David Gergen Uses Ireland's Situation To Push For 'Tough Medicine' In US Starting With Social Security
Looks like David Gergen isn't done pimping for Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson yet. Gergen uses what's going on in Ireland right now as as excuse to tell Americans that we had better get ready for some "tough medicine" once the deficit commission comes out with their report next week and of course that "medicine" should start with going after Social Security. Heaven forbid the rich should have to pay back the government for those tax cuts. Gergen apparently thinks the peons should be paying for their excesses.
MALVEAUX: On Wall Street, investors did not buy into the excitement over Black Friday. The Dow Jones Industrial average was down 95 points when the closing bell rang earlier at 1:00 p.m. today. Now, I'll explain the slight in stock prices on worries about Europe's growing debt crisis. We're going to see new action next week to try to slash the federal deficit in this country. I want to bring in our senior political analyst, David Gergen, to talk a little bit about that.
Happy Thanksgiving, David. The president's bipartisan deficit commission are going to be releasing their formal recommendations next week. A lot has been leaked already and people are not happy about hearing the retirement age going up, Social Security benefits going down. One of the co-, Allen Simpson, said this. He says, I've never had any nastier mail or had been in a more difficult position in my life, just vicious.
People I've known, relatives saying, you son of a bitch, how could you do this? His language not ours, but clearly, I mean, to tackle the deficit here, if you can't tackle Social Security, I mean, how are these guys going to do this without just being slammed all around?
GERGEN: Well, it's a very, very tough proposition, and we're really on -- I think United Nation and president and Congress are now going to have to face some very tough decisions. Just think about Poppy's report here, the very encouraging report about the shopping today. Folks from Ireland here shopping that's good news. But at this very moment, Ireland is about to go bankrupt, and you know, had to be bailed out by the European Union.
At the same time now, fears are spreading about Portugal and maybe about Spain, which is a much, much bigger economy. So, this question of when a government gets too far and the debt is serious and it can have huge consequences, and what we know now is the bipartisan commission is supposed to report next Wednesday on whether it can come to an agreement on how to deal with America's exploding deficit. Our national debt has almost doubled. To nearly -- has nearly to nearly doubled to $14 trillion in just the last seven years.
MALVEAUX: Well, David, let me ask you this. Obviously, they have some examples, some recommendations they've made, and perhaps, these are not going to be put into effect right away. The other co-chair, Erskine Bowles, says that the changes will be relatively slow. None of our recommendations take place in 2011 while the economy is still going through its recovery.
In 2012, we'll have $69 billion worth of cuts. What it will do is send signals to the market that America is serious about dealing with this deficit. Do you think this is going to work? Is it -- is that going to be enough?
GERGEN: It could work if, in fact, the White House and the Congress will rally to it. And Suzanne, I think this is a big test, another big test of President Obama's leadership. You know, we've had this one test now we talked about a couple days ago with Regard to China and South Korea whether you can get the Chinese to help play ball with the United States and get the North Korean situation under control.
Here, this is his commission. Is he going to put pressure on this commission now between now and Wednesday and really come to an agreement and get the kind of votes they need in there to make a recommendation or is he going to sit back on the side lines? Is he going to send people from the White House to talk quietly to the commission and assure them if they offer tough medicine, he, the president, will support it? He's much more likely to get the votes if he's willing to take the tough steps, and it starts with Social Security.
MALVEAUX: All right. David, thank you so much. Appreciate your time.
GERGEN: Thank you.
MALVEAUX: Happy Holidays.