Continuing on his radio tour discussing the $34 trillion US National Debt, President John Pudner traveled to new corners of our Republic when he visited Little Rock, Arkansas, analyzing the potential effects of and reasons for these massive annual deficits. It’s also where, later this year, the state’s Congressional delegation is up for re-election, and while the debt issue is one that universally afflicts Americans on both sides, Pudner and host Toby Howell discuss how this issue is unlikely to be resolved in the near future.
These comments come off the heels of a contentious debt ceiling debate within the Capital, with a continuing resolution temporarily funding the government only passed within 24 hours of shutdown earlier last week, as both sides battle over funding levels in key areas of our government. From Rep. Matt Gaetz’s organized ousting of former Speaker Kevin McCarthy for the promotion of governance via continuing resolution to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer vowing earlier last year that Senate Democrats would never pass, and stand against, any spending cut sent from House Republicans, neither side has been able to come to consensus on this issue.
That is even before including that not only is 2024 an election year, and a highly contested one at that, with a likely rematch of former President Trump and President Biden affecting down-ballot races across the board, but also that this issue is hard to understand for. A trillion dollars itself is hard to comprehend for studied economists, much less everyday voters, and with hot-button issues such as abortion and illegal immigration at the forefront of their minds, both Pudner and Howell note that the political capital isn’t there as of now, but discuss how that could possibly change in the near future.
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The following transcript from this interview is presented in its entirety with minor edits:
elections, national debt, debt ceiling, continuing resolution, Dollar, Congress.
TBOR Action President John Pudner and Toby Howell.
Toby Howell 00:00
The US national debt hit some $34 trillion recently and that's way ahead of schedule. It could have some repercussions as Congress started trying to finalize the budgets by mid-January, early February, as those are a couple of deadlines to hit before the government shutdown. Here to provide some insight on this is John Pudner, who's the president of Take Back Our Republic Action. John, welcome back to the show. How are you this morning?
John Pudner 00:21
Good, thanks for having me on.
Toby Howell 00:23
So John, the Congressional Budget Office predicted back in 2020, that the nation would hit a debt level of $34 trillion around 2029, but here we are in early 2024, and we've already hit that $34 trillion dollars. What are some of the main reasons that you see for this huge growth that put us five years ahead of schedule?
John Pudner 00:42
Well, I think it starts with the process. When Schumer stated that he would never let the Senate pass any debt ceiling bill that came out of the House, that pretty much makes your mathematical chances of an actual debt ceiling legislation zero, because you need both chambers to pass it. There's just no incentive to settle this, the numbers too confusing for the average person. I mean, a trillion dollars is more than any of us can comprehend, so there's just no political will right now to address it.
Toby Howell 01:16
Congress officially gets back to work next week, and top of the list is going to be to get the government funded for the rest of the year. Is there a formula, in your mind, that to keep the government funded and reduce the federal deficit that both parties can somewhat agree on? Is there any chance that can happen?
John Pudner 01:33
It just seems difficult. Not only the Senate basically saying they will veto the House, but we have the old Hastert Rule, which is you don't even put something on the House floor unless the majority of your party is already for it. That's a formal rule that is almost always abided by, so you just think through the steps, where you need a majority of Republicans to put it on the floor, then you need a majority of the House, then if they pass anything, the Senate rejects it. It's just a circus. Congress is not functioning and that's the problem when they're supposed to deal with the budget.
Toby Howell 02:07
And obviously, that's been a big sticking point with the continuing resolutions, but do you they come to some sort of an agreement by this January deadline, then there's also an early February deadline for some of the other appropriations bills, do you feel like that they get something done even if it doesn't necessarily take the national debt down, or do you feel like this turns into another continuing resolution, and we kick the ball further down the court?
John Pudner 02:39
I just think it's just a continuing resolution. I mean, now we're even closer to the elections, and if they kicked the can down last year, a year out? I just think people have this kind of government prints money concept, but we've always assumed the dollar was the standard for the world, and we've always assumed our military was dominant, and those two things can kind of get you through a big debt. But =, you've now got eight countries starting really use the Chinese currency a lot, including Saudi Arabia. These are the things that just make me wonder if you don't realize we're heading toward a crisis, where we just don't have that dominance of the dollar, where we can ignore the fact that the debt is more than $100,000 per every American.
Toby Howell 03:24
Back in 2020, it was predicted that we would hit $34 trillion in debt in 2029, so we're five years ahead of schedule. John, how much of this national debt growth right now is tied to rising interest rates and us paying more for that borrowed money? Is that a big factor in this number?
John Pudner 03:54
Yes, and that's always been a concern where, at some point, all you're paying is interest, and those were the sirens going out years ago. Coming off working on George W. Bush's campaign, when Obama derided the fact that the debt is gone from $5 to $9 trillion in eight years, but he doubled it. All you're really doing is paying interest, as any of us know, if we've had credit card debt at any point in our life, nothing more frustrating than realizing your whole check is just going to pay interest. That's where we are
Toby Howell 04:31
That bounce is not going down even though you're still paying into it. John, can you tell our listeners a little bit about the Take Back Our Republic Action and what you do for our country and how it operates?
John Pudner 04:44
takebackaction.org. We're a grassroots group. I ran Republican campaigns for years, but then shifted to this to change the rules of elections, and how does money come in, how can we stop Chinese money from coming in impacting our elections through groups like ActBlue. We needed a nonprofit on the right that was watching these election developments the same way 100 nonprofits on the left were already doing it, so we just want fair rules, we want to stop foreign influence, I mean, the Chinese are now putting things into the Taiwanese elections that are coming up in a few weeks because they've seen it work well in the US. So, we're about the rules of elections.
Toby Howell 05:21
And once again, if you want to get more information, it's takebackaction.org.