Finishing his latest radio tour across our Republic, this time discussing the $34 trillion US National Debt, President John Pudner traveled to Columbus, Ohio, the heart of the Buckeye state, to not only highlight the consequences for both voters and our standing on the world’s stage continued record deficits, which last year was equal to 5.5% of our annual GDP per the Congressional Budget Office, but also how, despite decades of calls for change on this issue and most politicians publicly announcing it as a problem, Congress seems inevitably bound to clash on this during a critical election year for both political parties.
As both Pudner and host Mike Elliott discuss, long-needed change would have to take place to help alleviate these deficits, including reforms to key programs such as Social Security and Medicare, which accounted for over thirty percent of all federal spending in 2022. Despite this, however, neither side seems even remotely ready for this, as House Republicans continue to pledge not to cut a cent in entitlement spending, a key statement ahead of the contentious 2024 election cycle, while Congressional Democrats, including and especially Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, vowing to obstruct any spending change or cut sent from House Republicans, using it as a key pillar of their campaign efforts as well.
With both the viability of this issue for voters in doubt as well as both sides of the political aisle refusing to move from their corners, President John Pudner then discusses how best to go forward and address this all-important issue that affects every American across our Republic.
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The following transcript from this interview is presented in its entirety with minor edits:
Johnson, Schumer, pass, spending, Senate, House, election year, debt, operate, reforms.
TBOR Action President John Pudner and Mike Elliott.
Mike Elliott 00:00
John is the president of Take Back Our Republic Action, also a Bush 2000 aide. John, some troubling information this morning on the US national debt, it is on the rise, hitting $34 trillion. You know, when I was growing up, John, learned very early to not spend more than you make, and if I operated my household budget like we operate ours, we'd be in serious trouble at home.
John Pudner 00:28
It is crazy, and the projections had been 2029. The path has been accelerated incredibly quickly through the COVID changes, so this is a crisis, and the bill is coming due.
Mike Elliott 00:49
Absolutely, and the Biden ministration wasted no time yesterday in shifting the blame towards Republican administrations and Donald Trump. The White House yesterday said, if you look at the data, there's trickle-down debt, and Republican tax cuts are responsible for 90% of this. Do you buy into that?
John Pudner 01:10
No, I don't at all, and the interesting thing is the public generally has blamed Republicans more for shutdowns just because the adults in the room were making tough choices. YouGov polling last year, when it looked like we're heading for a shutdown, was about evenly split, almost a third, a third, and a third, but I think that some people have always heard about this debt and question what's the real impact when essential things keep going? We've always counted on the dollar being the standard around the world and our military being unquestionably the top military in the world. China's taking every effort to take advantage of US weakness, you know, Afghanistan, etc, these things are all intertwined because it's harder for someone to really nail you on debt if you've got the dollar and the military dominance, but without that, you start to have some potential real crisis with how we deal with that.
Mike Elliott 02:13
So what is the best way to pass the budget? I think both Democrats and Republicans agree that we need to do something, but we kind of disagree on where to slash spending. Where do we slash spending?
John Pudner 02:27
Well, I think there's certainly spending to be slashed everywhere, but I think when you start with the premise of Schumer having said he will never pass a Republican House ceiling, I don't know how to get past that. If the Senate Leader is committed to never passing something that comes out of the House, then we're gonna have continuing resolutions forever. I think you're stuck right at the beginning even before you go through the process of how you go through line by line, and you've got to break that. I mean, Schumer's got to back off on that at some point.
Mike Elliott 03:04
Well, that's just playing politics, isn't it? And that's the that's part of the problem. That's what frustrates people about DC.
John Pudner 03:16
That's right, almost no one can grasp the size of this budget deficit, even economists have trouble grasping it, but if you're going to start with that as a premise, why should anyone try and engage if you know the end result of sending something to the Senate is it being killed immediately?
Mike Elliott 03:35
How much of this is interest rates and inflation in the last three years? I mean, the borrowing is more expensive these days and the US government is not immune to any of that.
John Pudner 03:46
That's right, and obviously, that's where people are seeing it. No one can comprehend $34 trillion, but you can comprehend what your grocery bills are, and that's hitting everyone. Some throw out that there are pay raises as well, but that's just, you know, staying afloat. Obviously, if you're having to spend a lot more in your own budget to make up for this, then making a couple of percent more each year doesn't keep up with that, so that's where the rubber hits the road for the average person.
Mike Elliott 04:20
We're looking at a government shutdown if we don't get a 2024 fiscal spending bill passed here in a couple of weeks, and it feels like, John, the last couple of spending bills have been the short term, just small patches. When can we, and could we, ever get a long-term budget passed where we don't have to worry about this for a while?
John Pudner 04:43
It just looks so tough, and I mentioned Schumer on the one side. The other problem we've had for a few decades is this old Hastert Rule where you can't even put something on the floor unless the majority of your party is already supporting it. Not a formal rule, but that's what's been abided by by every Speaker of both parties for decades now. You need something as a majority within the House before there's even a vote on it, then you need to pass it, then you go to the Senate, which right now, is saying they won't pass anything. I mean, it's so bogged down. That's why some are just thinking outside the box and these different voting ideas like a Final Five system where there's some ability of people to work together to agree on a bunch of cuts. But, right now, I think we're at a log jam in Congress, it's the branch that is functioning the least in our government.
Mike Elliott 05:38
Yeah, that's incredibly frustrating. What do you do at Take Back Our Republic Action, John?
John Pudner 05:46
Well, we look at election reforms, and we track everything from illicit spending from other countries that impact our elections, certainly pointing it at China, so it's election reforms, starting with who's spending money, and then, are there changes we can make in voting and how that's done and how nonprofits operate. We want to fix the election system. That's where all this stuff starts.
Mike Elliott 06:13
Very good. John Pudner, president of Take Back Our Republic Action. I wish we had some better news this morning, John. Appreciate your time.