Sen. Johnson: We're Facing Bankruptcy of America

Wisconsin senator on failing economy, lack of leadership in Washington


NEIL CAVUTO, HOST OF “YOUR WORLD”: Fox News Alert for you. Damn the bump. Enjoy the burger -- McDonald’s sales still sizzling, up more than 3 percent across the globe last month, 2.4 percent here in the U.S. of A., and that despite the slowing economy, or, maybe with folks seeking out cheaper eats, because of it. It’s hard to say.

This much is not. It is hard to keep going, especially if food prices keep climbing and the government keeps regulating, which is why Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson is worrying job-seekers could be seeing something McD- depressing.

Senator, this is the big impediment, I guess, huh?

SEN. RON JOHNSON, R-WIS.: Well, hello, Neil. Thanks for having me on.

But, no doubt about it, consumer confidence is not high. I just saw a survey that came out today that said 48 percent of Americans feel we’re heading toward a great depression. And there’s no confidence in this economy. And I don’t know why there would be.

People look at Washington, they see how horribly broken it is. The U.S. Senate has not passed a budget in over two years. And we’ve added $4.2 trillion over our debt, to our debt over the last three years. There’s just not a whole lot of confidence in the fact that we can actually solve things here in Washington.

CAVUTO: All right. So even if you were to start solving that right now, what -- what is getting in the way of companies like McDonald’s and others from -- from bad times? They’ve been having good times up until now, in fact just came off a great month. What would -- what would reverse that?

JOHNSON: Well, look, I believe it all began with the collapse of the housing bubble. And it’s just shaken everybody’s confidence. When people’s -- the value of their home has dropped so substantially, when their 401(k)’s dropped a couple years ago -- now, they‘ve come back -- but, again, we have not seen Washington actually address our long-term fiscal situation. They just seen a bunch of bickering here in Washington, and it is not getting solved. And from my standpoint, it requires presidential leadership.

CAVUTO: So, you on that...


JOHNSON: And we saw the president...

CAVUTO: That -- and back to the McDonald’s thing, you say the president’s been out to lunch. And this initiative in Northern Virginia today to get training for, I think, community college students, so that they can find factory jobs in the next few years, doesn’t -- doesn’t address the problem right now; is that the gist of it?

JOHNSON: No, I mean, let’s face it. He dropped this budget in Congress two months ago to great fanfare. That was going to be the solution to our problem.

We voted on it last week. His budget that would’ve added $13 trillion to our nation’s debt and deficit, it failed 0-97. And now, you know, let’s face it, Neil. I think we’re facing the bankruptcy -- bankrupting of America here.

And this president, rather than be engaged himself, he sent his vice president to negotiate. And what have they -- they have met about three or four times in the last month? It’s not a serious effort. This president has got to get serious.

CAVUTO: So, what would he have to do? If you have had your druthers, Senator, right now to say, get serious, get off your keister, do something real now, what would it be?

JOHNSON: Oh, I think we absolutely have to cut spending in 2012 to establish a lower baseline.

We have got to cap spending long-term. We’ve got to establish a glide path toward a balanced budget. From my standpoint, I co-sponsored Bob Corker’s Cap Act. But that doesn’t quite go far enough.

We need to put ourselves on a glide path to limiting government spending, the size of the federal government, to our long-term revenue, which is about 18.8 percent. And then I’d love to see us pass a constitutional amendment that also limits the size of government to long- term revenue, which is about 18.8 percent.

I think those three things would send the signal of a credible spending plan that Washington has gotten serious. And I think, once we send that...


JOHNSON: ... credible signal, then I think businesses will -- will be enthused about -- about spending. There’s just -- right now, capital is on strike.

CAVUTO: All right, Senator, thank you very much.

JOHNSON: Thanks for having me on.

Content and Programming Copyright 2011 Fox News Network, Inc. Copyright CQ-2011 Roll Call, Inc. All materials herein are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of CQ-Roll Call. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content.