This is a rush transcript from "On the Record ," March 10, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: We've got Newt Gingrich tonight, Sean, so make sure that you don't go home until our show is over because the next stop is the Oval Office.
There breaking news tonight. Your Senate has just passed the massive $410 billion omnibus spending bill. Now the bill goes to President Obama. Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich joins us live. Mr. Speaker, nice to see you. And before we get to this omnibus bill, let me ask you about what the current Speaker of the House is saying right now. She's saying that we may get another stimulus bill. What do you think about that?
NEWT GINGRICH (R), FORMER SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Well, I think if you're a liberal Democrat and you want to keep taking money from the American people to pay off your political allies, that's exactly what they ought to do. I think it's exactly wrong. I think what we need -- and we said this recently with an American solutions 12 solutions for jobs and prosperity, we ought to go in a totally different direction. We ought to have a 50 percent offset to the Social Security and Medicare tax both for the employee and the employer. We ought to go to zero capital gains, which would dramatically increase your 401(k)'s value. We ought to go to the -- match the Irish corporate tax rate of 12.5 percent.
Spending more money through big government is going to make the politicians more powerful, but it's not going to make the economy prosperous.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right, I'm just going through the list. It's hard to keep track of all this money and -- we've spent -- it's all in the billions. It's so unrealistic to me. But the numbers -- I mean, the numbers are so huge. But we've had auto bailout. We've had stimulus one and maybe now stimulus two. We've had bank bailouts. We've had the omnibus bill that's $410 billion tonight that will carry us over until September 30. Then we're going to get the new budget that's an extraordinary amount of money. Exactly where are we getting this money to do this?
GINGRICH: I don't know. If you go all the way back to the Bush-Obama spending process which began with the stimulus package last year of $180 billion, so far, in extraordinary money, they've spent $2.2 trillion, plus $6 trillion in guarantees. Now, that means our children and our grandchildren for a very long time are going to pay off for the politicians of this generation who have refused to solve problems and just keep borrowing more and more money.
And frankly -- I'm in Beaumont, Texas, tonight, at the Texas Energy Museum. Part of what the president's budget does is destroy a large part of the oil and gas industry in the United States with very punitive, very anti-development, anti-independent operator, anti-exploration steps that'll make the economy weaker, not stronger. They have in that budget a $1,300 per family energy tax, which is going to hit electricity, heating oil, gasoline, natural gas. I don't think people realize how stunningly destructive this Congress and this president may be in the next two or three months.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Well, if -- I mean, we've got to find the money somehow, and it seems to me that there are a couple options. We can either borrow it from the future, through future generations, through children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren, or we can tax current - - we can tax Americans now, or we can continue to sell debt, although I don't know how much longer China's going to want to pick up a debt like this. Are those the only three sources, assuming we can't get productivity up to generate all the necessary, you know, income to try to fill in the gap? Are those the sources?
GINGRICH: You know, I spent three years in the mid-'90s negotiating with President Bill Clinton. We ultimately balanced the federal budget for four straight years. We did it while cutting taxes for the first time in 16 years, and we did it -- and we paid off $405 billion in federal debt. How did we do it? We reformed Welfare. We cut spending. We controlled the federal government.
If you ask me, I'd rather control spending than raise taxes, and I would rather find ways to reform the government than to make the taxpayer pay out of their pocket in this kind of economy. A big tax increase in this economy for the level of pain people are already in is going to increase unemployment, deepen the recession and make it harder -- you know, it was Herbert Hoover who raised taxes in the 1930s, and he deepened the Depression dramatically by two giant tax increases, one on income in 1932, and an earlier giant tax increase called the Smoot-Hawley tariff.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. So -- all right, so if we take it out of the formula, then, as being a source of trying to pay for this -- because we got to pay for it somehow -- I left out one. We could just simply print money. I guess that would be another way to sort of come up with some sort of source. I mean -- all right, so we take out taxing because that's going to throw us into a deeper dive. That leaves either borrowing from the future, like, way into the future, because of these extraordinary numbers, or borrowing more from China, and they're not too happy with us right now, but that's another story, or what?
GINGRICH: Well, I mean, first of all, control spending. I mean, the fact that this president...
VAN SUSTEREN: That's not happening.
GINGRICH: ... for all of his promises -- right. So the answer -- if you're asking me how do you pay for bad government, my answer is I wouldn't because if you try to pay for bad government, Nancy Pelosi will spend more. One of the great lessons of the Jimmy Carter years is the conservatives can never get ahead by being the book balancers for liberals.
