When President Barack Obama introduced Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH) as his nominee for Commerce Secretary, Obama said of Gregg: “He shares my deep-seated commitment to guaranteeing that our children inherit a future they can afford.” After yesterday’s Senate Budget Committee hearing, we now know why Gregg eventually decided he could not in good faith join the Administration. Referring to the president’s fiscal 2010 budget proposal, Gregg told Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner: “This budget, as it’s presently constructed, pass[es] on to our children a nation which they will not be able to afford. … I think we’re putting at risk not only our children’s future, we’re clearly putting at risk the value of a dollar and our ability to sell debt.”

Gregg’s tongue lashing should not have come as any surprise. Gregg took to the pages of yesterday’s Washington Times writing:

The budget the Obama administration has presented to the American people is a new type of budget: it expands our government in unprecedented ways and presents the largest tax increase in history. It raises total spending to $3.9 trillion in 2009, or 28 percent of gross domestic product, the highest level as a share of GDP since World War II.

In the next five years, the debt will double, and in 10 years, it will triple. This budget creates more debt than under every president from George Washington to George W. Bush combined … the Obama administration’s proposal is not a budget that the rest of America would recognize as a document for living within one’s means. It simply spends too much, taxes too much and borrows too much. It is a game plan for an explosive expansion of the size and intrusiveness of the national government based on a belief that bureaucrats can more effectively manage large segments of our economy and our daily lives than the private sector or the individual.

Gregg was far from the only Senator to voice concerns about Obama’s tax, borrow, and spend budget plan. Budget Committee Chair Kent Conrad (D-ND) told reporters after the hearing he was highly skeptical about Administration claims that their major health care reform could stave off massive costs that will burden the government in future years: “Is this really a move to save money or is it just going to cost more money?” Conrad told the DC Examiner.

For his part, Geithner seemed blissfully unwilling to acknowledge how unworkable the Obama budget is, telling the panel: “We share more in common than you believe.” Gregg was having none of it. Responding to Geithner’s assertion that Obama’s budget would cut taxes for 95% of Americans, Gregg replied: “The argument that this budget doesn’t have tax increases is, I think, an Alice in Wonderland view of the budget.” Perhaps it is time for Geithner to come out of his rabbit hole.

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