Another primer for Judd Gregg

ANOTHER PRIMER FOR JUDD GREGG…. Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) appeared on CNN yesterday to discuss the latest deficit numbers, and the network described him as “a leading fiscal mind on Capitol Hill.” I wish they wouldn’t do that — lending him unearned credibility suggests to the public that Gregg knows what he’s talking about.

That’s a dubious proposition, at best.

“You talk about systemic risk [caused the federal budget deficit]. The systemic risk today is the Congress of the United States,” the Ranking Republican on the Senate Budget Committee told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King, “that we’re creating these massive debts which we’re passing on to our children. We’re going to undermine fundamentally the quality of life for our children by doing this.”

“Now you can’t blame that on [former President] George [W.] Bush,” Greg said, noting that using the Obama administration’s projections the budget deficit for the next ten years is $1 trillion per year…. The figures, Gregg told King, “mean we’re basically on the path to a banana-republic-type of financial situation in this country. And you just can’t do that. You can’t keep running these [federal] programs out [into the future] and not paying for them. And you can’t keep throwing debt on top of debt.”

This isn’t the first time Gregg has appeared on national television to repeat bogus talking points about the budget, but that doesn’t make it any less annoying.

First, Gregg says we can’t blame the deficit on Bush. Of course we can. The largest driving factor behind the $1.4 trillion shortfall is Bush administration policies. Those were policies, not incidentally, that Gregg supported enthusiastically for eight years.

Second, Gregg mentioned Obama projections over the next decade. What he neglected to mention was the key detail: “[P]roperly accounted for, the deficit actually goes down when you compare Obama’s budget proposals to current policy, not up.”

And finally, why Gregg thinks he has any credibility on this issue is a mystery. Policymakers are “creating these massive debts which we’re passing on to our children”? What a convenient time for Gregg to notice. It was, after all, Judd Gregg who voted for massive tax cuts the country couldn’t afford. It was also Judd Gregg who voted to finance two costly wars entirely through deficit spending. Judd Gregg also didn’t hesitate to put Medicare Part D and No Child Left Behind on the national charge card, left for some future generation to worry about.

All told, Gregg supported policies that added $5 trillion to the national debt in just eight years. He did it all with a smile, never once running to CNN to complain about “the path to a banana-republic-type of financial situation in this country.”

A “leading fiscal mind on Capitol Hill”? For all our sake, here’s hoping that’s not true.