Secretary Of State Hillary Clinton gave a speech to the Council On Foreign Relations wednesday. The entire speech is worth reading/watching, but after the speech, during Q&A, she was asked about our national debt. Following is her response:
MR. HAASS: Let me start where you began — where you ended rather — which was with all these things we want to do, and you called for strategic patience in Afghanistan and so forth. Yet the United States is soon approaching a point where the scale or size of our debt will exceed our GDP. It’s a question of when more than if. Where does national security contribute to the solution to running deficits of $1.5 trillion a year, or do we continue to carry out a foreign and defense policy as if we were not seriously resource constrained?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Richard, first, as I said, I think that our rising debt levels poses a national security threat, and it poses a national security threat in two ways. It undermines our capacity to act in our own interests and it does constrain us where constraint may be undesirable. And it also sends a message of weakness internationally. I mean, it is very troubling to me that we are losing the ability not only to chart our own destiny, but to have the leverage that comes from this enormously effective economic engine that has powered American values and interests over so many years.
So I don’t think we have a choice. It’s a question of how we decide to deal with this debt and deficit. I mean, it is – we don’t need to go back and sort of re-litigate how we got to where we are. But it is fair to say that we fought two wars without paying for them and we had tax cuts that were not paid for either, and that has been a very deadly combination to fiscal sanity and responsibility.
So the challenge is how we get out of it by making the right decisions, not the wrong decisions. There’s a lot of wrong things we could do that would further undermine our strength. I mean, it is going to be very difficult for those decisions. And I know there’s an election going on and I know that I am, by law, out of politics, but I will say that this is not just a decision for the Congress; it’s a decision for the country. And it’s not a Republican or a Democratic decision. And there are a lot of people who know more about what needs to be done and who, frankly, have a responsible view, whose voices are not being heard right now, and I think that is a great disservice to our nation. Whether one is a Republican or a Democrat, a conservative, a progressive, whatever you call yourself, there is no free lunch and we cannot pretend that there is without doing grave harm to our country and our future generations.
Hillary Clinton is right on the money. The only failing in her comments was that she blamed Bush for his debt runup (deservedly), but she didn't blame Obama for his bigger debt runup. Maybe this is understandable, because Obama is Hillary's boss (though I wish it were the other way around), and Hillary is, after all, a Democrat. Even though she claims to be out of politics....Hillary, please. We weren't born yesterday.
Still, I give Hillary lots of credit for making these remarks. It's about time someone in Washington D.C. realized there is no free lunch. We've passed out free lunches to practically everyone over the last couple years, but those lunches are not free. The taxpayers ultimately have to pay for them all, and this is the central flaw of both the Bush and Obama presidencies. They are economically unsustainable. They make things WORSE rather than better.
On a related note, Obama just asked for $50 billion more in infrastructure spending as part of his ongoing Spend-A-Palooza. Wow, I have such a feeling of deja vu. Um, didn't we just do that in his 2009 stimulus bill ? Wasn't there like $105 billion for infrastructure in that mess ? Obama not only seems to think there's a free lunch, he thinks breakfast and dinner should be on the house as well.
Stop the insanity.
Hey Dems - Hillary for President in 2012. Dump the chump. You might even get my vote, unless the GOP magically pulls a great candidate out of it's a.....and I don't see him/her on the scene yet. No great candidates who are running, anyway.
Exit question - Do you think Hillary will be taken to the woodshed for telling a bit too much of the truth in this speech ?
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