans and Democrats agree on where they want to go, but they disagree on how to get there.

The North Carolina senator called on Americans to rally together “to find solutions with unity of purpose.”

“It’s time for those elected to lead. Will we rise to the challenge, and make the tough choices necessary? Or will we simply hand the obligation to our children and wish them good luck?” he said.

Full text of address after the jump

Full transcript of Senator Burr’s address:

“This week, President Obama shared with all Americans his priorities and concerns about the serious economic challenges we as America are facing. I appreciated his optimism and agree with him that our country has the ability to overcome this significant economic challenge.

“The strongest tool we as Americans have is our ability to rally together and to find solutions with unity of purpose. There is no limit to our ability and potential when we as a nation and as a people work together.

“Many times, disagreements between the two political parties in Washington get all the headlines. What’s not reported is the fact that Republicans and Democrats agree on where we want to go, but we disagree on how we’re going to get there.

“These uncertain times present us with a defining moment. The actions and decisions we make and the actions we take in our nation’s capital and in the state capitals across this country will have a profound impact on the way of life for years to come.

“Families facing tough decisions at home know this because they are confronting the same challenges. Washington needs to understand this reality as well. It’s difficult to fully appreciate, but every time Congress and the President spends a dollar, it’s actually a dollar PLUS interest that our children and our grandchildren will have to pay back.

“We must remind ourselves of this fact every single day. Unfortunately, Washington is in a state of denial. Our spending habits haven’t gotten better, they’ve only gotten worse.

“It seems that every morning you pick up the newspaper, you’re reading about another multi-billion dollar government spending plan being proposed or even worse, passed. The numbers are so large, and the deficits so staggering, it’s difficult for the average person to imagine how much money we’re talking about. We become numb to what the dollar figures really mean, or the obligation that accompanies them. Let me take a moment to try to explain what is happening in Washington right now, and what it will mean for all of us down the road.

“This week, the president submitted to Congress the single largest increase in federal spending in the history of the United States, while driving the deficit to levels that were once thought impossible. If we just look at what our debt spending will cost us in interest payments alone, we are talking about 4 trillion dollars over the next 10 years, more than a billion dollars of interest payments every day. Think of that 4 trillion as a finance charge on your credit card bill – you have to pay, but you get nothing for it in return. This finance charge obligates more than $52,000 for every family in America over the same 10 year period.

“These payments don’t even make a dent in the balance we owe. In fact, the balance on our credit card continues to grow as we continue to spend. Like a family that find itself choking under the weight of credit card balances and finance charges, the federal government is quickly obligating the American people to a similar fate.

“This is why we must keep our eye on the big picture. For two centuries, the American Dream has depended on the simple belief that men and women work hard so their children would have a better future. Looking at the spending priorities of Democrats in Washington in the proposed budget and over the past month, it’s hard to escape the reality that for the first time we could see the American Dream vanish. Now, instead of working hard so our children can have a better life tomorrow, we are asking our children to work hard so that we don’t have to make tough choices today.

“It’s long past time to show restraint and to make the tough choices that will help put our fiscal house in order. Generations of Americans past have often been called on to make great sacrifices for their country. Many have made the ultimate sacrifice. Is it not time for government to make sacrifices for future generations? It’s time for those elected to lead. Will we rise to the challenge, and make the tough choices necessary? Or will we simply hand the obligation to our children and wish them good luck?”

Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (187 Responses)
  1. Deb

    Amen, Senator Burr. Amen.

    February 28, 2009 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  2. carlo

    The only people in denial are you and your constituents, sir. You have no ideas, no plans, because if you did, you would have implemented them. Instead, you voted lock step with Bush when you and the rest of Congress had the power to object. The Democrats had a majority for two years, but faced Bush's willingness to veto everything they tried to push, so their influence was weakened.

    Now, we are supposed to believe that you same people who stuffed your colleagues' pocket full, telling us that they would hire more people are now concerned about our well being. You call liberals evil, lazy, and socialist, but you have no problem handing out social welfare to your friends who don't need the money. Instead of hiring more people, they shipped their bonuses they paid themselves to UBS to evade taxes. You are worried about the little people getting money they didn't earn, but you give no-bid contracts to people who go overseas and kill others with no accountability.

    Save your faux philosophy, sir. We ain't buyin' it no more.

