111th Congress Accumulates More Debt Than First 100 Congresses Combined
This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," December 28, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
TUCKER CARLSON, GUEST HOST: The members of the 111th Congress which just came to a close didn't excel at very much but they were really good at one thing, spending your money.
I'm Tucker Carlson in tonight for Sean Hannity. According to the U.S. Treasury, this Congress managed to accumulate more debt -- over $3 trillion to be exact -- than the first 100 Congresses combined. That is quite an accomplishment. Take it this way. The amount of debt massed by this Congress is equal to $10,429 for every single man, woman and child in this country, all 208 million.
But the disturbing news does not end there. And emergency fund set up by the Federal Reserve seems to have had a different impact than its architects intended or at least then they advertised. The fund which provided banks with short term loans in order to boost confidence in our financial system gave over half of those loans to foreign banks.
I'm glad your tax dollars helped the rest of the world out of an economic slump, but I wonder if our lawmakers realize that we here in this country are still stuck. The question is, will the new Republican majority in the House be able to do anything about the out of the control spending that appears to be ingrained in the culture of Washington?
Joining me now with their analysis are former White House press secretary and Fox News contributor, Dana Perino. And from the Wall Street Journal, Stephen Moore.
Thanks a lot for joining us. Dana, I want to throw up a piece of tape that will bring you back to the beginning of the Congress before this one. We all had very high hopes of course Democrats coming in, controlling for the first time in many years, the Congress, the levers of power. Here was Nancy Pelosi, the incoming speaker's prediction for what they were going to accomplish. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. NANCY PELOSI, D-CALIF.: After years of historic deficits, this 110th Congress will commit itself to a higher standard. Pay as you go. No new deficit spending.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: All politicians lie, let's stipulate that. But that really is one for the record books. In fact, that's probably number one on my personal top 10 list. What happened Dana?
DANA PERINO, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, that could have been followed by President Obama's statement at the press conference that he held right before he went to Hawaii for his Christmas vacation where he said that the last Congress was the most productive in generations. And boy was he right. It is just that the result of that was a little bit different than what most people would have thought of as progress.
I think one of the things you see happening here is that Americans feel like they are running a race with lead weights on their ankles and they're looking at the federal government saying, this has got to stop. We know it's got to stop. And we can't keep doing this nickel and diming anymore. We are going to have to be serious, we're going to eat a lot of spinach. And it will be interesting to see what President Obama's budget comes forward with. Already today, they've said, they're going to delay it a week. I can understand it, a week doesn't seem like it's so much time. But they've got to figure out a lot of things because out of the gate, this country is going to want to see some serious spending cuts.
CARLSON: I think that is exactly right. That is the mandate. Steve, I think we agree this Congress comes to Washington with, that's what the Tea Party activists want. That's what a lot of Americans want. And I know the Republicans have intentionally kept their plans under wraps. They don't want to be criticized before them before they have a chance to try to enact them. But it make me feel better, convince me, if there is in fact a plan to cut spending in a radical way. Is there?
STEPHEN MOORE, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: Well, you know -- Hi Tucker and hi Dana, you know, Dana, you just don't seem to understand the definition I guess of a productive Congress as one that racks up a record amount of debt. The more debt they have, the more productive they are. But this is the kind of insane fiscal policy we've had now for the last three or four years. And your question Tucker is, will Republicans, you know, recapture the kind of fiscal conservatism that we saw back in 1994 and '95? And it's a hard question to answer.
But I'll tell you this Tucker, the first thing that Republicans have to do if they are going to get this budget under control is Obamacare has got to be repealed. Because, remember, all of those debt numbers that you cited at the beginning of the show, those don't include any of the class, of the largest new entitlement program in 25 years which is Obamacare that puts 30 million more people under government insurance. We can't even afford the health insurance programs that we have.
So, that will be step number one. Step number two, very quickly, I would take a hatchet to this government spending programs, at 15 to 20 percent across the board cut in every agency of government, as a way of bringing those baseline spending numbers down.
CARLSON: And yet, I think you are exactly right. And yet Dana when asked, the incoming speaker John Boehner -- and it's probably not entirely fair -- but he was asked by Leslie Stahl on CBS, what is your plan for cutting government and he bragged about the several million dollars that he planned to save by cutting Congressional Office Budgets.
Now, I assume that there's a lot more than that waiting, we haven't heard the details, but I assume we will. My question to you is, do you think the incoming leadership understands the magnitude of the problem and the magnitude of the response required? They really have to need to do something like Steve just suggested in order to prove to the rest of us that they get it, that they mean it, they really are going to cut spending for the first time in a generation.
PERINO: Yes, I think they get it. I also think they'll going to find a willing president and a lot of Senate Democrats who are probably willing to show that they are willing to cut spending as well.
But let's go back to the Republicans that just saw a major wave election go their way for one reason. And it was the issue of spending. And when people on the Democratic side try to say that health care wasn't as big a concern to people, that is, I think that is disingenuous because -- or at least they're not looking at the full picture because people equate that with the economy and spending as Steve said.
So, take then Tucker what you just said that $10,000, per person, and think about the people, I think it was about half of the country actually doesn't pay federal income taxes. And so, that burden is actually much greater for the majority of people.
And let me add one other thing. You have a bunch of new committee chairman coming in, Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin who wrote the road map for a better economic future for America. He came out a year ago, he had this road map. Immediately, people from the left and the right started criticizing him for wanting to privatize Social Security.
PERINO: He got ridiculed. He took a lot of beatings. And, you know what? He came out of that stronger. And so, I think that in some ways, that third rail of politics, the Social Security and entitlements, has been touched, starting in that 2005 with President Bush in an effort that did not succeed, it failed to try to reform Social Security.
But now, I think people realize that we're going to have to do it. So, what I would say to everybody is as soon as these House Republicans put something on the table that is going to be drastic cuts, don't immediately freak out. Listen to them. And let them have a little bit of time to show us what their ideas are.
MOORE: You know, Tucker, it's interesting --
CARLSON: If you look at the numbers, Steve, though, Medicare even more perilous condition than Social Security and you don't hear anyone, I don't and I live in Washington, on either side, suggest seriously addressing it, do you?
MOORE: I don't. And it has to be addressed, we have to Medicaid for example which is the other big health care program which is half paid for half by the states. You know, the scary thing about that program, Tucker is, that program isn't just bankrupting the federal government, it is bankrupting states as well. So, that's the big one that has to be cut.
You know, I have an idea that I would like to toss out for my republican friends out there. Let's look at whole cabinet agencies. And let's look at the Department of Education, that's a program -- that department that has been around for 30 years, Jimmy Carter created it. And let's ask the question, are the schools better today than they were 50 years ago before we had the Department of Education? Most people would say hell no. And what about the Department of Energy? Let's get rid of that one. Department of Commerce. All that doesn't hand out corporate welfare. So, I'm thinking whole departments of government could be eliminated.
CARLSON: That was the dream in 1994. We were there Steve.
CARLSON: I'm wondering what happened to it.
MOORE: That's right.
PERINO: Back to the future.
CARLSON: Back to the future.
Let's try again. Thanks very much both of you.
MOORE: You have to change out.
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