No deal better than bad deal?

'Fiscal cliff' reaction from Swiss America Chairman Craig Smith


This is a rush transcript from "Your World," December 28, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

ERIC BOLLING, GUEST HOST: You're looking live at the White House, where last-minute talks are under way to avoid the Taxmageddon coming.

But is a rushed deal a bad deal?

Welcome, everybody. I'm Eric Bolling, in for Neil Cavuto, and this is "Your World."

Democratic and GOP leaders converging on the White House about an hour ago, and that's where they are right now, meeting with the president as we speak inside the Oval Office. We're also told Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner has joined the talks. They're trying to hammer out a deal to stop massive tax hikes and spending cuts from kicking in at the start of the new year.

One lawmaker calling the pressure -- quote -- "red hot," but is this any way to fix our fiscal mess? We will be getting a live report from Ed Henry at the White House in a minute, but first to Craig Smith, who says no deal is better than a bad one. He's chairman of Swiss America.

Let's stay on the economy, Craig. Thanks for joining us, by the way.


BOLLING: I agree with you, no deal. I think I have called it the Obama cliff and I have said we should swan dive over the Obama cliff, because maybe that would be one thing that Democrats could really get through their head when they try and cut spending.

SMITH: I agree completely.

This is crazy that we're even having that discussion, Eric. Think about it, August 1, 256-171, the Ryan budget was passed. It extended tax relief for all Americans. Then what happened? Even 19 Democrats voted for that, by the way.

It was handed to Mr. Reid, and Mr. Obama started his class warfare about taxing the rich during the campaign. Reid sat on the bill. Nothing happened. Why didn't he bring it up for a vote? Why didn't it get fair debate in the Senate?

Mr. Reid hasn't passed a budget in three years and eight months, Eric, and we going to believe that this White House and this Democratically- controlled Senate is serious about the fiscal problems we have? Let's go off the cliff and let's really deal with it once and for all.

BOLLING: All right, let's just let our viewers know, we have two cameras outside the White House right now. You're looking at that one, which I believe is perched on -- somewhere on Pennsylvania Avenue.

And we have another camera which is perched facing the side entrance. There you go. Those are the SUVs that likely Boehner, McConnell, Pelosi and Reid will be coming out of -- and Geithner -- when they exit the meeting.

Let's talk about this deal, though. What if there's a deal, Craig? What if there's a deal for, I don't know, let's say $400,000 or $500,000 being the threshold of who gets taxes and who gets to keep their -- everybody under that number gets to keep their tax cuts. Everyone over pays more and there's some spending cuts.

Is that a bad deal?

SMITH: Yes, I think it is. And let me tell you why, because you can't get everything out of this deal that you want. And, quite frankly, all we're doing is kicking the can down the road.

You know as well as I do, Eric, this does nothing to deal with the $1 trillion-plus deficits we have yearly now.


SMITH: This is going to be the fifth year in a row, Eric, we're going to have $20 trillion worth of debt on top of $48 trillion worth of long- term liabilities by the time Mr. Obama leaves office.

This is the time to deal with this issue. We have been kicking it down the road for 10 years. We promised the nation in 2011 under the budget deal with the sequesters and all that we would not let this get away from us. We shouldn't let it get away from us this time.

For Mr. Obama to suggest, well, I have already cut a trillion in spending because he is saving money on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, it is gimmicks, Eric.

BOLLING: It is gimmicks.

SMITH: And gimmicks don't work in economics.

BOLLING: It is gimmicks.

But, Craig, I have to be honest with you. It is gimmicks on both sides.

It strikes me that these lawmakers on either side of the aisle don't have a real, real fix to what we're looking at, the national debt, which is screaming out of control. It's going to hit -- we're going to exceed that debt limit on Monday night.

SMITH: Well, I wouldn't disagree with that, Eric, but let's look at the facts.

We did have a Republican-controlled Congress that passed a bill. If Reid didn't like the bill, let it go for a vote, let it go for debate. Let his Senate vote it down and say, no, we're not going to accept these conditions. That hasn't happened.

BOLLING: Well, let me ask you this then. Let me ask you this, though. This is very interesting questioning here.

So, if President Obama gets his own deal, sends it over to the Republicans, they have the same dilemma.

SMITH: Well, they may.

But I think you would at least see a fair debate about it. At least - - look, I think the average American realizes we have to cut spending. Eric, you know the numbers. Number one driver of the debt...

BOLLING: Craig, I have to ask you. I am going to have to stop you there. I don't think they do.

We ran a package yesterday. We sent a producer out in the street, showed people how much more they were going to pay in taxes after we go offer the fiscal cliff, and they are: Wow. Well, I had no idea.

Where were you November 6, when you a chance to vote against doing that? I don't think the average American understands what is going to happen.

SMITH: Well, they were listening to pimp with a limp and David Letterman and all those guys, with a fun president, who is a very nice guy, but knows nothing about economics.

Look, Social Security, defense, Medicare, Medicaid, the health programs and the cost of interest on our debt are the five main -- or four main drivers of our debt. OK? That's not going to change -- five main drivers of our debt. Eric, that's not going to change. That's 50 percent of our budget, a little bit more than 50 percent, when you leave defense in there. We have to cut spending, Eric. Why won't the president say, look, we have to cut spending?

BOLLING: I don't know. I don't know.

SMITH: It's like Social Security, say, well, we paid in all these years.

People paid Madoff. The money is gone. We can't pay the bill, Eric.

BOLLING: We have to go, but you're 100 percent right. Revenues go up every single year, but the spending goes up by a lot more.

Got to leave it there.

SMITH: It's over.

BOLLING: Craig Smith, thank you very much.

SMITH: Good seeing you, Eric.

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