March 22nd, 2009
03:41 PM ET
11 years ago

Gregg: 'This country will go bankrupt'

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="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. Annie

    Where was Gregg for the past 8 years? I didn't see him out in front criticizing Bush and his fellow Republicans in all that time, so who's actions are more unconscionable?

    March 22, 2009 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  2. anonymous

    You had the chance Gregg to help this country but backed out and sense then all you have done is MOUTH.....Put your money where your mouth is and help fix it......

    March 22, 2009 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  3. Richard

    Let us remember that government has no money unless they trick it away from citizens.

    March 22, 2009 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  4. JJ

    Obama will cut way back on spending once the economy gets back on its feet.

    I want some of those drugs you're on!!!!!!!!
    (P.S. Nancy and Harry won't)

    March 22, 2009 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  5. Chris - Albany, NY

    Are you blind? We're already bankrupt after the last 8 years of a republican President and 14 of the last 16 years of a republican Congress. This is where we ended up. We get the same people who have been there through this stretch of time letting these things happen! Now all of a sudden the Democrats are in control and, according to republicans, all hell is going to break loose because the majority of this country supports the President and his agenda! The republicans led us here, now we have to find our way out and move forward!

    March 22, 2009 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  6. ml - California

    Senator Gregg, why is your opinion different than many others? Bush, in the 8 years of office got us where we are, before Obama took over.
    It takes time to clean up Bush's "dirty laundry" and we have to try and think positive and be patient. The Government is not here to take care of everyone for everyhing; however, the AIG "Bonus parade" was stupid and done in poor judjement and AIG should be penalized. If the Secretary-Treasurer, whom many say should be fired, is not fired, then, move on. You cannot change things that are out of your control.

    March 22, 2009 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  7. Audrey in Georgia

    President Obama has hit the RESET button for America. It had to happen because everything was getting too expensive, especially,
    housing and healthcare. Now money is going to be spent on our country, in our land, for our people. Why do you have a problem with this?

    March 22, 2009 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  8. E-Man

    Judd Gregg from the party of NO, the IRRELEVENT party, the party that got us into this mess in the first place. If he knows so much about the economy than why are we here now after 8 years of Republican control ? Why didn't the Republicans show us great decision making so we could have a good economy ? Because they can't. Just another out of touch loser... The economy has historically done better with Democrats. Chew on that Republicans, learn how to spell IRRELEVENT !

    March 22, 2009 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  9. JJ

    Gregg is NOT the only one making this prediction. The White House Budget Office earlier in the week also reported his budget to be unsupportable in the long run.

    March 22, 2009 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  10. GZ in Ga

    Tha US is in a FUNK that it ain't gonna git out of!!! U know what I say? FUNK IT!!! Everyone go to ur wine and spirits store of ur choice and drink it up...have a ball or TWO be sure to use ur credit card!!!

    March 22, 2009 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  11. Eyes & Ears of NY

    I don't know whether to cry or LMAO...I'm going find a cure somewhere for you leftist zombies.

    March 22, 2009 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  12. Joe in Austin

    Gregg is an amazingly dishonest person. First he solicits the president's trust, then betrays that trust, AND then goes on to use that trust as a platform to obstruct.

    March 22, 2009 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  13. Fred

    Our government has a spending problem.
    I can't quite grasp the concept of fixing a spending problem by spending more money, but then I'm not a politician.

    March 22, 2009 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  14. Mike

    Jim..... I was talking to my mother about that the other day. Politicians are all about re-election and could care less about anything else. Just a bunch of self serving idiots. Term limits for all political offices need to be established. Time to get the 20 term senators out, and force them to get a real job after their time is up.

    On another note. I think its time for CNN and the rest of the media to stop spreading this filth about how its gonna be another "Great Depression." Great idea. Get everybody talking about how the world is gonna end, and that'll help solve the problem. Recessions are as much psychological as they are physically real. Why doesn't anybody talk about the 70s? Last time I checked, that was the closest mirror in history. You folks in the press are exploiting people's fears to make a story and that is just sick. Get a life.

    March 22, 2009 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  15. Dennis in Chicagoland

    Note to self: It is not necessary to keep reading any comment where the author refers to the president as Barack HUSSAIN Obama.

    March 22, 2009 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  16. Sara E

    Senator Gregg, with all due respect, where were you while George W. Bush ran this economy into the ground? Doing nothing at this point is not an option, swift action and a considerable investment in rebuilding our infrastructure and updating our energy policy are required. There was a President who stood idly by clutching his purse strings while his economy collapsed, his name was Herbert Hoover and he turned what would have been a terrible recession into the Great Depression. Luckily, President Obama doesn't appear to be going that route, it's just Gregg et al. who are pursuing that kind of "fiscal responsibility".