And I think these folks are doing destructive things. I think the money they're spending is destructive. I'd frankly go back and repeal half the stimulus package. The fact is that it's bad money spent in a bad way through bad bureaucracies, and I'd be much tougher about criticizing all this and taking out things we don't need.
I think it's a tragedy that this president is not going to keep his word and veto a bill that has 9,000 earmarks.
VAN SUSTEREN: How do you think he's going to -- I mean, he's not going to -- he says he's not going to veto it. Is there any chance, do you think, tomorrow, when it gets to the Oval Office, that he'll all of a sudden think...
VAN SUSTEREN: ... Oh, my God, I've got to veto this thing?
GINGRICH: No. I was -- look, this president has made the decision that he's going to govern with the left wing of the Congress. He's going to do what Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid need to have done. He's going to do it even if it breaks all of his campaign promises.
He signed the stimulus when it clearly broke his promise we'd have five days to read a bill, and no one in the Congress had read the bill before it was passed. He's now going to sign a bill that has 9,000 earmarks, which breaks his promise not to sign earmarks.
The fact is, very rapidly, he is becoming a normal politician with a normal pattern of breaking his word. It's very sad. And it certainly eliminates the concept that this was change we could believe in. This is politics as usual...
VAN SUSTEREN: All right...
GINGRICH: ... by politicians as usual.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right, so we're -- the spending's not going to change. That's already been authorized, passed, signed, everything, and it's going to be signed tomorrow. So the spending is a done deal. Two years from now, when you and I are talking, if we haven't paid our bills, you know, if we can't pay off, you know, any of the debt, what are we going to -- I mean, what's the economy going to look like?
GINGRICH: Well, you're going to have higher inflation, you're going to have higher interest rates, unless we slide into a genuine depression. If we slide into a genuine depression, you're in a different world.
We have not had an economic problem of this size in 80 years, and I think we have to start by confronting that. Nobody alive today -- I mean, certainly, nobody who was an adult in 1929 -- is around to advise us on what to do. And the fact is, Herbert Hoover didn't handle the beginning of the Depression very well, and Franklin Delano Roosevelt didn't handle the rest of the depression very well. We still had 15 percent unemployment in 1939.
I think people should be very sober. I wish this president would slow down and actually think about the scale of change we are faced (ph) because what happened was he wrote a budget basically a year ago. He put all those ideas together at the beginning of his campaign. We now live in a different world with a different set of problems. A huge energy tax increase is a disaster. A big income tax increase is a disaster. And I think this kind of spending is unsustainable.
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, apparently, a lot of Republicans, at least on this latest omnibus spending bill -- they seem quite willing to -- like, to go along with it and let it go. I mean, there doesn't seem to be that much opposition. Why are the Republicans so ineffective at getting their message out, either agreeing with you or getting their message out to the American people?
GINGRICH: Look, I think there are a lot of Republicans who've bought into the system. I've said for a long time the two parties in America aren't Republican and Democrat, the two parties in America are a party of big government and political elites and a party of the American people, which is very different. It's the Ronald Reagan party. And sadly, a number of Republicans belong to the right wing of the party of big government. They're quite happy to be taken care of. They don't mind getting all the pork they can. And they've become, frankly, part of the problem, not part of the solution.
VAN SUSTEREN: Who disappoints you the most in the U.S. Senate in the Republican Party tonight?
GINGRICH: I'm not going to pick individual names or individual people. I am very sad that a number of Republicans do not understand that this country is sick of earmarks. They are sick of politicians taking care of themselves. They are sick of their money being spent in a way that is absolutely indefensible.
And they are, frankly, facing, I think, in primaries across this country in both parties -- I think you're going to see a steady increase in the number of incumbents who have opponents because the American taxpayers are increasingly fed up. At American solutions, we're working to help people with the April 15 taxpayers parties because we think it's good for those Americans who are fed up to communicate this April how ready they're going to be to fire some of their incumbents next year.
VAN SUSTEREN: Do you see the Dow going up today as a particularly good sign, or is that just, you know, a one-day deal?
GINGRICH: Look, I think for the moment, we're in noise. Can the government briefly spend a lot of money and get things to seem a little better? Sure. It's a lot like giving you a pain medicine when you're sick. Does that cure the disease? No. Is the government's current policy scaring money out of the market? Is the government's current policy convincing people not to invest?
