Sen. Portman: US deficit is 'going in the wrong way'

This is a rush transcript from "Your World," July 22, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Deficit-shcmeficit. To hear some Democrats tell it, Republicans should just stuff it, no big stink, because not as much red ink. Even some newspaper columnists weighing in convinced that a deficit of less than 500 million bucks is proof that we're actually rolling in the bucks.

Ohio Republican Senator Rob Portman begs to differ.

Senator, boy, all of a sudden, we get to only half-a-trillion and we think we are rolling in the dough.


Neil, huge problem. As you know, the Congressional Budget Office, which is a nonpartisan group up here that tells us what is going on with the budget, says not so. They say the deficit is getting worse, not better. They say $10 trillion more is going to be added in the next 10 years.

Then they say in the 10 years after that, another $30 trillion. And then in the 10 years after that, they suggest another $70 trillion. So, look, it's going the wrong way.

CAVUTO: All right.

So if it's not as much of a focus point or worry, how do Republicans remind people that every time you pile up more deficits, bigger deficits, whether they are of the same type they were a few years ago, they are just being added to our debt? How do you bring that home to people?

PORTMAN: Well, I think a couple of ways.

One is, you talk about how it does affect our economy even today, and there's plenty of economic studies out there showing this. But as you have bigger and bigger debts and deficits, you're not leaving enough room for the private economy, it does impact our economy today.

And we need do a better job of explaining that. And then, second, we have got to talk about our kids. They are getting left saddled with this. And I think most Americans do not believe that their children and grandchildren ought to be left paying for the excesses of our generation.


CAVUTO: Do you ever get the feeling, though, Senator, people come back to you and say, blah, blah, blah, we will worry about it later on?

And now we have had this type -- best way I could compare this is we're in the eye of the storm. It's passing over, relatively calm, and to your point we know this is going to accelerate and get worse in future years as our generation starts retiring and the like.

But it falls on deaf ears.

PORTMAN: Well, the other way to talk about it, Neil, to be sure people do get it is to put it in terms of the household budget. We're talking about a fundamental disconnect here between the way Americans have been told they have got to live their lives and the way the federal government lives its life. And people have to understand that they would be bankrupt if they did what the federal government does, which is to spend way more than it takes in every year.

And, by the way, we have also got to make the argument better it's not about taxes. In other words, we have got tax revenues going up during this period we're talking about actually to historic levels. And yet because the spending so far outpaces the tax revenue, there's no way to catch up.

Under the income tax, it's actually not possible to catch up with the spending that's going to be occurring in 25, 30, 35 years from now. We just got to make -- it's an obvious point to anybody who has to keep a family budget or is trying to run a small business, but we have to make that point to all Americans, that this is a problem that is going to get worse and it's going to come back not just to hurt us in our economy today, but it's really immoral to do to future generations.

CAVUTO: I think it's immoral as well, sir. The mainstream media, say, only half-a-trillion-dollar deficits, we can all walk away now. That's pretty wrong, too.

PORTMAN: Well, the Congressional Budget Office tells us that within eight short years, they're going to be back to a trillion dollars.

CAVUTO: At least.

PORTMAN: And then it dramatically increases beyond that. And that, by the way, assumes no recessions, no wars, none of the kind of problems. It's a rosy scenario.

CAVUTO: Absolutely.

PORTMAN: So, I think, ultimately, this is a moral question.

It's a question as to whether we're going to just sort of turn our heads and allow this to occur or whether we're going to actually deal with this issue in a way that's responsible for current and future generations.

CAVUTO: All right, Senator Portman, thank you, as always. Good having you.

PORTMAN: Thanks, Neil. Great to be on with you, buddy. Take care.

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