Mitchell Reports | November 28, 2012
>> joining me now is a man that needs no introduction, former senator alan simpson , withers skin bowles and be on the group with a group of bipartisan business leaders and deficit hawks getting something done, meeting with republicans and democrats. do you have any more optimism let me point out you and your pal erskine bowles , he was quoted as saying he's more pessimistic something will be accomplished.
>> my poor dear partner, bloodied but unvowed, six months ago erskine was saying i think we can get there. now, he's pessimistic. would be a word. we were just with a group go big or go home, democrats and republicans alike, they've got signatures of over 200 -- 102 house members, half of the senate working for us, equally divided on both sides, you have to have something bipartisan. you can write it on a single sheet of paper if it had firewalls and triggers, and if it were just signed by an equal number of democrats and republicans , the markets would lay off of us. if they continue to see this dead-head struggling, the same old stuff, they're going to punish us. when they do the guy that will get hurt is the little guy, middle class , inflation, interest rates, that's who gets hammered. what an irony.
>> senator simpson, let me ask you this. a lot photograph cuss on getting republicans to, you know, break the bond with grover norquist and agree to some taxes. is it equally difficult to get democrats to agree to touch medicare?
>> not when you have the president say he's going to do it. he said it during the grand bargain that didn't become too grand or a bargain, but he talked about entitlement reform and he's still talking about entitlement reform. he will do something in that area, as long as he can hammer those guys over $250,000. and make them pay more taxes. how $250,000 got to the point where that's the, quote, middle class is beyond my comprehension comprehension. 100 would have been more appropriate for more real live people. he's going to get that. hopefully he can do it without doing rate increases, which are going to cost. anybody who is, quote, rich shouldn't mind paying more taxes. i don't understand that at all. and i don't understand that somebody, if you let them earn more money is going to use it to hire people. they may likely buy another kind of rig or a toy or something like that. i don't know. but all i know is one thing, you can't cut -- you can't cut spending away out of this hole, you can't tax your way out of this hole and you can't grow your way out of this hole. you have to have everything. have to have it.
>> well, grover norquist was at a political playbook breakfast with mike allen , we'll talk to mike in a few moments, here's norquist talking about what he calls impure thoughts. i think that has something to do with taxes, not sex.
>> a handful of people having impure thoughts that under certain circumstances.
>> impure thoughts?
>> what do you mean by impure thoughts?
>> meaning they haven't --
>> family event so be careful.
>> they've been thinking about maybe voting for tax increases. they haven't done it.
>> is that what republicans do?
>> they don't think about it. there's just a few of them talking about it on tv. the good news is most of them don't.
>> do you have any impure thoughts about grover norquist ?
>> plenty. but you know, here's a good guy with a very bad idea and he was gathering up those signatures back in the '80s and early '90s when inflation was zip, when unemployment was zip, and anybody who would sign anything before they come to congress and hear the debate and participate in it hopefully and get into the floor, management and the mending process and the conference committees, those people i mean why would you do that? it's like selling your soul. grover i said would be irrelevant in two years, and i say that, got about another year and a half to go. he will be irrelevant. this guy is a zell lot, zelllot who is one having forgotten his purpose redoubles his efforts and he sees the crumbling of the great house of cards . it's like jarvis out in california back in the late '70s. he's left schools destitute, left institutions destitute. you can't come in and play this kind of a game when everything has changed in america and this time everything has changed because it's all coming to pass on december 31sst and grover babe is losing a person a day and he knows it. so what does he use to cover that? cutesies. little smart alecs. i know that. i don't know who else does that. i haven't done that. he is becoming irrelevant. and you can see it in his eyes. he knows the game is up. because good people of good faith have decided that instead of being republicans , or democrats, they're americans. and instead of being beholden to grover norquist , and the aarp, they're beholden to the united states of america . those guys are going to take their lumps.
>> alan simpson , do you think there's going to be a deal?
>> well, my friend erskine, the numbers guys, he does the numbers and i do the color, when he says he doesn't think we're going to get a deal -- let me tell you, he's working every day. he's here. i have to get the morning plane out of cody at 6:00 a.m ., get here at 3:30, he's here within an hour and a half away, he sees these people, the president, jack lew, knows these people, he's the last guy on earth that balanced the budget in '96 and when he's down on this, you got to be sure that this guy, this wonderful savvy and intelligent, sharp guy, a perfect companion, is saying this stuff, you want to believe it. that's the sad part.
>> do you think this would discourage him from wanting to be considered for treasury secretary? his name has been in the mix?
>> well, he said he would be very pleased to do that. he shared that with me personally, that as long as they move the treasury department to north carolina , to charlotte. so i don't think --
>> he's worked so hard on this, so passionate about it. you don't think he could be persuaded?
>> never. he wouldn't want to serve in a dysfunctional government. he's a guy that wants to make things work and has proven it all his life with, you know, chancellor of the university of north carolina , everything he's done has been to make something work and the two of us, after two and a half years of wandering around in this stuff, where guys come up who have the button they're in congress, that say save us from ourselves, you know, you're dealing with a dysfunctional government and so he's going to say and has said, i would come if i saw a government that functioned. if democrats and republicans talked, if compromise wasn't a filthy word, if you can't learn to compromise an issue without compromising yourself you should never be in congress and sure as hell should never get married.
>> well, senator alan simpson , i know personally is very well married, so you've got to be an optimistic.
>> great to see you.