Masterclass: GOP Senator Forces Biden's Treasury Secretary to Admit the Truth About Boss' Budget


It’s always a delight to listen to Sen. John Kennedy.

Speaking in a folksy, colorfully-illustrated, down-home way, the Louisiana Republican can lull an opponent or someone he’s focusing on into relaxing. But veterans of the Kennedy style know that in his charming, Southern gentlemanly way, Kennedy’s sharp wit can politely take someone apart piece by piece.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen got some of the Kennedy treatment last week as she appeared before a Senate Appropriations subcommittee.

Kennedy was aghast at the size of the Biden administration budget and the amount of U.S. debt as he and Yellen discussed federal finances between now and 2033.

“At the end of this year we project — people a lot smarter than me, probably not than you, but smarter than me — say that gross debt’s $33 trillion,” Kennedy told Yellen. “They say if the president’s budget is implemented by 2033, it’ll be $51 trillion. Isn’t that a fact?”

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Responded Yellen: “If the president’s budget is not implemented and none of the changes are made, it will be worse than that.”

“And so the president’s budget has improved the fiscal outlook relative to what we would have without the president’s proposals,” she continued.

“It raises gross debt from 33 trillion dollars to 51 trillion dollars. You say that’s an improvement?” asked an incredulous Kennedy.

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“It is an improvement,” Yellen replied, “Because it raises taxes by more, and it leads to …”

“That includes taxes,” Kennedy interjected. “In what world is that an improvement, other than Washington and la-la land?”

Later, Kennedy went before the full Senate and reviewed his discussions with Yellen. “I always love when Secretary Yellen testifies,” Kennedy told the Senate, “because I learn so much from her.”

He told what he had learned: that the Biden administration’s proposed budget was $6.9 trillion, up from $6.4 trillion, and that the U.S. population had grown 1.8 percent since 2019, but the budget was up 55 percent (although Yellen had countered with a reference to the pandemic).

Kennedy also said he learned ”that the president is proposing $4.7 trillion — not billion — 4.7 trillion dollars in new taxes. Takes my breath away — 4.7 trillion dollars. We’re going to run out of digits.”

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Biden is claiming that his proposed budget will decrease the deficit by $3 trillion, according to Kennedy, but the senator said in reality debt would rise from $32.7 trillion this year to $51 trillion by 2033.

“Only in Washington, D.C., only in la-la land, can you go around and say my budget reduces the deficit and debt by 3 trillion dollars when it really increases it by 18 trillion dollars,” he said.

Incidentally, Yellen told Kennedy that the proposed Biden budget has the U.S. public debt at 109 percent of gross domestic product.

A World Bank study indicated a debt-to-GDP ratio above 77 percent over time can lead to economic downturn, according to Investopedia. The U.S. ratio has been at 77 percent since 2009.

That’s the news from la-la land.

Thankfully, there’s someone like Sen. Kennedy pushing back on the madness.

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Mike Landry, PhD, is a retired business professor. He has been a journalist, broadcaster and church pastor. He writes from Northwest Arkansas on current events and business history.
Mike Landry, PhD, is a retired business professor. He has been a journalist, broadcaster and church pastor. He writes from Northwest Arkansas on current events and business history.