Interviews

Alan Simpson: Chaos in Congress after presidential election

Former debt commission co-chair explains

 

This is a rush transcript from "Your World," May 15, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST OF "YOUR WORLD": All right, well, forget the presidential elections. To the warning about what happens right after that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ALAN SIMPSON, FORMER CO-CHAIRMAN, NATIONAL COMMISSION ON FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY AND REFORM: I think between November 6 and December 31, it’s going to be chaos in Congress, absolute chaos.

And let me tell you, there will be hair and blood and eyeballs all over the floor. And they will do something. They will do something. They may do a six-month extension. You can bet that’s the closest thing that will come. And then the new president or the old president, whoever’s elected is going to come in, in January and say, I never knew these figures were this bad.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CAVUTO: Bingo. This man read my idiotic mind. And he’s far more brilliant.

I’m talking about Alan Simpson, warning about an ugly lame-duck session this year.

The former co-chair of the debt commission with us now.

Senator, always a pleasure.

But that’s my point. I’m wondering -- and I was raising it with Mitt Romney’s economic adviser that he can always claim coming into office, man, I didn’t know things were so awful. Bill Clinton did that. George Bush Sr. did that. Who’s to say Mitt Romney, if he were to be elected, wouldn’t do that?

SIMPSON: Well, I tell you, Annie and I, my wife -- that’s the woman I have been living with for 57 years -- we were in France during -- just while that election was going on.

And we think after Hollande has trounced Sarkozy, that he’s going to come in and say now we need an audit. And then he is going to say, I never dreamed that France was in this condition. And what I promised you about taking the retirement age back to 62 from 60 and the 35-hour workweek, all of that is just Disney World.

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: But then do what? There has been talk that -- and a number of advisers have said, if the president wants to turn this whole languid kind of polling around, he could just be bold, and say, you know what. What Alan did with Erskine, I’m for that now. I’m for the debt commission now, better late than never.

How likely do you think that is?

SIMPSON: I don’t know that it is.

But I was with Bill Clinton this morning, part of the program, John Boehner. It was a great program with the Peterson Institute talking about real things, talking about Bowles-Simpson. We don’t use Bowles-Simpson. Bowles told me not to us that because the acronym is B.S. So we use Simpson-Bowles.

(LAUGHTER)

SIMPSON: And that’s all right. And that’s all right.

But let me tell you, Erksine always says that he would have gone and he did go to President Obama and he said, look, you appointed this group by executive order. And you set up some of the members. They came in, 11 of the 18. That’s 60 percent.

And Erksine goes like this. He says I know my friend Clinton; he would just wrap his around that and say, I will take that. I will buy that package. And he could have done that.

CAVUTO: He could have done it. Well, that was then. It’s a lost effort here now. But you could be late than never. The one thing I did want to touch on and you mentioned, I thought it was a very perceptive comment, as all yours are.

SIMPSON: Yes, of course.

CAVUTO: But this idea that these big tax issues are backing up like planes at La Guardia, that they all expire at the end of the year, all the Bush rates, the payroll tax thing, a host of other affecting Social Security, Medicare.

You name it, and they all end at the end of this year. Now, you talked about at a minimum they are probably going to do some namby-pamby six-month extension thing, but that -- it will be a lame-duck session that does it. Do you really still believe that?

SIMPSON: They are going to be punished. I really believe that many of these people who swear that they won’t touch precious Medicare, precious Medicaid, precious Social Security, and precious defense, the people will know these people are full of it. They are full of B.S.

You can’t get there without touching those big ones. In fact, right now, last year, the income into the United States, excise, tariff, income tax, only covered three things. Every cent of revenue covered Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and we had to borrow everything for defense, homeland security, culture, research and development, infrastructure.

Madness. And I think they’re going punish guys because they know they are just damn liars.

CAVUTO: But you get your share of grief from a lot of AARP folks and older Americans...

SIMPSON: Oh, my, yes, yes.

CAVUTO: ... who say, you know, as a fellow old guy, you’ve let them down. You are out to kill the old people. You are out to starve them. You’re out to destroy them, that you’re all but a murderer.

What do you say?

(CROSSTALK)

SIMPSON: How about the cat food commission?

