OTR Interviews

Hatch: It's the Spending, Stupid

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," April 14, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Our next guest says it's not about the taxes, he says we have another problem. Earlier today, Senator Orrin Hatch went "On the Record."


VAN SUSTEREN: Senator, nice to see you, sir.

SEN. ORRIN HATCH, R-UTAH: Good to see you.

VAN SUSTEREN: Yesterday, the president said that he wants to raise taxes on people who make more than $250,000 a year. Is that going to happen?

HATCH: Well, he wants to raise a lot more than that. I mean, his whole approach yesterday was, "Let's raise taxes." And frankly, he has $2 trillion of taxes in his approach to it. That -- you know, it isn't a tax problem we have in this country, it's a spending problem. And he's unwilling to do anything about spending. In fact, he spent most of his time trashing Congressman Paul Ryan's budget approach. And you know, whatever you think of Paul Ryan's budget approach, it's a serious effort to try and get spending under control. And I don't see the administration doing anything about spending.

VAN SUSTEREN: What do you think about the fact that he had Paul Ryan sitting there in the front row -- Congressman Paul Ryan, and still did that? I mean, is that just politics and you guys...

HATCH: Well...

VAN SUSTEREN: You're used to that kind of thing?

HATCH: I hope he didn't invite him because it would have been pretty rude to do that. But if he did, it was rude. And you know, I don't mind people talking about issues and -- but you know, he spent a lot of time trashing -- trashing Congressman Ryan's program.

And look, if you know Paul Ryan, he's a really decent, honorable person. He's doing his best to try and get spending under control. And of course, this administration is not serious about spending. We got to fix our entitlement programs. We've got to cut spending. We've got to try and move towards a balanced budget. I mean, we've got to quit -- we've got to quit all of these colossal federal programs that are just eating us alive. And yet they seem to want to even create more.

VAN SUSTEREN: How about, though, the tax code? And the debt commission wanted to get rid of, essentially -- they called them 3,300 earmarks. And then we read this week, for instance, one giant corporation, GE, is making billions of dollars and managed -- they do it legally. They avoid taxes. But they pay no taxes. So I mean, with all this sort of concentration about on those who make $250,000, what about these big corporations?

HATCH: Well, we do need a -- we do need to reform the tax code. That's going to take a real effort. I don't think they're going to get that done this year or next. But hopefully, after 2012 and that election, we'll get it done, but it's going to take a Republican-controlled Congress to do it right.

VAN SUSTEREN: I take it you can't exonerate the Republicans in all this.

HATCH: Well, I think Republicans can do a much better job, too. I think, you know, we've -- like I say, I've been here a long time and we've never really had a fiscal conservative majority until recently. We've been getting Republicans standing together. Even our moderates have been standing together on these spending issues and on the other problems.

Look, we all know that we have to -- we have to resolve and modernize our entitlement programs and find savings there. If we don't, our kids aren't going to have Social Security like we do today. Our grandkids aren't going to have it for sure, and probably our great- grandkids won't even see anything. And that's true not only of Social Security, it's true of Medicaid and Medicare that are both well into the $30 trillion, $40 trillion of unfunded liability. I mean, when are we going to wake up and realize that it's spending that's killing this country?

VAN SUSTEREN: And waste and fraud! That's hurting, too. That's my thing -- waste and fraud!

HATCH: Well, no, wait. I should get back to that. There's no question that we can save hundreds of billions of dollars in waste and fraud if we have the desire to do so.

VAN SUSTEREN: Which would help. Wouldn't answer the problems, but it'd help.

HATCH: It wouldn't answer it, but it would go a long way towards getting everybody to get mad and getting everybody to start working together, getting everybody to do what's right. What we don't need are more taxes so Democrats can beat their breasts and say how compassionate they are with your money. I mean, that's -- that's -- they've been doing that for years and years and years, spending us blind with your money and then claiming that they're compassionate! Come on. It's good to be compassionate. It's good to take care of those who really can't take care of themselves but would if they could.

What we're doing around is taking care of a lot of people who could take care of themselves but won't. And see, that's -- that's what's killing our country. And you ask me what do we do about it? Look, I used to be a Democrat. I just couldn't stand this type of stuff. And I was a Democrat all the way through BYU, which is a conservative school. But I'm going to tell you, I woke up one day and I said, They're spending us blind. It just isn't right. And I think what we've got to do is we've got -- if we can't get conservative Democrats, we've got to get more Republicans so that we really can make these changes.

And I'll be darned -- I'm ranking on the Finance Committee now. If I become chairman in 2013, I expect to make sure Republicans do what's right with regard to these spending programs and see what we can do to tone this down and go after waste, fraud and abuse like it's never been gone after before. I think you know me. I think you know I mean that and I think you know that I'll do it.

VAN SUSTEREN: Senator, thank you, sir.

HATCH: Nice to be with you.

VAN SUSTEREN: Nice to see you.