Where Does Debt Battle Stand?

Former Sen. Alan Simpson on progress over past year


This is a rush transcript from "Your World," December 1, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST OF "YOUR WORLD": Now to the guy who started this all a year ago, officially, former debt commission co-chair Alan Simpson on the phone right now.

Senator, good to have you.

What do you make of this I guess unusual anniversary day?



CAVUTO: No, no, I will spread it around to you and Erskine.

Go ahead.

SIMPSON: Well, it is like D-Day or something, or maybe December 7. It is interesting to hear -- and I heard the senator and I understand his passion for this -- but it is interesting to me to see the many calls that have come in. Well, it has been a year. And what do you think? Are you disappointed?

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 remain its solvency for 75 years, and Medicare really could be paid for.

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, whether it is John McCain on defense or whether it’s people on discretionary. All that will be sucked up by Medicare, which is on automatic pilot.


CAVUTO: Well, let me ask you. To those who are fighting these automatic sequestration cuts that kick in, in 2013, John McCain on defense, as I said, some Democrats on Medicare, if they find a way around the backup plan that was supposed to be the failsafe plan, how the heck will they ever address some of the far, far larger issues that you and Erskine and your committee got into a year ago?

SIMPSON: Well, put up your socks and run for blocks, because they can’t possibly make it. And then look at Rivlin and Domenici and the Gang of Six maybe. And they were quite specific -- maybe not the Gang of Six as much.

But this is -- you know, you don’t have use PowerPoints or charts or anything else. Just know where we are headed. And we cannot miss. 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.

CAVUTO: Yes. Yes.

SIMPSON: 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?

CAVUTO: Where is this going, Senator? A year after this -- and you put a lot of sweat equity and a lot of tested friends that went south trying to get this done, trying to get both sides together.

It’s a thankless task, because oftentimes you have been vilified. I think the AARP has pictures of you.


CAVUTO: And I’m just wondering, what do you do? If that is the message, and people like Paul Ryan go out on a limb to address Medicare and he’s vilified for throwing granny off a cliff, anyone who is brave or remotely discusses the truth is seen as sinister or kooky or both.

SIMPSON: Well, that is right.

But I tell you they have a giant dartboard there at their marble and mahogany headquarters in Washington, the AARP.


SIMPSON: And they give it to deceptively frail seniors to throw at my face.


SIMPSON: 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.

Now, I don’t think Harry will go for that. And I don’t think McConnell will either. But it would be very interesting to see. And then you would have a plan. It may be -- it may -- well, obviously, it isn’t in full flesh, but it is a plan.

And the only reason they are not messing with France and Germany and Great Britain is that they have a plan, although...


CAVUTO: And you would also put them on record for or against. Right? That’s not a bad idea, not a bad idea.

SIMPSON: Well, you would.

Well, but don’t forget, then the AARP and all the special interest groups will see their tax expenditures going down the tubes to get three new tax rates.

CAVUTO: That’s right.

SIMPSON: They really get juiced.

CAVUTO: Right. And then you lose your early dining card at Denny’s.


SIMPSON: These people are -- I have got these people in the streets now patrolling my home.


CAVUTO: Well, Alan Simpson, we kid a lot, but, in all seriousness, you have done a lot good for the country and at least forced people to wake up and realize this.

SIMPSON: It is a giant stink bomb in the garden party. And as they’re having their toast toward the end, they are saying, what is that peculiar odor? And the odor is that bill because it is very specific.

CAVUTO: Well put.

Senator, always good to have you on.


SIMPSON: Always fun. You bet. Bye-bye.

CAVUTO: All right.

Content and Programming Copyright 2011 Fox News Network, Inc. Copyright CQ-2011 Roll Call, Inc. All materials herein are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of CQ-Roll Call. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content.