Tennessee Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn appeared on Stuart Varney’s show on the Fox Business network this morning. He asked her about the GOP extending the payroll tax deduction.
“Is this a cave?” Varney asked.
“I don’t know all the details yet, but it is a disappointment to me,” Mrs. Blackburn said. “It’s important to me that we extend all the Bush tax cuts and included in this sales tax deductibility for states like mine in Tennessee that have no state income tax. What we have to do is make certain that we pay for these things. It’s got to be paid for.”
He asked if she’d vote for it. “I would say this is going to be tough for me to vote for if there’s no pay-for. We have no money.”
Varney then turned his attention to the budget. “Congressman Paul Ryan says we have two to three years and if we don’t change course we will end up like Greece. He says the president’s budget takes us down the European road to crisis. Is it that bad?”
“It is indeed that bad,” she responded. “Look at the accumulated debt and look at where we are with the trend. Pull the budget and look at the historical tables and look at what has happened to the nation’s debt. Go back to ’46 when we came out of World War II and follow those forward. We have added $5 trillion in the past three years. This administration has been on a spending binge that we cannot sustain. It is time to do some serious debt reduction.”
Varney continued. “Congressman Ryan says in ten years from now if we follow the president’s budget proposal, the debt will be $26 trillion and we will be paying a trillion dollars a year in interest alone which I believe adds up to $20 billion a week. That, he says, is the tipping point. At some point lenders say ‘no mas you’re not going to get any more money’. Up go interest rates, down goes the economy.”
Blackburn replied, “And the other point is this; look who owns this debt. Now China owns 25%, Japan 20, UK 7, OPEC as an entity owns 5% of our publicly traded debt and then you come in with Brazil. All of this money that we’re sending out to them on a daily basis, we write a check for $119 million every day to China. In interest.”
“Paul Ryan is right, in your opinion,” Varney said, “we are at a crisis stage. We’ve got to change course. You agree with that?”
“It’s time for serious discussions,” Blackburn concluded.
Then he moved on to gas prices, noting that some are predicting $4 a gallon this spring. Varney commented that it became a very big issue in 2008 and wondered if it would figure again in the 2012 elections.
Blackburn said yes. “They (Americans) are looking at the price of gas when they are filling up the tank, they go over to the grocery store, they’re looking at the increased cost of food they’re buying, they can’t buy the light bulbs they want – they have to make two trips to get the light bulbs that they want…but constantly that price of gas is there for everything that they want to do. Every single day and it really is infuriating.”
As for privileges enjoined by Congress, Varney said the Senate barbershop ran almost $300,000 in the red last year. Blackburn said there is nothing similar for women, but there is a House gym, but “I’ve never even set foot in there.”
“Those are things we just can’t afford any more. I think it’s time to get rid of them. It’s things like this that the American people are saying ‘You can’t afford’ and you know what it’s time for Congress to say it’s got to be cut.”
Then Varney asked, “What do you think is the dominant story of the day from your perspective?”
“It’s this budget that the president’s offered that is such a sad, in my opinion, a sad document,” Blackburn said. We have to deal with the debt. The federal government has an unending appetite for the American people’s mon ey and to see it there and see this debt continue to grow. This is not right.”