United States Senator James Inhofe
Glenn: From Radio City in Midtown Manhattan, Hello, you sick, twisted freak. Welcome to the program. Boy, oh boy, oh boy. There is a lot going on, a lot going on this weekend. Hey, everybody got together and came up with some new global rules to watch over you and how you spend your money and how we invest. That's fantastic. I'm not sure how that works, you know, with that pesky Constitution thing, but oh well. The world leaders met and, yet, more power is being taken by this government, more power is being given, more money is being printed, yet, there's no accountability. For all the people, the voices in Washington are saying, like Barney Frank, "Geez, guys, what I would like to know is where all this accountability? We need somebody watching over all the banks." Barney, wasn't that you? I would rather have Barney the dinosaur. No, no. I would rather have Barney Rubble, and he screwed up everything. I'd rather have Barney Rubble -- "Gee, I don't know, Fred" -- watching over absolutely everything in the banks over Barney Frank. No one is asking -- no, no, no. I take that back.
Senator Inhofe is with us. He's one guy who's been saying, Hey, gee, where's all the money going that you said was going over here to pay Pete and you didn't buy anything from Pete? What kind of answers are you getting, Senator?
Inhofe: You might remember, Glenn Beck, when I voted against this being in October 1st, there was a reason for it. We tried to be very objective and look at this thing and what they had said in the middle of September, we had a conference call from Paulson and all Republicans are supposed to be on it. I think there were about six of us and I asked questions, you know, simple questions like, "All right. You want this money to buy troubled assets. Now, how do you qualify? What's the criteria of a troubled asset?" "Well, I don't know." "Well, what's the criteria for a company that has these assets so we'll know what institutions we're going to be baling out?" "Well, we'll have those answers." This is on a Friday. Then, of course, two weeks later the answers still weren't there and they went ahead and passed this thing.
I can tell you, I think you're being overly generous, because I've heard some of your comments. Have you ever in your career, in your lifetime, Glenn, seen an unelected bureaucrat have total control --
Inhofe: -- with no oversight over a large amount of money? Now, when you talk about $700 billion, I would like to put it in perspective that I can understand. We have 139 million families in America, like the ones listening to us right now, who file income tax returns. If do you the math, that's $5,000 a family. So, you've got to kind of put it in context where we understand it.
So, here we are now. He did not do with it what he said he would do. Maybe that's good, but the point is he was without any type of oversight, any type of restrictions, just put it where you want to. A lot of this, I might mention, $10 billion of it, went to Goldman Sachs. That was his old company.
Glenn: Senator, I asked Senator Orrin Hatch this and Joe Lieberman. Before I give you their answer, let me ask you this question: Do you believe our Constitution is hanging by a thread?
Inhofe: Well, certainly it's very clear what the responsibilities are in terms of Congress, in terms of the executive branch and the juvenile branch. There is not a bureaucratic branch in our Constitution. And so I think, you know, the answer is "yes."
Glenn: Gang, if you're keeping score at home, just -- there's three senators down that I have asked that question to and all three have answered the same way, "Yes, it is."
Senator, now we're talking about baling GM out. Since when did we -- and it's not just GM. It's all the big three. Since when did we stop believing in bankruptcy? You go bankrupt. You restructure. You restart. You move on. When did we --
Inhofe: You know, let me suggest something here, Glenn. It's a little different spin on this, but on the whole idea on the manufacturers, the -- or anybody else who's standing in line now, Wait a minute, they got bailed out. I can get bailed out, too. I'm introducing at noon today -- that's when we -- eastern time. That's when they open. I have it all drafted and ready to go. It's legislation that will do two things. First of all, it will freeze the amount of money that Paulson has been spending so he can't spend any more. We don't know how much that is. Now, that's quite an indictment right there, not even knowing what it's already been spent on. And, secondly, there is a second $350 billion that will be automatic if we don't do something. This states that we reject the second $350 billion. So, what I'm saying is you've got to stop the bleeding.
You know, what we're doing right now, they're negotiating, they're talking about, Well, we're going to have to have inspectors in there talking about putting someone in and getting the President to nominate then, then we have to go through the confirmation, you know, all the money will be spent by the time this guy is confirmed and we have enough people there. All we have to do is give them the authority to do it. Right now we've got an inspector general, Eric Thorson. He's there right now. He's on the job. If we gave him the authority, at least we would have somebody doing it, but instead of that, let's stop the bleeding, stop them from spending any more money, let's withhold the other $350 billion. Hopefully it won't have to be used at all. And then let's segregate the whole idea on the auto industry from what is happening right now with what used to be or started out to be $700 billion because if they -- if Congress wants to do something for the auto industry, they should have to admit that they're going to take that out of the general fund, they're going to increase our deficit by that amount and/or debt, I might add, and let that stand on its own, but let's in the meantime stop all the spending that came with this $700 billion, if there's anything left of the first 350 billion.
Glenn: Senator, can you please explain to me -- and it's not just the Republicans -- I mean not just the Democrats. It's the Republicans, as well. Can you please explain to me at any level of satisfaction to sanity how Barack Obama could say this weekend -- and I don't want to throw Barack Obama under the bus, because it was George Bush before -- how we can say we don't have to worry about the deficit over the next couple of years; we have to spend whatever it takes? Can you please explain to me, when the globe is in a financial crisis as bad, if not worse than we are, when they're the ones financing our debt, how incurring obscene amounts of debt, unlike this country has ever, ever seen before, how you're going to get back to my place liveable?
