Conjuring images of Jack Nicholson in 'A Few Good Men', Alan Simpson laid out the sad and terrible truth that none of us or our politicians can handle in a very direct and sincere interview with Bloomberg TV's Deirdre Bolton. "Medicare costs stand to squeeze out the rest of domestic government spending," Simpson said, "it is on automatic pilot. It will use up every resource in the government." Simpson also said that the current path of debt, deficit and interest is “totally unsustainable” confirming once again the facade that his 18 years in Washington proved to him that he "never saw any projection of any economist ever come true." From Paul Ryan's plan to the 'simple math' of CBO budget projections, and whether older Americans should be afraid, Simpson pulls no punches as he sums up American society thus: "we don't care about our money, all we want is more money for our money."
Simpson on Paul Ryan and whether older Americans should be worried about his plan to rework Medicare:
"Don't worry about that generation. Worry about yours. Let's get serious here. These old cats are taking care of themselves. Nothing that has ever been suggested here, whether it is Simpson-Bowles or the gang of six or the gang of eight has a thing to do with butchering up old people at this time. You either get on a path of solvency. I mean, what is the purpose of this whining and moaning about social security where if you do nothing, you will wobble up to the window to get your check in 2033 and it will be 23% less. Medicare is on automatic pilot. It has no cost containment procedures in it until about 10-years out and then we’ll ignore them. Anybody with a brain has to figure that you have a situation where 1,000, 10,000 people turning 65. You have obesity. You have one person that weighs more than the other two. You have Diabetes A and B. You’ve got to do something with tort reform. You’ve got to do something with doctors and hospitals. Come on. And the guy who can get an operation to buy your building does not even get a bill for $200,000 with a heart operation. Let’s get serious."
On those who say that Ryan’s plan will trickle down and hurt the people that will need support the most.
"If they read the report that was signed on to by five Democrats, five Republicans, one Independent, 11 of the 18 of us, 60%, which Durbin said, ‘I do not like this at all. I hate it like the devil hates holy water.’ Let me tell you, ladies and gentlemen. Either you start to do something now, or pay me now or pay me later. This country is on a trajectory of debt, deficit and interest that is totally unsustainable, unconscionable and totally predictable. If everybody wants to talk about old people and the kiddies and use the stuff that Dave Axelrod will shower on the American people while Obama’s plan, pretty sweet -- have a go at it. It is your country."
On whether Simpson-Bowles accounted for the slowing economy:
"We put in there that we recognize the nature of a fragile recovery. It’s all in there. I always say to people, when everything else fails, read the damn thing. It’s 67 pages in English. It talks about shared sacrifice and skin in the game and going broke. There is no mystery to what it is. Don’t forget, the president asked for $4 trillion. Are they hammering him? No. He said, I want to take $4 trillion in 12 years. Simpson-Bowles wants to do $4 trillion in 10. So grab hold, no specifics at all. The reason they hammer away is because we were solidly specific. We talked about the tax code, which is $1 trillion which is used by only about 10% of the American people. The little guy has never heard of the stuff in there. It goes to the wealthiest people and the smoothest cats that have the best lobbyists to stick it in there with no oversight ever."
On Ryan’s plan and its call for huge cuts on almost every piece of domestic spending:
"If you want to go into that stuff, we will never get anywhere. It does not make any difference. Let me tell you. Medicare is on automatic pilot. It will use up every resource of the government and squeeze out all the things you mentioned. They will be completely squeezed out. The discretionary budget will be borrowed. We are borrowing $3.6 billion per day. For every dollar we spend, we are borrowing 41 cents. We owe $16 trillion and no one understands what that is. If you want to get to the old playbook out and use infrastructure, airplanes and all that stuff, that is great. You will not even see it because of what will happen with Medicare. You will not even perceive it. It will not come to pass. All the things you love will not come to pass."
On the CBO’s budget projections:
"I have always said if you torture statistics long enough they will eventually confess. I was in Washington for 18 years and never saw any projection of any of economist ever come true in 18 years. The next year, greater growth will be this -- never happened. This will happen -- GDP. All you have to do is use the math. We don’t use Powerpoint. We do not use graphs. All use is your head. If you want to go into all of the horror stories using emotion, fear, guilt, racism, class warfare, you can kiss it off. It is your country."
On whether it’s possible to reach a compromise that is good for society:
"I hope so. You see, the thing is, the people that will control this debate do not have anything to do with the things to you and I are talking about right now. The people who will control this are ‘the markets.’ And the markets will say, and they have every reason to say it, the chaos between Election Day on November 6 and December 31 where there will be $5 to $7 trillion washing around ready to go somewhere. If you go too far one way, you end up recession. You have to do some balance and all you have to do is a plan. We have it in legislative language. It is circulating among a very good group of Democrats and Republicans. You do a plan and the markets will lay off of you. If you don't, they will say very simply, ok. We do not care about Republicans. We do not care about Democrats or Obama, or Romney, or Biden, or Ryan. We care about our money and we want more money for our money. And they will ask for more interest. 1% of interest will knock this country on its face. Where is everybody? I mean, it is absolutely nuts. When it happens, interest rates will kick up. The guy who gets hurt the worst -- the little guy. The little guy that everybody talks about day and night. What goofy, goofy hypocrisy."