Federal spending has been “on steroids” since President Barack Obama took office, but Republicans will suffer more politically if a deal on the debt ceiling is not reached by the Aug. 2 deadline, declares Newsmax’s chief Washington correspondent Ron Kessler.
Kessler also says the government is so bloated that half of all federal employees could be fired without seriously impacting the delivery of services.
Kessler is a New York Times best-selling author of books on the Secret Service, FBI, and CIA. His latest book, "The Secrets of the FBI," is to be released on Aug. 2.
In an interview with Newsmax.TV, Kessler discussed the talk in Washington regarding negotiations on the debt ceiling and deficit reduction.
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“I’m certainly hearing that all sides are determined not to let this go on beyond August 2,” he discloses.
“They all recognize how catastrophic it would be to allow it to fester. So behind the scenes all sides are saying they’re going to get it done.
“It’s amazing that Republicans have gotten this far, given that they control only one house. All of a sudden we’re discussing the debt, where we never did before. But at the same time it’s not something that can be solved overnight with one vote. It will take years and it will take a Republican president and a Republican Congress to really make the changes, to really make a difference in the debt and the deficit.
“Harry Reid in the Senate actually did come up with a plan that does not raise taxes, so that was a big step in the right direction.
“At the same time you have some of the tea party people who think they can solve this all overnight by adhering to the idea that we’re going to have tremendous cuts in spending, ignoring the fact that they represent only one component of the government. The Senate and the White House are under Democratic control.
“But in the end I think that Boehner and Reid actually do have a working relationship and are really committed to solving this crisis, and I think they will.”
Kessler was asked who will pay the price if the stalemate in Washington is not resolved by the deadline date.
“I think Republicans will pay the political price if this does not work out, and they are aware of that,” Kessler responds.
“The reason, besides the fact that the media will portray them as the devil, is that it is the Republicans who are pushing for change in the status quo, as opposed to just raising the debt limit without making any changes, which is what Obama originally wanted to do.
“So for that reason they’ll be seen as the troublemakers who brought this all on.
“Under Bush there was out-of-control spending as well, but a lot of that was because of the war on terror, the invasion of Iraq. But Obama has put it on steroids and there has been absolutely no consideration given to cutting under Obama.”
Referring to Obama’s attempts to blame the nation’s debt on Bush, Kessler says: “Obama is the pretend president. The president is supposed to be the chief executive who comes up with legislation, makes plans, makes decisions, and he’s done just the opposite. He talks, he blames, he points fingers, he says the wealthy are responsible for all the country’s problems.
“But he never has actually come up with a plan. It’s unbelievable. And this has been his pattern from day one.”
Speaking from his perspective as a Washington insider, Kessler adds: “When I talk to government employees I know, they all agree with me that about 50 percent of the government can be cut. Not necessarily by getting rid of programs — although that is important as well, and duplication is important to get rid of — but simply because the government is so bloated that they have three employees when one would do.
“Anybody who’s really dealt with the government on a long-term basis comes away with that view. You could just cut the government in half in terms of total budget. The employees that are there would get the work done, the rest would go, and I don’t think you’d lose anything.”
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