Monday May 28, 201209:45 PM GMT
Alan Simpson slams fellow Republicans for unwillingness to compromise
Mon May 28, 2012 9:43PM
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Former Sen. Alan Simpson

Former Sen. Alan Simpson (R-Wyo.) lashed out at members of his party on Sunday, slamming them for their unwillingness to compromise on proposed tax increases.


In his characteristically colorful style, Simpson told CNN's Fareed Zakaria that Republicans' rigid opposition to new tax revenues has hampered productivity and diminished the chances of reaching an agreement with Democrats on debt reduction.


"You can't cut spending your way out of this hole," Simpson, who was appointed as co-chair of President Obama's Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform in 2010, said. "You can't grow your way out of this hole, and you can't tax your way out of this hole. So put that in your pipe and smoke it, we tell these people. This is madness."


The former senator, along with debt commission co-chair Erskine Bowles, developed a plan in 2010 for bringing down the top tax rate and lowering the deficit by repealing a number of tax cuts and credits. The initial plan, commonly known as Simpson-Bowles, was mostly ignored by lawmakers. A bipartisan budget modeled after their report was rejected by the House earlier this year. Huffington Post




During the interview Sunday, he expressed frustration with his party's focus on social issues, as well as the ability of outspoken figures like Americans for Tax Reform head Grover Norquist to drive the conversation.


"I guess I'm known as a RINO now, which means a Republican in name only, because, I guess, of social views, perhaps, or common sense would be another one, which seems to escape members of our party," Simpson said. "For heaven's sake, you have Grover Norquist wandering the earth in his white robes saying that if you raise taxes one penny, he'll defeat you. He can't murder you. He can't burn your house. The only thing he can do to you, as an elected official, is defeat you for reelection. And if that means more to you than your country when we need patriots to come out in a situation when we're in extremity, you shouldn't even be in Congress."


The failure on Capitol Hill to agree on the parameters of a sustainable fiscal vision has been the topic of lots of finger-pointing. As the conventional wisdom goes, Republicans refuse to budge on taxes and Democrats refuse to budge on safety-net programs. Democrats, however, speak often about the need to cut entitlement spending as part of a balanced deal, while Republicans maintain that new taxes are unacceptable.


The Simpson-Bowles commission's work comprised of policies worth trillions in long-run deficit reductions by way of deep domestic spending reductions, cuts to safety-net programs like Medicare and Social Security, and new tax revenues.




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