Senator Judd Gregg on Entitlement Spending

By March 3, 2008General

The hits keep coming. But, the dryness of the description notwithstanding, Senator Gregg (R-NH) made an important point when discussing budget issues with bloggers yesterday. Can’t we at least acknowledge that, yeah, that’s a tidal wave coming our way?

[The Democratic budget] doesn’t even address the real crisis, which we do have, the fiscal crisis we do have, which is the $66 trillion of unfunded liability that’s coming down the pike as a result of entitlements’ cost, because of the retirement of the Baby Boom generation.

And the president has at least tried to address that in his budget. It was the only thing in his budget that I had any respect for, quite honestly. I haven’t been any kinder to his budget than to this budget, but at least he tried to address entitlement spending. And he made proposals which were reasonable and which would have reduced the out-year liability at about $8 trillion in the health care accounts out of the $32 trillion that’s owed in health care and Medicare.

Gregg’s points were largely a partisan prebuttal to the Democratic budget, with sharp criticism of Sen. Barack Obama — All fair comment but better left to reports like this piece in Congressional Quarterly.

Still, Gregg’s point in the conference call, making a basic argument about the legitimacy of the budgeting process, is worth taking note of:

This budget doesn’t live up to the obligations to the Congress to do a fair, honest and straightforward budgeting exercise. It’s a fraudulent document. It was last year. Last year we said they couldn’t make the numbers they said they were going to make. Nobody listened to us, because they said that they should have the benefit of the doubt. This year hopefully people will be a little less sanguine in accepting these representations from the other side.

The audio clip is here.

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