    March 22, 2009 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  17. Andy

    At this point it no longer matters how this all started. We must get it to stop, or this prediction of his will come true. Many economists have issued the likewise warning.
    The question for us is, are we going to continue to sit here and point fingers (which is clearly happening on this comment board), or are we going to work together to fix this. The current budget and deficits that began under Bush cannot be continued under Obama, or it will be all over. Obama needs to make the tough decisions if this country will be around in 4 years for a re-election run. If he continues (he looks like Bush to me folks!) running up these deficits, we are gone.

    March 22, 2009 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  18. Mike S.

    Do none of you have any facts? You can't actually tackle the issue Gregg brings up, you just go back to complaining about the last administration. And if you people had any facts you'd know a Democratic controlled legislature rubber stamped the war as much as Bush. Also, after the tech boom busted, this artificial housing market was built by those very same Democrats. I didn't see anyone complaining when the stock market hit all time highs during those eight years. Plus the fact that Obama and your Democrat congress in six months is going to end up spending more than the whole Iraq war. So before you start regurgitating the same baseless garbage, why don't you look and see who really got us into this mess and are now making it much worse.

    March 22, 2009 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  19. Marty, FL

    Senator Judd was given an opportunity to work for Commerce, and he refused to make the difference. It is getting real tiring to hear these Republicans criticize without taking responsibility to work with this administration when given the chance to bring their ideas forth.

    This same GOP basically rubber-stamped President Bush's wasteful spending on an unnecessary war in Iraq and created their own record-breaking deficits while having a "conservative" majority. Please, their credibility is ridiculous.

    March 22, 2009 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  20. JerryC

    If anyone wants to see actual solutions, just look up Ron Paul's commentary on the economy. It really is simple. Live within your means (Income must exceed debt), credit must only be used as a tool to create income (As opposed to a means of providing what I want right now), debt must be paid in full ASAP, and a cash reserve must be set aside for when Murphy's Law decides to visit.

    Until we elect officials with these core beliefs, our country will continue down the path the international high and mighty bankers have "advised".

    If we really want "change", the 2 party system must go the way of the dodo. We need real choice, not just what the media deems as worthy for us to choose from.

    March 22, 2009 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  21. kingssman

    So lets see,,, If spending 1 trillion on foreign aid to Iraq and making bombs that blow up or stuff that catches fire, it' a good thing and it won't bankrupt us, but spending 1 trillion on America and spending money on american people and buying goods is a bad thing and will bankrupt us?

    the USSR went bankrupt because it spent all its money on guns weapons nuclear warheads subs and military that didn't even fire a single round.

    the USA is spending all its money building roads, schools, electrical grid, wind power, housing, and general infrastructure.

    If USA does go bankrupt, at least every citizen will have a car, house, cell phone, and college degree

    March 22, 2009 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  22. rich

    So many commenting think we have a king not a president. First , we the people elected those in the House and the Senate and white house. we were happy living on the easy money - like children with no parents who just eat candy. suddenly our teeth hurt and we cry like babbies and blame our mommy. grow up! WE are the cause of this. we took out the easy loans. we elected the dems and reps. who created the deficits. we have to stop being a bunch of spoiled brats. don't blame the past, pray now, repent of our greed and partisan hate. Be men and women not little children that bicker and snip at each other. This is America people and we are Americans. We are a great nation but it's been our character and determination that has made us the leader of the free world. right now, i don't see a lot of character on this comments page. Just a bunch of whiny infants. if that is who we are then america IS finsished.

    March 22, 2009 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  23. J. Stack

    Gregg might be right, but where was he and the other Republicans for the last eight years when money was wasted in George Bush's stupid "war on terror", the tons of money wasted in Iraq and Afghanistan that has bankrupted America? No Sir, they didn't raise a finger! Lieberman working for Israel behind the scenes, and forgetting whether he is a Democrat or a Republican–take your choice! Dodd and Schumer tied to Wall Street money. The defense industry sucking millions and billions out of the Treasury for junk like the F-22, the Lockheed C130J which even the Air Force didn't consider a good plane, the list goes on and on. We are hooked and screwed by the Congress which sold itself to the interested corporations and banking establishments. The taxpayers are the losers–where does it end?

    March 22, 2009 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  24. Wanderer

    The following questions are not only for Mr. Gregg but also for all the Republicans who are consistently opposing Obama Administration.
    1. So what is your solution Mr. Gregg?
    2. What is your strategy to prevent the U.S. to go ‘bankrupt?
    3. Will your criticizing Obama Administration solve the meltdown of economic?
    4. What are your ideas of helping people who are facing foreclosure or lay off, NOW?
    5. How are you going to put foods on the table for the ones who already lost their jobs, NOW?
    6. Suppose you are right that the U.S. is going bankrupt, do you know when it started? What did you to prevent it as soon as it started?
    7. What is your plan if any Republican is elected to be president after the four years of Obama?

    March 22, 2009 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  25. 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!

    March 22, 2009 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
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