Now, I've been all over the country. I was Houston and Beaumont today, talking to people here. I'll be in Detroit tomorrow. My experience, as we talk to people who are successful, they are very leery of putting any money in any serious investment, given the current attitude of Washington and the likelihood that this president and this Congress will just take it away from them.
VAN SUSTEREN: Mr. Speaker, if you'll stand by, we'll have more with you.
Up next: We're going to put that million-dollar question to Speaker Gingrich -- 2012. Well, is he running? And yes, we know. He now has a minute or two to come up with some cagey answer, but we're going to persist with the question.
Plus tonight: A mystery woman. Is she the reason Chris Brown beat Rihanna? Tonight, we may know who the woman is. We're going to tell you.
And little Caylee Anthony murdered, her remains abandoned. Decent people know it's a tragedy, others it's an opportunity, a twisted one. We're going to tell you what some are doing coming up.
VAN SUSTEREN: We continue with former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich. And there's a million-dollar question on everyone's mind. Now, I know you're going to try to dodge it, and I've seen your various answers. But let me ask you. 2012, are you thinking of running, sir?
GINGRICH: You know, I looked at the unemployment numbers on Friday, 651,000, probably going to be revised upward. I looked at the collapse of the Japanese economy, 13 percent decline in their gross domestic product in the fourth quarter.
I want to spend all of 2009 trying to develop good policies at American Solutions and at the Center for Health (ph) Transformation (ph). And I want to spend all of 2009 trying to defeat bad policies, like the effort to take away your right to a secret ballot before being forced to join a union.
I think we have such enormous problems this year that we ought to focus intensely on trying to have a national dialogue as a country to find some solutions because I think there's a very grave danger that the entire world could be pulled down into either extremely severe recession or a depression. And I think that as consequences for our lives, for our children and our grandchildren that we can't imagine today. So...
VAN SUSTEREN: I guess I...
GINGRICH: ... I just -- I know this is not the news media game, Greta, but I mean this very seriously as a citizen. We need to focus everybody on 2009 and finding solutions this year because we are on the edge of being in big trouble.
VAN SUSTEREN: And I agree, and I take that very seriously. I sort of laughed when you started because I thought you were going to make some crack about being unemployed in 2012, and I didn't mean to laugh at the concept of the unemployment, but I thought you were going to tease me back. But obviously -- obviously -- I mean, I do understand the seriousness, and I'll continue to ask you about 2012.
Let me ask you about (INAUDIBLE) what's this battle you and Rush Limbaugh are in? That's -- I mean, that's another sort of interesting side -- side story. What's with that?
GINGRICH: Look, first of all, I'm not in a battle. I've said over and over again this was a cynical White House ploy that doesn't create a single job, doesn't solve a single problem, was an effort by the White House to distract people from the 9,000 earmarks, from the massive energy tax increase that they want, from their efforts to destroy the oil and gas industry. You know, the White House understands they can't defend what they're doing, so they decided to pick a fight.
The only major difference that Rush and I have is that, frankly, I believe, as an Army brat whose father spent 27 years in the infantry that you have to want to help a president of the United States 60. Now, I think that President Obama's current policies are wrong. I'm going to do everything I can to try to change his mind. I'm perfectly prepared to fight individually on the policies that are wrong. But I don't want to spend three-and-a-half years trying to see if we can make the American president fail.
I want to spend these three-and-a-half years trying to find a way to get him to see that we need a new approach, something much closer to the American Solutions 12 steps to jobs and prosperity and get him to see that he ought to give up this effort to try to take away the right to a private ballot by citizens in a union election.
But I think that -- I just think that psychologically, as a country, every Republican I knew was deeply offended when the left attacked Bush and said they hoped he failed because we all said at that time, He's the president of United States. The election is over for right now. I'm happy to join Rush in fighting individual policies, but I would like to convince the president of the United States to do the right thing because I'd like the country to succeed in the next three-and-a-half years, not have the country fail.
VAN SUSTEREN: And I should add that while you're bouncing around Texas, you're also going to bounce up to Michigan. And we only have 30 seconds left, but in Michigan, you're going to work on health care reform, so you're working on many fronts on this stuff, right, Mr. Speaker?
GINGRICH: Well, that's right. The Center for Health Transformation, we're -- we're very fortunate being allowed to testify tomorrow on a bipartisan basis to the state senate and the state house, and I'm delighted to have a chance to talk about how we can have a better health system with lower cost. And it's a very exciting time.
VAN SUSTEREN: Indeed, it is, and a very curious time for all of us. Mr. Speaker, thank you, sir.
GINGRICH: Thank you.
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