Former GOP Wyoming Sen. Alan Simpson and former White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles, co-chairs of President Barack Obama’s deficit commission, scoff at both Democratic and Republican proposed spending cuts, saying they won’t reduce the nation’s spiraling debt and Congress must get serious and target big ticket items to balance the budget. The two are scheduled to testify Tuesday before the Senate Budget Committee.
“I’m really worried,” Bowles said Monday on Fox News. “The Democrats are talking about a $10.5 billion cut out of the domestic discretionary; the Republicans are talking about $61 billion – that’s $61 billion out of a $3.7 trillion budget. That’s just 1.6 percent.
“We’ve got to get serious, and we’ve got to look at the whole budget. We’ve got to look at Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, these tax expenditures, the defense budget.” Bowles said.
Simpson said people are afraid to conduct the “sinful nature of the discourse” on cutting Social Security.
“We’re not cutting Social Security, we’re trying to make the stuff solid for 75 years,” Simpson said of recommendations made by the commission he headed. “And young people say: ‘Well, I know there won’t be anything there for me, I’m not worried about it.’ Well I’ll tell you – when you waddle up to the window at 65, and you’ve put 6.2 percent of all your jack in that thing, you’re going to want something back.”
Bowles said with a “do-nothing plan,” the Social Security Trust Fund runs out of money in 2037 and, by law, the benefits have to be cut by 22 percent. “We’re also cash negative today,” he said.
Fox News host Neal Cavuto asked if taxes will have to be raised.
“No, I think actually tax rates are going to go down,” Bowles said. “If we’re smart, what we’ll do is we’ll broaden the base, we’ll simplify the code, we’ll get rid of a lot of these tax expenditures, and we’ll use the money to bring down rates.”
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