Frank Blames U.S. Credit Downgrade On Military Spending

BOSTON (CBS) – Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank says the reason the United States credit has been downgraded is because it spends too much on the military.

“There is one area in American policy where we are doing things disproportionate to the rest of the world,” Frank told CBS’s “The Early Show” Monday.

“(It’s) our extraordinary willingness to be the military policemen for the whole world.”

“An event like this should change our thinking,” he said.

“The time has come, to find a place where we could, I think, together, could make some savings. That’s going to be going to be my mantra for the next few months.”

A new, bi-partisan commission needs to come up with $1.5 trillion in deficit cuts.

Frank, the ranking Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee, said the U.S. could save billions without endangering American security by scaling back areas such as defending western Europe.

“They’re not poor. There’s no more Communist empire threatening them. The only thing that hasn’t changed is the tens of billions of American dollars that go there.”

“I don’t understand why America has to be so disproportionately military,” Frank said.

“If we’re looking for something that breaks the mold, it’s the military spending that is far disproportionate.”

  • FireGuyFrank

    Yes, we are engaged in too many spots around the world. But Barney Frank — once again — overlooks the enormous overspending President Obama and Congressional Democrats in the last three years.

    Stimulous was a sham.

    Remember, Barney, when you point a finger at someone else, three are pointing back to you.

    • Lori

      I agree, and I thin most americans would agree, that the stimulus did not work. Keep in mind though that most of those stimulus packages were out into place before Obama took office.
      I don’t have any leanings towards democrats or republicans. I just go for whichever side seems least likely to tell me to lean over.

      • Lori

        I meant to sY PUT into place. Sorry for typo.

    • Joe

      You must understand because these are scientific unarguable facts, that when Obama took office he put the two wars Iraq and Afghanistan, on the books. What that means is prior to that the wars had not been part of the US debt and weren’t included with the day to day spending of our nation by adding them the debt shot up. Furthermore the stimulus package which to a degree was a success and to a degree was a failure was prodominantly Obama’s continuation of the Bush tax cuts which were also unfunded. The tax cuts mainly for the wealthiest one percent, who already enjoy the lowest tax rate of and civilized nation on earth, were to give them a break so they could use the money to create jobs. Well the first Bush tax cut was almost ten years ago and Obama’s was a couple years ago, so where are the jobs the rich promised?

  • Moi


    Bush’s war in Iraq, which he started, isn’t exactly cheap. Oh, and learn to spell ‘stimulus.’

    • craig

      Hey Moi, Mo, mohammed… what ever your name is. What unit did you serve with in the service of my country?

    • K

      Dare I remind you that Iraq is the conflict with the least amount of US troops in active combat. Afghanistan is much more active (a conflict Obama sent more troops to) + Libya, (which Obama started)

      So don’t give me this “It’s all Bush’s fault”

      Obama promised withdrawel from war and ended up sending more troops to Afghanistan and fighter jets to Libya

      • FireGuyFrank

        Moi, stick to the topic at hand and avoid personal attacks. The extra “O” is for “Obama”, of course. :-)

  • Harry W Fry Jr

    Rep. Frank, all members of the Washington political establishment should stand up and accept blame for this financial crisis that has resulted in the S&P down grade. It is not one segment of Congress or party that is to blame but collectively all are at fault for their own fiscal irresponsibility over decades of out of control spending. All politicians are completely out of touch with the people and the reality of the financial crisis. Rep. Frank, laying all the blame on military spending is not reasonable or truthful. You of all people should be aware the funding and actions of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are truly black holes of costs that has had a negative effect on our economy and financial health. Stop the finger pointing, get to work and find a solution to the problem.

    • Bruce Gabriel

      Wonderful post Mr, Fry.

      Although he will not admit it, Congressman Frank is well aware of his role in the toxic real estate (CDOs & Asset Backed Securities) crisis that now a plagues our nation and the world.

      Add to the above the complicity of liberals like Mr. Frank in looking the other way while as WBZ has reported, illegal aliens like Obama’s Aunt Zeituni and many others are put on SSI disability and allowed access to subsidized public housing. And of course we all know that free cell phone access has recently evolved into a Constitutional right for all welfare recipients.

