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. ben

    He is right, but no one will listen and it will happen anyway. Politicians are more interested in popularity than saving the country. What can we do? Probably nothing at this point. Elect congreessmen who promise to stop spending money in 2010. But will they keep that

    March 22, 2009 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  2. db

    Thanks for voting him in guys. He sure took that scalpel to government spending like he promised in his campaign...

    March 22, 2009 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  3. The anointed one

    Are you stupid? the United states has been bankrupt for years. Ever since we adopted the false dogma of free trade and allowed all our manufacturing to be outsourced to slave labor countries we have been in a rapid decline into debt.
    The fix is place all manufacturing back into the U.S. as every manufacturing site will also create hundreds of other jobs as wages are spent in the region. A 90% tax bracket is also brilliant as it will eliminate greedy CEOs from looting their companies and placing all that wealth in an off shore bank acount.

    March 22, 2009 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  4. Brennan, Seattle

    He had the opportunity to be a part of developing the plan that would turn this country around and he turned it down.

    True men will be determined when faced with a great challenge. In the face of this challenge Judd Gregg chose to obstain rather than cross his "political party".

    March 22, 2009 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  5. JG

    It is too late for the GPO to start crying foul on budget deficits. Amongst other things they allowed President Bush to keep the cost of the Iraq war off of the books for the last 6 years.

    One of the reasons that Obama's budget looks so bad is that he is finally forcing congress to be (more) honest about how much money they are actually spending, but all of the problems that he is trying to deal with he inherited from a Republican president, so you can't really blame President Obama.

    March 22, 2009 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  6. Michael I

    NOW the gop opens there eyes to wreckless spending

    Kind of wondering what was you all doing the last 8 years ? Being the good loyal Bush people that Chenny instructed you to ?

    March 22, 2009 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  7. Adam from Ohio

    Ah, what a cheery fellow. And where was this guy when George Bush was shipping trillions to his Wall Street buddies and blowing up hundreds of billions in Iraq? Oooh, I know where he was! He was on Capitol Hill, going along with every single move!

    March 22, 2009 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  8. disgusted

    And his idea is.....?

    March 22, 2009 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  9. Tom

    The best way to save money is to reduce the spending in Iraq as soon as possible, and by getting an international coalition to monitor and secure the peace there. The billions that are being spent in Iraq week after week will never get back into the US. Iraq is a financial black hole for the US economy. On the other hand, a big part of the bailout money is an investment that has eventually to be paid back to the government. It stays in the US, and if the economy picks back up, a large amount will be returned to the treasury by the banks.

    March 22, 2009 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  10. JonDie

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

    Because you at CNN say so. It doesn't make it true. And it isn't true. Gregg is a slug...just like the other GOP senators.

    March 22, 2009 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  11. hildutus

    If this person hadn't first offered to be Secretary of Commerce and then refused to serve, who would be listening to him?

    March 22, 2009 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  12. Albin Turbak

    We can thank Alan Greenspan who, as Chief of the Fed, did nothing to rein in the abuses at AIG and who also fostered the packaging of sub-prime with valid mortgages in CDO's and SIV's. Then he did nothing to stop the issuance of worthless equity default insurance swaps issued by AIG. Had he done his job properly the present crisis could have been completely avoided. We are all also indebted to Mr. Bush who then appointed Henry Paulson to resolve the crisis. As head of Goldman Sachs, Mr. Paulson was responsible for helping to develop and promulgate the AIG scheme to issue the unbacked insurance of default swaps. Thus Mr. Bush put the Fox in charge of guarding the Hen House - great thinking !! This is the mess Mr.Obama inherited when he was sworn in. The greed on Wall Street had its day , the gorged finance folks departed and the pickings were left for the public to digest.

    March 22, 2009 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  13. Tom

    "Discipline" the bonuses?

    What a lark. Back in 2008 the GOP leader fought hard against any limits on executive compensation... screaming about "govt keeping it hands out of the free market" and "intervention".

    They all stated that contracts should be upheld.

    AIG Bailout and Bonuses were put in place under Bush and Paulson. Any attempt to change that is revisionist history.

    March 22, 2009 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  14. Roger

    Senator Gregg 's comments should be heeded by Obama. Whether Obama realizes it or not, he is on a dangerous course that will lead to severe economic consequences. It is about time that Obama stops his campaigning and provides leadership to a country and to a Democratic control congress that we can no longer embark on name pointing and the usual political nonsense. The course Obama is on will result, without any doubt, to another great Nation being dismantled. President Obama lead us or follow us but what ever you do get out of the way.