    February 28, 2009 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  3. tc in nyc

    Mr. Burr, we Americans did "rally together to find solutions with unity of purpose," it was called the Presidential election; it took place in November in case you forgot.

    February 28, 2009 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  4. Mr. T

    Where were you when Bush was putting our children future at risk? Hail to the rich!

    February 28, 2009 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  5. Starship, NC

    ...rally together “to find solutions with unity of purpose.”

    So what does that mean in the real world?
    Who, what, where, how? He is a Sarah Palin in pants.
    It was his party that created this mess and handed it to us and our children. But yet, now they complain when the Democrats try to clean it up. They offer no solid solutions or options!

    February 28, 2009 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  6. Mary T. Jastron

    The problem with republicans is that they are NOT IN REALITY, in this country and in this century. Ttheir "trickle down" supply side economics theory does not address the challenges that we face today and in the future. We need to stand together to educate ALL OUR CHILDREN , keep all our citizens healthy and our natural resources pristine..
    If we believe in a balance of power, then the international corporations and banks need to be balanced out with a strong, federal government that works in the interests of THE PEOPLE!
    Why are the republicans afraid of THAT?
    Obama is fighting for our rights, the rights of the PEOPLE!
    Republicans are on the wrong side of the equation!

    February 28, 2009 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  7. Willy G

    I thought the Fairness Doctrine is no longer valid.

    If the news media doesn't air Democratic rebuttles to Rush Limbaugh's various rantings, after all he is essentially running the Republican Party and is its primary spokesman; why does the media still give the GOP airtime to reply to various Democratic addresses?

    It seems the media is letting the Republicans have their cake and eat it too.

    I guess all these GOP rants about the media being liberally-biased is another big conservative lie.

    February 28, 2009 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  8. Caron Speas

    I can't stand to hear Republican politicians criticizing Democratic efforts to get us out of the mess that Repubicans got us into in the first place. Republicans have lost all credibility. They have lost the right to complain and will not regain that right until they first take responsibility for what they have done to this country.

    February 28, 2009 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  9. Judy

    Senator Burr is the one in a "state of denial" and we in NC will hopefully bring him back to reality by voting against him in 2010. NC has lost almost all manufacturing jobs and is now losing banking jobs with the Bank of America and Wachovia failures.

    He says "For two centuries, the American Dream has depended on the simple belief that men and women work hard so their children would have a better future." We need jobs here before we can "work hard". What's he doing to help NC???

    February 28, 2009 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  10. jphuff

    "the American dream vanishing" ???? Where has this jerk been the last 8 years?

    February 28, 2009 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  11. Dawn

    To anyone out there, The American dream died along time ago!

    The rich keeps getting richer and the poor keeps getting poorer and then they die...No Health insurance, no one to help them. There is a lot of povery stricken adults out there, starting with women who are divorced when their income goes from maybe 100,000 a year to less then 25,000 a year. Please don't hold that against them, it is a fact, you may check that.

    Remember the old saying to make money is to spend money.

    February 28, 2009 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  12. Darren Fox

    Are you serious, Senator? The American Dream WILL vanish?? Wake up Republicans. The American Dream has nearly vansihed under your time in control of the White House and Congress. Our President is trying to return to the prosperity that we saw in the Clinton years when many Americans fulfilled that dream. Once they did, they became selfish, greedy and short-sighted. Minute millionares were created. The normally fiscally conservative Republicans even went crazy and lost sight of their wallets. Let this President have the time to turn around the mistakes of your greed. He will end the war that has crushed our economy, damaged our standing in the worlds eyes and destroyed the lives of families who lost a soldier.

    Republicans better figure out quick that not all Americans are stupid enough to follow their logic that democats will destroy our dreams. We know better Mr. Senator. You drove this vehicle toward the cliff. At worst we will go over the edge with the dems holding the wheel. At best, the dems will change direction just in time to save the day and avoid the fall to destruction.

    February 28, 2009 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  13. Joe

    Republicans don't understand how hypocritical they are.

    February 28, 2009 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  14. Obama - NOPE

    Hurry 2010 !! Please hurry. Hopefully, in 2010 the Republicans can still put some of this Democrat insanity into reverse.

    February 28, 2009 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  15. Papa D

    Washington is in deial all right! But it's the Republicans who are in denial! They can't admit that their economic philosophy is just plain WRONG! They have had their way with trickle-down nonesense for 30 years and look where it has gotten us. It is clear to any impartial observer that GOP now stands for Greedy OLD People!

