Alan Simpson: 'Dig Into The Big Four' On Spending

(h/t Heather at VideoCafe) A rival for the McCrankypants moniker, former Senator Alan Simpson wants to know why we aren't jumping on his drastic spending cuts recommendations for Social Security and other social safety net programs. And of

up
(h/t Heather at VideoCafe)

A rival for the McCrankypants moniker, former Senator Alan Simpson wants to know why we aren't jumping on his drastic spending cuts recommendations for Social Security and other social safety net programs. And of course, State of the Union host Candy Crowley laps it up, wringing her hands over the lack of desire of Americans to "sacrifice":

SIMPSON: If you don't do something with the ones that are on automatic pilot like Medicare, then it crushes out all the discretionary spending. It just wipes it out. I say to people, now what do you love? Well, I love education, I love whatever culture. Great. Don't do anything then and then it just crushed out.

And if you don't do anything with Social Security when you waddle up to get your check in the year 2037, you'll get 22 percent less. We're not balancing the budget on the backs of Social Security. We're trying to make it solvent for our children and grandchildren.

If they don't make the hard stuff on Medicare and Medicaid, and don't forget what we're doing with Social Security, we're taking care of the lowest 20 percent and taking care of people over 80, changes in the COLA, we're not talking about privatization.

These jerks who keep dragging that up are lying. We never suggested that. We're talking about doing a hideous thing, to change the retirement age to 68 by the year 2050. And hear people howl and bitch about that. Well, what do they care about their kids or their grandkids?

CROWLEY: Let me ask you, I was talking to a historian on the 50th anniversary of Eisenhower's "military-industrial complex" speech. And he said that was a generation that understood sacrifice. And, you know, the historian said he got it and there are few people, you know, now on the public scene that understand the idea of sacrifice when it comes to Medicare, Social Security, and Medicaid because they had become -- especially Medicare and Social Security have become sacrosanct, as had, until recently, the defense budget.

Oh sweet Flying Spaghetti Monster on a stick. Remind me again, Candy and Mr. 300 Tits Milk Cow, what was the top marginal tax rate during Eisenhower's day? How about we ask those top income earners to sacrifice a little more instead of putting it on the backs of those who need Social Security and Medicare? How about lifting the income cap on Social Security? How about putting Social Security back in the lockbox as it was intended. None of those suggestions were in your Very. Serious. Report. And yet any one would fund fully those programs.

And raising the retirement age to 68 in 2050 *IS* putting the sacrifices on the backs of our children and grandchildren. How old will they have to be to retire.

I don't disagree with Simpson that there is massive waste and inefficiency in the Defense Department that could be cut without hurting the military, including paying all those sub-contractors in the Middle East.

But until he can start being honest about "sacrifices", I keep fiddling along to his plaintive wails that no one is listening to him.

Transcripts below the fold:

CROWLEY: Joining me now here in Washington, Alan Simpson, co- chair of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, which is a mouthful, and it was a pretty big report.

How optimistic are you that anything close to the kinds of cuts and revenue enhancements that you'd like to make are going to come -- become a reality?

SIMPSON: Well, the reality will come very soon and will come when the debt limit extension comes up, and that will be before April 1st.

But the next time you hear any politician, in the range of my lovely voice, mellifluous voice, croaking -- if you have a career politician get up and say, "I know we can get this done; we're going to get rid of all earmarks, all waste, fraud, and abuse, all foreign aid, Air Force one, all congressional pensions," that's a sparrow's belch in the midst of a typhoon. That's about six, eight, 10 percent of where we are.

So I'm waiting for the politician to get up and say, there's only one way to do this, you dig into the big four, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and defense. And anybody giving you anything different than that, you want to walk out the door, stick your finger down your throat and give them the green weenie (ph).

CROWLEY: Isn't there a big selling job to be done here before you can get these politicians, who, after all, owe their jobs to the American people, to move?

SIMPSON: Well, the god here in Washington is the god of re- election. And I think that god is a little tarnished. I think the feet are crumbling. I had -- I won't say who it was, a Democrat senator last -- well, I won't use the time. It was said to me, I'm ready to go out this time by carrying the ball on this program. In other words, I'm ready to do this even if it defeats me.

