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Media Stakeout with Democratic Members of the House Following Their Caucus MEeting


Location: Washington, DC



REP. COOPER: Thank you. My name is Jim Cooper. I'm not a member of leadership; I'm a Blue Dog.

I'm here to talk about Barack Obama inheriting the worst mess, economically, in American history. Herbert Hoover didn't leave Franklin Roosevelt a mess this bad. This is so bad that, as was revealed today by CBO, the deficit is at least $1.2 trillion, $1.2 trillion. That's 12 zeros.

We knew this, really, last month. The administration itself released a document on the Internet, but with no press release, that revealed a similar number. They are guilty of a cover-up, in my opinion, because they have refused to even print that document. It's called the Financial Report of the United States Government. It is signed by Henry Paulson. It revealed a trillion dollar-plus deficit back in December.

So the truth is out. This deficit is at least three times larger than the previous U.S. record holder established under Ronald Reagan. This is also the largest deficit in American history as a percentage of GDP.

So no matter how you measure it, we're in record deficit territory. And that's before President-elect Obama is even sworn in. So it's important to establish a baseline, in the minds of the American people, of the gravity of our situation.

If you read the financial report of the U.S. government, again signed by Henry Paulson but which he has never had a press conference on and which he will probably refuse to answer your questions about, and they won't even print the document, the fiscal situation of America deteriorated last year to the tune of $3 trillion. That's if you count programs that we know and love, programs called Medicare and Social Security and Medicaid.

It's high time that the truth comes out because again before Inauguration Day, this is the depth of our situation. We heard from excellent economists today. Two of the three of them are Republicans: Martin Feldstein, Mark Zandi.

I think Blue Dogs are committed to supporting a stimulus package like President Obama -- President-elect Obama has recommended. Personally we hope it won't be much larger than that. And it's very important, the components, because as Speaker Pelosi said in the caucus today, the committees of jurisdiction will be writing the language, to make sure that the projects are in fact shovel-ready, to make sure that the money is appropriately spent.

But this is time for change in America. We are seeing it with the incoming Obama administration. But it's vitally important to understand how grave the situation already is.


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