Hannan: US debt is everyone's problem

This is a rush transcript from "Your World," August 30, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST OF "YOUR WORLD": Well, if he wants to get ready for that speech he might want to take tips from my next guest, Daniel Hannan, of course, who became famous years ago for taking on a prime minister of Britain who was spending out of control.

Daniel Hannan, an E.U. member, more or less said it's got to stop. What I always admired about Daniel then and do today is he told the guy that to his face. A lot of politicians say horrible things, but then to the guy's face, like, hi, how are doing?

Not Daniel Hannan, who joins me right now. He's part of a foreign delegation here, I guess, right, Daniel...


CAVUTO: ... that is saying don't do as we do.

I am trivializing it, but your warning is what?

HANNAN: I am terrified by that clip you just showed us. I am terrified.

I keep on looking over your shoulder at these clocks. I find it amazing as a visitor to this country that anybody should be talking about anything other than the economy -- $16 trillion is an inexpressible sum. I just -- I do not have the vocabulary to begin to convey the seriousness of that figure.

CAVUTO: But it's the seriousness of that figure that is hard to relay to people. How would you do it?

HANNAN: Right. How do you break it down? One president has added more debt than all the other 43 who went before him. You take your pick. But --


CAVUTO: A lot of people see that and know debt in our country, Daniel, and they say, been there, done it, kind of used to that, it's sad, don't like, but it is what it is.

HANNAN: However, people have noticed they are worse off than they were 12 months ago. They're expecting to be worse off still in 12 months time.

And it is therefore to me quite extraordinary as a friend of America and of American democracy to come here and find people talking about gay marriage and Todd Akin and all these kind of -- I am not saying that these may not be important issues at another time. But given the immediacy and the urgency of this issue, I think it is incredible.

My kids are inheriting the same debt that anybody else is. This is the single biggest factor in their lives. Our generation is passing on to them a debt that it is not prepared to pay itself. I think it is immoral. And it's economically unsupportable.

CAVUTO: Your country can get sidetracked too by Prince Harry, but I digress.


CAVUTO: Do you think, though, in all seriousness, that -- we say the world is always ready for tough love. But in places like Greece, and Portugal, and Italy, when you have to really get down to the brass tacks, don't tack me.

And the rap, fairly or not, against this ticket is they're going to try and do that and Democrats are ready to just nail them.


CAVUTO: What do you do?

HANNAN: Well, you are right about those countries. Those countries have been to some extent infantilized by massive external spending.

People have been encouraged to try and find their income from outside by working for the E.U., by getting subsidies. And particularly in the Greek elections, I think that the electorate frankly voted in a childish way, they wouldn't accept responsibility.

I am looking to the American people to show that they are bigger than that, to show that they are their parents' children, to live up to the principles on which this republic was founded, and to understand that they have a responsibility to take -- to look after themselves when their government won't. You cannot contract out the defense of your freedom to somebody else.

CAVUTO: You know, I remember when you took on Gordon Brown and he was just sloughing you off or trying to ignore you at the time.

It was the closest thing to what we have in this country called the presidential debate, and I'm wondering in a forum like that, it's Mitt Romney and Barack Obama. What does he do? Does he address the president directly on it? Does he look him in the face and say, you have compounded this?

Or does he wait for the president to come back and say, well, your party is a jolly good one -- he wouldn't say jolly good one because actually you are British -- but he would say, it is a little rich of you to judge me on spending when Republicans spend a lot of money. In other words, how would Daniel Hannan handle that inevitable attack, you are a fine one to say, boom?

HANNAN: Right.

I was no admirer of the previous Republican administration on fiscal questions. I suspect I have that in common with some of the people watching. It is perfectly true to say that there is blame on both sides for the mess that the U.S. is in. The question is how you get out of it.

Now we've had four years during which that debt clock has been ticking along scarily. And I've got to tell you guys, this is not just a domestic problem for you, right? If Bolivia goes bankrupt, that is a containable problem. The U.S. is not Bolivia.

It become everyone's problem. It becomes our problem. So what is interesting to me is how do you get out of where you are now. It is not going to be easy. The first thing is to be open and honest about the sacrifices that are required to rely on people's patriotism and their courage and to come forward with a plan.

I was listening very carefully to Paul Ryan last night, he's got a plan. You may not think it is the perfect plan, but at least it is a road map to balance the budget, to tackle welfare, and to get the debt down. We know what the alternative is because we have been living through it for nearly four years now.

CAVUTO: Daniel, always fun to seeing you, in person no less. Be well. Enjoy.

HANNAN: I agree. Always nice to see you.

CAVUTO: Enjoy your time here.


CAVUTO: Daniel Hannan. This guy is a rock star in this building. I think they wanted to run him for office here.

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