Alan Simpson slams Obama budget's 'tough choices'

February 14, 2012

NEIL CAVUTO: Tough choices and the president says his budget makes them. Does his debt co-chairman agree?

ALAN SIMPSON: The music doesn't match the lyrics. No, it's good start, you know, in the sense of not letting this go to sequester. That would be a bad thing in my mind, where you just do a mindless cut on both defense and non-defense. But, it is a start. I tell you the irony to me is that he's speaking to a group of community college students there in Northern Virginia and these are the sheep who are to be sheared, by doing nothing. By not doing something with Social Security solvency right now, these young people, 20 years old, in 24 years they will be 44, and in 2036 you're going to get up to the window -- not yet, they have a long time to go -- and you will get a check for 23 percent less. No mention of it.

CAVUTO: So, where are the tough choices, Senator? When he talks about the tough choices, he talks about saving trillions over 10 years, he neglected to mention $5 trillion more debt after that same 10 years. What is tough about that?

SIMPSON: Not much. And it's an election year, and he knows all the hot buttons. Let's just say, that this guy, this president -- he's not a guy, I respect the office of the president, always have, and I get called a Republican toady for covering the president's fanny so he can destroy the party because I took on this beautiful job with Erskine -- but there are no tough choices unless you do something with the mastodon in the kitchen, which is health care.

CAVUTO: But he didn't. Medicare and Medicaid are essentially untouched. So, I don't know how we get to where you outlined with Erskine Bowles, where you want us to get. We're a long way from that.

SIMPSON: But it will come. It will come when the money guys--the people, the market--they don't care who is running the shop, whether it's Republicans, Democrats, Romney or Obama, whoever is running the shop means nothing to the money guys. At that point, they're going to pull the trigger and say, 'You are dysfunctional. We love you, we're gonna loan you more money, but we want more interest. You are on the same trajectory of debt, deficit, and interest as [unclear] as Portugal, Ireland, Greece, Italy.' That course of debt, deficit, and interest is the same trajectory as those countries on the ropes. And Italy, hanging by its thumbs, only owe $2.6 trillion--we owe $16.2 trillion.

Published under: Federal Budget , Media