    February 28, 2009 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  16. Joe

    Possibly if you and your Campaign contributors were not so corrupt and greedy we would be in better shape and there would not have to be this perceived need for the bailout. Personally I don't agree with any bailout what so ever let the pain and poverty fall where it may. I have no doubt that it will fall on me. But certainly the greedy bankers and greedy wall street types should have a good amount of the pain.

    February 28, 2009 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  17. Anonymous

    Sen. Richard Burr if you have better ideas lets hear them. It's your country too, unles you plan on deserting like the rest of the Republican rats, thinking if all you do is complain until 2012 the coiuntry will reward you with votes, just the opposite, if you don't junm in and help fix what you broke. If you think complaining until 2012 will help Obama fail you and your ilk have another rude awakening coming. I'm sure you and the other Republican millionaires have enough money to weather these rainy days, can your constituents say the same. You're in denial Sen Burr if you think Americans are ready to make tough choices, watch the news for 10 minutes and see irresponsible Americans pointing fingers at others for their own bad financial behavior. We all need to change our mindset, and get back to core values of living within your means, being responsible with credit. If you don't have the money, wait on the purchase, you may decide you don't need whatever it was you wanted to go into debt for. If you are in a finanacial mess you need look no further than the mirror.

    February 28, 2009 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  18. raagos


    February 28, 2009 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  19. JB

    Enough rhetoric, how about a few solutions Sen. Burr?

    February 28, 2009 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  20. Comradio

    I didn't hear an example of one single actual choice to be made. Just "will we make the tough choices necessary?" Well Mr. Burr, what tough choices to you need to make or are you just putting together pretty opposition language you know your followers don't question at all?
    My answer? Here's a tough choice. Legalize maijuana. Tax the fire out of it(no fun intended), and watch as the country smokes our way out of a recession. No one will care how harshly its taxed. The majority of the population smokes it anyway and would continue. It would relieve the tax burdens off of EVERY state for the procesing of these victemless criminals(enforcment should then work on bootleggers and people try to sell or distribute outside the condoned government tax-stamp). Lastly, you legitimize the business and you give Mexico, struggling from drug wars, a shot to not fall down the drown with all the problems that come with it. Not to mention all the other product options and benefits from the possible industry. Seems like a good idea to me. Making it illegal seems to have served no purpose but to turn regular folks into criminals(since it stops no one from doing it, just forces them to go to REAL drug dealers for their product), and turned Mexico into a drug-fueled mafia state. It makes sense, but I'm sure that too is a tough choice that your NOT willing to make. The only choice you all are good with is, let's do exactly what got us here because we lost, its not a republican idea? No! No choice required.

    February 28, 2009 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  21. francine

    The Republicans were in denial for 8 years–watching George Bush run up the biggest deficit ever. Where was all the crying and moaning from Republicans when that was happening? And where are all their ideas (other than "tax cuts for the wealthy") that are going to get us out of this situation? Stop complaining Republicans–and start helping.

    February 28, 2009 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  22. marc

    Without help from the gov't at this time, the country will fall into a depression. The republicans are the ones in denial! Seems like their only wish is for the dems and the president to fail. If they would help as they were elected to do, perhaps we can solve these huge problems?
    As most citizens want unity not moaning and groaning, nether republican nor democrat, but AMERICANS!!!!

    February 28, 2009 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  23. David

    The Republican party control both houses of Congress since 1994 and 8 years of the White House. Their bran of politics has left this country bankrupt the world opinion is at the lowest it has ever been. Now the Democrats have their turn we need to see if what they offer will work. The Republican Party has said that the Democrats ideas are not good for America my question is what was that they gave us for the past 12 years? Was that good for America?

    February 28, 2009 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  24. girlyman

    Hows it feel to be on the outside looking in, Richard?You didnt protest when Bush was busting the budget.Go sit down and shut up.

    February 28, 2009 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  25. John

    The Republicans have not followed traditional fiscal conservatism for a long time now, but all this new spending by this admin is ridiculous. If you run a small business and you are running a lot of debt, you don't go further in debt. YOU STOP SPENDING! AND START PRODUCING! Why is this so hard hard to understand??

    February 28, 2009 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
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