Meet the Press | January 06, 2013
>> well, but mr. bowles , i asked the president last week, there's so much frustration out there. there's a pox on both houses. and he and other democrats reject this idea that there is some sort of equivalency in intransigeance in washington. and this is how the president responded to laying the blame at the feet of republicans. let me play this and have you respond.
>> the offers that i have made to them have been so fair that a lot of democrats get mad at me. i mean, i offered to make some significant changes to our entitlement programs in order to reduce the deficit. i offered not only $1 trillion in -- over $1 trillion in spending cuts over the next 10 years, but these changes would result in even more savings in the next 10 years. and would solve our deficit problem for a decade.
>> mr. bowles , you heard leader mcconnell and his views about the president not leading. have republicans conceded the point on revenue earlier, say, in 2011 , could we have had a broader agreement along the lines that you think is necessary?
>> oh, we definitely could have had. i think it was, as you said in your opening part, this was the magic moment . this was our opportunity to do something really big, to bring down this deficit and put our fiscal house in order. y yes, the the president has taken some steps forward on entitlement programs . but has he done enough? absolutely not. and has the speaker shown the flexibility he needs to to broaden the base, simplify the code, and reform our tax structure, or to be specific about which ones of the entitlements he would actually reduce? no. what we've got to do is both of us have got to get out of our comfort zone , both sides, and we've got to come together and make the tough decisions it takes to bring down this deficit. we believe it can be done. i think the american people want it done. and now's the time to do it.
>> let me ask you specifically about medicare , and i'll start with you, mr. bowles , and then get the senator's reaction. when i asked the president specifically about what he would do on medicare had this response. watch.
>> would you commit to that first year, your second term, getting significant reform done, telling congress we have to do it in the first year?
>> i don't know. but, david, i want to be very clear. you are not only going to cut your way to prosperity. one of the fallacies that has been promoted is this notion that deficit reduction is only a matter of cutting programs that are really important to seniors, students, and so forth. that has to be part of the mix. but what i ran on, and what the american people elected me to do, was to put forward a balanced approach. to make sure that there are shared sacrifices.
>> to both of you, mr. bowles , first, what would you call on president to do on medicare that he's been unwilling to do before?
>> first of all, david, if you look at the combination of what was done in the budget control act, the cuts there, and in this can i have deal, it's about half of what we need to do in order to fix our debt problem. so we've got about $1.6 trillion worth of spending we've got to do, and we've got about $600 billion worth of revenue we've got to get from simplifying the code and wiping out this back door spending in the tax code . what would i do on health care ?
>> medicare .
>> we're going to have to reduce health care spending on medicare by about $500 billion to $600 billion in the next 10 years. you'll have to do it in some of the ways that mitch mcconnell talked about. look at some kind of cost sharing, some kind of means testing. you're going to have to look at age. you're going to have to look at lowering the price we pay the drug companies for drugs. look at paying for quality instead of quantity. you're going to have to have some kind of tort reform . and we've got to do something about the whole end of life scenario without talking about death panels. we do these things we can bring down the cost of health care .