      “Nothing is easier than the expenditure of public money. It does not appear to belong to anybody. The temptation is overwhelming to bestow it on somebody. But the results of extravagance are ruinous. The property of the country, like the freedom of the country, belongs to the people of the country. They have not empowered their Government to take a dollar of it except for a necessary public purpose. But if the Constitution conferred such right, sound economics would forbid it. Nothing is more destructive of the progress of the Nation than government extravagance. It means an increase in the burden of taxation, dissipation of the returns from enterprise, a decrease in the real value of wages, with ultimate stagnation and decay. The whole theory of our institutions is based on the liberty and independence of the individual. He is dependent on himself for support and therefore entitled to the rewards of his own industry. He is not to be deprived of what he earns that others may be benefited by what they do not earn. What he saves through his private effort is not to be wasted by Government extravagance.” – Calvin Coolidge

  • response

    I was just reading that Fannie Mae lost 5.18 billion dollars in Q2…I guess that has nothing to do with the financial situation this country is in?

    Harry – you are correct, they are completely out of touch with reality and the struggles that are facing Americans today.

    • Cinque

      “Fannie Mae lost 5.18 billion” in 3 months, huh? Doesn’t sound like much when you compare it to 16 billion dollars per month spent in Iraq & Afghanistan. The Soviet Union stayed in Afghanistan for 10 years until they realized that they could never win. Now, we have been there nearly 10 years and despite the hundreds of billions of dollars spent, one Taliban is able to shoot down a helicopter with a 50 year old weapon resulting in the deaths of 30 Americans. It’s time to get out of that backward & corrupt nation and fast.

      • Lori

        If anyone thinks that accident resulting in those recent deaths was truly a result of the Taliban then they are deluding themselves. I am not usually one for conspiracy theories however it seems highly suspect that these young brave men died after who they recently captured.

      • J.

        Please don’t forget that Reagan.(the largest talking head EVER) was feeding the rebels their weapons before the tide turned… and the (then) Russians pulled out!
        Blame truly goes to ALL of the flipping “Politicians”. They don’t work for US..they work for POWER !.
        They work to keep their close knit group in power, and votes for the coming election
        Next election…ANYTHING that has an (I) beside it…should be an automatic non-vote!. The thought that they work for US, was gone a LONG time ago
        Remember the Government…BY THE PEOPLE and FOR THE PEOPLE ? Apparently the thugs WE seat in Washington DON’T !!! Next.

  • MJ

    Seems to me like defending the free world is a smarter thing to spend our money on than giving welfare benefits to illegal immigrants, Barney Fwank. God Bless America, and those who serve her.

  • Joseph

    56% of the federal budget is for social/entitlement programs. 20% is defense spending and 24% for other (science, infrastructure, fed payroll/pension etc). So 44% (20% + 24%) is spent on things that the federal government is authorized to fund according to the constitutional framework. 56% is spent on things the federal government has assumed on its own with total disregard for the 10th Amendment.
    Barney, you are a 56 percenter

  • Armando

    Barney was one of the main proponents for loosening up Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac home loan policies, along with Sen. Dodd. They should both be in jail.

  • Ellen

    You mean Barney the one that was fiddling around with Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac, and we’re supposed to take this idiot seriously.

  • Joe Public

    Spoken like a true moron, he and Kerry make a good pair of doorstops.

  • K

    Frank blames military spending, okay
    I blame him and the rest of the career politicians in DC

    They complete lack of understanding of the term “For the people, by the people” + their continous aim at rewarding themselves instead of fixing problems, is the direct reason that we are downgraded.

    That goes for both sides of the political arena

  • decol

    Vote out ALL those losers in Washington—-Make multi-billion dollar corporations like GE pay some taxes (instead of nothing), get all our soldiers out of countries that hate us—-stop paying them millions and millions. Just protect out shores,and we may have an economy again.This is not rocket science!!!!!

    • Lori

      I couldn’t agree more. Get our troops home. Protect our own shores. Protect our own people. Are the troubles of those in less fortunate countries terrible, yes, but we need to help our own first.

  • Formerly from Massachusetts

    Barney Frank is an embarrassment and has been for years. Why do Massachusetts voters keep sending him back to Washington time and time again?

    • kasser

      Same reason Ted Kennedy and Menino were/is re-elected

      “meantime, in the voting booth – Honey, who is it that we usually vote for ? Frank, oh yes – I forgot”

      People find their way to the voting booths at election time. They believe that by getting off the counch, they have done their duties as citizens and true patriots. But when you flip that curtain and set your mark at the same guy year after year, only because “that is how we always did it” – please just stay home.

      Menino could kick it tomorrow and still get re-elected if his name is on a ballot next time. Putting 100 bucks on that statement. Any takers ?