    March 22, 2009 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  15. steve

    Judd gregg like most Republicans seems to delight in taking the "sky is falling "attitude as President Obama strives to dig us out of the deep dark financial hole the former administration left us in. Nothing constructive seems to come from their mouths, The only thing I hear from the Republican party is doom, gloom and partisanship! A good part of righting the economy has to do with the frame of mind of the American people. How about sending a message of positive content once in awhile! The President has made perfectly clear that he is already working on the deficit problem, one the republicans left us and forced us into increasing in order to reinvigorate an enonomy bordering on collapse.

    March 22, 2009 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  16. Doc

    I watched and listened and did not hear a counter proposal or even a suggestion. I will pay attention when a plan is presented, not naysaying.

    March 22, 2009 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  17. Jennifer Geddie

    What a pathetic hypocrite ! His party spends 12 billion a month for
    6 years in a pointless war with no exit strategy that drives our deficit
    thru the roof , and the Republicans express no reservations about the spending and deficit . Now they are concerned !

    Nor do they take responsibility for the failure of our banking system , which was a result of their willingness to let corporate America govern themselves . We see a crisis today that is the fruit of trickle down economics , yet the GOP is still singing the same tune that brought us this misery . A pox on them all , and I was a republican for 45 years .

    They are the party of the corrupt and the irrelevant .

    March 22, 2009 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  18. gary fortier

    Obama is a very intelligent individual. He knows exactly what he is doing; knew what he was doing to win the election and nobody could do anything about it. By spreading fear he could destroy our economy (see Hitler's comment about "leaders should be glad men don't think") and he is well versed in Marxism. By over spending he can bankrubt our country and start anew – socialism. Of this there can be no doubt.
    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?

    March 22, 2009 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  19. Waverydr

    How about this one: We're driving from point A to point B, the gas light comes on (because the republicans gave us the car on empty), so in order to arrive to our destination (a recovered economy) we need to borrow some gas to allow us to get there (because the repubs cleaned out our gas money stash too). See, I can make analogies too. Mine even makes more sense. The repubs are trying so hard to sabotage the Administrations efforts.

    March 22, 2009 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  20. Emily O'hara

    The Obama administration to every problem is to Spend more without any accountability or proper Terms and Conditions. Obama himself is to blame for spending $170 Billion with AIG and not allowing congress and the US to read the Stimulus Package and ensure the proper Terms and Conditions exist to prevent fraud. Obama is bankrupting this country and selling the education of future generations.

    March 22, 2009 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  21. P.S.

    Thank God someone has the conscience to step up to the plate and turn down an Obama job because he believes this Budget is a disaster in the making. Is this our next Presidential candidate? He actually DOES have change I can believe in!!

    March 22, 2009 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  22. yuri

    We disagree. JG states his opinion. He ain't no oracle ar a seer. In lieu of offerin' a solution, this GOP persona, like many other, is pathetically a pessimistic person, and his path is lit by unsmilin' bloke- Boehner, who is another boy with a belly ache. JG may say he is paintin' a poor picture, but we are sick 'n' tired of hearin' these sorts of soul-less speches. Come up with something more mirthful and try to cheer up the crowd.

    March 22, 2009 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  23. J. L. Wlker, Sr.

    Judd Gregg is correct. The US is running on empty. The American people are going to realize, and I hope soon, That the Obama administration and Democratic controlled house and Senate are going in the wrong direction.

    March 22, 2009 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  24. Lovell

    It is sad that Judd Gregg is quick to slammed the President but if he would have stayed on the Administration he could have set the President down and talk about this same issue and bring some Republican gender in to cut the budget. I so blank sick of GOP slamming and condeeming this administration but not one saying how can the cut the budget nor was there anyone of them out in 2000 thru 2008 slamming President Bush who is the reason this economy the way it is now. I think the plan for Obama to win because they knew how screwed up President Bush was going to leave it. So next election they can lie and may like they had all the answer and President Obama put us more in debt. Good stratgey but it might want work because me and other's like me catching on.

    March 22, 2009 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  25. bill

    What is the deal? Have all the Republicans got amnesia of the last 8 years? Have they forgotten the doubling of the national deficit after Bush inherited a surplus from a Democratic administration? Republicans, they can not think or remember.

    March 22, 2009 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
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