Alan Simpson Raises Eyebrows With Recent Remarks
"We had the greatest generation - I think this is the greediest generation."
These words were recently uttered by none other than Alan Simpson, who is a former Republican senator and current co-chairman of President Obama's "debt commission" (aka the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform).
On February 18th, 2010, President Obama signed an executive order that created the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform. The main focuses of the commission were to identify ways to "improve the fiscal situation in the medium term" and to "achieve fiscal sustainability over the long run". Translation - identify ways to decrease the deficit and slow the rate at which the United States adds debt.
Along with Senator Alan Simpson, Erskine Bowles (former Chief of Staff to President Clinton) was also named as a Co-Chairman.
Simpson and Bowles toiled for months, trying to come up with proposals that might improve the rapidly deteriorating fiscal situation in the United States.
On November 10th, 2010, a draft document titled "Co-Chairs' Proposal" was released on Fiscalcommission.gov. This draft document stated that the "problem is real" in the country and that "the solution will be painful".
Some of the initial proposals from the "debt commission" included:
-$100 billion cut to defense spending
-increasing social security age to 69
-increasing gas tax by 15 cents
-lowering corporate tax rate to 26%
-cutting of the federal work force by 10%
According to the report, if all of the proposals outlined in the report were put into action, the United States would balance its budget by 2037.
When the report was released earlier in November, people generally stuck their noses up at it. "You can't be serious" would probably best sum up the collective reaction from the population. Many politicians quickly came out against most of what was contained in the report.
There wasn't just an indifferent reaction to the report - many people were genuinely angry by some/all of the proposals. According to Alan Simpson, "I've never had any nastier mail or been in a more difficult position in my life".
Simpson, who spent months of his life listening to "interest groups" testifying in front of his committee and then creating the draft report, seemed more than a little frustrated with both the response to the report and the overall divisive political climate in the country. This led him to utter his "I think this is the greediest generation" remark.
People want the United States to return to financial stability, but are they willing to pay the cost? Would the citizens of the country accept harsh austerity measures if it meant that the US could balance its budget and stop adding debt so quickly? I doubt that.
"I want the problem to be fixed, but I'm not prepared to be part of the solution."
I think that this accurately describes the mindset of many people in the country right now. Fix the problem, but I don't want to be part of the solution.
It's understandable that Alan Simpson is more than a bit frustrated right now, as he can see what is coming down the road for the country, and it certainly isn't pretty.
Source: Trib.com - Al Simpson Speaks Out Against Debt Committee Critics, Political Climate
Filed under: The Economic Meltdown