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. Winston Smith

    dave b: George Bush …800,000,000 8 years , Comrad obama 3trill in 60 days and climbing. And if you oh so smart lefties can use a computer you can see and hear in their own words them dems that caused this mess. Yes the repubs failed to stop them and are as guilty.
    Nice little "disclaimer" there at the end of your comment, Comrade.
    I love you guys who act like YOU were on neither side.
    No doubt YOU are REPUBLICAN trying to EVADE the "personal responsibility" of the FAILINGS of YOUR PARTY'S economic policies for the past eight years.
    The PROBLEM with The Conservatives and Republican Party is they TALK about their "principles" but, they do NOT practice them.
    The Conservatives have had sitting Presidents in office for the past 20 of 29 years listen to'd think they weren't there at all.

    March 22, 2009 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  2. Craig Morris

    Where was Gregg during the 8 years prior to Obama taking office? Why didn't he comment then on the financial and moral bankruptcy the US was being driven into? Could it be because he is just another Republican politician, putting his bankrupt party ahead of country? What alternative does Gregg propose? Letting the economy continue spiraling down into oblivion, like an idiot pilot who gives up trying to fly the airplane because he thinks it's going to crash instead of taking control and saving the day?

    March 22, 2009 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  3. John Rehmann

    As has been earlier said of these Republicans, they have no standing when it comes to fiscal matters. For eight years the former administration has driven this country into the ground and only now these folks come out of the woodwork setting their hair on fire? What happened to saying something when they were in power? Sorry, it does not wash with me as it appears that screaming "the sky is falling" at this stage of the game is purely politics and their ilk is merely angling for another form of holding power.......even if it would continue to take us down the same path we have been going down. Shame on these rascals, shame.

    March 22, 2009 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  4. Mike in NM

    I'll concede that the folks who got us into this mess and those hoping to get us out of it have far greater knowledge about economics than me. But when I hear $50 TRILLION as the long-term costs of JUST the health care system (forgetting about education, defense, energy, roads, etc.), I divide that figure by, say, 100 million American households (figuring 3 per), and I get $500,000. The figures bandied about in the media seem a blend of reality and science fiction.

    Thoreau once said, "Our life is frittered away by detail... simplify, simplify!" Worldwide and within-home economics may be forcing this dictum. It's an act of faith that I presently support the direction (and means of attainment) Obama wants to pursue.

    March 22, 2009 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  5. Lucy Lancaster

    Remind me please, did Gregg cry the word 'bankruptcy' when we spent a Trillion dollars in Iraq? That spending does not invest in our own future prosperity, only to feed a few defense companies. So many poor young boys in small towns in the mid-west had to go to Iraq to send some dollars home because they could not afford college and could not find a job. Aren't you alarmed? Republicans just don't get it or just being greedy?

    March 22, 2009 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  6. Diana NJ

    We would have to be dead not to know the country is in trouble.... but I find it hard to trust this man, Mr. Gregg, who signed on with Obama... and then when he thought his party could make use of him... and the President was out of town... with drew his name..
    this is a game player... rather than someone who cares about the country

    March 22, 2009 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  7. Steve

    We would never have these problems if we had a better press corpe.
    Politions would do a better job if the press held the politicians accountable with a report card. Today the politians get away with murder and they only work 50% of the time.
    Good example with all the problems in this country and in Washington, Congress is going away next week for a spring break for
    2 weeks. It must be nice. Some even though supposedly are working, 80% of them you don't hear a peep out of them. They're asleep at the wheel, and the press doesn't wake them up.
    Sorry state in this country.

    March 22, 2009 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  8. dave b

    you have to spend money to make money ? True ... money not un ending credit. No thanks Comrad

    March 22, 2009 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  9. rightsaid

    I don't think there was any way to avoid it. No bailout or stimulus bills would also not have staved off the crisis.

    We can thank our politicians for years for this. All they are clearly concerned with is scoring political points.

    March 22, 2009 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  10. Craig

    Mr. Gregg was conspicuously absent when the Republicans were spending away a record surplus.

    Let us all know when the republicans grow some credibility.

    March 22, 2009 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  11. InTexas

    It is always interesting to listen to Conservatives on these threads make a comment like Obama is "dense" or in anyway try and tie him to this economic mess with 60 days in office. This from the party of W. and Palin. Dear God in heaven conservatives is your hatred and insecurity so great that you won't even give this man (Obama) a chance? And usually it is a $10 dollar an hour schmoe who actually works for a living with some kind of prejuice that thinks the republicans will better represent his or her interests (think Joe the plumber here).

    March 22, 2009 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  12. carolflowery

    The Constitution defines treason as specific acts, namely "levying War against [the United States], or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort."

    that video Obama sent to iran sure must fall under the aid and comfort zone, he does not speak for me

    March 22, 2009 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  13. Ron Feuer

    It looks as though God finally got around to giving the American people a bang for their buck!!! Americans are more deserving of this calamity that has befallen them than any other snooty people on God's green earth. All this reinforces my belief in the Almighty!!! This among global warming are two of the most precious gifts to befall America. Now this country is going to have to live like most other world countries have done in their past at one time or another. Very good learning experience for golf playing jellyheads!!!

