Can Washington work together?
Senator Angus King on government spending
- Duration 8:42
- Date Feb 10, 2013
Senator Angus King on government spending
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And to the state of the union now you know on Tuesday the White House says the president will focus on job creation and economic growth for the middle class.
But this comes as -- new fox new poll shows that that Americans are worried about continued government spending and the deficit take a look at this.
When asked the question President Obama says the government doesn't have a spending problem do you think it does.
An overwhelming 83%.
Say yes and 14% say no.
And more say cutting government spending will more likely strengthen the US economy that 73% to 15%.
Well if just take a look at the clicking national debt clock -- things like one of those Las Vegas slot machines -- -- along.
With us is one of the US senators who -- sister union on Tuesday he is Angus King independent of maintenance and you can thank you for coming -- -- is great to be with you and I was watching you earlier and so you had John Bolton on I don't think you should have -- and I on the same program because there's a pretty striking an upset about it.
Boy you have the most that I'm generally I've been mistaken for him and airports before the Iowa that you were glad -- here.
In dealing with the deficit in dealing with the spending would decide that clock it just keeps guns and going going gone what do you think the president should say what would you like to hear.
We -- let's talk about the spending Steve -- separately but what I'd like to hear his proposals for strengthen the strengthening the economy.
The debt problem the deficit problem is also -- problem of economic growth.
We don't have too many economic problems and a few extra points of GDP growth a year wouldn't solve.
So if we can get this economy it's right now it's sort of OK it's improving housing is coming up the stock market of course -- done very well.
And there are some signs that benefactor is coming back to life but if we can get the economy really moving in a positive direction.
That will help a lot with the debt the deficit and and a lot of these other issues so.
That's what I wanna hear is concrete proposals for creating jobs and expanding economy -- And how do we get there I mean you've been in Washington you're an independent.
Quite unique I don't know -- both -- the parties -- like this I wanted to take it -- you down did you expect it to be that bad when he got down there well I didn't have any.
Illusions but you know they're actually -- futile signs of hope.
There was negotiation on the filibuster rule change who didn't get as much as I wanted but that's compromised.
And there's a bipartisan.
Serious discussion of both houses on immigration I don't think we expected that so.
Let's hope that there are some positive movement.
But that you have they the warfare is is still a big part of the deal Imus on both sides the critics accuse the president of like my way or the highway and -- edge John Boehner.
Says he -- it down with the president one on one about the fiscal.
Mess how do how do we get a breakthrough can there be a breakthrough do you think what -- -- -- Well I think there could be because the outlines of -- potential resolution.
Are out there it interesting discussion about spending.
It's absolutely true spending is a problem.
But it's not generally in the areas that people think.
What they -- non defense discretionary spending which is what we all think covers the federal government is actually at one of the lowest percentages of gross domestic product.
In fifty years defense is about where it's been actually it's a little lower than the percentage -- spin over the past 25 or thirty years.
Where the growth they're two areas of huge growth one -- in health care.
And that's Medicare Medicaid.
Other health expenditures of the federal government.
And the other is in what's called tax expenditures which are deductions and loopholes.
Which have doubled since 1986.
In real dollars if we could go back just go back to that 1986 level with deductions and loopholes.
That is is almost as much as -- entire defense but.
I mean they're huge opportunities there we could lower tax rate what would you do you governor and as an independent for two terms -- you have to balance the budget.
I cannot -- that we had there was no such thing as a deficit spend what should they be that in Washington how to get to that point and -- say well I've often all my life I've said.
Balanced budget amendments are gimmicks.
Shouldn't have to do it we ought to be grownups.
I'm rethinking that position I think there needs to be some external discipline and and all the governors have to balance their budgets and they managed you you managed to do it.
And sometimes it -- doesn't make people happy but we you do it.
I think -- carefully crafted -- constitutional amendment to require balanced budget over -- allowing for emergencies.
And recessions and those kinds of things.
I hate to say it but I'm I'm really coming to believe that is necessary it's too easy to spend and too hard to tax and the end you end up.
With a deficit public those who say well it could be unrealistic he can never have a constitutional amendment to balance that.
Well I'm not sure I mean I think there are a lot of people around the country and I think -- bold.
-- you know political war horses like me who have really start to change their view over the last ten or fifteen years it just.
It just seems like it's just it's become.
Very very difficult.
To make the difficult decisions now you know we could we can all surprised the public over the next couple weeks but sometimes.
I think of of our political system like wily coyote remember why -- anybody.
We throw animals in the air and then act surprised when they hit us on the head I mean that's what this that's for the sequester thing it's just totally self imposed totally artificial deadline.
And it's gonna squash -- in three week long.
Know a lot of people said they don't have much hope they can get anything done I Colby College in Goldfarb center -- there had this this -- let me let me read it was -- just last month.
Of folks think it's very or somewhat unlikely.
That elected officials can work across party lines to about 14 26%.
Only they say it could be likely out of -- with those numbers around to get -- We are part of that is it wasn't always that way one of the reasons I ran for the senate was that I worked in the senate in the seven days.
And saw senators of both cars with my own eyes.
Compromise which is part of governing reach solutions to move the country forward.
And it doesn't have to be the way it is and the reason it is now is is a complicated mix of things like gerrymandering and money and politics of changes in the media.
But really and it just involves people sitting down listening and respecting one another my father used to say.
You can disagree with people without being disagreeable.
And I think it still took time from -- that aren't what finally senator Lindsey Graham is making news this morning saying that he wants to put a hold on the Chuck Hagel and John Brennan.
Nominations until he finds out more about what the president was doing.
The night to defend Ganassi attacked this is just breaking now so well and I haven't really I was in the hearing last week -- there in the morning was secretary Panetta and general Dempsey.
And they were asked what did the president know and when did he know it and answered it pretty clearly they were meeting -- -- about 5 o'clock that afternoon they had just gotten -- about -- -- they inform -- of what was going on.
And he said essentially.
Deploy whatever resources we have to in order to deal what do you think that was enough.
Well you know -- senator Graham's question is who did he call later that uniter what did he do but you know I'm not sure -- they're fair questions.
But to put a hole I'm not a big fan of one senator holding up.
Presidential nominations I think you know if he wants to make -- argument on the floor of the United States analysts have an up or down vote on those two nominations.
-- -- important jobs.
And it's not gonna help us in this critical moment.
In that -- the CIA or defense.
To not have.
The new nominees in there are so -- I'm entirely supportive of senator Gramm's.
Opportunity raising questions.
But did it.
Perhaps he should have put the hold on John Kerry that's where the that's the State Department is where a lot of this -- and finally you are you troubled at all by what the president may have done or may have not done that night are you satisfied.
Well I'd I'd like to hear more about what what the follow up was but on the other hand the president issued the order deploy the resources necessary to deal with this.
He's got and then nine as as Dempsey and and Panetta testified.
There was follow up with the White House staff.
I'm not sure that -- the president needed to be on the phone every minute monitoring it but I think I I think it would be nice for us to know.
But I don't think it's it's rises to the level holding up two cabinet.
Parents and Angus King on the latest breaking news and on the deficit and -- your first state of the union as a senator yes sir Senator McCain thank you for coming in this morning thanks sir -- great -- this -- New -- absolutely good to see it and it's the season thank -- so.