CAVUTO: Yes, I remember that one. I remember that one.

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: And then even the cats walked out, they were so ticked off at you.

SIMPSON: Well, let me tell you...

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: Does that really eat away at you?

SIMPSON: Oh, I’ll tell you, I can’t tell you what they must be doing in the offices of the AARP, scrunched down behind the desks, because the Social Security trustees -- these are Republicans and Democrats of high regard, Cabinet people, laymen -- they said that the drop dead date, which was always 2036...

CAVUTO: Right. Right.

SIMPSON: ... until last week, is now going to be 2033, and I haven’t heard a peep out of the AARP. These guys are fake. I mean, they’re monsters. They’re monsters.

CAVUTO: So what is it that keeps them around? They just kowtow to groups that don’t like...

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: Because the one thing I have noticed about the AARP is, since I crossed a certain threshold, I get a card mailed to me. And I don’t want the card.

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: And then I get another card. I don’t want that card.

I get another card. Who makes their cards? Because whoever does that is the guy you want doing what you want them to do, because that dude is very productive.

SIMPSON: It’s like when I was in the Army. We always looked for the bugler.

(CROSSTALK)

(LAUGHTER)

SIMPSON: We could give him...

CAVUTO: He’s always on time.

SIMPSON: We were -- but let me tell you, the AARP, I had a hearing on those cats when I was in the Senate.

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: They hate you, Alan. They hate you. They think you are not only the death of the AARP, but of everyone over 50 years old in this country.

SIMPSON: That’s right.

And I’ll tell you one thing. They are the most -- they’re only a bunch of marketers. Get their publication. I mean, really, they took out the big full-page ad about sex. I think I got and it looked like some dyed white-haired cat pouncing on some gal on a ladder.

They’ve taken that ad out, but they still have the erectile dysfunction ads and all the rest of the stuff in there. It’s a beautiful magazine. It’s about how to get any kind of implement and charge it to Medicare or Medicaid, and we will take care of that for you. What a bunch of...

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: Are you saying things that like Viagra shouldn’t be paid for by Medicare...

(CROSSTALK)

SIMPSON: Well, certainly. They should be paid for by eager senior citizens who are eager, and that’s the way it should be. Like -- well, I won’t get in to it, but certainly it’s an interesting enhancement.

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: Right. Sure. Well, it’s a way to counter stiff competition.

SIMPSON: Well, it is.

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: So, finally, I just want to get a sense from you about this late campaign conversion...

SIMPSON: Yes.

CAVUTO: Either on the part of the president or Mitt Romney for your work and Erskine’s work. Both men ostensibly say they admire your bravery and your goals. Both have yet to 100 percent support it.

Could you envision a late conversion on the part of either to your recommendations by Election Day?

(CROSSTALK)

SIMPSON: No, not by Election Day. After Election Day, yes, but not before.

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: Who’s your candidate then? Who’s your candidate?

SIMPSON: Well, you know, I’m a Republican. I have watched them scrap through there.

CAVUTO: Right.

SIMPSON: And I like Romney. The president appointed me to this. I am obviously not voting for him, but I think Romney’s the guy. And I think anybody that says, well, Romney...

CAVUTO: But he’s not embraced what you are doing, Alan.

SIMPSON: Nobody embraces what we are doing.

They will get cremated. Nobody has mentioned a thing anything about Social Security, even when they’re told that it’s going down the road three years quicker than it was supposed to.

CAVUTO: Well, because you say all these awful things about old people. That’s why.

SIMPSON: I know it. Well, I’m talking about old selfish people. I’m talking about guys on Medicare who are not means-tested who get a heart operation worth $200,000, don’t even get a bill, and they can buy this studio. I talk about those people. They’re selfish, plain damn selfish.

CAVUTO: They can’t buy this studio -- maybe rent it, but they can’t buy it.

(LAUGHTER)

CAVUTO: Alan Simpson...

SIMPSON: Well, they could lease it or something.

(LAUGHTER)

CAVUTO: Alan Simpson, you’re the best. Thank you very, very much.

SIMPSON: Thank you.

CAVUTO: Agree or disagree, in a land where everyone says vanilla stuff and never means a word of it, this guy is clear, clear as a bell.

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