“The next time you go to a town meeting of your (Congressional) representative anywhere in the country and they get up and say, ‘I want to assure you that we can get this done without touching precious, precious Medicare, precious Medicaid and dear Social Security and our powerful defense system; we can get this done without touching any of those,’ you can get up and you go, ‘Bullsh**,”’ Simpson said Monday. For those who might not be so bold, Simpson alternately suggested restraining oneself and saying, “Sir, or madam, you’re lying.” If a representative responds “we can’t get there,” citizens should reply, “Well, why do you think we can’t get there? Because we can,” he said.
Simpson spoke at Northwest College as part of the college’s fall Writers Series, helping promote a book about his life written by Don Hardy and released in September. Hardy, who grew up in Powell and Cody and later served as Simpson’s chief of staff, spoke about how the book “Shooting from the Lip” came to be. He said the biography is already in its fourth printing, a fact he credited to the man it’s written about.
Despite being almost 15 years removed from office, Simpson remains in the national political spotlight for his role on a deficit reduction commission he co-chaired with former Erskine Bowles, a former White House Chief of Staff under President Bill Clinton.
Their report called for spending cuts, the elimination of tax breaks and subsidies (but a lowering of tax rates overall) and reforms to social programs and defense spending to slash the deficit by $4 trillion over 10 years.
President Barack Obama, who commissioned the report, did not endorse the plan, nor did a super majority of the commission needed to bring the plan to a vote before Congress. However, Simpson and Bowles have continued to push their ideas.
The long-time Cody Republican said only a bipartisan plan will solve the nation’s fiscal problems. He described the bipartisan Rivlin-Domenici, Senate “Gang of Six” and the Simpson-Bowles deficit reduction plans as “the only ones that are specific. The rest of them are B.S.”
“You just have to confront people and say, ‘Please tell us specifically what you’re going to do to make Social Security solvent for 75 years,’” Simpson said.
He noted with approval that Wyoming’s U.S. Rep. Cynthia Lummis recently expressed a willingness to look at increasing government revenues if it was a part of a broader multi-trillion dollar deficit reduction package, and that Wyoming’s U.S. Senators, Mike Enzi and John Barrasso, recently introduced legislation to implement the discertionary spending cuts recommended in the Simpson-Bowles report.
“Now that’s called Wyoming people speaking, because they are saying that,” Simpson said.
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