Interview : Alan Simpson Is 'Disgusted' with the Debt Deal

Article excerpt

Byline: John Avlon

The former senator blasts off about Washington's incompetence.

What do you think about the debt-ceiling deal? It's a start, and that's all you can charitably say. It really doesn't get to the big numbers. It doesn't get to the big spending issues. It doesn't get into Medicare, which is on automatic pilot, which is just gonna eat through the whole budget. It doesn't get into Social Security solvency. Defense is not sacrosanct. For heaven's sake, we found enough fat in there that would choke a horse.

Do you recall a fiscal battle anything like this one during your time in the Senate? No, it breaks your heart. It's almost akin to disgust, but it's more than that. It's heartbreaking. One possible outcome was tax reform--closing loopholes and expenditures. But all of a sudden some Republicans said that was a tax hike. Oh, yeah. Well, that's old Grover Norquist. He's a good man with a damn poor idea. I tell people, "Look, Grover is powerful, and let's just give him the kudos, but what can he do to you? He's not gonna murder you. He won't burn your house. The only thing he can do to you is defeat you for reelection. If your reelection means more than doing something for the United States of America and getting out of this hole, then you shouldn't be in Congress. …