Meet the Press | January 06, 2013
>>> now, two of the nation's leading voices on fiscal responsibility , former republican senator alan simpson and former clinton chief of staff erskine bowles . welcome to you both. mr. bowles, let me start with you. you heard leader mcconnell. he said the question is revenue is over. they have done the fiscal cliff deal, and there's no more concern among republicans with raising more revenue. how do you respond to that?
>> well look, i think he's right about a lot of stuff. first of all, we've done all the easy stuff. all of the hard decisions lay ahead of us. we have got to reform the tax code to make it more globally competitive. we have got to reduce entitlement spending, particularly as it relates to health care . we have a slower rate of health care to the rate of the economy or it will eat the rest of the budget alive. and we've got to make social security sustainably solvent. if we do these things, we can go a long ways to stabilizing the debt and keeping it on a downward path as a percentage of gdp. but it's got to be growth. it's got to have some revenue. but the big part going forward has got to be spending cuts.
>> senator simpson, you called this fiscal cliff deal that was just passed, that doesn't deal with spending, a missed opportunity. why?
>> well, the sad part of it is that the mountain roared and gave birth to a mouse. this thing isn't going to do anything really. erskine is so correct. and don't forget in our commission we got five democrats, including dick durbin , five republicans, including tom coburn , and one independent, how do you do any better than that? and the president ignored it, and the congress has ignored it, because they won't do the big stuff. and the big stuff has to get done. this other stuff is nothing. and as erskine says so beautifully, we're the healthiest horse in the glue factory right now. the trajectory of debt, deficit, and interest right now, the trajectory of debt, deficit, and interest will match any of the pig countries, portugal, italy, spain, match it, but of course we're lots bigger. and let me tell you, we know everybody out there in the congress knows exactly what we have to do. and when erskine and i travelled around for that whole year, we knew they were in congress, because i could see their button, i didn't know any of them, and they said, save us from ourselves. how's that for courage?