CROWLEY: So when you look at the president saying, I want a discretionary spending freeze for five years -- three years, and you see the Republicans saying, we want to go back to -- and I can't remember now what level...

SIMPSON: 2008.

CROWLEY: 2008 spending levels, peanuts both?

SIMPSON: Peanuts. If you don't do something with the ones that are on automatic pilot like Medicare, then it crushes out all the discretionary spending. It just wipes it out. I say to people, now what do you love? Well, I love education, I love whatever culture. Great. Don't do anything then and then it just crushed out.

And if you don't do anything with Social Security when you waddle up to get your check in the year 2037, you'll get 22 percent less. We're not balancing the budget on the backs of Social Security. We're trying to make it solvent for our children and grandchildren.

If they don't make the hard stuff on Medicare and Medicaid, and don't forget what we're doing with Social Security, we're taking care of the lowest 20 percent and taking care of people over 80, changes in the COLA, we're not talking about privatization.

These jerks who keep dragging that up are lying. We never suggested that. We're talking about doing a hideous thing, to change the retirement age to 68 by the year 2050. And hear people howl and bitch about that. Well, what do they care about their kids or their grandkids?

CROWLEY: Let me ask you, I was talking to a historian on the 50th anniversary of Eisenhower's "military-industrial complex" speech. And he said that was a generation that understood sacrifice. And, you know, the historian said he got it and there are few people, you know, now on the public scene that understand the idea of sacrifice when it comes to Medicare, Social Security, and Medicaid because they had become -- especially Medicare and Social Security have become sacrosanct, as had, until recently, the defense budget. Do you agree with that?

SIMPSON: Oh, yes. And I think what we were -- we were stunned, we're like the people who know too much, the 10 months that all of us spent there. And I'll tell you, we saw things -- we asked the defense -- we asked Conrad and Durbin, what do you hear from the Defense Department when we talk about cutting contractors?

They don't know how many contractors they have. It's something between 250,000 and a million. So our proposal is to cut 250,000 contractors out of the game. Let me tell you, guys, nobody is going to hurt the military. We're not going to hurt Iran and Iraq. But this is the first war in our history where we never had a tax to support a war, including the Revolution. And nobody has sacrificed in this country, nobody, except the people in the military. And in our report we use words like "sacrifice," "self-sacrifice," we used words like "going broke." And it's written in English. It's not written for pundits or parliamentarians or journalists. It's written for the American people.

CROWLEY: It is as every bit as much our fault, it's not like, oh, those darn politicians on Capitol Hill won't do anything. It really is that there isn't the will out there among the American people to say, yes, I'll take that hit.

SIMPSON: Well, there's not much of that...

CROWLEY: Is that where the fault lies?

SIMPSON: Well, yes. I'll tell you, they sent these people in Washington to bring home the bacon. I mean, they sent the -- they elected these people who could get them the dam, who could get them the new money, who could get them the downtown redevelopment, who could get them more and more and more, and they re-elected them every time.

And now, you can't get guys to get on the Appropriations Committee, that's a switch, because it's not going -- it's going to be the "disappropriations"...

CROWLEY: There's no fun there.

SIMPSON: But they asked me if I had any regret. And I'm going to say it to you because of the delightful person -- you have always been real. And I'm not toadying up. You're authentic.

But I had one regret. I meant to say that America was a milk cow with 300 million teats and not just Social Security.

CROWLEY: Senator Alan Simpson, rare and real, we could use a little more of that in Washington.

SIMPSON: Well, but there are people, let me tell you, that commission, I respect every one of them completely and we all agree that deficit denial is dead as a dodo bird. And if they want to keep playing the violin, well, deficits mean nothing, well, I'll buy the drinks.

About Nicole Belle

Nicole Belle's picture
Mom, Wife, Media Critic/Political Analyst, Blogger, Austen Fanatic, Unapologetic Liberal NicoleBelle@crooksandliars.com

Comments

We welcome relevant, respectful comments. Please refer to our Terms of Service for information on our posting policy.