Speeches and Floor Statements
Paul Ryan on the National Debt – Voters about to face choice of two very different futures
Fox News' Hannity
SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS HOST: Tonight, we continue the job the mainstream media refuses to do. That's vetting President Obama. Now in just over three years of his presidency, our national debt has increased by more than $4.9 trillion.
And as CBS News reports that is a greater increase than the entire eight years under George W. Bush. Now the debt stands at over $15 trillion. What is even more concerning from a national security standpoint is that nearly half of our publicly held debt is owned by foreign countries.
As you can just see how dramatically that number has increased over the years. So as we approach the November election, it is clear that we face a choice. We can either continue on the path of fiscal insanity or we can chart a new course.
Here to help layout that vision is the chairman of the House Budget Committee, Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan. Sir, how are you?
PAUL RYAN (R-WI), HOUSE BUDGET COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: I'm doing great, Sean. Good to be with you.
HANNITY: I watched, you know, Chris Wallace is able to really squeezed out of you the willingness that you consider being VP. You didn't really like that line of questioning, did you?
RYAN: Not really.
HANNITY: All right, we have other issues to deal with.
HANNITY: All right, so the Democrats have put forward their budget. The president put forward their budget. If you looked at these numbers, in July of 2008, President Obama said that George Bush was unpatriotic.
HANNITY: -- and irresponsible for $4 trillion in debt over eight years. This president has done that in less than four years. So the question remains, you know, how bad is it in and when you look at the Democrats' plan and the president's plan, what does it mean for the country?
RYAN: It means a debt crisis. He is also saying let's add another $11 trillion on top of what he's already done. If you take a look at that chart, the red tidal wave of debt. Sean, this is the most predictable economic crisis we have ever had in this country, it's a debt crisis.
Our debt literally gets out of control and it ends the American dream as we know it. The Senate isn't even doing a budget. So the president at least gave us a budget and that shows you a mountain of red ink, a debt crisis, more debt and the end of the American dream.
The Senate's not even bothering to pass a budget for the third year in a row. We are passing a budget again on Thursday, like we did last year. We are showing the country exactly how we would get the debt paid off and that's what the green line on that chart shows you is, specifically, our plan for getting government spending and borrowing under control and getting it paid off.
HANNITY: Let me go back to this chart here because as you know, they have demonized you every time you have talked about dealing with the -- the foundation in terms of the problems that are the root cause of our problem, that's entitlements.
RYAN: That's right.
HANNITY: So the green line is the Republicans budget proposals. You are saying the current path -- the red block there, that that is the president and the Democrats' plan.
RYAN: Yes. That's what -- that's even in the president's budget. He shows those numbers. That's what the government is telling us is our current path of debt in the America that the president has accelerated us down.
We are saying let's get off this path. Let's get back to a path of prosperity and debt reduction and paying the debt off. So what I'm basically saying is we are offering the country a choice of two futures.
So we are going to the country and saying, here's what you need to do to get back to prosperity, limited government, economic freedom, a debt- free nation for your children. The sooner we have do this, the easier it is to accomplish.
The more you kick the can, the worst it gets the more imperiled our economy becomes and the more of a debt crisis we have on our hands.
HANNITY: People seem to be short sighted, a little bit myopic and people maybe think for the moment. As you look at, for example, the total government spending and you have the president's plan -- I have another chart I will put up.
And what they show as total government spending as a share of the economy, there's the current path and there is your path. Now by the way, for the record, neither one of them gets to a balanced budget, but there obviously is a dramatic difference here.
It's like 15, 12, 13, 14 percent versus nearly 50 percent as a share of the economy. What is in that result if we stay on the path? Because you're -- you want to throw granny over the cliff, Congressman? That's the way they portray you. So if we stay on this path, what happens to the country?
RYAN: Well, first off, ours does get to balance. If you have better economic growth, ours gets to balance pretty quickly. But if you look at the chart, to put it in perspective, for the last 40 years in America, the federal government has taken 20 cents out of every dollar made in America to run the federal government.
What this path that we are right now on, that the president is proposing says, by the time my kids are my age, let's take 40 cents out of every dollar made in America to pay for the federal government.
Then by the time my grandkids are raising their grandkids, we are taking 80 cents out of every dollar just to pay for this federal government at that time. No new programs, the current promises that that the government's currently making.
That's what it will cost because of the explosion of these entitlement programs. We are showing the country the path we are on today, doubles and then doubles again, over the course of our kids' and grandkids' lifetimes and our lifetimes. This is unsustainable.
HANNITY: We all look at the gas prices, which I think is the single one issue that drives me nuts because it's preventable. The president is against, you know, drilling and using our own energy. So that's obviously a clear difference there.
I think that would help the economy, lift a burden off people who are paying now at least $100 when they fill up their cars or trucks at the tank, at the gas station.
Bernanke says the job market remains quite weak. We know about the latest housing numbers are just awful, which are people's biggest investment. What happens in two to three years if the bond market says, too much debt, we can't give it to you anymore --
RYAN: We have a massive spike in interest rates. All the experts are telling us, we have about two to three years is the time frame they tell us, which is the bond markets. Remember, half of our debt is owned by foreigners.
And 40 cents of every dollar government spends is borrowed money. So we are really in debt, I mean, to a huge amount. So the bond markets if they turn on us then our interest rates go up tremendously.
That means car loans, housing loans, business loans, home loans, all of that is really expensive. It shuts down and slows down the economy. At the same time, you can have an inflation problem that can get out of control. So your money isn't buying much as it used to because of the Federal Reserve --
HANNITY: Last question. So America is Greece. America's broke if we stay on this path. You are saying that, I guess, everything that has happened in Greece comes here. Is that what you are suggesting?
RYAN: Yes. We think it's a debt crisis with bitter austerity, cuts to current seniors, cuts to the safety net, huge tax increases that hurts the young from getting jobs, inflation problem and high interest rates. That's exactly what all the experts are telling us will happen if we don't fix this problem. That's why we are proposing these solutions.
HANNITY: All right, thank you, Congressman. It's a warning I hope people are paying attention to.