On the first anniversary of the release of the Simpson-Bowles committee report on spending cuts — and weeks after the complete implosion of the congressional supercommittee — former Sen. Alan Simpson said Thursday he “cannot believe” that politicians in Washington are ignoring budget-slashing recommendations and are allowing the nation’s debt to skyrocket.
“I am not disappointed — I’m just disbelieving — I cannot believe that politicians who run our country, both parties, would just let this float, as if Social Security would retain its solvency for 75 years, and Medicare really could be paid for,” Simpson told Fox News’ Neal Cavuto. “It can’t be paid for — it can’t — it is on automatic pilot.
“And it sucks up all the stuff that these other people agree [on] — whether it is John McCain on defense or whether it’s people on discretionary,” the co-chairman of the Simpson-Bowles committee said. “All that will be sucked up by Medicare, which is on automatic pilot.”
Cavuto noted that several members of Congress are trying to get around the automatic budget cuts that were built into a failure of the supercommittee to slash some $1.2 trillion from the budget in the next decade. The Fox host asked if the politicians are trying to bypass the backup plan, how will they deal with larger deficit issues?
“You don’t have use PowerPoints or charts or anything else — just know where we are headed — and we cannot miss,” Simpson said. “If we just sit here and do nothing and continue this sandbox fight, and pretend that $1.3 trillion will get you anywhere — that won’t buy you a cup of coffee — $4 trillion is the minimum, you would think that was the maximum. Heaven’s sake, in 15 years, we would be paying $1 trillion a year in interest — who has got their head where?
“I will tell you what they could do — now, this sounds stupid, but it could work: Throw out the Bowles-Simpson or throw out Domenici-Rivlin in no legislative language — just throw it out and say, OK, sense of the Senate, up or down. Throw these two out and see what happens,” the former Wyoming senator said. “Now, I don’t think [Senate Majority Leader Harry [Reid] will go for that. And I don’t think [Senate Minority Leader Mitch] McConnell will either. But it would be very interesting to see — and then you would have a plan.”
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