      This is not an anti democratic party rant as I am sure the other side is just as bad or even worse being that much more conservative

  • Dan

    The debt, and projected debt, was there a long time ago.
    The downgrade was caused by some morons threatening to not pay the bills congress had previously approved.

  • Liz

    WOW – Barney really needs to get a mirror in his house…

  • John

    Barney and Chris Dodd were major factors in the Freddie & Fannie debacle which took place on their watch. To say that the downgrading of the Country’s Credit rating has been caused by Military spending is a crock. As Chmn. of the House and Senate Banking Committees, these two scoundrels bear the lion’s share of the responsibility for where we are now. Dodd has the common sense to step aside.
    I hope the voters of Mass. will make that decision for Barney so he won’t have to agonize over it. Throw the clown out!

  • Bruce Gabriel


    I don’t know if there in fact was a conspiracy to get those brave Navy Seals and Special Forces people killed, but I feel there needs to be a command investigation as to why all those Seals and Special Forces were put on one helicopter on such a dangerous mission.

    I do agree that we need to get out of Iraq and Afghanistan!

  • Walter Crosby

    I don’t usually agree with Barney — but he happens to be right in this case.

    • K

      I find myself in the odd spot of agreeing with Barney as well. But only as far as military installations overseas needs to be shut down. Use the resources here within and let the folks overseas, who hates us anyway – fend for themselves.

      Will be entertaining to see them cry though once we are gone


      Closing down overseas military operations, maybe even slicing it a bit once it is back on our shores means absolutely nothing financially if the money saved is spent in the reckless manor DC is spending in currently

      Even if his suggestion becomes reality, there would be A LOT of work ahead and a lot of changes to be made in DC

    • Stephen Rost

      Frankly spoken – i’m not the one to disagree on this point.

  • Bruce

    Hey Barney…how about cutting fraud within welfare; SSDI; Medicare; and your own paychecks and benefits; start with yourself and your self-centered collegues; and Obama’s aunt then come after us working people and the military.

  • andyme

    Bruce Gabriel hit the nail on the head by quoting Coolidge:

    “The whole theory of our institutions is based on the liberty and independence of the individual. He is dependent on himself for support and therefore entitled to the rewards of his own industry. He is not to be deprived of what he earns that others may be benefited by what they do not earn. What he saves through his private effort is not to be wasted by Government extravagance.” – Calvin Coolidge

    With 51% of our population paying no federal tax at all and the extreme rich paying the lowest tax rate in any civilized society the taxation solution should be easy to solve. The real problem lies in leadership and the courage to face the hard facts. It’s not an easy problem to solve, not one party’s fault, unfortunately the leader in the White House does not have those skills. It’s time to get to work America and solve these problems together.

  • JohnC

    I never – ever, thought that I would agree with Barney Frank on anything. Miracles do happen however, and Barney is absolutely correct on this issue. The United States can not afford to be the world’s cop.

  • Mark

    Looking at the photo I guess it was a little bit early for Barn. Everyone’s comments have some merit. Barn & Dodd made a mess with Fannie & Freddie and than walked away. Foreign aid has always been a boondoggle all it does is line the pockets of foreign politicians, I’m sure the average Joe in Bulgaria, Thailand, or Kenya doesn’t see a dime of our money. I’m a Vietnam Veteran 55,000 dead in that scuffle. Who reaped the benefits of that conflict? Bechtel was a big winner there (does that name sound familiar to anyone?). Income tax is illegal why do you think they deduct it out of your check? if it was left up to us we wouldn’t pay it so they would have nothing to spend. It wasn’t made permanent until 1913, before that it was off and on. Term limits have been tried before always gets defeated. Maybe it is time to revisit our Constitution it is over 200 years old. I mean we change laws all the time to bring them up to date.

  • SickofGovt

    Toot, exkuze me, is this national tv. My fwiendz, itz the militarys fault. It has nothing to do with the fact I’m a liberal nutbag. My money bag has run dry so I can’t give handouts to capture my votes

  • craig

    Yeah, this from a man who’s literally been bedding down every bent wrist banker since the day he came to office!!! Get out and retire to P-TOWN Frank!!!!!

  • Hey Barney Frank: Defense spending is about protecting American interests, not European ones.

    […] that he will in fact save us all from our fiscal disaster, single handedly. How, you might ask? By gutting the defense budget. Because we all know that’s exactly where our financial issues originated from and thus […]

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