As US debt hits $16 trillion, Ryan hammers his message home
September 4th, 2012
08:22 PM ET
10 years ago

As US debt hits $16 trillion, Ryan hammers his message home

Cedar Rapids, Iowa (CNN) - As the nation's debt eclipsed $16 trillion on Tuesday, Republican running mate Rep. Paul Ryan accused President Barack Obama of more broken promises and lacking leadership on the issue.

"I don't see the debt clock at the convention this week," said Paul after he reminded his audience that Republicans had a debt clock at their convention last week in Tampa. "The problem is, the president keeps kicking the can down the road. No leadership on this issue."

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Democrats were convening for their three-day convention in Charlotte as Ryan campaigned in Eastern Iowa, his second campaign stop of the day.

"This is a serious threat to our economy. Of all the broken promises from President Obama, this is probably the worst one because this debt is threatening jobs today, it is threatening prosperity today and it is guaranteeing that our children and grandchildren get a diminished future," he said.

The House Budget Committee chairman played a prominent role in drafting the Republican Party's 2012 budget proposal that became known as the Ryan budget plan. It passed in the House of Representatives but failed in the Senate, which Ryan often points out has not passed a budget in three years.

House Republican Policy Committee Chairman Tom Price said in a press release Tuesday that members "have drafted, debated, and passed a budget that includes responsible reforms that would eliminate our federal budget deficits and pay down our national debt, all while growing our economy and spurring job creation. We call on President Obama and the Democrat-led U.S. Senate to join us in earnest, meaningful efforts to limit government spending, promote economic growth through free enterprise and entrepreneurship, and get America out of this crippling debt. Our economy, our national security and our future prosperity depend on it."

Obama's reelection team, meanwhile, released a statement saying Ryan is the "last person to lecture on the debt."

"[Ryan] was a rubber stamp in Congress for the policies that turned surpluses into deficits, putting two wars on the credit card, voting for a prescription drug benefit without paying for it, and fighting for tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans when they weren't asking for them," Obama campaign spokesman Danny Kanner said.

Iowa Republican Gov. Terry Branstad who appeared with Ryan at Kirkwood Community College, weighed in.

"Thanks to President Obama's fiscal irresponsible policies we have seen our national debt rise by over $5 trillion dollars just as he took office. We've suffered through four straight trillion-dollar deficits and an unprecedented downgrading of our credit rating," Branstad said. "Forty percent of the federal budget is borrowed money. This is a far cry from what candidate Obama promised in 2008."

Filed under: 2012 • Budget • Paul Ryan
soundoff (60 Responses)
  1. Ancient Texan

    Asturiano- Nope! A homes program for folks that could not afford them started by Jimmy Carter and expanded by Bill Clinton caused the housing bubble to burst along with repeal of Banking Regulations that happened under bill Clinton in 1999. When the bubble burst the whole economic system came down with it.

    September 4, 2012 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  2. Marty, FL

    Lyin' Ryan fails to mention he and Romney would grossly increase deficits by $5 trillion, while Pres. Obama's plan actually reduces deficits by $2 trillion going forward.

    Non-partisan Tax Policy Center

    September 4, 2012 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  3. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    I think that part of the problem is that there was never an attempt to pay for the military conflicts that were (and are being) fought. If that had been done, then there would be less of a problem. If there had been an attempt to pay for the Medicare prescription plan and the massively too large spending bills that the Republican controlled Congress passed.

    September 4, 2012 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  4. T'sah From Virginia

    ►As US debt hits $16 trillion, Ryan hammers his message home◄ and out the BACK DOOR!
    But was Paul Lyan"s message another LIE? – It's very difficult to believe him anymore!
    And after watching the debate-video tonight on Ted Kennedy and "FLIP-FLOP" Romney
    Romney's NO BETTER than his Number 2 – AMERICA – Please – Open your eyes so you can see!!!!

    Romney – The "multiple choice" candidate!!!

    Obama 2012 – The Only Trusted Way Forward!!!

    Obama 2012 – The Only Trusted Way Forward!!

    September 4, 2012 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  5. yasmine

    Ryan and the GOP have amnesia....they freely forget pre-2009

    September 4, 2012 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  6. Emerson

    Leadership says there has to be a tax hike as well as cuts to superflous programs and a reformatiom of the tax code to close loopholes created by lobbyists.
    Partisan ideologues like yourself ,Mr. Ryan, want to cut only social programs and cut taxes and will leave in all of the tax breaks for the 1%. Please explain how that cuts the deficit or qualifies as leadership.

