In advance of next month’s General Election, The Register-Herald invited all candidates on the ballot for U.S. Senator, U.S. House of Representatives, Governor, State Supreme Court, Attorney General and Agriculture Commissioner to appear before our editorial board. We are featuring those interviews through the end of this week. Today’s candidate is Republican John Raese running for U.S. Senate.
America’s debt has now exceeded $16 trillion, yet Congress has been unwilling to tackle this. Just how serious is the debt? Are we on the edge of bankruptcy? What is it going to take to end the bipartisan bickering and get the country on the road to recovery?
RAESE: Me being in business, and I’m in the steel business, I’m in the limestone business, natural resource business, I’m concerned because when I see the Gross Domestic Product, and that’s what we produce in this country, is hovering around the $16 trillion mark and our national debt is also hovering around the $16 trillion mark, that’s a tipping point. When those two meet, where one exceeds, especially the GDP doesn’t stand up to the debt, as you know the debt is going much higher, that’s called the tipping point. That’s what Greece is, what Spain is, and now we’re in it. What is that mark? That mark is inflation. That’s going to be runaway inflation.
You and I are old enough to live through the ’70s. We certainly know what inflation did to this country. That’s a grave concern because when you’re in business like I am, does depreciation, in other words, when we buy equipment, does that keep up with inflation? Well, today in this country, depreciation doesn’t keep up with inflation. There’s another problem that’s going to rear its ugly head. In other words, when it’s time to replace your printing press, can you all afford or justify replacing your printing press because you’re depreciation pattern didn’t keep up with the replenishment or the new cost of a printing press. Certainly, in Morgantown, we’re in that business, too. That’s a big discussion point right now because it’s time for a new printing press. It didn’t keep up. That’s true all across the United States, in every piece of equipment, everything that we look at. So, that’s a major consideration. It’s a big ugly thing about this debt.
The debt is the biggest problem we have in this country as far as I’m concerned. And that debt has been caused by one thing. It’s spending. How do we get this thing under control? Spending is the problem. And you hear a lot of people say we need to tax, or somebody needs to pay. I think Mr. Manchin says everybody ought to pay their fair share. The top 10 percent of the earners in this country right now are paying 70 percent of the load. I do think we do pay our fair share. That’s not the problem. The problem is spending.
Now the GDP has not increased as fast as spending, and since 2001, spending has doubled the GDP. To me, to answer your question, the first thing we have to do to walk across the aisle in the Senate is to find like-minded senators in the Democrat and Republican party that have a fiscal responsibility. Not just talk about fiscal responsibility, but actually have one. I think that is the most important thing you can do in the U.S. Senate is to put a coalition together of people that want to do something about it. Now, it’s been tried several times, and I think a couple of years ago, a bloc of senators all got together, there were 16 of them, and they proved that you could actually put a coalition of like-minded senators together. John McCain was part of that. I’d like to have that opportunity. I think there are so many people in the Senate right now who are looking for leadership.
When you are in the Senate and you can’t even propose a budget and over 1,000 days can’t even put a budget together, that shows me there’s no leadership and that is directly at Harry Reid. With all the good intentions of a lot of people in the U.S. Senate, as you know, the majority leader of the Senate sets the tray. And without him cooperating, it’s going to be awfully hard. It’s one of the reasons if we elect 51 U.S. senators from the Republican Party, Harry Reid will not be the majority leader and then we can get something done. I think that is the first step, to get rid of him. I think if Mitch McConnell is the majority leader, I think there’s a great opportunity that both sides will get together and we get some of the things done in the U.S. Senate. We need 51 senators.