Dem Elder Statesman: We Spend Too Much

Political Rhetoric Ramps Up on Capitol Hill
Political Rhetoric Ramps Up on Capitol Hill   

The government has a "spending problem" and that needs to change, former House Majority Leader Richard Gephardt told CNBC on Wednesday.

"We're spending 24 percent of GDP and we're taking in 16 percent," the Missouri Democrat said in a "Squawk Box" interview.

As for the debt ceiling, Gephardt said it's "crazy" not to raise the limit because the money has already been spent. "It's like going into a restaurant, having a big meal, and then saying I don't want to pay the bill."

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Gephardt said the solution is to pass a budget and then automatically pass a debt ceiling increase based on those planned expenditures.

By CNBC's Matthew J. Belvedere; Follow him on Twitter @Matt_SquawkCNBC