Meet the Press | January 06, 2013
>> you have said a couple of times so far that the revenue question is over. the president doesn't agree. he thinks that additional revenue needs to be looked at. maybe it's part of tax reform , closing loopholes, raising additional revenue if not through direct tax increases through other simpson - bowles also think you have to look more at deductions. is that your final answer, it's done, solved, you won't look at it again?
>> yeah, that's over. i think tax reform ought to be revenue equal as it was during the reagan years. we don't have this problem because we tax too little. we have it because we spend way, way too much. so we have settled the tax issue. the question now is can we address the single biggest threat to america's future. and that's our excessive spending. i would like for the president to lead. it is a shame that we have to kind of drag him to the table to get him to discuss the single biggest issue confronting the future of our country.
>> again, i think that people would push back at the idea that you would have to lead him. the president proposed significant entitlement cuts. simpson and bowles said he did it, though they would have liked him to have gone further. you can't say he's been dragged kicking and screaming when he has proposed entitlement cuts is. that true?
>> no, he has not. he didn't even embrace simpson - bowles . ask them why he didn't embrace simpson - bowles . he hasn't embraced any specific thing in public to deal with significant entitlement changes. he has suggested he might be for change cpi, which would be an important step in the right direction. i would like to see him actually put that on the table in any kind of negotiation. he's mentioned it publicly. but has been unwilling to do it privately. until the president leads --
>> for you, though, on medicare , you're the leader of the republicans. what do you put on the table right now to solve this problem?
>> i have said repeatedly publicly and other members have that until you adjust the eligibility for entitlements, do things like raising the age for medicare for future beneficiaries. not for those currently receiving or those about to receive. have serious means testing for high income people. you know, warren buffett is always complaining about not paying enough taxes. what i'm complaining about is we're paying for his medicare . we ought not to be providing these kinds of benefits for millionaires and billionaires. we ought to make sure that the eligibility for entitlements meets the demographics of america. when social security was passed back in the '30s, i think the average american lived to be about 61. this year the average male, 79. the average female, 81. we need to adjust these programs for the future so that they'll still be there. the trustees of medicare and social security say that medicare is going to tank in 10 years. the question is, are we going to preserve these programs for future beneficiaries? the president should be leading, not being dragged to the table by republicans who want to solve the biggest problem confronting the future of our nation.
>> if you are not satisfied that you're dealing with the spending issue, the entitlement issue, the way you think it ought to be dealt with, would you rule out a government shutdown to achieve your goals?
>> what i think we ought to do is to encourage the president to actually be president, address the single biggest issue that --
>> i understand that. but my question is, would you rule out a government shutdown ?
>> i know what your question is. what i'm telling you is i haven't given up on the president stepping up to the plate and tackling our spending.
>> but other senators are saying they would consider a government shutdown . as the leader of the republicans, would you rule it out?
>> i'm telling you we elected the president to be president. it's time for him to step up to the plate and lead us in the direction of reducing our excessive spending.