    September 4, 2012 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  7. labman57

    I continue to find it quite perplexing that so many conservative politicians who purport to have business/fiscal savvy insist that the national deficit is solely the result of excessive spending, and that huge tax cuts for the ultra-wealthy and gaping corporate tax loopholes are irrelevant to this issue.

    Reality check - The federal tax burden of the average American taxpayer is at its lowest in the past 30+ years. In addition, many corporations do not pay their fair share of taxes due to gaping loopholes that their well-paid tax attorneys are only too happy to exploit.

    The net effect has been a dramatic decrease in federal revenue, which has made a significant contribution to the current federal deficit and rising national debt. And yet, Republicans insist that additional tax cuts for corporations and the wealthiest Americans will somehow help to improve the national economy reduce the federal deficit.

    This would be akin to a CFO standing before the company's investors at a stockholders meeting, attempting to convince the crowd that the reason why the company has not turned a net profit during the current fiscal year has nothing whatsoever to do with the fact that revenues are down 50%, and that the red ink is solely the result of too much overhead.

    Attempting to reduce the deficit (let alone balance the budget) without increasing federal revenues is banal, frequently regurgitated conservative talking point that virtually every established economist has denounced as pure ideological nonsense.

    The CFO would be pelted with moldy cabbages, so why aren't the Republicans who make the same inane statements reeking of rotten vegetation?

    It's not about whether or not to generate additional tax revenue. It's all about which subset of Americans can provide the extra revenue with the least detrimental impact on their essential needs.

    September 4, 2012 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  8. Marilyn

    Did he mention that his votes and his party put us there, I don't think so, I guess he left that out. Shameful!

    September 4, 2012 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  9. Dan B

    Even if you are a liberal you can't dispute the facts, Obama debt in 4 years is greater than Bush's debt in 8 years, no matter what way Democrats try to spin it. Obama's job creation can't even keep up with population growth. Why would we expect anything different a second time around?

    September 4, 2012 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  10. GonzoinHouston

    Labman57 nailed it! And just for fun, which economic group benefited the most from the W tax cuts, which are still in effect? Who benefited most from the various bailouts. Granted, millions benefited in ways great and small, but who got the most? Which group has seen its share of the national wealth consistently increase for the past 30 years?
    Maybe this group should contribute the most when things go downhill.

    September 4, 2012 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  11. Bill

    President Obama keeps kicking the can down the road...You mean like every past President did with health care reform? Yeah and I'm sure Romney has great plans to fix the economy...I just wish he would tell us what those plans are...

    September 4, 2012 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  12. Lisa P

    Dan B

    Even if you are a liberal you can't dispute the facts, Obama debt in 4 years is greater than Bush's debt in 8 years, no matter what way Democrats try to spin it. Obama's job creation can't even keep up with population growth. Why would we expect anything different a second time around?
    September 4, 2012 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm
    Because this time Obama isn't starting in the hole that Bush dug, and, God willing, with a Democratic Congress maybe he can also finally shut down the automatic digging machine that Bush left in the hole, the back-loaded boondoggle tax cuts that were supposed to expire of their own accord in 2010, until the teahadists came along. And love Obama or hate him, you have to admit that he's shutting down the Iraq and Afghanistan military money pits as well - more relief for the national pocketbook.

    September 4, 2012 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  13. Dave R.

    There was no deficit when Bush took office but it was nearly $12Tril when he left and unemployment nearly doubled during that time!! The Republicans refuse to acknowledge that Bush ever existed but they are the ones who have dug the deep hole that this country must now dig itself out of.

    September 4, 2012 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  14. Thomas

    @Dan B
    Even if you are a liberal you can't dispute the facts, Obama debt in 4 years is greater than Bush's debt in 8 years, no matter what way Democrats try to spin it. Obama's job creation can't even keep up with population growth. Why would we expect anything different a second time around?

    Most of the spending the Bush administration made didn't take effect until after Obama took office. Have you ever looked at the way the bush administration bundled there budget ? The total cost of all the wasted spending for two ten year wars didn't end the day he ran out of office.

    Your crazy pal , and where was your little runner boy and what bills did he support during your grand GW Bush legacy ?

