Transcript for Roundtable I: Battle Over the Budget
I will not cut our military budget by a trillion dollars, which is the combination of the budget cuts the president has, as well as the sequestration cuts. That in my view is making our future less certain and less se bob, I'd just like to comment on this. First of all, this is not something I proposed. It's something that congress has proposed. It will not happen. Back with the roundtable, george will, ruth marcus from "the washington post," former romney senior adviser stuart stevens, former speaker of the house newt gingrich and democratic congressman, thank you all for joining us. George, the bottom line, these sequester cuts obviously are going to happen and then we're going to have a battle over the government shutdown, the debt ceiling. Where does this all end? It doesn't end. This is democratic politics in an age where we've made promises we can't keep and intractable budget ceilings we have to bump up. Let me give you two examples this week. The navy citing the sequester delayed the deployment of the aircraft carrier "truman" undermining our pledge to have two carrier groups in the persian group to keep pressure on iran. Citing the sequester. You telling me the navy can't find other ways to economize without this flamboyant and provocative way of trying to pressure congress? Second, this week we learned the agriculture department has a diversity awareness program. It doesn't cost much money, in which they teach the bureaucrats in the agriculture department to refer to the pilgrims as illegal aliens and minorities as emerging majorities. It's a small amount of money but a huge symptom of the utter contempt with which washington treats taxpayers' money. Two good reasons right there to go ahead with the sequester. Mr. Speaker, are these being exaggerated, the doom and gloom? Grossly, of course. Look, this is a government so bloated, so wasteful and so incompetent that actually this is the equivalent of a recession and recessions, you know, jack welsh made the point the other day, any corporation that couldn't cut 2%, 3% of its gross spending would get rid of its ceo. This is not an obama comment. This is a congress plus obama comment. The pentagon needs a thorough overhaul. I helped found the military reform caucus in '81, I'm a hawk but I'm a cheap hawk. Cut the f-35 overrun program. It is obscene and disgraceful and people should be demanding we fix the system. One other example, one other example, we just learned that one of the great solar powered green energy projects was $140 million for a company in michigan which has produced zero products, zero for $140 million. Why shouldn't the american people say cut out the waste? Congressman? And, jonathan, the fact the president and democrats believe that we can make cuts and that we can reduce the debt but it's got to be balanced. So I think we all agree on where we need to end up. It's a matter of how you get there and just to counter a little bit about what george said, the fact is this was never the president's idea, this was the result of hostage politics engaged in by a tea party-controlled republican party, and this is what you have. This is the message you have when you get into those kind of hostage politics. Ruth, does it matter whose idea it was? It doesn't matter whose idea it was. What matters is that the unthinkable is now inevitable. I'm going to give you my modest proposal for this sequester which is we should take the relevant members of congress and administration and put them on that stinky cruise ship and send them back out there but i want to say the notion that there's going to be various government waste, there is more waste to cut. The absolute worst way to cut it in the across-the-board unthinking mechanism of the sequester and, second, the impact of the sequester is bigger than it would appear if you just take it as a percentage of the budget as a whole because -- because they're not touching entitlement. It doesn't touch most entitlement, so it hits two things very hard. It hits domestic spendin has already shrunken as the size of the economy to the levels of the eisenhower administration and it hits defense spending effectively because you're cramming it all into seven months, 9% of domestic spending, 13% cut in defense spending. That's not smart government. And, stuart, that's a big hit in the pentagon. We know there's waste over there but a big hit immediately. Yeah, but, jonathan, you opened the show correctly with the most powerful person in the world saying it's not going to happen. I can't believe given his extraordinary communication powers he can't get people together, talk to the country and solve this problem. It doesn't look like he's really trying very hard. I mean, it's just not the top item on his agenda and he's made that clear. You're endorsing the cruise ship idea. I like the cruise ship idea particularly if they can maybe come close to being hit by a meteorite because you could keep it all together. It would be a huge cable bonanza. But this is a test of leadership. I mean this is why we have in our system a president. He's a leader. He's going to lead us through this crisis and it's just not happening? All right. We have to take a very quick
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