Simpson: Obama Should Heed Debt Panel

Tuesday, 12 Apr 2011 06:06 AM

By Hiram Reisner

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Former Wyoming Sen. Alan Simpson, a co-chair of President Barack Obama’s deficit-reduction commission, asks why the president bothered to empower the panel if he doesn’t plan to follow its advice. Simpson Monday also said on Fox News that Obama, and Congress, will have to be “bold” and confront the commission’s advice on entitlements and defense spending or the debt can’t be contained — and the consequences will be severe.
“If he is going to talk about entitlements, and tax reform, and spending, and, hopefully . . . Social Security without saying that we are trying to balance the budget on the backs of poor old seniors — and this is the 'cat food commission' — there will be some reality maybe to what he does,” Simpson told Fox News’ Neal Cavuto.
“And I think that is important — why appoint a commission by executive order if you do not follow it? He could not do it at first because he [would have gotten] torn to ribbons,” he said. “If they had done it first, the Republicans, they would get torn to ribbons. Slowly, slowly, the cone of silence will be broken, and they are all going to get crushed when that debt-limit extension comes up.”
Cavuto noted anytime raising the debt ceiling is addressed, the discussion “is like pulling teeth,” and how does Simpson foresee the president — and congressional leaders — confronting the issue.
“ I was the whip under [Sen.] Bob Dole, tremendous leader, tremendously respected leader — [Sen.] George Mitchell, another I served under as a minority — these men were trusted,” Simpson said. “But when the debt limit came up, and some guy would be bold enough to say: ‘Well, I am not voting for that, by God, we can`t continue’ — let me tell you, here comes the leadership on both sides, and you could hear the crushing of their knuckles and their elbows as they say: ‘Pal, you are going to vote for this, or else the full faith and credit of the U.S. will be in peril. We might even have to shut the government.’
“Instead of shooting off their mouths, they`re going to have to really [clamp down] and say: ‘What are you going to do with the big four? What are you going to do . . . with Medicare, Medicaid, restoring the solvency of Social Security, and defense —  which you have to touch, because it is two-thirds of the discretionary budget,” he continued. “And if you don`t do something with it, everything you love, like education, culture, — whatever — is squeezed completely out of the package.
“So, it will be a big wake-up call, going to require a lot of creeping maturity by guys who are bold.”

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