    September 4, 2012 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  15. Squigman

    Of the 16 trillion, how much was added to the pile by President Obama? Of the 16 trillion, how much is due to the two wars, and the tarp program? If it's not too much to ask, how many reading this know, or care about the deficit when their own personal finances are circling the drain? Answer: Apparently not that many.Too many cars parked at the local bars, too many smokers, too much money being used to line G-strings and too much time being wasted on complaining, when the fixes are within the grasp of the populace. But hey. who wants to tread on personal freedoms. Answer: Republicans.

    September 4, 2012 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  16. Bob

    So they want the shut down the government and not provide any disaster relief done by Issac in the east and various wildfires in the west? Listen closely to how they think the government should be run. They want it to run paycheck to paycheck with 0 savings, and no credit card.

    September 4, 2012 10:43 pm at 10:43 pm |
  17. fullclarity

    There wasn't any truth-ometer at the GOP convention, either. Should have been. And, of course, Ryan had nothing at all to do with the deficit spending, now did he?

    September 4, 2012 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |
  18. T'sah From Virginia

    I like this guy Castro – For some reason, his story seems real and not fabricated!!

    Obama 2012 – The Only Trusted Way Forward!

    September 4, 2012 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  19. Lisa P


    There wasn't any truth-ometer at the GOP convention, either. Should have been. And, of course, Ryan had nothing at all to do with the deficit spending, now did he?
    September 4, 2012 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm
    Smarter people than me have noted that the National Debt Clock and the large sign proclaiming "We Built It!" shared the stage at the RNC for four days. Coincidence? Or connection? The truth-o-meter may have been staring us all in the face the whole time.

    September 4, 2012 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
  20. mikle

    Obama promise : in first term I Obama will cut debt in 1/2. Nobody even talk about anymore. How Obama can look in eyes of American people after this broken promises.??? H. Clinton has it :shame on you Barak Obama.

    September 4, 2012 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  21. dd

    Don't people understand that the national debt issue is the banking crisis created by Obama? Banks were accused of killing world economies for investing in things they didn't have the cash to support. This is the Obama Plan! Why doesn't the news tell the people that Obama is all about causing debt to Americans?

    September 4, 2012 11:17 pm at 11:17 pm |
  22. g

    bush put 12 trillion of that on his charge card –where is bush

    September 4, 2012 11:31 pm at 11:31 pm |
  23. DJESQ

    Ryan – you waste your time ...
    ... those of us who understand it will not vote for BO ... those who cannot see the rapidly approaching cliff don't have a clue ...
    ... waste of time ...

    September 4, 2012 11:36 pm at 11:36 pm |
  24. enuftrashtalk

    If Mr. Ryan is so fascintated with the "debt clock", perhaps he'd like to turn it back about 9 years and explain why his Party decided to take the budget out of balance.

    The GOP has no credibility to keep harping on deficits. If they hadn't taken the budget out of balance in 2003, the US would have been in a much better position to weather the financial crash of 2008. One has to think they had a back room agenda to bring back deficits so they could claim, at some future time, that Social Security and Medicare were unustainable. (If budgets had been kept in surplus up to 2008, no one would even be having the conversation.)

    September 4, 2012 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  25. avtrec9

    I am a Democrat but this year my vote will go to Romney/Ryan. I look back on what Obama promised going into the 2008 elections; taking into account the words he used, and not those we hear in all the ads against him this election cycle, he and he alone misled the people of this country. Transparency – what happened there? Cutting the deficit in half – sounded good at the time. We are not blue states and red states, we are the United States – then why use words like 'enemy' when describing those that disagree with your policies? Job creation – millions of new jobs created but word comes out now that approximately 58% of those new jobs are low paying jobs. Not exactly what our economy needs when we now have more and more people on food stamps and one out of every 6 citizens in poverty. 8.3 percent unemployment but the actual numbers are much higher if only all the factors were taken into consideration. I could go on and on but the fact is that the hope and change slogans were just empty words; now replaced with a slogan of forward that will, in time, prove to be another hollow promise. The fact is that people are hurting in this country and around the world; and, instead of working together to find solutions time is wasted on getting an upper hand on the others. We need someone with leadership skills, not someone that seems likeable and will share a beer with the buds.

    September 4, 2012 11:54 pm at 11:54 pm |
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