    March 22, 2009 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  14. Josh

    Get rid of the Federal Reserve and the centralized banks! That is the sole answer to solving all of our problems. Give the American people a currency that is not subject to an unneeded interest rate by the only untouchable monopoly in the United States. We will never never make it out of this recession unless the government actually starts working in the interest of the people and the way to help is to get rid of this entity that has sucked this country dry since 1916. How will we ever die down the national debt when we will always owe interest to an institution that is unconstitutional and is founded on the economic slavery of our nations people. We have payed for too many unnecessary government programs run by a government that spends in the interest of politician, CEO's, bankers, and silent influences etc.. rather than the interest of the constituents that brought them to power. I find it sad that I am 17 years old and can see through the deceit that eludes the vast majority of american citizens.

    March 22, 2009 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  15. Bob

    Blame Bush, blame the repugs all you want, but the truth is that CONGRESS has done this to us. The real blame rests with both parties and especially the american people for voting these fools back into office year after year after year. Go look at the spending bills and tell me why the american public should pay 1/2 million dollars on pig farm smell clean up or whatever. Until " we the people" take back our government nothing will change and the country will become irrelevant.

    March 22, 2009 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  16. Steve

    If anyone thinks that one party is solely responsible for this mess, then you need to wake up. This has been happening for a long time and both parties are to blame.

    The war in Iraq has not helped at all and it has been a lot wasteful spending. I know all of you who are big on "War on Terror" think that is a statement that is non supportive, but that is not the case. FOr those that have been there, you see the wasteful spending in the contractors and other things that have taken place under the radar. It has to stop and we need to get out of the area or it will turn us into the bankrupt Russia just like the middle east did to that great power.

    Our leaders better wake up and take control of the peoples interest or there will be a revolt in this country that will make the "War on Terror" look like a july the 4th firework display. We are in so much trouble and so deep in debt that we are in desperate need of a new form of government.

    March 22, 2009 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  17. Simmy

    John King is peddling a Republican propagandistic agenda. Judd Gregg knows not of what he speaks. Unless he was around during the Great Depression, he needs to close his mouth. No one in this country, nor our government, has ever experienced anything like this before. What happened in the past sometimes acts as a gauge of what could happen again, but there's no guarantee that history will repeat itself. There has never been an African American president in the history of this country.

    There is a transparency of government that is unprecedented in this country. No one was paying attention to Bush. Had they done so, there might have been a "whistle blower" to alert the country to its pending collapse.

    Republicans have used the psychological manipulation of 'fear' for so long, that's it's become second nature. However, common sense should kick in at some point, and cause intelligent citizens to realize that the McCain they saw during the last election, was their brightest and best. Most Americans now know that they, (R) offer no hope for the future. In short, anything Judd Gregg says should be judged as fallacy.

    March 22, 2009 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  18. John Farren

    Every Republican who supported the neo-conservative agenda should be put on trial for treason. They sold the very fundamentals of this country down the river starting in the Ronald Reagan administration. Put every last neo-con in Gitmo, as they are the true traitors and enemy combatants attacking America.

    March 22, 2009 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  19. Bill

    Senator Gregg,

    Here is a plan to cut the spending and that is for all of Congress to work for $1.00 a year and cut your their staff by 50% and pay all of their health care cost. Also Congress should give up there pensions after they leave Washington D.C. Look at the money that would save the American tax payer.

    Please the GOP sends out a different person each week trying to sell the same old gloom and doom give it a rest please.

    March 22, 2009 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  20. Dinae

    Yeah, I remember Judd Gregg warning us back in 2003 that Bush's policies were going to bankrupt us... oops, no he didn't, never mind...

    March 22, 2009 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  21. Bill

    Senator Gregg,

    Here is a plan to cut the spending and that is for all of Congress to work for $1.00 a year and cut their staff by 50% and pay all of their health care cost. Also Congress should give up there pensions after they leave Washington D.C. Look at the money that would save the American tax payer.

    Please the GOP sends out a different person each week trying to sell the same old gloom and doom give it a rest please.

    March 22, 2009 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  22. Sue

    HELLO!! Bush did spend too much in 8 years, repubs are the first to admit it. So that makes it OK for BO to triple that number in 60 days??? His priority should be the economy!! Not March Madness, not Jay Leno, not healthcare!! Quit pretending you are still campaigning and be the president! His 2010 budget has a 8% spending increase- we don't need that now. What happened to his promise of evaluating the budget line by line..... it turned out it was to see how much he could increase it by. I am very afraid for my two year olds future!! Thanks to BO she is already in debt!!!

    March 22, 2009 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  23. vso

    Gregg is right on with his prediction. I don't think the people voted for change we can become a bankrupt nation !!

    May God have mercy upon each one of us!!!

    March 22, 2009 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  24. dave b

    Winston ...... I noticed you did not dissagree. And by todays standards JFK would be a rebulican.

    March 22, 2009 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  25. Wayne

    The republicans were behind Bush every step of the way as his policies dug us into this hole. Now they block every thing Obama tries to do to save us. In order to get out of this mess we need affordable health care, a forward looking energy policy, and to secure bank and credit system. If we don't fix all that, our recovery will fail. And unfortunately it will cost money.
    The Republicans want us to fail, because all they care about is regaining power, so they can continue to push their backward looking dogma down our throats, just like they did for the past 8 years. Gregg and his party will say and do anything possible to undermine the will of the majority of the American people

    March 22, 2009 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
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