Inhofe: Well, Glenn, I'm glad he said it. You know, at least we all knew it, anyway, that -- and it's very honest for him to come out and say, It really doesn't matter, we're not worried about debt anymore, and all the promises he's made and what he's talking about and you've heard the testimonials of the people that are going to quit their jobs, they don't have to work anymore, they have health care, they have all the benefits that are out there. Well, at least now he's saying this isn't important anymore. It's not -- it's something that we've known about him for a long time.
You know, we are looking at a real critical time and now is the time to try to stop what we're in the middle of. And all the time this was happening, here we are in Washington, we've got the Senate finance committee fighting with the Senate banking committee. I have to say back on October 1st and 3rd is when the vote took place, overwhelming vote to approve this $700 billion bailout, it's kind of the black bird theory. Everybody in Washington, they all get behind closed doors and say, Look. If we all support this, who's going to criticize us? And I've seen this happen before and this is -- I think this one's come back to haunt them.
Glenn: Senator, how long before we don't recognize our country anymore because of what's coming our way? This is a tsunami that is going to hit us in -- in 12 months, between the spending -- we're now talking an estimated $1 trillion budget deficit next year, plus the $5 trillion of added debt that we have just now guaranteed, plus anything else that everybody wants to do, plus the economy, they're saying now that the unemployment rate in the next 12 months will probably be between 7.5 and 8 percent unemployment, which is another blow to the -- plus all of the defaults on the credit cards and auto loans. It's a tsunami. What will it look like in a year? How much time do we have to stop something?
Inhofe: Well, it's a new mental attitude as to what government is there fr and this is what bothers me. Look at the people who have already lined up behind those who have been recipients of some, what, $125 billion. You have -- they say, well, that's just going to be the financial industry. Oh, fine. That includes insurance companies. Then everyone is saying why we were discriminated against? Why aren't we getting it? And so everybody is in line now. They're all assuming the government's going to be able to take care of it. But look at the problems we have right now. We are still -- in defense, I would say, of George W. Bush, yeah, he spent too much, but he inherited a recession. For every 1 percent drop in economic activity, that translates into about $45 billion. Then, he inherited a military that had been decimated by Clinton.
Glenn: Hang on. Hang on. Senator, this same thing is going to be said in two to four to eight years about Barack Obama, if we last that long. There's going to be somebody else who will say, Yeah, but he inherited all of that from George Bush. It doesn't matter. What matters is your values. Did you sell out your values? The answer to that with George W. Bush is "yes." It's called prescription drugs. It's called never vetoing a bloated spending bill. So, I don't want to rehash the past, but I also don't want to surround the past in sunshine and lollipops.
Inhofe: I don't want to do that, either. I'm just saying to you, Glenn, there is another huge problem we haven't talked about and, that is, he didn't get a chance. He did the best to try to rebuild the military but couldn't do it and prosecute a war at the same time. We have to make up for what we lost in the 1990's and I could assure you Barack Obama could care less as to what is going to happen to the size and the salvation of our defense system.
Now, I'm a little prejudiced because I watched this. I was on the Senate floor all during the Nineties complaining about what Clinton was doing to the military, but there are some things that government's supposed to be doing. Government's supposed to be doing defending America, supposed to be building infrastructure to keep our traffic moving and all these things, but after that is where you have to really watch it and that's where we've got a serious problem coming up in this next administration. I think it could very well precipitate a great landslide victory for the Republicans in the congressional elections of 2010.
Glenn: I've been talking for five years about something I call the perfect storm and I said all of these things, financial problems, wars, you know, enemies within, enemies without, all of these things, every single one of these things we have handled and this country can deal with. However, we have never dealt with all of them at the same time and if two or three of them spiral out of control, I've been warning for five years, guys, we're in a different world. It is not the same. I kept looking at the news this weekend and somebody would say to me, Glenn, what would happen if such-and-such? What would happen if this happened? And I keep thinking to myself Archduke Ferdinand. We are sitting on a tinder box and a spark or a match will make us burn like California and it's not just us. It's the whole world. It is on the edge. Agree or disagree?
Inhofe: Oh, I agree. I agree. And I think for a minute forget about the rest of the world and just think about the problems that we're going to have in this country because it's now total control. At least we had some effort there before. I don't see any effort at all to curb the coming disaster that you described in terms of spending. You know, I gave a speech to this large conservative group, this national group on Saturday, and I outlined just the -- and quoted the various Democrats that are in there. They have no concern about spending. They -- and so I think, you know, it's going to have to get a lot worse and the wake-up call should have been here long before now. I think this one thing we're talking about now, this $750 billion when we've never before allowed an elected bureaucrat to have that kind of control, that is serving as a wake-up call and I hope you will help try to get this thing done. That will at least stop the bleeding. What we're doing now is worrying about what to do with the patient while he's still bleeding. Let's stop the bleeding.
Glenn: Senator, I will look at the bill and we will talk again. Keep up the good fight and let us know what we can do and do me a favor, will you?
Glenn: Kick Republican ass and wake them up. Stop having them sit on the fence. Find their conservative values. Have them take out their little pocket Constitution, God forbid they don't have it with them, and have them stand up and have a spine for what they are and who they are and who we are, for the love of Pete.
Inhofe: That's my assignment.
Glenn: Thank you very much. I love this guy. Senator Inhofe.