This is a rush transcript from "Your World With Neil Cavuto," April 26, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
NEIL CAVUTO, ANCHOR: Fireworks before the fireworks, ahead of the president’s debt reduction commission holding its first meeting tomorrow.
Alan Simpson jumping ugly today. The former Wyoming Republican senator, who co-chairs the commission with former Clinton Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles, insisting everything’s on the table. But when I asked him if it meant tax hikes were as well — well, just have a listen.
ALAN SIMPSON, FORMER SENATOR, R-WYO.: Well, no, I don’t, because I don’t know where the hell anything’s going to go.
This country’s in a mess. They may not — and those people you named, Bernanke, Paul Volcker — Volcker, I have known a long time, wonderful guy. If all we’re going to do in the discussion of this critical issue is babble about taxes, then you just as well check in the shop, because those are flash words.
I have dealt with flash words in my time in politics. So, let me tell you one, so you hear it clearly. We couldn’t get a good immigration bill because the — cuckoos from the right and the left kept talking about a national I.D. card. Guess what? Couldn’t have worked.
Now what are we talking about? Retina scans? Fingerprints? I haven’t seen anybody writing about the great slippery slope. So, if you just want to talk about taxes all day, and everything’s on the table, including the new health care bill is on the table. That’s all I can tell you. How can you be more honest than that?
CAVUTO: Sir, no doubt, but is it fair to say that also on the table are — are tax increases?
SIMPSON: Everything’s on the table. Do you hear me? I mean, let’s quit jerking something out of space, pushing it through the middle, and then getting everybody all worked up.
If people find out what’s going to happen to them to them in 20 years and what’s going to happen to their grandchildren...
SIMPSON: ...they will figure out we’re going to do something. And I don’t know what it will be. I really don’t.
CAVUTO: But — because the argument has been, from Pete Peterson and all these others, as you know, sir, that we have got to do a combination of both, and that things are so bad now that, if we don’t do both, we’re going to be in a heap of trouble. I just was curious whether you agreed with that.
SIMPSON: I’m not going to agree with that. I’m going to say that we have got stuff to do with spending cuts. We have got stuff to do with everything.
The big meat of this horrible Gargantuan that’s eating it up is health care. Wait until we get back into that and have the doctors and the lawyers. Let me tell you again what we’re trying to do. And if we can’t get there, then I’m not going to stick around. I will go home and I won’t suck my thumb. I will just forget it.
We’re trying to get 18 good people together and decide where we are, and say to the American people, there’s we are. Now here’s where we’re going to go. Then we can let blood and bitch and moan about everything.
But, right now, it would be a great service to the United States of America if people would say, let’s agree on where we are. Where we go to get out of this is a terribly, terribly difficult, hostile, angry situation.
CAVUTO: Then, could I get your personal thought on something? And it’s been getting currency here, everywhere, actually. A value-added tax, what do you think?
SIMPSON: Well, you know, if you do a value-added tax, you have got to go do something with the income tax.
But to drag this great specter of the value-added tax, like a dead rat through the room, without doing something with the income tax, is a fakery. So, obviously, you’re not going to – we’re not going to try to break people, bend them down, burdens of the field, beasts of the field. What is this?
Value added tax? I haven’t the slightest idea. But if you’re going to mess around in that area or flat tax or any other tax...
SIMPSON: ...you’re going to go adjust all the other taxes in accordance.
CAVUTO: So, I take it from that, sir, that a pylon, in other words, something just adding, is not your cup of tea?
SIMPSON: No. I tell you what it is. I’m a – I’m really naive. All I know is, if you use flash words, like amnesty and taxes and national I.D. in the city of Washington, you use emotion, fear, guilt or racism, you’re going to win or lose using a deft blend of those.
And I don’t play that game. I play with facts. And that’s what I’m going to continue to do. I have no idea where this commission is going, but everything, everything, every single thing in the United States is on the table.
CAVUTO: Does it bug you, then, if some element — because you’re trying to be a straight shooter on this and not adhere to either party’s politics, that members of your party have been jumping at you?
Vin Weber, a former congressman...
SIMPSON: What’s new?
CAVUTO: ...from Minnesota — well, you’re right. He said that Alan Simpson is a great guy, but he’s not going to bring along Republican votes on Capitol Hill.
Grover Norquist, the tax cut enthusiast, saying of you, sir, he’s old and grumpy, and he doesn’t like Reagan Republican Party members.
SIMPSON: Let me tell you, old — old Grover Norquist and his happy band of goofy warriors, all they do is make money off of people. I would love to — I think you all should write — we should write Grover and ask for his books.
How much has he raised from these poor old taxpayers to do his anti- tax stature? He — during the — during the immigration debate, Grover and his worthies put out a water-soluble thing that you soaked in water. It was called Simpson-Mazzoli, or Simpson-Rodino or whoever, or Simpson-Smith, said put this on your arm because it will be like Nazi Germany and tattoos. Grover needs to get some rest. And I — and I would love to see him somehow come out for something, instead of against. Now, all those people who have said these guys are stalking horses for new taxes, I said, hell no, I’m a stalking horse for my grandchildren.
I have the best record on taxes. I will send — I sent it to Grover. He didn’t like it, because anything, you know, he doesn’t agree with, he just chucks down the sewer. And I said, I had the best record as a non-taxer in the U.S. Senate. I was ahead of Jesse Helms. I was ahead of all sorts of other people.
So I don’t have to take that crap from those guys.
CAVUTO: Senator, what do you think about the economic comeback we appear to be enjoying now, not across the board? But more than — than a few economic numbers have been rounding the bend. Some say that could be the wind, not only at the economy’s back, but from the kind of work that you’re looking at?
SIMPSON: If that’s the wind, that’s got to be a sparrow belch in a typhoon.
We can’t grow our way out of this. It is predicted that, if we had double rates of growth for 30 years, we can’t grow our way out of this. So, I mean, just because there’s a snippet of some glorious, you know, up-tick of whatever, that this is — this is going to get us started?
Let me tell you, you can’t say it any more clearly. All the revenue of the U.S. — and tell Grover — those are called taxes, Grover — all of that is gone this year in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. We will now go borrow to fight two wars, homeland security, education, veterans’ benefits, mother’s milk, children. All the things you believe in, we will go borrow for.
Is that sense? I don’t know. It doesn’t seem to me that it is.
CAVUTO: Finally, a lot of your colleagues are rallying and collecting for an appearance on Capitol Hill tomorrow, the Goldman Sachs guys, others soon to follow.
There does seem to be an attack on Wall Street, fair or not, and do you think they’re handling it correctly?
SIMPSON: I don’t think you need to attack them. I think you need to wake them up. I was on a board, the American Express funds, not the big cats. I didn’t get up in that atmosphere, but I was in Minneapolis.
Lord’s sake, swaps, derivatives, they were mystery things they put together, packages. And that’s what these guys do. They’re cool cats. They’re smart as hell. They get together. They get into their — their trading desks. They play back and forth. They love the computers.
And they can do stuff you and I have never, ever conjured. And I say, you know, start putting the screws to them. And, so, when they say, well, we have to have derivatives or America will fail, I don’t believe that. And I don’t believe you should protect the guys that dragged us down in — into the muck. And I wouldn’t. I would hammer them.
CAVUTO: Senator Simpson, always a pleasure, sir. Thank you very much.
SIMPSON: It’s good to hear you again, Neil.
SIMPSON: Carry on.
CAVUTO: Good luck coming out of your shell, by the way. I think it’s working.
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