Sen. Gregg: Budget deficit is sending the U.S. to ‘third-class status as a nation’

By Ian Swanson
The Hill
11/15/09

The U.S. is headed toward “third-class status as a nation” because of the budget deficit, according to the senior Republican on the Senate Budget Committee.

Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.), in an interview on C-SPAN, said the biggest problem faced by the country is “the impending fiscal meltdown of our nation,” a risk he said is only exceeded by the risk of a terrorist attack using weapons of mass destruction.

“We’re taking ourselves down the road to third-class status as a nation,” Gregg said in the interview, which focused on the pending healthcare debate in the Senate that is expected to start this week.

Gregg, who earlier this year accepted and then turned down a request to join President Barack Obama’s administration, criticized a rush of government spending for adding to the debt. But he also said entitlement spending is the real long-term budgetary problem facing the country.

Last year’s deficit was a record $1.4 trillion, up more than $900 billion from the previous year. The budget was inflated because of much lower tax revenues, which were down because of the worst recession in generations, and government spending intended to stimulate the economy and rescue the financial industry.

That situation is not expected to improve soon given 10.2 percent unemployment that is expected to grow.

The article continues at The Hill.

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