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. Mary

    It seems that this country has been in a mess starting back with Clinton but more over when Bush came into office. now with the new President, he will have to so what ever it takes to bail the last two Presidents out. I t is a shame that ll these people who seem to know what a mes this country is in did not speak up when thy knew what was taking place and before it got to the point of bail out. AIG shoul be sued by the people of the U.S and any of the administtration that is left over from before should be put out of D.C eliminated from any part of the administration, clean house and get some that are some what honest and caring about the country but will try to do the job they have been elected to do not just line their own pockets and repay favors they agreed to.

    March 22, 2009 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  2. dave b

    Hey BC I'm going to join you in Texas , You need to move to the right to get along! Listen to comrad obama . Moving away from your beliefs to get along is GOOD.

    March 22, 2009 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  3. Nina from Georgia

    His comments proves he is all for himself and career vs. being for his country. He had the opportunity to have the president's ear and put his expertise to work in order to turn this country's ecomony around. The president is not George Bush, his ears are burning for solutions. Why would someone so full of advise step away from this opportunity, I SAY IT'S POLITICS!! By the way, should Mr. Gregg have try will all his might to burn up George Bush's ear and if not his the press all those many years he was in office about this catastrophe? Now it is too late he is just a talking head in my book!!

    March 22, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  4. lb

    I have no hatred or insecurity towards Obama. I have an education and a free thinking mind to realize we are desperately headed down the wrong road. Printing all these "Barry bucks" is not going to help this economy. I am a patriot who firml;y believes in our constitution and why this country was founded. Not for big government.
    Would you like me to tell you what is wrong with Canadian health care? Does your country have security concerns? You don't have the same issues and the US has no choice with our boarder to step in when needed.

    March 22, 2009 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  5. christina

    John King lost his credibility or to make me listen to his sunday morning program because he allow the republicans to be the talking points of his Program and block President's agenda and crusifing all his administration staff!!

    March 22, 2009 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  6. Sea.gem

    he didn't join the Obama team because Obama showed his was an empty gesture. He took Commerce control to the White House.

    The Bama has his zombie's out this weekend trying to drum up more support...his 'army" as he calls them...sounds more like the facist brown-shirts of the late 30s and 40s...

    March 22, 2009 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  7. Scott, Tucson

    Wanna know whose fault it really is?

    Ours, by electing and re-electing representatives of either party who stop representing the American people once they're in office and we do nothing about it. It's our fault when our politicians ignore us when we want our borders secured, balance the budget (we have to live by one) illegal immigration laws enforced, compliance with the Constitution and we do nothing about it.

    March 22, 2009 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  8. Diane from NC

    Senator Gregg is making sense. I wish he would reconsider taking that job he was offered in the Obama Administration. With his clarity, he could actually help our country out of this mess.

    March 22, 2009 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  9. Dave G

    First, People are scared because they think Obama will keep spending like this forever. That's not his plan. Obama will cut way back on spending once the economy gets back on its feet.

    Second, tax cuts have the same effect on our deficit as spending. They both increase the debt.

    Third, nobody talks about how big the deficit would be if we didn't stimulate the economy. Increased unemployment benefits and decreased tax revenues will also increase the deficit. So if spending stimulates the economy, it may not increase the deficit over what it would have been with no stimulus.

    March 22, 2009 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |

    You neo-con dogs bankrupted this country. Save your "God and Hate" and pius indignation for someone who is buying it. Kiss off.

    March 22, 2009 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  11. mary

    This proves that Obama has an agenda. He does not care what happens to this country as long as he is able to push through his ideology. I wonder if the people who support him now will support him when they continue to be unable to find a job. I think we are looking at a one term president and things may change drastically in 2010 when people go to elect new reps.

    March 22, 2009 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  12. Tristan

    Reaganomics has already bankrupt America. Those of us with rudimentary math skills have been awaiting this grand realization for 28 years. I'm just thankful that our current president isn't an idiot, maybe the country can still be salvaged.

    March 22, 2009 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  13. Sea.gem

    ...btw...the non-partisan CBO has said the same thing...there is too much money being spent and not nearly enough will come in...this is common sense people! You can't pay for your house and insurance, nor can the government, with empty campaign "Hope" checks...the charade is over...time for real thinkers not cocktail hosts.

    March 22, 2009 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  14. SD,Michigan

    Ah, John Kings strikes again. First Dick Cheney , now this guy.....
    Fox Junior with exquisite reporting, LOL

    March 22, 2009 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  15. Pierre

    AIG took on bad debt. Government bailed them out. Government is taking on bad debt. Who is going to bail out government???

    When will people learn from of history?

    March 22, 2009 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  16. dave b

    Eli ... dems don't let facts get in the way of a good Bush Bash.

    Obama is using stats like a drunk uses a light post ......for support...not illumination.

    March 22, 2009 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  17. M J

    Commie Obama? Comrade Pelosi? The comments by some here are so delusional I really wonder about the sanity of this nation. To save mine I'm saying buh bye.

    March 22, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  18. Texas Teacher

    Well, except for Anonymous' comment I had not read any of the others. I am very well pleased to see that almost everyone agrees with me. And I wager that most of the Population of this Nation agrees with us... well, of course, except for the ones who are swayed easily by Rush Limbaugh and his ilk (Republicans). Please, CNN, pay attention to most of us! I suspect we are more of a barometer for the rest of the Nation than Republicans and Right wing Fanatics! 🙂

    March 22, 2009 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  19. pete at the beach

    Im so tired of the Pharisees-I agree with anonymous we are already bankrupt–40 years of the right wing gutting has brought us to our knees –everyone except the right knows this. First we had chicken hawks ready to fight wars with your body now we have chickens clucking away about Obama just shut up Gregg you were part of the collapse lining your pockets at the peoples expense–then when you had the chance to have influence and actually risk something you hid–now coming out and "prophesizing "what took place under rethugs. This is the problem just like Palin blasting obamas mis step on leno just after she CUT spending on special olympics and special needs kids

    March 22, 2009 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  20. Nathan

    Bankruptcy of the United States of America is inevitable.


    The sooner it happens, the better off we will all be.

    I say DEFAULT NOW!

    March 22, 2009 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  21. john dupree

    1. The leadership of this country had to do something to keep the economy from continuing to dry up by ending the reverse multiplier effect as people spend less leading to more layoffs, business closings, foreclosures, etc.
    2. Economic planners emphasis that the objective is to get the ball rolling now with large amounts of stimulus and then later rein in the hefty deficits and related spending to avoid major inflation and large deficits. A strong economy can grow its way out of deficits.
    3. Most critics only want to talk about the increased spending aspects and downsides, not the down-the-road adjustments we all should hope are implemented at the right time. If so we may well get away with this tightrope walk.

    March 22, 2009 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  22. Thomas Mack

    It may not be such bad thing for the country to go bankrupt. We could use a fresh start. We could come out of it with a different set of priorities. Part of me wants to say to hell with it, and sit back and watch us all drown in a sea of our own cellophane wrappers and bio-degradable packaging peanuts. We could stand to learn our lessons about greed. When I was younger, I spent every penny that I earned trying to buy my way into the American dream. While America encouraged me as I spent my way into certain oblivion, luckily, she also forgave me in the way of bankruptcy. If I still had to be burdened by the debts of my inept idealized youthful overspending, I wouldn't be contributing much to the economy, well with the exception of helping fund the creditors of hospitals and payday lenders. I guess what I am really getting at, is that wherever we end up, we need to make sure that it makes us look back and learn, and while being somewhat unrelated, yet tied into the democratic life cycle, we must also remember that no democracy has ever lasted past the 250 year mark without drastically changing or dying out. May we be the first!

    March 22, 2009 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  23. GL in NC

    I am not a war monger. However on the Truman comment made in a previous comment, the US has had the greatest weapon ever devised by mankind. Having such as weapon and allowing religion to keep it from being used when it should have been on several wars that we have had in the past, is a mistake. To be the strongest country in the world, as we have prided ourselves, one must resort to using our best weapons in wars that we are involved in . Our decisions to not use atomic energy in our last three failed wars have cost us deeply. Now the rest of the world views us as cowards....and HELL...they are on the Mark!!! Our economy is secondary to this a sense it has been created by our ignorance...Lord Byron in 1826 made the remark "Wealth Makes Cowards of US all". Was he not right???

    March 22, 2009 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  24. Melissa

    I am not concerned in the slightest. Obama has integrity. He has carefully employed very skilled advisors. His campaign was run exceptionally showing exemplary decision making and ultimately, the underdog by a long shot won the prize. He is a smart man... he is calculated and watchful. It's also been 60 days. He's done more in that short time than Bush did in his last two years. Those that choose to scrutinize and insult are making no effort to support the efforts to get this country back on track. Stop the stone throwing people. Start the effort to rebuild. We ALL played a role in this. We ALL will have to play one to get out of it.

    March 22, 2009 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  25. Fatima

    Where was Sen Gregg over the last eight years when the Bush administration was spending billions in the unnecessary war in Iraq, tax cuts for the rich and bind bogglinh de-regulation causing the crisis we are in today? Even if is concerned, I don't see only finger pointing and no alternate suggestions here. It is funny that we never heard one peep from him during the Bush administration.

    March 22, 2009 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
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